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.

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 4 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.
Active Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes


  • 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


  • Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan.
  • Place your cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
  • 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).
  • Divide the mixture equally between the muffin cases (I use a cupcake scoop to help split it evenly).
  • 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.


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.

Recipe Type: Dessert
Have you tried this recipe?Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 81mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 11% | Calcium: 2.5% | Iron: 2.4%
Any nutritional information shown is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.

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
  • 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. Made these cupcakes for my niece’s graduation since she likes caramel coffee. I topped it with caramel buttercream. They were a huge hit. To up the caramel flavor next time I am going to try brushing the top of the cupcake with the homemade caramel before putting on the icing.

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

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

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