Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

There is quite a story behind this cupcake recipe.  Basically, it starts and ends with me making these cupcakes for a group of people that were not my family or immediate friends.  Basically, it was my first cupcake "order."  A friend of mine pretty much volunteered me to make something chocolate for a chocolate buffet fundraiser she was coordinating at the Christian school I used to teach at (in my pre-motherhood days!).  I had been eyeing this particular cupcake recipe on the internet and her suggestion was the perfect opportunity to make them.  I left immediately on the hunt for the elusive espresso powder, or instant espresso as it is sometimes called.  I found it at Fresh Market, only to have a Facebook friend tell me it is in the ethnic aisle at my local Meijer.  Good to know!

Not only are these delicious, but I made them mini, which increased their adorable-ness ten times.  :) (CONTINUE READING AFTER THE JUMP)
The buttercream alone is worth a couple of spoonfuls directly into your mouth.  (The recipe is written for standard-sized cupcakes, but it is easily adapted to miniature.  It is also easily doubled, which is what I did.)

These cupcakes also gave me the opportunity shop at a new store (at least, new to me!)--a store that is heaven for bakers and candy-makers!  Cute mini cupcake liners?  Yes, please.  A pastry bag with ties, and tips for frosting?  Of course, thanks.  I joked to my friend that my husband would be thrilled that I now claimed yet another hobby.  (I won him over with the chocolate, don't worry!)

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Source:  Brown-Eyed Baker
should yield about 12 cupcakes

1-1/3 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup strong brewed coffee
1½ teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature

Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla.
Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons espresso powder

Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.  Fill pastry bag with frosting and pipe over cooled cupcakes.

Click HERE for the details on Project Love Day!


  1. YUM! Nobody likes coffee in my family. :( And weight wise, I can't afford to make these just for me. - Michele

  2. These cupcakes are gorgeous! If i wanted to make them mini like you did, how long do i bake them for and how much does this recipe make? Thanks.

  3. The frosting is beautiful! What piping tip did you use?

  4. @Anonymous--I just made mini cupcakes again yesterday, and I baked them for about 15 minutes.

    For a recipe calling for about 18 regular-sized cupcakes, I got 48 minis and 6 regular sized cupcakes.

    For the frosting,I used a small star piping tip.

    Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

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