Recipes, Sweets

Mocha Cupcakes

I can’t live without coffee.

I’m virtually dead to the world before I have that first cup. If I have to make it myself (like Mister BS is out of town) then it’s even more a struggle. Because how is one supposed to make coffee before one has had a cup? It’s a paradox.

I have always loved the smell of brewing coffee, and would get up early to make it for my mom when I was little, even though she wasn’t a pot a day coffee drinker like me.

In high school, I loved going into town to do my homework at a local coffeeshop, and always felt cool and sophisticated with my mocha.

In college, when I met Mister BS, he worked at a coffee shop. We got an espresso machine as a wedding gift, and he would make me lattes. I like lots of sugar and cream.

Now, I drink it black. Like my soul, I say. When really it’s just I’ve grown more averse to dairy as I’ve aged and am even more lazy. With fresh ground beans in a light roast, the flavor is perfect and I don’t want all that cream and sugar interfering.

I guess that’s part of growing up.

But, just because I don’t like my coffee sweet doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good chocolate and coffee flavor combination.
mocha cupcakes | librarian style

These cupcakes are the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and the icing has enough espresso to give you a bit of a caffeine pick-me-up so you can tackle those dishes.

mocha cupcakes 5

My mother-in-law feels much the same way, so when it came time to make birthday cupcakes for her, I chose this delicious and oh-so-sweet mocha cupcake recipe.

mocha cupcakes 2

The cupcakes were a hit. I always feel a bit gluttonous after a dinner at my in-laws, because the vegetarian options are not usually that healthy (I had a pickle, some potato salad, and bread). Luckily I had the foresight to have a big bowl of broccoli before heading over to grandma’s, and I only have half a cupcake (because you have to sample them before serving them, just to be sure you’re not serving someone something gross, am I right?).

Mocha Cupcakes



  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t baking power
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 3/4 c strong coffee, room temperature
  • 1/4 c milk (lowfat okay)
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of your favorite coffee
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with paper cups.

Beat butter for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Add eggs and beat one at a time. At vanilla.

In second bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Combine coffee and milk.

Add dry ingredients in 3 stages to butter mixture, alternating with liquid. Fold chocolate chips in with last batch of flour. Don’t overmix.

Bake 16-20 minutes until a toothpick knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the frosting, beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add cream and coffee, and blend until incorporated. Add espresso powder and cocoa and blend until light and fluffy.

Cool cupcakes in pan before frosting. Garnish with chocolate jimmies and whole coffee beans.

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