Cakes and Cupcakes/ Recipes

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Chocolate and coffee come together perfectly in these extra moist Mocha Cupcakes that are topped with espresso-infused buttercream.

February is the month for romance, roses…..and all things CHOCOLATE! After trying to eat “healthy” in January and cleanse from all the sugar of the holidays, I am ready for a serious chocolate fix. And these mocha cupcakes are exactly what’s needed! For someone who loves chocolate and coffee (that’s me!) they are really a dream come true!

The mocha cupcake in this recipe comes from my all-time favorite chocolate cupcake that I have been making since I was in my teens. That recipe has always been my go-to, because it’s SO incredibly moist and as an added bonus, it’s vegan! (My aunt has been a vegan all her life and so whenever she came to visit, this was the recipe we used). To give the cupcakes a mocha taste, I just added some espresso powder to give it a hint of coffee flavor. It’s not over-powering, but just enough to give it a little boost.

The other thing I love about this recipe is how easy it is! The cupcakes mix up in one bowl, so there is very little mess, because you know how I hate to wash dishes! And the buttercream is almost a no-fail. Just be sure your butter is room temperature and you will have velvety smooth frosting will pipe on easily. No piping bags? No worries! You can put it in a quart-size ziploc baggie and cut a little bit off one corner to pipe a smooth swirl on each cupcake. Or, you can always spread it on with a small spatula or the back of a small spoon. (Tip: The back of a spoon makes the prettiest frosting swirls and it’s how we food stylists get those gorgeous frosting photos on cake packaging).

Can I also mention one more thing about this espresso buttercream? It is so creamy and the flavor is incredible! I am not a black-coffee drinker….I added all kinds of milk and sugary flavor to create something that is sweet, with coffee flavor. That’s what this buttercream is like. Don’t be worried that it’s going to be too strong because you are using espresso powder. It’s just the right amount of sweetness to coffee ratio.After piping it onto the cupcakes, I was squeezing every last little bit of it onto my finger….it’s THAT good!

So, if you are looking for a treat for the coffee lover in your life, look no further! You have found your new go-to recipe for mocha cupcakes! Happy Baking!

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12


  • 1 1/4 c cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Espresso Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1-3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.

  2. In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

  3. Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder in 1 cup water; add to flour mixture.

  4. Add oil and vinegar to flour mixture; blend on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl often.

  5. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, until well blended. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely.

To make Buttercream:

  1. In medium bowl, dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder in 1 tablespoon water.

  2. Add butter, vanilla and powdered sugar; blend on low speed 1-2 minutes, until combined.

  3. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, adding additional water 1 teaspoon at a time, until frosting is smooth and creamy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.




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