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A close up of a coffee cupcake topped with a swirl of coffee buttercream on a cooling rack with more cupcakes behind.

Coffee Buttercream

How to make perfect coffee buttercream icing. Ideal for cupcakes, macarons and layer cakes – especially coffee & walnut cake. Recipe VIDEO below.
4.67 from 18 votes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


  • 250 g softened butter
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • tbsp boiling water



  • Mix the instant coffee granules (3 tbsp) with the boiling water (1½ tbsp) and then set aside to cool.
  • Cut the butter (250g) into cubes and then beat on a low-medium speed until soft. Gradually add the icing sugar (you add it gradually to stop it flying everywhere) and beat until fully combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract (¼tsp) and add the coffee a teaspoon at a time, beating in each addition before adding more.
  • Check the consistency of your buttercream. It should be soft and perfect for piping at this point. If it’s still a little stiff then beat in a little milk.
  • Decorate your cakes (or just eat if off the spoon because it’s yummy!).


Take a look at my cupcake index for a selection of cakes to spread this buttercream on to. It goes particularly well with the coffee, vanilla and caramel cakes drizzled with a little caramel sauce.


Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 49mg | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.