Chocolate + coffee + toffee is my all time favorite flavor combo when it comes to dessert. If I’m at an ice cream shop and coffee toffee is an option, I’m gettin’ it. Local donut joint with a chocolate donut with coffee glaze and toffee bits? It’s mine. You get the picture. So I turned this epic chocolate espresso flavor combo into a chocolate espresso cupcake, because duh. Let’s do it.
How to Make Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
Make the Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cupcake pans with liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Turn the mixer on to low, and slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is being incorporated. Turn mixer back to low and slowly pour in the hot coffee. Mix until combined.
Divide into cupcake liners using a standard 4 oz ice cream scoop or a 1/2 C measuring cup. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the Espresso Buttercream
Measure out 1/2 C heavy cream into a liquid measuring cup. Add 2 TBSP instant espresso powder. Mix to combine and let sit. The espresso will dissolve into the cream and this is what we will use to flavor the buttercream.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed for 10 minutes. Half way through, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl so that all of the butter is getting attention. It will lighten in color and become silky smooth. After 10 minutes, add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
Add the powdered sugar in 2 additions. A lot of American Buttercream recipes have you add the powdered sugar 1 C at a time, but ain’t nobody got time for that. And honestly, I’ve never found it to be necessary. So go ahead and add 4 C at a time, mixing at medium speed for 3 minutes after each addition.
Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, start slowly adding the espresso infused cream. You may not need to use the full 1/2 C – that just depends on what consistency you like. I like a pretty fluffy buttercream, so I added about 6 TBSP total. Start by adding 2 TBSP at a time, and continue adding until the buttercream is fluffy, but still holds it’s shape so that you can pipe it onto the cupcakes.
Assemble the Cupcakes
Fit a piping bag with your favorite tip – I used Wilton 8B for these Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes – and then fill the bag with the espresso buttercream. Swirl the buttercream onto each cupcake. I like a good 1:1 frosting to cupcake ratio, and I have a trick for how to achieve that perfect height and swirl.
Squeeze the piping bag applying an even base layer to the cupcake, not leaving any space in the middle. Then start to lift up to create the top swirl. Swirl the frosting all the way around the edges of the cupcake, allowing there to be a small hole in the middle, almost like a donut. When you’ve completed the circle, stop squeezing the bag and quickly twist your wrist up and away from the cupcake. Top with toffee bits. Enjoy these chocolate espresso cupcakes!Print
Classic chocolate cupcakes topped with espresso infused american buttercream and sprinkled with toffee bits.
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 3/4 C All Purpose Flour
- 2 C Granulated Sugar
- 3/4 C Dark Cocoa Powder
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 C Buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 C Vegetable Oil
- 3 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 C HOT Coffee
For the Espresso Buttercream
- 1 1/2 C (3 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 6 C Powdered Sugar
- 2 TBSP Instant Espresso Powder
- 1/2 C Heavy Cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 C Toffee Bits, for sprinkling (optional)
For Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 and line two cupcake pans.
- In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
- With mixer on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix to combine, scraping down bowl as needed.
- With mixer on low, slowly stream in the HOT coffee.
- Once everything is combined, use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and make sure everything is evenly combined.
- Scoop into cupcake pan using 4 oz ice cream scoop or 1/2 C measuring cup.
- Bake at 350 18-20 min. Let cool completely.
For Espresso Buttercream
- Stir together the heavy cream and espresso powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 10 minutes. Scrape the bowl down half way through.
- Add vanilla and salt. Mix to combine.
- Add powdered sugar in 2 additions (3 C at a time) and mix on medium for 3 minutes after each addition.
- Add espresso infused cream 2 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. For a fluffy, but pipe-able buttercream, I added 6 TBSP of espresso cream total.
- Fit a piping bag with your favorite tip and fill with buttercream.
- Swirl buttercream onto each cupcake. Top with toffee bits.
*If you dont have buttermilk, you can make your own with 1C minus 1 TBSP regular milk + 1 TBSP white vinegar.
*Piping bags are totally optional, you can just dollop on some frosting on each cupcake and swirl it around with a butter knife or offset spatula. I talk through a technique on this on my Chocolate Nutella Cupcake post, that’ll make them look just as pretty without a piping bag.
Keywords: chocolate cupcakes, espresso buttercream, chocolate coffee desserts