Cafe Mocha Cupcake Recipe

My Cafe Mocha Cupcake Recipe is an easy cupcake recipe for beginners. It's a cute dessert recipe for a book club party or coffee lovers' birthday. It starts with a rich chocolate cupcake base that can be mixed up with two bowls and a whisk, no need to drag out the mixer! 

Cafe Mocha Cupcakes topped with espresso bean garnishes on a pink cakestand

Then it's topped with a light and fluffy coffee-flavored frosting and topped with an espresso bean. So easy to make and delicious to eat! 

Cafe Mocha Cupcake served on a pink cake stand

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If you enjoy this recipe you'll also love my rich and chocolatey Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais or my imperfectly perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake



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Coffee and chocolate are perfect "flavor mates" one really enhances the other! They are one of those cupcakes that look really impressive but aren't that hard to make. My kind of recipe!

One of the things that makes this cupcake so rich and chocolatey is the unsweetened cocoa powder. But make sure you give it time to bloom first in the hot water. 

Why does cocoa powder need to bloom?

Blooming cocoa powder allows for the intensity of the cocoa flavor to develop. It's a good thing to do anytime you are creating a recipe that relies heavily on the chocolate flavor like this cupcake.

How do you make a cafe frosting? 

To make a cafe frosting you'll need a little jar of espresso powder. It's typically sold in the coffee aisle next to the instant coffee. I only use it for baking though, because when served as the jar recommends, stirred with hot water it's well, pretty awful! But the flavor is actually perfect for baking! 

frosting is piped on top of a Cafe Mocha Cupcake

It will last you forever and is a good thing to have on hand for holiday Christmas cookies which tend to call for it a lot.

A jar of instant espresso powder on a cutting board

After the frosting is piped I also like to add some chocolate can do this with a square of bittersweet chocolate or even a few chocolate chips will work too! 

chocolate is grated on top of frosted cupcakes

It just adds a nice little flourish of decoration on top as it rests into the swirls of the frosting. 

espresso bean added to the top of a frosted cupcake

And top with a chocolate-covered espresso bean for a finishing touch!


Please let me know if you make this Cupcake Recipe

by leaving a rating and review below

Cafe Mocha Cupcakes topped with espresso bean garnishes on a pink cakestand

Cafe Mocha Cupcake Recipe

Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

My Cafe Mocha Cupcake Recipe is an easy cupcake recipe for beginners. A cute idea for a book club party or coffee lovers birthday. Includes video tutorial.



  • ½ cup (50 g) unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 cup (200 g) of sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon (7.5ml) vanilla
  • ¾ cup (90g) of flour
  • ¾ tsp(3.75 ml) salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) baking soda

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups (350 ml) of whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoon (20g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon espresso (15 ml) powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla


  • 12 chocolate covered espresso beans
  • Grated chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/(175C).
  2. In a large bowl combine the cocoa powder with the hot water and whisk up with a wire whisk until smooth. The hot water will “bloom” the coco powder and bring out its best flavor.
  3. Then add the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Set Aside.
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, slowly whisking until combined.
  6. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with brown muffin papers, and fill each well ½ way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile you can prepare the frosting.
  8. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, espresso powder and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.
  9. Pipe a generous mound of frosting. Then garnish with chocolate shavings made with a bittersweet chocolate bar and rasp grater. And top with an espresso bean.
  10. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 20gProtein: 5g

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  1. Can I make a cake with this recipe? I bake a lot and give out cupcakes. My chiropractor loves my baked goods and asked me to make his wife a chocolate cake that's non dairy (she's allergic to milk) I saw someone mention this was a non dairy recipe. So that's why I'm asking can it be made as a cake.
    If so what changes would I need and do you have a non dairy icing recipe I could have for it?
    I really want to help my dr out fir his wife.
    Thank you in advance for a reply.

    1. These might be too fragile for a cake, I'd follow my Chocolate Cake recipe instead 🙂 then I would find a nice vegan frosting to put on top. I really like Lauren from Hot for Food's recipes. This one looks good for the cake! Just add 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder to make it chocolate and some powdered sugar to balance out the bitterness. A few Tbsp at a time until it reaches your desired sweetness 🙂

  2. Pingback: Cafe Mocha Cupcake Recipe – Gifts N Days
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  4. If you like brownies you'll like these. This recipe is basically a brownie recipe with some water added in. And it's amazing! This is the first cupcake recipe I've found online that actually works. I've tried many others and my cupcakes deflate or else the paper wrappers stick to the cupcakes so when I unwrap them there is nothing left to eat really. This is the first cupcake recipe from online that I've tried where the paper does not stick to the wrapper. Very wonderful recipe and I will be using this again and again.

    I love that there is no milk or butter added to it. (I can't have dairy) This recipe also works with 1/2 cup of sugar.

  5. Hi again. In this recipe, should I use BAKING SODA or BAKING POWDER? In the video u mentioned baking soda, in the printable recipe here? It is baking powder.
    Thank you.

    1. It should be baking soda. I think maybe it's the video throws people off because the tin it comes out of looks like a baking powder tin, but that's how the baking soda comes at Trader Joes 🙂 Enjoy!

    1. Actually it's correct. I like to use baking soda in cupcake recipes when I'm looking for a flat top (as opposed to a dome top). Since the piping on the frosting is so high I think it's easier to get that height with a flat top. But they will still be good with baking powder so no difference on taste and texture, more of just a visual thing. Hope that helps!

      1. ohh okay Beth! 🙂 i have made them twice they are delicious! i will try with baking soda next time and will let you know how they turn out 🙂

    I just wanted to say a big thank you! I tried them yesterday night and they turned out perfect and super moist 😀 that's definitely going to be my new go to chocolate cupcake recipe... and the coffee frosting 😀 <3
    Thanks again and most of all dont stop sharing all these amazingness ( think I just invented a word)

    1. Ha! Amazingness is totally a word! Ha! 🙂 I'm so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! Aren't those so yummy!? 🙂 Totally my go-to faves! So glad you enjoyed them too!