Smooth Coffee Cupcakes with Sweet Cream Frosting

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Want to make the most amazing cupcakes EVER? Of course you do. Coffee cupcakes are here to make your day!

When I titled this, it occurred to me that smooth coffee cupcakes was kind of an odd description. Here's the thing: I scoured the internet for coffee cupcake recipes and found a ton of decadent, dark, BOLD and super-caffeinated cupcakes. That's all well and good, and we have some seriously-rich coffee cookies to fill that need around here. With a half cup of coffee beans baked right in, those things are POWERFUL.

As for coffee cupcakes, though, I wanted something with more of a family dessert vibe.

Coffee cupcakes on a platter

I wanted these coffee cupcakes to remind me of days spent around the breakfast table with my grandpa and his semi-bland brew. Not quite enough to jolt you out of your seat, but soothing and delicious enough to keep ya coming back for more over and over again. Smooth, subtle, comfortable.

How to Make Coffee Cupcakes

Heads-up: our coffee cupcake recipe's down at the bottom of the page, along with some other drool-worthy fixes from our lovely blogging friends.

Chocolate coffee cupcake mix

With the combination of sour cream, a fair amount of cocoa powder and coffee, this batter comes together in what seems like an overly-sticky manner. When it starts to pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl and kinda globs together like mousse, you know it's ready to be plopped into the cupcake liners.

Coffee cupcakes in silicone liners

We use these adorable silicone cupcake liners we tracked down on Amazon because they're reusable, earth-friendly, and adorable! They peel right off of the cupcakes when everything's good and cooked, keeping the muffin tins clean so I don't have to scrub to hard. I just soak these for a few minutes and any residue pops right off.

Smooth coffee cupcakes

Based on the mousse-like texture of the cupcake mix, I was semi-concerned that the cupcakes would come out too hard, but they puffed right up! They had a nice holdable outside that held together perfectly, with a squishy-soft center that makes these the perfect coffee cupcakes to serve up your caffeine and breakfast fix all in one.

Coffee buttercream frosting

And now, it's topping time. We put a tinsy bit of coffee in this buttercream frosting to give it the faintest flavoring that meshes perfectly with the coffee cupcakes.

Real coffee cupcakes

Add a little chocolate-covered coffee bean on top, and your coffee cupcakes are good to go!

Coffee cupcakes with writing

I left these out on our family announcement board on the kitchen table with a note for the fam. I heard them creep in while I was in the next room, and contemplate whether or not they were allowed to eat the coffee cupcakes. “Mama says we can't have coffee,” the oldest one argued. “But it's CUPCAKES,” the 5-year-old debated, “And she left them right here. With a note!”

They wound up chowing down, running around like tiny spazzes for about an hour, and conking the heck out for a deep slumber during nap time.

With coffee cupcakes, everybody wins.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Coffee Cupcakes

Coffee cupcakes on a platter

Smooth, sweet, creamy. Like grandpa's favorite cuppa joe.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes


Coffee Butter Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp double-strength brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream, optional


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin with liners.
    2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    3. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined before mixing in sour cream, coffee and vanilla. 
    4. Slowly integrate flour mixture into butter mixture, stirring every few tablespoons.
    5. Divide batter evenly between the 12 liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out with a few crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.

    Coffee Butter Frosting

    1. In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl.
    2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time. Once incorporated, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed and mix for 2 minutes at medium-high until fluffy.
    3. Add vanilla and coffee, then continue mixing at medium-high speed until completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary. Thin with heavy whipping cream, slowly drizzling in while whipping until consistency is spreadable.
    4. Frost cupcakes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 1gSugar: 40gProtein: 3g

Check out some other favorite cupcake recipes from friends below!

Houseful of Nicholes – Red Velvet Cupcakes
How Was Your Day – Elegant Champagne Cupcakes
In the Kids Kitchen – Narwhal Cupcakes
Kiss My Tulle – Doctored Up Cake Mix Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Sugar Spice and Glitter – White Chocolate Cupcakes


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