January 25, 2022| By

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
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Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream is a decadent dessert of mocha cupcakes topped with a coffee flavored frosting. Skip your morning cafe run and that trip to the bakery. This rich, fudgy, chocolatey treat will remind you of the tastiest mocha latte you've ever had!

If you're craving a delicious blend of coffee and chocolate, then I have your fix! My Chocolate Ganache Cake and Mocha Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars follows an easy, no-bake recipe. My Chocolate Coffee Marble Cake is a fluffy, flavorful loaf.

chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream on a serving tray

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream is a beautiful marriage of coffee and chocolate; two of my favorite indulgences. This recipe is a chocolate and coffee lover's dream come true!

This recipe is a delicate balance of sweet cocoa and toasty espresso. What I love most is that neither flavor overpowers the other. It's a perfect balance of espresso and chocolate!

These chocolate coffee cupcakes are super soft and moist. After just one bite, you'll be in complete bliss. It will be hard to eat only one. Trust me!

a cupcake with a bite taken out

Ingredient Notes

No one likes a dry, flavorless cupcake. Here are some reasons why I included certain ingredients in this recipe.

  • Brown Sugar: Fun fact - brown sugar is just like white sugar except the moisture has not been removed. That moisture is actually molasses. Brown sugar adds moisture to these mocha cupcakes. Because let's face it, no one wants a dry cupcake!
  • Espresso Powder: Enhances the flavor and actually enriches the chocolate. I also use this in my Black Velvet Cake recipe to deepen the chocolatey richness. It work every time!
  • Cocoa Powder: The essence of the chocolate flavor, although it can be a bit dry. That's why butter is also an ingredient.
  • Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips: An extra touch of chocolate because who can really get enough?
cupcakes on a wooden plates

How to make Espresso Buttercream

The frosting for these chocolate cupcakes is simple to make. It can be whipped up in just a few minutes. But be careful! I have been tempted to eat it straight from the bowl more than once!

In order to make the espresso buttercream, add room temperature butter to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Then beat on medium speed until smooth. This should take about 2 minutes.

Next add powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Slowly begin to add milk, then add a pinch of salt, vanilla extract, and espresso powder. After the cupcakes are cool, add the buttercream topping. Otherwise, the buttercream will melt and will not adhere to the cupcakes.

chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream in a baking sheet with a dish cloth

Tips for making chocolate cupcakes

  • Measure the flour correctly for exact portions because this ensures the cupcakes are the proper consistency. Here's a step by step tutorial on how to properly measure flour!
  • These cupcakes are akin to a brownie as far as texture is concerned. They're a bit fudgy and require cooling time. If you like a fudgier texture, bake these cupcakes for 22 minutes. If you prefer a cakey texture, bake for 25 minutes!
  • The chocolate chips give these cupcakes their super soft texture. Be sure to give them to time set after removing them from the oven!
  • All ingredients should be at room temperature before being mixed. Otherwise the cupcakes will not be the same temperature in the oven which could lead to uneven baking times.
  • If you're concerned about caffeine intake, use caffeine-free instant coffee instead of espresso powder.
  • For a smooth buttercream, the butter has to be room temperature. If not, the frosting will not whip properly, leaving you with chunks of butter in the frosting.
  • Once the cupcakes are done, take them out of the pan and place onto a cooling rack. If left in the pan after baking, they will continue to bake and could dry out.
  • To prevent the cupcakes from sinking, do not open the oven door while baking!
cupcakes on a wooden plate

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chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream on a serving tray

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

u003cstrongu003eChocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream is a decadent dessert of mocha cupcakes topped with a coffee flavored frosting. Skip your morning cafe run and that trip to the bakery. This rich, chocolatey treat will remind you of the tastiest mocha latte you've ever had! u003c/strongu003e
Serving: 14 servings
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Calories: 451kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Espresso powder
  • ½ cup  Cocoa powder 
  • ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 ½ cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Espresso Buttercream

  • 1 cup Butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbsp Milk
  • pinch Salt
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Espresso Powder 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together espresso powder, cocoa powder, kosher salt, flour, and baking powder. 
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and then add ¼ cup of milk. Mix together until fully incorporated and then stir in the remainder of the flour and add the rest of the milk. Add chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
  • Line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners and add about 3 tbsps to each cup. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  • To make the buttercream, add room temperature butter to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Slowly begin to add milk, then add pinch of salt, vanilla extract, and espresso powder. 
  • Wait until cupcakes have cooled completely prior to adding buttercream. 

Notes

u003cliu003eIf you like a fudgier texture, bake these cupcakes for 22 minutes. If you prefer a cakey texture, bake for the full 25 minutes.u003c/liu003eu003cliu003eu003cstrongu003e Be sure to give them to time set after removing them from the oven!u003c/strongu003eu003c/liu003e

Nutrition

Calories: 451kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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  1. 3 stars
    You’ve listed chocolate chips in the ingredient list, but the directions don’t say how to incorporate them. I assume they were to be folded into the batter? I’ve tried to make these twice and the tops always sink in. Any advice?

    • Hi! Step #2 notes to fold the chocolate chips into the batter once everything is together. Sorry to hear that your cupcakes are sinking, there's a couple of reasons that this can happen. Are you opening up the oven while they are baking? Are you measuring your flour correctly and using only 1 tsp of baking powder? These are all things that can affect the end result. I hope that these tips help!

  2. 5 stars
    I'm not a coffee drinker but that espresso buttercream...I want to put on everything! I will be making these cupcakes again next week!

  3. 5 stars
    Cupcake goals! These cupcakes were fluffy, moist and the flavor combination was spot on. Everyone wanted more! This recipe has been printed so that I can make them again.

  4. 5 stars
    These are the cupcakes I never knew I needed! That espresso buttercream is so perfect I could eat it with a spoon!

  5. 5 stars
    When I saw these cupcakes my mouth was watering. I absolutely love chocolate and espresso flavors together. I’m here for all things mocha. Delish!


  6. 5 stars
    I made these cupcakes for a colleague who is OBSESSED with espresso. She absolutely loved them and this recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    The espresso buttercream is SO GOOD! I literally couldn't stop licking my spatula. It paired perfectly with the rich chocolate flavor of the cupcakes! Definitely will be making these again!

  8. 5 stars
    You had me at espresso... and chocolate. And cupcakes. My word, these cupcakes were so freaking good! Your instructions made them easy to accomplish. I'll definitely be making these again.

  9. 5 stars
    These cupcakes were such a hit! I took them to a family party and they were gone before I could finish putting down the tray. The sweetness of the buttercream paired with the tart of the espresso was the perfect combo for these cupcakes.