Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

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Easy chocolate cupcakes made with espresso powder and then topped with an espresso buttercream frosting.  These chocolate mocha cupcakes are chocolate lover’s dream


Recipe Updated: 12/15/2019

There are two things I have to have in my life every day. I need to start my day with a hot cup of coffee. Or seriously don’t talk to me. Don’t make eye contact. Walk quickly away. And the second thing is chocolate. My day has to end with a bit of chocolate in my hands.

I know you love the cupcake recipes on this blog. So I knew a chocolate mocha cupcake would be a surefire hit. What’s not to love right?

What does a chocolate mocha cupcake taste like?

Mocha is the best of both of chocolate + coffee all in one. Think Starbucks mocha in a cupcake.

The instant espresso powder will be subtle in the cupcakes. Coffee will always enhance the flavor of chocolate. So this cupcake will be a rich chocolate cupcake. 

The espresso kick will come in from the espresso buttercream frosting. I added a whole tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the frosting, but you can always add more or less.

Ingredients for these chocolate mocha cupcakes

Since making these cupcakes I’ve switched over to using organic ingredients where possible but non-organic ingredients work of course!

  • Dry ingredients: I used organic all purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, table salt, and instant espresso powder in these cupcakes.
  • Wet ingredients: For these I used organic cane sugar (but granulated white works), grapeseed oil (but vegetable or canola also works), greek yogurt or sourcream, eggs, and pure vanilla extract
  • Frosting: For this I used organic grass fed unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and instant espresso powder

How to make these chocolate mocha cupcakes

Let’s start by making the chocolate cupcakes. These easy chocolate mocha cupcakes are my variation of my chocolate cupcake recipe from my cookbook, Beginner’s Baking Bible
First things first. Prepare your pans and pre-heat that oven. My Favorite Go To Cupcake Liners Are These. 
cupcake liners in pan for easy chocolate cupcake recipe

In a large bowl you need to combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, instant espresso powder and salt) and simply whisk to combine.

bowl of dry ingredients for chocolate mocha cupcakes


In a second bowl you then add your wet ingredients- sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla, sugar, and eggs. And whisk, whisk, whisk again.

bowl of wet ingredients for chocolate mocha cupcakes

Then go ahead and combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. 
bowl of chocolate mocha batter with a whisk

To fill your cupcake pans, I find it easiest to pour the batter into a liquid measuring cup and pour then into my cupcake pans.

You want to fill these up about 3/4 of the way to leave a bit of room for them to rise and create that beautiful domed cupcake.

chocolate cupcake batter in pan

Tips For Making These Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

  • Be sure to measure your flour accurately. For a full tutorial on how and whyread this post.
  • Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder not dutch process. They are not the same. You can read about the differences here.
  • When baking these, it’s best to rotate the pans halfway through their baking time. Every oven can have hot spots so they may not bake evenly. Give them a turn in the oven, so they all bake up pretty.
  • Once they are baked, be sure to take them out of the pans and cool on a cooling rack. Leaving them in your pans means they will continue to bake and could end up dry.

How Far In Advance Can I Make These Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes?

You can make the chocolate cupcakes up to 2 days in advance, unfrosted. Just wrap in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature. You can also make the cupcakes and freeze for up to 2 months. Learn how to freeze your cupcakes here. 

The frosting can be made up to a week in advance. Just store in your refrigerator for up to a week. You may need to place them back in your mixer and rewhip back to the same consistency.

If the cupcakes are frosted, it can stay fresh at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, according to Spruce Eats  

Can You Substitute Dutch Process For Regular Cocoa?

No unfortunately you can’t. You can read the differences between natural cocoa and dutch process cocoa.

So when it comes to swapping out these cocoa powder you will be upsetting that chemical balance that was originally achieved when the recipe was written. So save yourself the headache and use the cocoa powder called for.

chocolate mocha cupcake on a plate with more on a cake stand in the background

How To Make This Espresso Buttercream Frosting

No cupcake is complete without a really good buttercream on top. To make this espresso buttercream, I started with the best buttercream icing recipe you will ever find.

