Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

There are some things in the world that I say the darker the better. Topping the list of those things are coffee and chocolate. A piece of dark chocolate is one of the most sinfully delicious things around – even better when it is paired with a cup of espresso.

So, with that in mind, I have a real treat for you lovers of all things dark and rich. Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream. A rich, dark cupcake base full of chocolate and coffee and topped off with a creamy, sweet caramel frosting. They are incredible!


I was inspired to make these after receiving the cupcake issue of Food Network magazine. They had recipes  for a basic cupcake batter and fifty new recipes for cupcakes. Flipping through the magazine I saw a few mentions of super chef Mario Batali. Which immediately made me think of a trip to Chicago Husband and I made last year to his Eataly market/restaurant, where we purchased an incredible bag of Lavazza espresso. I tried Lavazza when I spent a week and a half in Rome and trust me when I say it is the best I’ve had.

Seriously, look at this batter. It’s so dark it’s nearly black! So full of chocolate and espresso!


Recipe Adapted from Food Network

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

(Makes 12)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup hot milk
  • ¼ cup espresso, hot (or very strong coffee if you don’t have espresso)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. Place the cocoa in a bowl and pour the hot milk and espresso over it. Stir until smooth and set it aside. Let it cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar, egg, oil and vanilla to the cocoa mixture and stir.
  5. Add the flour mix and stir just until combined.
  6. Place in 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Tops will spring back when done – or poke with a toothpick until it comes out clean.
  7. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack.

Caramel Buttercream

Makes 3 cups of frosting. Freeze the other half for next time!

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted caramel topping
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and SLOWLY mix with an electric mixer until it is smooth and uniform. If you mix it too quickly, the mixture will break and you’ll wind up with butter, not frosting.


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