Espresso Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Add'l Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins

These dark chocolate and espresso cupcakes are moist and perfectly paired with an espresso buttercream swirled on top. 

Close up image of chocolate cupcake with frosting swirled on top.

When it came time for my friend’s birthday I was contemplating cupcake flavors. And when I couldn’t decided…I ended up picking three. One being Vanilla for any unadventurous losers. One was a fun, spicy flavor that I will be posting later this week. And the last cupcake flavor were these delicious Espresso Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream.

I think between the friends, the champagne, the tiara (because every girl should wear a tiara), and the cupcakes she enjoyed her birthday! I was really glad that I made extra cupcakes because people asked the restaurant for to go boxes to take the leftovers home with them! So these must have been a winner! I know Jorge loved them since he ate 4 of them in 24 hours!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

Three espresso cupcakes with a red flower

These Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes start with a moist dark chocolate and espresso cupcake that is perfectly paired with a sweet espresso buttercream swirled on top!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 oz bittersweet dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Coffee Buttercream:

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a cupcake baking pan with paper liners. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso and salt, set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and melted chocolate in your stand mixer, until well combined.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add flour mixture, alternating with milk, until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Coffee Buttercream: In a small bowl, whisk together water and espresso powder. Set aside.
  6. Beat butter on medium high, for 3 minutes. Slowly add in 3 cups powdered sugar, about a half a cup at a time. Once it is fully incorporated, carefully add the vanilla extract and espresso powder/water mixture.
  7. At this point check the consistency of the buttercream. You should be able to lift the beaters and have the buttercream hold its shape. If it is too loose, add more powdered sugar, again 1/2 cup at a time.
  8. Pipe onto the top of cooled cupcakes as desired! Cupcakes can be stored on counter at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:


12 cupcakes

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 263mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 2g

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30 Responses
  1. Kelly

    I just baked these cupcakes but for some reason mine did not come out as dark and decadent looking as yours. Could I have used the wrong cocoa powder (Hershey’s).

    1. Jessica

      Hmm the cocoa powder brand shouldn’t make a difference. I also used Hersheys. Between the cocoa powder, espresso powder, and melted bittersweet chocolate they should have come out pretty chocolate-y!

      I’m sorry they did not turn out for you. πŸ™ A friend made them recently for a birthday party and had no issues. I don’t know what could have gone wrong!

  2. Stephanie

    is the melted chocolate in the recipe just for the decorations? The placement of it in the list of ingredients makes it seem like it goes in the cupcakes, but it isn’t in the directions.


  3. Clare @ Mrs Multitasker

    Jessica these look so so good. I love that first picture. What a brilliant way to spice up a food shot that has lots of brown!

  4. ingrid

    Hey, watch it, sista! Chocolate adds to a dessert but if you left it out you’d still have something delicious. Leave out vanilla and your dessert is just okay.

    Love the chocolate garnishes you made. They added a lovely touch.

    ~Vanilla rulz!, ingrid πŸ™‚

  5. jenn

    these cupcakes look delish! i love the chocolate accents on the frosting. (BTW: i lol’d at the vanilla for ‘unadventurous losers’ comment!)

  6. Samarie

    Thank you so much for my cupcakes! They were to die for, and thanks for posting the picture and letting everyone know that a tiara is a must have. Love ya!

  7. newlywed

    Tiaras should indeed be worn whenever possible (I own four for variety). These look beautiful and very professional…nothing novice-looking about them!

  8. Cookie Sleuth

    Those decorations are too cute! Thanks for the instructions on how to make them. The espresso buttercream sounds delicious!

  9. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum

    Your cupcakes look fantastic! Im just too lazy to make them right now… maybe I could buy some from you? πŸ™‚ Just kidding.

  10. Nicole

    These are adorable and perfectly girly! I love that you made vanilla cupcakes for the “unadventurous losers” ha πŸ™‚

  11. lisa

    Wow, such beautiful photos. Looks delicious. Cupcakes are my fave. I made the red velvet ones from magnolia bakery and they were divine. You can check them out on my blog if you’d like to try them too

  12. Juliana

    Wow, these cupcakes are lovely, love the espresso coffee in it…with chocolate…they look SO yummie, very nice decorated πŸ™‚

  13. Katie (Sweets and Veggies)

    Hey!! I just found your blog and I love all the recipes on here! Can’t wait to start reading your blog more. And happy birthday btw!!

  14. Mrs. Mayhem

    The cupcakes and frosting both sound amazing. Thanks so much for the tip about melting chocolate to make decorations. I never would have thought of doing that, and it’s lovely.

  15. Roti n Rice

    Those chocolate cupcakes sure do look good and the chocolate decorations are a nice touch. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

  16. katie o.

    Oh lordy….it’s only 7am and I’m already staring at cupcakes. This can’t be a good thing. Then again, those are espresso cupcakes so that’s kind of like breakfast, right? πŸ™‚

  17. Reginald@CeramicCanvas

    Me wants this dessert now!

    You had me at chocolate and

    then you went an added an

    Espresso Butter cream Frosting.

    Looks amazing.


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I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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