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We’re coffee lovers here and when we’re at home, we drink mostly half-caff or decaf which makes it easy for Kyle to justify the amount he drinks in a day.  And since we bought a Keurig back in the fall, not only can we brew a cup in about 30 seconds, but we’ve got lots of new flavors to try as well.  So when these café mocha cupcakes crossed my path a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist.  Simple ingredients…good ingredients…lots of coffee…fantastic results.  This quite possibly is the best buttercream frosting I’ve ever made.  Espresso flavor is busting out of this smooth and decadent frosting and it’s the frosting that made this cupcake as great as it was. I’m not sure I would use this choice of cupcake recipe again since the cake was quite literally falling apart under the weight of the frosting and I really didn’t find as much coffee flavor as I had expected to.  I should have been leery of the cupcake since it’s adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe and it’s definitely not my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe so next time I make these, I’ll use my favorite devil’s food cupcake recipe.  In any event, treat yourself to some chocolate covered espresso beans for a little garnish and boost the buzz…something that’s certainly appreciated in this house after all that decaf!

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Café Mocha Cupcakes
source: My Baking Addiction; cupcake recipe adapted from Ina Garten

For the Cupcakes
Ingredients:

  • 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 teaspoon instant espresso granules

Directions

  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
Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  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.

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  • March 11, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    Mocha cupcakes with a cup of mocha.. sounds good 😀 they look really cute 🙂

  • March 11, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    These look wonderful and I am also a big coffee lover. I’d go crazy over that frosting!

  • March 11, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Adorable site, mouth-watering pictures. Can’t wait to try some of your recipes posted.

    The Souper

  • March 11, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Oh goodness yes please. Being complete coffee addicts…these perfectly combine our coffee/chocolate love!

  • March 11, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    This looks sooooo good! I think I’d skip this as a dessert and just have it with my morning cup of coffee 😀

  • March 11, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Your frosting is so fluffy and pretty! I want one of these cupcakes right now!

  • Beautiful photo, delectable cupcake. Where were you at breakfast this morning?!?

  • March 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    These are gorgeous and I bet they taste awesome! 🙂 Adding them to my “to bake” list for sure!

  • March 11, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    These look so beautiful – I want to eat one right now!

  • March 11, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    We too are coffee lovers. I love cupcakes, chocolate and mochas so to have all three in one……yummy.

  • March 11, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Simply beautiful!

  • March 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    These are too cute. I really love them. I need to try these really soon.

  • March 11, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    The photo looks absolutely amazing. The cupcake has a really nice sheen

  • March 11, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Since we are coffee lovers here too I’m pretty sure these cupcakes will be a success in my home. Thanks for sharing!

  • March 11, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    These cupcakes are gorgeous! I love mocha flavored anything, so I’m sure I would love these.

  • March 12, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Well Hello Cupcake. These look awesome and Im not a mocha/coffee/late/grande/vente fan (clearly as I don’t even know the right terms). But I would try these in a heart beat!

  • March 13, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    OMG, beautifulness!!! These look amazing and must taste DELISH 🙂

  • March 13, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    Beautiful cupcakes!!!! And they must be delicious, too!!!

  • March 13, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Picture perfect tasty creation! Congrats on Top 9 featruing! Have a great Sunady afternoon 🙂

  • March 13, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Perfect mocha cupcakes. Loved the icing and congrats on top 9 !

  • March 13, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    These look delicious. I would love to try them with a latte! 🙂

  • March 14, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Your cupcakes look amazing. My husband and I drink a lot of coffee and I am sure that these would be an instant winner in our household. Beautiful photo too.

  • March 18, 2011 at 4:50 AM

    Wow! Café mocha is really my favorite flavor even on ice cream. I love to try this cup cake recipe of yours. My hubby will surely love this. YUMMY!

  • March 20, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    nything with mocha flavor is my favorite. I can already make this right away since I have all the ingredients in my kitchen.

  • Maria in NJ
    April 2, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Tara they look so good and thank you for that great frosting recipe, can’t wait to try it…I have a question… what size tip did you use to get that result…love it!

    • April 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      Maria: I believe the tip is Ateco 809 (11/16″). I purchased it from BakeitPretty.com but this tip is usually in short supply there.

  • Trish
    May 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    I have everything on hand for these but the espresso powder. Do you think some instant coffee would work? I have Folgers French Roast, Colombian and a few others in individual packages.

    • May 11, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Trish: Sure – instant coffee will work fine. Just add a little bit more than the recipe calls for because it isn’t as strong as espresso powder. Let me know how they turn out for you!

      • Trish
        May 12, 2012 at 8:39 AM

        Thanks Tara! I sure will.
        BTW, my daughter’s name is Terra.

  • xoAM
    May 15, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Can the frosting be made a few days ahead of time?

    • May 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      xoAM: Definitely – keep it in the fridge and bring it to room temperature before using.

  • CupcakeMadness
    September 23, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    heyy was wondering how many cupcakes this batter made. cus reading the measurements for the frosting seems like it makes a lot.

    • September 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      I’d recommend using the cupcake recipe I linked to in the post (Devil’s Food) rather than the one I posted. The Devil’s Food cupcake recipe yields about 27 cupcakes.

  • Elizabeth
    October 5, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Hi Tara,

    The link to the devil’s food cupcake recipe is broken. Do you have the recipe elsewhere on this blog? I’m planning to make these for my class next week. And the recipe doesn’t state the yield–it would be useful to know whether I need to make a single or double batch to cover all my students.
    Thanks!
    Elizabeth

    • October 5, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for letting me know about the broken link – I just fixed it. If this happens again, you can always do a search for whatever you’re looking for. The cupcake recipe will yield approx 27 cupcakes and the frosting recipe should make just about enough…though don’t go overboard on the frosting or you won’t have enough.

  • Donna
    December 14, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Hi! I’ve been looking for a good Mocha Cupcake recipe to turn into a Peppermint Mocha Cupcake recipe 😛 did you ever try them with the Devil’s Food Cupcake you link to?? Would I substitute brewed coffee for the H2O?
    Thanks!

    • December 15, 2012 at 6:42 AM

      I think that would work great! I would also add 1 tsp of instant coffee or espresso powder if you have it.

  • taraliptak
    February 19, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    Honestly, the frosting MAKES these cupcakes so yay for it being GF! I wasn’t overly thrilled with the density of the cake recipe I used for these cupcakes (though many people swear by this cake recipe) so I was a bigger fan of the frosting anyway. ha!

    Good to know about how you were able to frost a cake with the amount of frosting here – it’s always tricky to estimate how cupcake frosting translates to a cake, especially since everyone uses different amounts for both. Just for reference in the future, was your cake a triple layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake?

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