Coffee Cupcakes

Of all the cupcake recipes I’ve shared on here (and there have been quite a few now!) this one has probably taken the longest to perfect. I had a very similar problem with this coffee sponge to the one I experienced with my chocolate cake, in that actually when you eat a lot of coffee cakes (and chocolate cakes), pretty much all the coffee flavour is coming from the buttercream and there’s very little coming through from the actual cake.

This was easily solved for the chocolate cake by simply mixing lots of grated chocolate into the cake batter which meant that you got a taste of chocolate in each bite, but you can’t use coffee in the same way so it needed lots more trial and error to get the flavour really coming though.

In the end I discovered…

  • It’s really important not to over-bake these as that really kills the flavour.
  • Use powdered coffee rather than freshly brewed (or grind up coffee granules using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder) to get a strong flavour whilst keeping the texture of the cake just right.
  • Adding a little salt allows you to up the amount of coffee included (so giving a stronger flavour) without the cake getting bitter.
  • Switching out the caster sugar in favour of light brown sugar also helps to bring out the coffee flavour. Brown sugar has a hint of caramel and caramel and coffee are match made in heaven.
Coffee Cupcakes
Coffee Cupcakes

Coffee Cupcakes

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Makes 12 cupcakes


  • 10g (2 tbsp) coffee powder (or instant coffee granules ground in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar).
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 165g soft light brown sugar
  • 165g soft margarine (or butter)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1½ tsp milk
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 12 cupcake cases

These cupcakes are topped with coffee buttercream or if you prefer a different flavour then take a look at my cupcake index where you’ll find a selection of different ones to try.


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan.
  2. Place your cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
  3. Sift the self-raising flour (150g), coffee powder (10g) into a large bowl and salt (⅛ tsp). Add the remaining ingredients (3 medium eggs, 165g soft margarine, 165g soft light brown sugar and 1½ tsp milk) and mix until fully combined (either by hand or using an electric mixer on a low speed).
  4. Divide the mixture equally between the muffin cases (I use a cupcake scoop to help split it evenly).
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool in their tins for about 10 minutes and then move them to a wire rack to cool fully before decorating.


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