Coffee Cupcakes

Delicious coffee cupcakes that are easy to make and packed full of coffee flavour. Perfect topped with coffee buttercream.

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Coffee cupcakes topped with coffee buttercream on a wooden board with cake forks at the side.

Coffee Cupcakes

Of all the cupcake recipes I’ve shared on here (and there have been quite a few now!) this one has probably taken the longest to perfect. I had a very similar problem with this coffee sponge to the one I experienced with my chocolate cake, in that actually when you eat a lot of coffee cakes (and chocolate cakes), pretty much all the coffee flavour is coming from the buttercream and there’s very little coming through from the actual cake.

This was easily solved for the chocolate cake by simply mixing lots of grated chocolate into the cake batter which meant that you got a taste of chocolate in each bite, but you can’t use coffee in the same way so it needed lots more trial and error to get the flavour really coming though.

Freshly baked coffee cupcakes in a muffin tin.In the end I discovered…

  • It’s really important not to over-bake these as that really kills the flavour.
  • Use powdered coffee rather than freshly brewed (or grind up coffee granules using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder) to get a strong flavour whilst keeping the texture of the cake just right.
  • Adding a little salt allows you to up the amount of coffee included (so giving a stronger flavour) without the cake getting bitter.
  • Switching out the caster sugar in favour of light brown sugar also helps to bring out the coffee flavour. Brown sugar has a hint of caramel and caramel and coffee are match made in heaven.

Coffee cupcakes on a wooden board with cake forks and coffee beans scattered around.

Coffee cupcakes topped with coffee buttercream on a wooden board with cake forks at the side.
5 from 3 votes

Coffee Cupcakes

Delicious coffee cupcakes that are easy to make and packed full of coffee flavour. Perfect topped with coffee buttercream. Recipe VIDEO below.

Course Dessert
Active Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 215 kcal


  • 2 tbsp coffee powder or instant coffee granules ground in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • 165 g soft light brown sugar
  • 165 g soft margarine or butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • tsp milk
  • tsp salt


  • 12 cupcake cases


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan.
  2. Place your cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
  3. Sift the self-raising flour (150g), coffee powder (10g) into a large bowl and salt (⅛ tsp). Add the remaining ingredients (3 medium eggs, 165g soft margarine, 165g soft light brown sugar and 1½ tsp milk) and mix until fully combined (either by hand or using an electric mixer on a low speed).
  4. Divide the mixture equally between the muffin cases (I use a cupcake scoop to help split it evenly).
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool in their tins for about 10 minutes and then move them to a wire rack to cool fully before decorating.

Recipe Notes

These cupcakes are topped with coffee buttercream or if you prefer a different flavour then take a look at my cupcake index where you’ll find a selection of different ones to try.

Nutrition Facts
Coffee Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 215 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 174mg 7%
Potassium 81mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 23g 8%
Sugars 13g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 11%
Calcium 2.5%
Iron 2.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Watch a quick video of this recipe along with the coffee buttercream to top them with…

Freshly baked coffee cupcakes on a cooling rack.

Free From/Suitable For…

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Tree Nut-Free
  • Peanut-Free
  • Sesame-Free
  • Soy-Free
  • Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphite-Free
  • Fish-Free
  • Crustacean-Free
  • Mollusc-Free
  • Celery and Celeriac-Free
  • Mustard-Free
  • Lupin-Free

The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.

Delicious coffee cupcakes that are easy to make and packed full of coffee flavour. Perfect topped with coffee buttercream


  1. Look so yummy! I’m going to attempt these this weekend. What piping nozzle did you use to decorate the top?

  2. These look amazing! I wish to try but I can’t have wheat flour. Is it okay to substitute all purpose flour with gluten free flour?

  3. Hello Charlotte,
    I thought it would be nice to let you know that my husband and I share these with a couple of friends when we catch up once or twice per month. We always enjoy them and really like how the coffee flavour comes through.

  4. hello I was wondering If we should use salted or unsalted butter? the cupcakes look lovely

    • I’d use unsalted butter. You could also use salted but leave out the additional 1/8tsp salt listed in the ingredients.

  5. These are the best coffee cupcakes ever. I never bother to post on sites but for this I make the exception. My waistline may not thank you but my stomach does :))))
    Any chance you could do a red velvet equivalent?

