Mocha Cupcakes with Whipped Espresso Buttercream

Recently, at work we threw a little wedding shower at a local coffee shop for two co-workers who just happened to be getting married on the exact same day. One of them, Stephanie, is rarely seen without a coffee cup in her hand, so I thought I’d go ahead and feed her habit. In addition, I’m pretty sure when you put chocolate (and coffee) in a room full of women, you really can’t go wrong.

I’ve been wanting to bake a cupcake that involved coffee and chocolate for awhile now. But, for some reason, I just haven’t come across too many such recipes that have made me do a little happy dance. So, I decided to do a little cutting and pasting and come up with my own little combination.

The Sarah Magid frosting I’ve made a couple of different times, and it’s becoming a regular customer in my kitchen. I especially like this espresso version because you get the hint of coffee without too much sweetness. It’s nice and light.

And this cake, oh this cake. I’m going to have to make it someday, true to the recipe, as a layer cake with the ganache. It’s so freaking moist, light and chocolately. It’s pretty perfect for a cupcake, and it plays well with the espresso in the frosting.


    mocha cupcakes with whipped espresso buttercream

  • Ingredients

  • chocolate cupcakes
  • 3 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1-1/2 cups hot and strong brewed coffee
  • 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • espresso whipped buttercream frosting
  • 2 sticks unsalted organic butter, softened
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sifted organic all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons powdered espresso
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water
  • 24 chocolate covered coffee beans (optional)

  • Directions

  • make the cupcakes

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Fill muffin pan with cupcake liners. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

    Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a mixer, beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored, 3-5 minutes. Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs. Beat mixture until well combined. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely on wire rack before applying frosting.

    make the frosting

    In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk with flour, whisking until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup milk. Whisk constantly over medium-high heat and cook until bubbles form and it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and keep whisking for a few more minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and keep stirring. Then let cool to room temperature. Quicken this step by throwing mixture into freezer until it is room temperature. If there’s a thick skin on top that’s developed while in the freezer, remove and discard it.

    While milk-flour mixture is cooling, make the butter-sugar mixture. In a mixer, cream butter on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add in sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Once milk-flour mixture is cooled, on low speed, slowly pour the milk-flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Increase to medium speed and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Dissolve espresso powder in hot, preferably boiling, water. Start with 1 tablespoon of each. I was looking for a stronger coffee flavor so I went with 2 tablespoons of each. However, add additions slowly so that you do not lose the desired frosting consistency. Frost the cupcakes and add a chocolate covered coffee bean to the top center of each cupcake.

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  1. Posted November 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    that looks like it would make my all time favorite mara-baked favorites.
    the pictures are beautiful!

  2. Posted November 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    lovely site you have here! looking forward to more of your yummy posts!

  3. Posted November 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Michelle says: those look aaamazing!

  4. Michelle
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    now I am just gonna comment myself– if you ever need to make me something for whatever reason, this would be a top choice! I love mocha baked goods!

  5. Stephanie
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    These cupcakes were delcious and you are correct this girl absolutely loves coffee and chocolate. I told Luke about them after the shower and now I can try to make them at home. I love shared sugar.
    P.S. The pictures are gorgeous. Ralph and Suzy would be proud. =)

  6. Posted November 16, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Great idea to combine coffee and chocolate! Miam:)

  7. Posted November 17, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I love the combination of the frosting and mocha . Looks delicious.

  8. Posted December 9, 2009 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    yum! these look great! it’s one of my favorite flavor combinations for cupcakes!!

  9. Posted December 10, 2009 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    your pictures are awesome I will give this recipe a try for sure!

  10. Posted December 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    From the moment I set eyes on your blog I had to bookmark it – the recipes are mouthwatering, the photographs are absolutely beautiful and there’s real progression between the photos too! Cupcake recipes are fantastic, so I’ll be sure to try this one out as soon as I can.

    I’d really appreciate it if you’d be able to take a moment to have a look at my cookery blog and let me know what you think: thank you!

  11. Mara
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the compliments Neha, I will try to do that soon.

  12. Susan
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    First of all – I love your blog, girls! I have shared it with my mom and sister, and they have shared it with others. It is lovely, and it makes me hungry. :-)

    Second, I made these cupcakes last night, and they turned out absolutely delicious. It is the most moist, fudgy, and delicious cake recipe EVER. And I love how you can actually taste the coffee flavor in the cake. YUM. I did have to add an extra 1/2 cup of flour, and I had to bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes. I also had to make sure that I filled the cups no more than half full. (The first pan was kind of a disaster- the cakes didn’t dome up, it was weird. But adding flour and filling the cups only half full definitely solved the problem.) I didn’t have any espresso powder on hand, so I just used instant coffee- which I did have on hand for some random reason. It still tasted awesome.

    Just thought I’d share my experience so that if anyone has a disaster experience like I did, this would maybe help them. I’ve heard that climate and weather effect the results of baking a lot, so perhaps that’s what happened!

    I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  13. Mara
    Posted March 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much and glad you’re sharing the love. Sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe. I didn’t have any of those troubles with mine, but you’re right, it could be the atmosphere or a number of other different factors. I am going to be making these again soon. I’ll let you know if I encounter any of those problems.

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