Lots of people like coffee, lots of people like cupcakes – why not combine the two?  These were another birthday treat for a coworker who just happens to be a bit of a coffee addict.  I have made white chocolate mocha cupcakes before which were great, but they seemed a bit girly for this dude and I wanted a more intense coffee flavor.  The base consists of a fudgy brownie flavored with coffee liqueur and espresso powder.  The cupcakes are nicely complimented by the mocha buttercream on top, and if you can find them I think chocolate-covered espresso beans are the perfect garnish for these treats.  I really, really liked these and will definitely make them again.  Mmmm, I can smell that coffee now just thinking about them….

Need more coffee?  Try these recipes:
Coffee Ice Cream
Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo
White Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes
Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread


For the cupcakes:
11 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. espresso powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
½ cup coffee liqueur

For the frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 tsp. hot coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat until completely melted, stirring until smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  In the meantime combine the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and stir together with a fork to combine.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until light.  Stir in the chocolate mixture and the coffee liqueur until well combined.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until combined.  Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full.  Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.  Allow to cool in the pans about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 02

    To make the frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar on low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and light, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the coffee granules, hot coffee and vanilla extract until completely incorporated.  Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes, and top with chocolate-covered espresso beans if desired.


  • I have nicknamed you the cupcake queen! I made your oreo cupcakes for one of my student’s birthdays, and they came out wonderfully.

    I love both cupcakes and coffee, so this recipe will absolutely be starred.

  • I LOVE chocolate and coffee and this recipe is fabulous. Already printed out! So glad I found your blog!

  • These look so good! I’ve never had a brownie cupcake, but I’m sure I’d love it!

  • I don’t like the taste of regular coffee, but I love coffee desserts, especially the chocolate-coffee combo. These look delicious!

  • Wow, that looks so good. I am always on the look out for coffee flavored goodies. Chocolate and coffee, what a sweet treat!

  • oh it looks great!


  • YUM!!!!

  • Chocolate and coffee/espresso is one of my absolute favorite flavor combos. I can’t wait to try these!

  • I’ve done tiramisu cupcakes that had espresso in them, I’ve made coffee walnut cupcakes- But mocha brownie cupcakes??? That sounds really delicious.

  • I think you have done it. You have invented the best thing since sliced bread with this one. No joke.

  • nutmegnanny

    Wow your coworker is lucky to have you make these delicious cupcakes for them…yum!

  • mmmm…buonissimi!

  • Annie, you’re killing me here! ;)

  • LJ

    Hi Annie,

    Can you recommend anything to replace the 1 tbsp of instant coffee granules for the buttercream? I don’t have any and I’m not sure if I would have time to buy.

  • Annie

    Instant espresso powder.

  • Lindsay R

    I just KNEW you’d have a chocolate coffee cupcake. You are my #1 source when I need a cupcake recipe. Will be making these for my chocolate and coffee obsessed husband’s 30th birthday party this weekend.
    thanks annie!

  • Melisa

    hi Annie! i just made these cupcakes and they tasted great! quick question though, when u say beat the eggs and sugar until light, do you mean until ribbon stage? because my cupcakes did rise while they were in the oven but when i took then out they went down a lot. You think it may be because i didn’t beat the eggs for long enough?
    Thanks a lot! :)

  • Annie

    Hi Melisa,
    Since they are basically a brownie base, these aren’t really puffy cupcakes. Mine were flat or maybe even slightly sunken. I don’t think you did anything wrong. Enjoy!

  • Ashley

    I didn’t have enough cupcake liners (and didn’t want to bother greasing each one), so I poured the batter into a 9×13 pan and baked for 30 mins at 350 degrees. Turned out perfectly!!

  • Patrick

    Love the blog! I’ve made a few of your recipes and so far everybody LOVE’S them. I’m trying this recipe out next, any coffee liqueur you recommend? Not sure if I should go with a standard Kahlua or perhaps a coffee Patron. Thanks for the help!

  • annieseats

    I haven’t tried many different brands so I don’t have a preference. Kahlua works, and Starbucks has a line of coffee liqueurs as well which is what I used for these (borrowed from a friend, because IN is behind the times and still doesn’t sell liquor on Sundays!)