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If you love cupcakes, you’ve come to the right place because I am all about cupcakes right now. They’re adorable, portable and delicious, so what’s not to love, right?

Are you a coffee lover too? I sure hope so, because today’s recipe is full of coffee flavor and the perfect cure for that midday slump. I’m a café mocha enthusiast, so I wanted to try to encompass the intense flavor of one of my favorite Starbucks beverages into cupcake form.

I started with a rich, coffee infused chocolate cake and topped that off with a velvety, sweet espresso infused buttercream. As though they weren’t decadent enough, I had to finish them off with a chocolate drizzle and a chocolate covered coffee bean. Take these into the office or your next meeting and you’ll have a happy staff that are guaranteed to be alert!


Café Mocha Cupcakes


For the Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso granules

For the frosting

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
3-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk


For the Cupcakes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.

3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso granules to the cup of hot coffee and stir to combine. With mixer still on low, add in the coffee/espresso mixture and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), distribute the batter into the prepared muffin tins.

5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove them onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

For the frosting

1. In a large bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar/cocoa powder mixture, and continue creaming until well blended.

3. Add salt, vanilla, 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk and espresso/water. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

For the garnish

Place 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the chips on 50% power in 30 seconds increments until chocolate is melted. Drizzle over cupcakes and finish with a chocolate covered coffee bean.


- You can easily adjust the consistency of this recipe by simply adding in more heavy cream or milk.
- Cake adapted from Ina Garten

All images and text ©

Follow Jamie on Instagram. We love to see what you're baking from MBA! Be sure to tag @jamiemba and use the hashtag #mbarecipes!

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Hi can I use this recipe for cake batter instead of cupcakes? Thanks

    1. Jamie says:

      Yes, you definitely can!

  2. Ash says:

    Loved this recipe – only one question, how to make this eggless?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I don’t work with egg substitutes very much, so I’m not very helpful on this topic. Hopefully someone will chime in and leave some feedback.

  3. Margaret Murray says:

    Thank you for this recipe! These are so yummy!! Love cake that uses oil. Everyone LOVES them and I make them without an dairy bc Im dairy sensitive/intolerant. I use earth balance for the frosting and because of this have to put them in frig or the frosting will be soft but they are scrumptious!! No one believes they are dairy free!

    1. Jamie says:

      I’m so glad you liked them, Margaret!

  4. Clémence says:

    These cupcakes look really delicious! I would like to try with a similar cream cheese frosting. Anyone knows how to do it?
    Thank you!

  5. Jolene says:

    Recipe was a total flop for me, Hopefully works better for others

  6. Jamie says:

    Thank you! You made my day!