Friday 20 May 2011

Espresso Coffee Cupcakes

Espresso cupcake unwrapped

Do you ever get bored of chocolate? No, neither do I. When I'm in the mood for a spot of cupcake-making I generally find myself drawn to either a chocolate cupcake or chocolate buttercream. But last week I fancied something a bit different: I had a craving for coffee cake.

Espresso cupcake recipe

I know coffee cakes aren't everyone's cup of tea (so to speak) but I have a real love of anything coffee-flavoured. Coffee and walnut cake? Yes please. Espresso crème brûlée? Nom nom nom. Coffee ice cream? Pass me a spoon immediately. So, being in one of those kind of moods I decided to make some espresso cupcakes. After a quick trawl around the interwebs I was having no luck. All of the recipes were using either instant coffee or that coffee essence stuff (I remember thinking that the Camp Coffee my Mum bought in the '70s was the very height of sophistication). I don't really get these kind of recipes. If I like to drink really good espresso - albeit decaf - then why would I want to use yucky instant in my cakes? So I decided to just wing it and make up my own recipe.

Espresso cupcake cup of espresso

A risky strategy I hear you say; and you'd be right. But they actually turned out to be rather delicious. And somehow, I've no idea how (but someone sciencey can probably tell me), the buttercream ended up wonderfully light; more the texture of whipped cream. It was a total accident but I really loved it. I often find buttercream a bit overwhelming on cupcakes but this stuff was just right. Of course I'll probably never be able to recreate it but hey ho. By the way please excuse the paucity of photos on this post but I returned home from work one day to find that Coffee Boy - true to his name - had scoffed a number of the cupcakes I was saving for a mini-photo shoot, including the best-looking ones: "I didn't know there was a hierarchy of attractiveness" was his defence. Honestly, men eh?

Espresso cupcake buttercream

Espresso Coffee Cupcakes (makes 10-12)

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g butter (room temperature)
large shot of strong espresso (about 50ml) - I used decaf but normal would obviously be fine too
70ml milk
1 egg, beaten
  • Preheat the oven to 170º fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  • Sift the flour, and stir into baking powder, salt & sugar and then beat the dry mixture with the butter (I use a handheld electric whisk) until well combined
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients (espresso, milk and egg) until incorporated and beat for a couple of minutes until the mixture is smooth
  • Pipe or spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cases so they are half to two-thirds full
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes - I turn my tray 180º after 15 minutes to compensate for hot-spots in my oven. They are ready when a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean
  • After a few minutes remove the cupcakes from the tray
  • Place them on a rack and let them cool thoroughly. Do not attempt to ice until fully cooled

    Espresso Coffee Buttercream

    125g butter (room temperature)
    220g icing sugar
    large shot of strong espresso (about 50ml) - again I used decaf

    • Beat the butter and icing sugar together with an electric whisk or in a mixer
    • Gradually add the espresso and beat until buttercream is light and fluffy
    • Pipe onto cupcakes


    1. Oh how wonderful these are - people will love them and I am printing the recipe!

    2. Oh YES! These are WONDERFUL and have been added to my recipe cards...I am your newest FOLLOWER, I would LOVE for you to peek in on me AND if you like Follow me too...
      Have a great weekend,

    3. Google translate does not translate these funny European measurements into good old American ounces and cups. What is a hungry and uneducated girl like me to do?

    4. Thanks Bernideen & Donna. Please let me know how you get on with the frosting - I'm curious to know if it was a fluke that the buttercream turned out so light and fluffy.

      Robin, ha! Don't talk to me about cups - how does that work as a unit of measurement? Do you pack the flour down into a cup or just scoop it up? You know our European ways are logical. I expect you to fully embrace them!

    5. I’m with you on the coffee flavoured stuff. I am so making these. They look delicious :)

    6. how do you make expresso
      is it normal coffee with a bit of boiling water please reply its urgant

    7. Hi Anonymous,
      Espresso is a very strong coffee, usually made in a specific coffee maker with a very small amount of water. If you were going to try to recreate this coffee without espresso you would need the coffee to be very strong. Good luck.

    8. Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you - what a lovely blog :)

      1. Thanks Sally. Let me know how you get on if you make them.

    9. These r yuummmyyyyy! My kufd made these for my mum and they were lush. Try 50ml baileys instead of coffee in the butter cream then add chocolate sprinkles nom nom thanx for the recipe xxxx hayley xxx

      1. Wow, Baileys buttercream sounds dangerously delicious! So glad you liked the recipe.

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    11. Sounds like an amazing recipe! Would love to try it out. Only if I had some more spare time!

    12. Me and my sister are addicted to coffee so I KNOW she would just love these cupcakes. Your recipes never disappoint. Thank you for sharing 🙂