Espresso Buttercream Frosting

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Jillian Morris
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This Espresso Buttercream Frosting is so decadent and lusciously creamy. Coffee lovers rejoice, this is definitely going to become your favorite frosting recipe. 

Espresso buttercream frosting

I came across a recipe for espresso buttercream frosting a few years ago and it has been a favorite with my family ever since. My mom and I are both huge coffee drinkers. We take any excuse to try more coffee desserts.

When I started experimenting with this recipe, I made it with these chocolate cupcakes. While it was good, the chocolate overpowered the coffee in the frosting. Vanilla cupcakes give the espresso frosting a chance to really shine. I use this cupcake recipe.

These cupcakes use instant espresso powder as their secret weapon. It’s concentrated enough that even when put into a batch of frosting it still packs a punch. Once you dissolve it in vanilla extract, it’s a recipe for delicious espresso buttercream frosting.

Cheryl says: 5 stars
Made it this morning and said I’d probably not make it again because I don’t use big mixers that much. Changed my mind immediately upon tasting it! So good!!!!

Espresso buttercream frosting on a cupcake

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Espresso powder – The quality of the powder makes a big difference. We use this King Arthur espresso powder.
  • Vanilla extract – You can also use real vanilla bean if you want to get fancy.
  • Unsalted butter – Make sure you take it out of the refrigerator in advance so it can soften
  • Powdered sugar – Aka confectioners or icing sugar.

Helpful Tips

  • The quality of the powder makes a big difference. Don’t go cheap.
  • We’ve been asked if you can use brewed espresso instead of instant espresso powder, but not having tried it ourselves I’d say no because it’s too much liquid. Powdered espresso is real espresso.
  • Don’t overmix the coffee frosting. We add the espresso to the icing with a spatula to keep from overmixing it.

How To Make Buttercream Frosting

Step 1: Mix espresso powder and vanilla

The first step is to add the espresso powder to the vanilla and stir it well until it’s smooth, with no lumps. Set this aside for later. You can adjust the coffee flavor to be more or less strong if you want.

Step 2: Beat the butter and add sugar

Make sure the butter is at room temperature before starting this step or it won’t incorporate well. Beat the butter on high using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or a regular electric mixer. Then reduce speed, and add in the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it’s incorporated each time before adding more.

Whip for a minute or two to make sure everything is fully combined and it’s light and fluffy.

Step 3: Add the espresso paste

Now you add in the espresso-vanilla mixture and stir that in with a spatula until it’s fully combined. You don’t want to use the mixer for this step, as it can lead to over mixing.

When the frosting is mixed, you can use it right away to frost your cupcakes or cake. I use a silicon reusable piping bag and tips. I think it’s the easiest way to frost cupcakes and they look beautiful. You can sprinkle on a bit of espresso powder to add extra contrast.

Espresso buttercream frosting on a vanilla cupcake

Questions About the Recipe

How do I incorporate the espresso into the buttercream without making it too liquidy?

Adding brewed espresso to buttercream will affect the consistency, so we use espresso powder instead. A good quality espresso powder tastes just as good as brewed espresso.

Can I make the coffee flavor stronger or milder based on preference?

Absolutely! Adjust the intensity of the espresso flavor by varying the amount of espresso or espresso powder. For a stronger espresso flavor, add more; for a milder flavor, use less. Always taste as you go to achieve the desired flavor balance.

How should I store espresso butter cream frosting, and how long will it keep?

Espresso buttercream frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ensure it’s in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing other flavors. Before using, let it come to room temperature and re-whip it for the best texture. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge overnight and then bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.

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Vanilla Cupcake with Espresso Buttercream

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

This Espresso Buttercream Frosting is so decadent and lusciously creamy. Coffee lovers rejoice, this is definitely going to become your favorite frosting recipe. 
4.30 from 48 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Jillian Morris

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 g) espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Mix the espresso powder and the vanilla in a bowl or cup until smooth. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter and beat with a whisk attachment on high for five minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar- 1/2 cup increments at a time – and let each addition incorporate completely before adding more.
  • Once all of the powdered sugar is in, scrape the bowl and then whip for a minute until fluffy and light.
  • Add the espresso paste to the bowl and stir with a spatula to combine.
  • Pipe onto cupcakes.

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 10mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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18 thoughts on “Espresso Buttercream Frosting

      • Angela Morris says:

        Hi Donna, I don’t know how that would work. You don’t want to add too much liquid to the frosting because it won’t hold its shape. You could try adding a tablespoon to the frosting and see how the consistency is. I’m not sure that will be enough to add any flavor though.

  1. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    Made it this morning and said I’d probably not make it again because I don’t use big mixers that much. Changed my mind immediately upon tasting it! So good!!!!

  2. Rachel says:

    5 stars
    Made this last night for my daughter’s (adult) birthday today. Came out beautifully and I had a hard time not eating all of it as I was frosting her cake! Yum!!!

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