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Hannah. I’ve not got a red velvet cupcake recipe yet, I’ll add it to my list to develop. If you subscribe to my mailing list you’ll be notified when it’s ready (along with all my other new recipes).

  6. Hey quick question for you. For the coffee in the recipe 2 tbsp is listed twice in the ingredients. I think you don’t actually mean. Total of 4 tbsp but I wanted to clarify.

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks for pointing that out. It should just say 2 tbsp. I’ve recently changed how my recipes are written and the formatting of this went a bit wonky. I’ve fixed it now.

  7. Hi Charlotte
    I’ve made my mum these for mother’s day tomorrow and they look and taste great – yes I had to do a test taste! The cake has a really nice coffee flavour and the buttercream tastes sooo good . I’m sure my mum is going to love them.

  8. Hi Charlotte, could you please send me the recipes in cups? Thanks in advance…


    • If you click on where it says “US Customary” underneath the ingredients list it’ll show you the ingredients in cups instead of grams.

  9. HI
    Can I just double all ingredients to make a slightly bigger cake with few layers?

  10. Is there a way that I can adapt this recipe to make a 2 layer 20cm cake please?

    • You’ll need to increase everything in the recipe by 1/3 so for example use 4 eggs instead of 3. The cooking time will increase to 30-35 minutes. The amount of buttercream in the coffee buttercream recipe should be enough for a layer in the middle, a layer in top and a thin coating around the outside of that size of cake.

  11. Will you send me the recipe when you convert the recipe?

    • Hi Donna, The cups conversions are now included in the recipes for both the cupcakes and buttercream. Sorry it’s taken so long. If you want to know more about how I made the conversions then there’s a link in each post.

  12. Hi Charlotte,

    Just wanted to let you know that I made these cupcakes with the coffee buttercream and they were an absolute hit! Had to adjust the oven temperature slightly (that’s usually the case with any recipe) and used a mix of dark brown sugar and caster sugar, but apart from that followed your recipe to the dot and they turned out fabulous! 🙂

    Thank you for all the hard work that would’ve gone on to perfecting this recipe!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You’d think these days there’d be more consistency in how ovens work at each temperature but sadly it seems that there isn’t.

  13. this recipe looks lovely. only problem is everything is in grams. and all my measuring instruments are in cups, ounces or ml. and for the life of me i cannot find a converter for grams on the internet. so my search continues for a easy cupcake coffee recipe

  14. I have just made these as per the recipe & they turned out horrible. They did not rise, were very dense & inedible. They were definitely not like the picture above. I’m not sure if I have made a mistake or if the recipe measurements are way off. Won’t be making these again.

    • I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve made them quite a few times using these quantities so I’m not too sure what could have gone wrong.

  15. Will this recipe be enough to do a cake too?

  16. Hi, Charlotte! Great coffee cupcake recipe. I agree they are hard to perfect and that you can’t use coffee grinds (unfortunately). But I’ve found using liquid coffee extract works pretty well.

  17. hi. can i substitute the self-raising flour with all-purpose flour?

    • Charlotte Oates

      As far as I know all-purpose flour is the equivalent to plain flour in the UK, self-raising then has additional raising agents added. If you want to use all-purpose flour then you’ll need to add some baking powder. Nigella suggests adding 2tsp of baking powder for 150g of flour.

  18. I made Coffee flavoured Viennese Whirls this week for my blog. Your right though Charlotte the main coffee flavour from buttercream. Next time I am using some brown sugar to see if it enhances the coffee flavour in the cookie itself. Love your ideas Charlotte and I miss your monthly roundups. Do you still have them available to read anywhere?

    • Charlotte Oates

      I find switching from white to brown sugar can make quite a difference to the texture of biscuits so I’d be interested to know how it goes, let me know.

      I decided to stop writing my monthly reports at the start of this year, if you have a read of my December 2016 I’ve explained a bit more there. You can still see all of my old reports here and if you’ve ever got any questions then drop me a quick comment or email and I’d be more than happy to try and help. Apologies for the lack of images in the index at the moment, I’m right in the middle of trying to fix it.

  19. These look absolutely heavenly!

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