Coffee Cupcakes

five frosted coffee cupcakes.These coffee cupcakes are the perfect simple dessert to give your day a delectable boost. Paired with a velvety Swiss meringue buttercream, these delicious cupcakes are an ideal sweet treat for coffee enthusiasts and dessert lovers alike.

The base is moist and fluffy with a burst of robust flavour, giving each bite a harmonious balance of taste and texture. And the frosting is simply divine. Whether you’re an experienced baker, just starting your journey, or anywhere in between, you’ll be able to easily master the smooth and silky cloud-like meringue beautifully piped on top.

These coffee cupcakes make a wonderful homemade gift for new parents and friends, and they're sure to impress at any gathering. In less than an hour, you can whip up these delightful cupcakes, keeping your time in the kitchen minimal.

But don’t stop there! Your friends at Chummys are also here to help fill out the rest of your dessert table with our delicious bronuts, brownies, blondies and cookie options. And the best part? All of our delectable desserts are delivered right to your door!

Why you'll love it

Bold flavour- These cupcakes provide the coffee break you deserve. Every bite of tender cake presents a burst of caffeinated goodness. The rich and silky buttercream perfectly complements the base and makes each cupcake feel like an indulgent cappuccino you can sink your teeth into.

Simple- This recipe is very straightforward. To make the cupcake batter, all you need to do is mix all of the ingredients together, pour it into a cupcake tray and put them in the oven. The frosting takes a bit of time and technique, but if you’re in a rush or looking for an even simpler frosting method, you can easily swap it out for premade whipped cream.

Moist and Decadent- The texture of these coffee infused cupcakes is an absolute treat. And the harmony of flavours is a delight for your tastebuds. The tender crumb and fluffy frosting complement the bold coffee flavour to give you a satisfying bite over and over again.

three coffee cupcakes

What's the secret to moist cupcakes?

The ideal cupcake is sturdy, with a soft and tender texture. And the good news is, moist and delicious cupcakes are not difficult to achieve as long as you use the right measurements.

Be sure to start with high quality, fresh ingredients. If you don't bake often, it's important to make sure that your ingredients have been stored properly and are not yet expired. Baking powder, for example, should be switched out every 6 months after opening because, over time, it can lose its potency. A loss in potency can affect the rise and give your baked goods unpleasantly dense results.

Additionally, paying close attention to the baking time can help keep your cupcakes moist. Once finished, the centre should spring back when touched, and a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out mostly clean with just a few crumbs.

It’s also important to note that the cooking process does not immediately stop once you remove the cupcakes from the oven. It takes a few minutes for the temperature to drop, meaning the cupcakes will continue to cook briefly as they cool. Removing cupcakes from the oven when they are just slightly underbaked will allow them to reach the perfect doneness by the time they're ready to enjoy.

unfrosted coffee cupcakes

What can I put on cupcakes instead of icing?

Swiss meringue buttercream is a simple topping for your cupcakes. It provides a rich, creamy complement to the robust coffee flavour in the cupcakes and offers an impressive touch of elegance to the dessert as a whole. For this recipe, vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream is used, but you can feel free to swap it out with your favourite coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache, or simply whipped topping.

You can also dress up the frosting with a drizzle of caramel, shaved chocolate or chocolate covered espresso beans for an even bolder coffee flavour throughout.


Plain flour- Flour provides the base for these cupcakes. Even though they are tender, the flour’s protein gives the cupcakes their stability.

Granulated white sugar- Provides sweetness and helps achieve a tender crumb.

Brown sugar- Adds moisture to the batter and depth of flavour for a more complete taste.

Baking powder and Baking soda- These both give the cupcakes their delicate rise and contribute to a fluffy texture.

Salt- Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavour of the cupcakes.

Instant coffee powder- Delivers a bold, full-bodied coffee flavour to every bite. Alternatively, you can use instant espresso powder.

Milk- Adds moisture to the cupcakes to make them more tender. Whole milk is ideal, but any milk will work for this recipe.

Unsalted Butter- Adds structure and richness to the batter and a delightfully creamy texture to the frosting.

Free-range eggs- The eggs add structure to the cupcakes, and the yolks provide richness. In the frosting, the egg whites provide both silkiness and fluffiness.

Hot water- Boiling water helps dissolve the sugar and instant coffee. It also begins activating the leavening agents for an extra light, airy cupcake.

Vanilla extract- A light aromatic that enhances the flavour of the other ingredients in both the cupcakes and the frosting.

 three frosted coffee cupcakes

How to make Coffee Cupcakes

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12, 1 per serving


Coffee cupcake base

150 grams plain flour
100 grams granulated white sugar
110 grams brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
123 grams (1/2 cup) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1 large free-range egg
118 grams (1/2 cup) hot water

Swiss meringue buttercream

5 free-range egg whites
334 grams granulated sugar
10 ounces unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

To make the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 176°C. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and instant coffee until combined.

Whisk in the milk, butter, egg and hot water until the ingredients are well combined and a thin batter forms.

Prepare a tin with cupcake liners and a light layer of cooking spray. Fill each cupcake tin 2/3 of the way full with batter.

Place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with only a few crumbs. Set the cupcakes aside to cool.

To make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

swiss meringue buttercream frosting on whisk attachment

Using a double boiler method, place a saucepan of water over high heat and fit a mixing bowl on top of it. Be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the mixing bowl. Place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl and begin whisking.

Continue whisking frequently until the mixture reaches 74°C. You can use a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer to measure the temperature. 

Once done, the mixture should be thick and creamy.

Place the egg whites into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on medium speed and beat the egg whites until fluffy and stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. 

Slice the butter into tablespoons. Switch to a paddle attachment and change the mixer speed to low. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour in the vanilla extract and sprinkle in the salt, then mix for an additional 30 seconds. 

Place the frosting into a piping bag fitted with your nozzle of choice and pipe a large swirl on top of the cooled cupcakes before serving.

Expert Tips

Even the smallest bit of egg yolk can keep your egg whites from setting up properly. Be sure to separate the yolks from the whites carefully and completely.

When tempering egg whites, it's important that they reach 74°C for safe consumption.

If your buttercream is too firm: place it back over a double boiler and gently stir until the bowl is warm and the frosting softens, then whip until smooth.

If your buttercream is too runny: place it into the fridge for 20-30 minutes, then whip it again once the frosting has firmed up.

Instant coffee is used in this recipe, but for an even bolder flavour, you can use your favourite espresso powder.

Add a drizzle of caramel and a chocolate covered coffee bean for a show-stopping presentation.

coffee cupcake sliced open.

Coffee Cupcakes FAQ

Is the batter supposed to be thin?

Yes! Depending on the type of cake you’re making, you will have some variation in the thickness of your batters. This recipe uses a very thin batter, similar to our Nutella Cake. Don’t worry, it will bake up firm with a very light and fluffy sponge-like consistency.

Does Swiss meringue buttercream set hard?

Generally, Swiss meringue buttercream will not form a hard crust, even when left at room temperature. Since it has a lot of butter, however, when refrigerated, the frosting will set hard. After storing them, allow the cupcakes to sit out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before enjoying them so the frosting becomes soft again.

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