Mocha Espresso Cupcakes

My mocha espresso layer cake is one of my most popular recipes.  It is frequently requested by my family for holidays and birthdays. Most days, however, I don’t want to bake and decorate a layer cake.  So, I scaled down the recipe a bit to make 12 cupcakes.

Mocha Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee

Mocha Cupcake Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil baking cups.

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add the coffee, and mix until combined.  The batter will be thin.

Fill the baking cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Espresso Buttercream Icing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

(Note – temperature and humidity have an effect on icing consistency. Adjust the powdered sugar and milk accordingly)

Espresso Buttercream Icing Directions:

Combine the butter and shortening in a mixer bowl.  Beat with the whisk attachment.  Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Combine the espresso and water in a small bowl.  Add the espresso mixture to the mixer bowl, and beat until well combined.  Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar and milk until the icing is creamy.

Transfer the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a large open star pastry tip (I used Ateco #827). Pipe the icing onto each cupcake.  Top with shaved chocolate and dark chocolate shapes, if desired.

15 Responses to Mocha Espresso Cupcakes

  1. I saw this recipe and decided to make it for my friends birthday. Everyone agreed that they were the best cupcakes they had ever had. This was a very good recipe.

  2. these are soo good!! i just made a batch for work and this recipe is delicious!! thank you!!

  3. I have had this recipe saved for awhile now, just pinned it and it got re-pinned 61 times. Wanted to pass that along.

  4. I know this is an old post, but I have a question.
    If doubled, this cupcake recipe is almost the same as the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe, except that yours has less flour. The Hershey recipe has 1/4 cup less flour per 24 cupcakes. I was curious as to how adding less flour changes the cake. I am planning to make the cake this week, and was wondering if less flour makes a more moist or dense cake. Thanks! I will definitely be making a huge batch of this frosting.

    • Hi, Amy – Yes, I’ve made the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe many times, and it is great. I did use it as a basis for these cupcakes. When I scaled back the recipe, I found that a bit less flour (really only 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons for my half-batch of cupcakes) worked better and was easier to measure. If you are making the full cake recipe, I would just follow the original recipe. You can add a bit of instant espresso to the batter to give it more of a mocha flavor, if you like. I hope that helps!

  5. Hi, the cupcakes look delicious. Should the coffee be added super hot or should it be cooled to room temperature? Thank you