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Coffee and walnut cupcakes on a wire rack

Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


A beautiful mix of rich espresso & nutty walnuts topped with velvety buttercream. These coffee and walnut cupcakes are perfect for an afternoon coffee break.

The default recipe makes 12 cupcakes


  • 125g / 5oz plain/all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g / 5oz light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g / 5oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (see note 1)
  • 2 tbsp espresso (see note 2)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g / 1.75oz walnuts, roughly chopped

For the buttercream: (see note 3)

  • 140g / 5oz butter, softened at room temperature (see note 1)
  • 280g / 10oz icing sugar, sifted (see note 4)
  • 1 tbsp espresso (see note 2)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (this just adds colour and can be omitted if preferred)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/350F. (see note 5)
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar until evenly combined. 
  3. Create a well in the middle of the flour and sugar and crack in the eggs. Add the butter and beat using a food mixer or hand blender for around 1 minute.
  4. Add the espresso and vanilla extract and beat for a further 30-40 seconds until just combined. 
  5. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases and spoon the mixture evenly into the cases. An ice cream scoop gives a good measure for each case. 
  6. Place the cupcakes into the oven for 20-22 minutes. When they are done you should be able to place a skewer or toothpick into the middle of the cupcake and it comes out clean when pulled out. The surface should be springy and not depress when lightly touched also. 
  7. Turn the cupcakes onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  8. While the cupcakes are baking make the buttercream. Start by beating the butter for a good 5 minutes until it turns pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar spoonful by spoonful, letting each addition fully incorporate before adding the next. 
  9. Once all the icing sugar is fully combined with the butter add the espresso and cocoa powder and mix until evenly distributed. 
  10. Use a piping bag to top the cupcakes with buttercream. Alternatively, you can use a spoon to dollop the cream on top. Make sure the cupcakes are fully cooled first to prevent the buttercream from melting down. 
  11. Decorate with chopped walnuts or dusted cocoa powder


  1. Make sure the butter for the cupcakes and buttercream is very soft. You should be able to stick your finger into it easily. However, it should hold its shape a little and not be oily or have any fully liquid parts. Leaving it for around 2 hours at room temperature should give you the right consistency. In a pinch, if you need to warm the butter faster it is best to place it in a bowl over hot (not boiling) water and keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t liquify. Microwave with caution – as this won’t heat it through evenly and you may end up with liquid parts and solid parts.
  2. You can use either coffee machine espresso or instant espresso powder. If you only have standard instant coffee then use around 1 tsp per 1 tbsp of hot water.
  3. This gives a very generous amount of buttercream so you have ample amount to use a lot of frosting. If you have any leftover then it can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. After defrosting remix a little to fluff up before using. 
  4. Make sure to sift the icing sugar for the buttercream. This will help to make sure you don’t end up with any lumps and will give you a lighter buttercream. 
  5. The temperature of your oven will have a big effect on how well the cupcakes turn out. If you aren’t sure how accurate your oven’s temperature runs then I suggest using an oven thermometer to make sure it’s at the right temperature. 
  6. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap in clingfilm before freezing in a container where they won’t get squashed.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 375
  • Fat: 21g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Protein: 3g

Keywords: cupcake, dessert, sweet, snack, coffee, espresso, walnuts, vegetarian, indulgent