Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcake topped with whipped chocolate ganache and a chocolate espresso bean.
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5 from 3 reviews

These moist chocolate espresso cupcakes have a fluffy texture and rich coffee flavor that pairs beautifully with a silky swirl of whipped chocolate ganache frosting. Although they're made from scratch, they're perfect for an easy last-minute dessert - you'll only need about 30 minutes of active time to make them!

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chill Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes (up to 17)
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: cakes and cupcakes
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free



Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 10 3/4 ounces (1 3/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons) good-quality bittersweet/semisweet chocolate chips
  • 7 3/8 ounces (7/8 cup plus 1 teaspoon) heavy cream, heated to a simmer
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) espresso or strongly brewed coffee, hot

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

  • 2 7/8 ounces (2/3 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/8 ounces (2/3 cup) good-quality natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 ounces (7/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) neutral-flavored cooking oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature*
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) espresso or strongly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • chocolate espresso beans
  • chocolate jimmies


Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  1. Make the ganache: Place chocolate chips in a medium-large, microwave-safe mixing bowl. Pour the heavy cream (heated to a simmer) and hot coffee/espresso on top. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring about every 15 minutes. 

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

  1. Oven and pan prep: Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix dry ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, room temperature espresso/coffee and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Combine: Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir in with a spatula just until evenly incorporated; batter does not need to be perfectly smooth.
  5. Transfer to pan: Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3-3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, just until the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting (continued)

  1. Whip the ganache: Transfer cooled ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment (or use a bowl and handheld electric mixer). Beat on medium-high speed just until thickened and slighter paler in color, wiping down bowl as needed. This doesn't take long; be careful not to overwhip!
  2. Frost and decorate: Pipe ganache onto cooled cupcakes, or spread on with an offset spatula. Top each cupcake with a chocolate espresso bean and a sprinkle of chocolate jimmies before serving. 


Ingredient notes and substitutions: 

  • Heavy cream can be substituted with full-fat coconut milk for a dairy-free whipped chocolate ganache.
  • Regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour can be used. If using gluten-free, make sure your blend contains xanthan gum.
  • Flour and cocoa powder should be measured correctly using the spoon and level method (or better yet, a kitchen scale).
  • To quickly brings eggs to room temperature, put them in a glass filled to the brim with warm water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Other garnish ideas include sparkling sugar, mini chocolate chips, chocolate hearts (perfect for Valentine's Day cupcakes!), chocolate shavings, etc!


  • Cupcakes can be kept at cool room temperature for a day, but should be refrigerated if kept longer. Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to 5 days.