Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso White Chocolate Buttercream

You guessed it – another office birthday!  How much am I loving working in an office after 10 years out in the field?  Finally people to bake for!  Maybe my baking will improve in the process.  At the very least I’m learning about cupcakes.  And this baking experience was a new one for me.  I’ve given up carbs and sugar for a couple of weeks so I haven’t been able to taste the batter or the frosting.  I’m just praying that both are good.  In some ways this is a test of the rules of baking.  If I follow the recipes exactly and use good ingredients does that guarantee a yummy cupcake?  In theory, yes.  The buttercream is a little easier because I know the proportions work and because I know what it looks like when it’s right.  Of course making up a new flavor introduces an element of surprise.

These cupcakes are clearly for the coffee drinker in your life.  This is a particular challenge for me because I don’t drink coffee so I don’t make coffee.  Thus, I bought coffee and espresso at Starbucks.  I am making the assumption that since people stand in long lines and pay lots of money for this coffee that it must be at least decent coffee.  I had two disappointments in making these cupcakes.  First, I was low on the Special Dark cocoa powder I usually use and Kroger didn’t have any so it’s just regular cocoa powder.  Bummer.  Second, the original recipe calls for a cream filling in these.  I just didn’t have it in me.  And I don’t have a pastry bag or a squeeze bottle to do it so I’d have to cut a hole in each one, fill it and cap it.  Not gonna happen tonight.  I’m sure the cream filling would be awesome.  Next time.

This is a good recipe.  It will remind you of making brownies.  You mix up all the dry ingredients and it looks like brownie mix from a box.  Then you add eggs and oil just like with brownies.  The batter is very dark and very thin.  I’m guessing the sour cream adds some richness and some balance for the sugar and maybe some cake-iness.  These are definitely cake like.  The tops spring back when they’re done. 

The buttercream follows the gold standard:  1 stick of butter to 1 C of powdered sugar to 1 T of liquid.  I made a 3x recipe tonight to frost 24 cupcakes plus a tiny cake.  The liquid tonight was half espresso and half white chocolate liqueur.  It smells amazing.  It’s so hot today, made hotter in the kitchen by the baking, that I had to put the frosting in the fridge while I wait for the cupcakes to cool.  You’ve probably figured this out already, but your cupcakes have to be completely cool before you frost them.  If they aren’t the buttercream will melt and slide off.  Of course if the buttercream is in the fridge very long it will harden.  Just set it on the counter and it will soften up in a few minutes.

Two cupcake recipes in two weeks.  Yum.  And fun!

Good? I have to assume so.
Easy? Very.
Good for company? Cupcakes are meant for sharing.
Special shopping? Nope.

Here’s a link to Paula Deen’s original recipe.

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso White Chocolate Buttercream


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, coffee, and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, for 16 to 18 minutes. Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread the Espresso White Chocolate Buttercream frosting evenly over the cupcakes and garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans, if desired.

Espresso White Chocolate Buttercream

3 sticks butter, softened
3 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 T espresso
1 1/2 T chocolate liqueur


One Response to “Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso White Chocolate Buttercream”

  1. 1womanskitchen Says:

    These got a very positive review from the recipient today so we’ll call them a success!

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