But hey, if you’re feeling adventurous then mix it up and make a Swiss, Italian, French, German buttercream, or an Ermine (flour) icing. This time I decided to add more espresso powder to it. Just make sure it’s cool before you add it.

If you want more ideas on how to customize your vanilla buttercream, then be sure to download my Buttercream Cheatsheet.

Once your buttercream is made and cupcakes have cooled time to pipe. If you’re new to piping frosting onto cupcakes then be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide To Decorating Cupcakes For Beginners.

Tips For Making This Espresso Buttercream Frosting

  • Soften Your Butter: Make sure your butter is softened before you start. You can soften your butter quickly 3 different ways.
  • Use Unsalted Butter: Be sure to use unsalted butter. Different brands have different amounts of salt. So it’s best to use unsalted butter then add a pinch of salt to your own tasting.
  • Use A Towel: Wrap a towel around the top of your mixer so you don’t end up with powdered sugar blizzard everywhere. You can also use a damp paper towel.
  • Rewhip If Necessary. If you don’t use the buttercream right away and store the buttercream you will need to rewhip it again to the same fluffy consistency before using it on a cake.

How Many Cupcakes Or Cake Will This Espresso Buttercream Frosting Cover?

  • For Cupcakes – This recipe will generously frost 12 cupcakes. I like to pipe a pretty tall amount of frosting on each cupcake.  So if you don’t use as much as I do as in the photos, then you might get more frosted (around 24 cupcakes). For help on decorating cupcakes, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Guide To Baking Cupcakes At Home and The Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing.
  • For Cake – This frosting will cover a 9 x 13 sheet cake or a 2 layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake.

Does Espresso Buttercream Frosting Need To Be Refrigerated?

This frosting will be safe at room temperature for 2-3 days. Any longer than that and I recommend you refrigerate the buttercream frosting up to 5 days.

The buttercream frosting can also be frozen up to 3 months.

For more cupcake help then be sure to check out these posts: 

chocolate mocha cupcake with bite taken out of it

For more chocolate cupcake recipes check these out:

More Cupcake Recipes To Try:

If you try these chocolate coffee cupcakes, let me know and leave me a comment and star rating below!

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

Chocolate + espresso in a cupcake! And this cupcake recipe is super easy to make!
4.84 from 42 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 14 cupcakes
Calories: 237kcal


For the cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup (90 g) organic all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup (149 g) organic cane sugar (or use granulated white sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or vegetable or canola)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the espresso buttercream


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  • Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, instant espresso powder and salt in large bowl. 
  • In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sour cream (or greek yogurt), vanilla extract, and sugar . 
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Fill each cupcake well about 3/4 cup full of batter.
  • Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Remove cupcakes from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack. Cool completely. 
  • For the frosting combine the butter and powdered sugar and mix on low, then increase the speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in your heavy cream, vanilla extract, and instant espresso powder. Beat on medium-high for 8 minutes.
  • With a pastry bag and tip attached, pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, just bring back to room temperature before serving.


  • Be sure to measure your flour accurately. For a full tutorial on how and whyread this post.
  • Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder not dutch process. They are not the same. You can read about the differences here.
  • When baking these, it’s best to rotate the pans halfway through their baking time. Every oven can have hot spots so they may not bake evenly. Give them a turn in the oven, so they all bake up pretty.
  • Once they are baked, be sure to take them out of the pans and cool on a cooling rack. Leaving them in your pans means they will continue to bake and could end up dry.


Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 161mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @BostonGirlBakes or tag #BostonGirlBakes!



  1. 5 stars
    I made them for a birthday gift and they were absolutely blown away of how delicious they were. Thanks I will be using this recipe to make chocolate cupcakes without the Expresso.

    1. aw that’s so wonderful to hear Bina!! I’m so glad you loved them:)

  2. 5 stars
    My children loves them! It’s so yummy, we have made them twice in three days! These will be great as gift to friends!!! Definitely will be baking more of them!

    1. aw that’s awesome to hear Maria!!

  3. If I use the greek yogurt, should I use the full fat or the non fat one? Thanks

    1. I always recommend full fat for richness

  4. Amy Emigh says:

    Will it affect the buttercream if i add food coloring?

    1. Because of the espresso powder, you wouldn’t be able to add food coloring and have it come out – if you want to use colored buttercream then I would make just a plain, simple vanilla buttercream frosting and then add food coloring to that. It won’t have the “espresso/mocha flavor” however.

  5. Prateeti Chowdhury says:

    5 stars
    I baked these and absolutely LOVED how they came out! I used plain, homemade yoghurt (just strained the whey out before using it, for about 15 mins). I used 4 tsps of espresso powder instead of 2, and bloomed it in hot water for a couple of minutes before pouring it into the wet mixture. That helps in adding the coffee aftertaste, as well as adds a beautiful dark colour to the cake. And instead of using buttercream, I topped it off with a salted butterscotch sauce, and it was HEAVENLY!

    1. It sounds wonderful! Especially with the butterscotch sauce!

  6. Can I make this into a cake? What size pan and how long would I bake it for?

    1. Hi Gary.. I haven’t tried but I would double the recipe and then use two 9 inch cake pans.

  7. Betty Meek says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely love these !

    1. Aw thank you Betty! I’m so glad to hear that!

  8. 1 star
    Lots of errors in this recipe…sugar is not listed in the ingredients so I didn’t know how much to use; doesn’t tell you how to blend the wet and dry ingredients. I should have read it more carefully before starting, and would have chosen a different recipe if I had.

    1. 3 stars
      My error…sugar is listed. Still missing steps.
      Please remove my previous comment.

      1. Hi Jen! My apologies – you need to simple mix the wet into the dry and stir just until combined. I will make sure to update the recipe! Thanks for letting me know!

  9. Absolutely delicious…I’ve never tasted a cupcake this moist. Easy to make and the combination of chocolate and coffee is too good!
    I didn’t have any whipped cream for the frosting so I made my own coffee frosting, which went beautifully with the cupcake. Very moreish! Thank you so much for this recipe!

    1. Oh I’m so glad you loved these Mirri!

  10. Can I have the old recipe please. With coffee not espresso powder. I cant find it and it is a favorite.

      1. Sarah M Belden says:

        Hi I made these tonight and thought they were delicious but I am overlooking something I guess. Where did you use hot coffee?

      2. Hi Sarah! Glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂 I used to use a different cupcake recipe where I used hot coffee but I found the cupcakes would come out flat and not hold up
        To the frosting so I have changed and updated the recipe now to what it is with espresso powder.

  11. Easy recipe cupcakes are meh. I cannot taste the coffee, they are far to dense to hold a cupcake shape. Wouldn’t even hold a mini bundt shape. Disappointed since there were many good reviews.

    1. Hi Lisa sorry to hear that. I’ve never had that issue with these cupcakes. It could be how you measure your flour if they don’t hold their shape or how long you are baking them for. I always recommend measuring by weight for better accuracy.

  12. 5 stars
    Loved how easy and simple these were to make and they turned out so yummy!! Made them for a Halloween party this weekend and they were a hit!! Thanks!

    1. So glad you liked them Aline!!

  13. 5 stars
    Your recipe has everything that I love. Chocolate, sugar and mocha! I should make some real soon! Thanks for the recipe.

    1. You’re welcome Sophie! Enjoy!

  14. 5 stars
    Coffee is the best for bringing out big chocolate flavors! Love how you used it in both the cupcake itself and the frosting. 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    These chocolate mocha cupcakes are so delicious sounding! I love how creamy that frosting looks. I would gobble these right up!

  16. 5 stars
    Mocha is my favorite flavor in baking. The coffee just enhances the chocolate so much! These are delicious and the perfect texture.

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