Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes | @simplywhisked

Today is my husband’s birthday, so I made him these chocolate espresso cupcakes to take to work with him. I also made him a batch of apple cider cupcakes – and some apple cider gingersnap cookies, too. Except I didn’t bake the cookies yet. I know. I must be crazy. But, the frosting was leftover from Ellie’s dinosaur birthday cake. I had made so much extra that I just froze it for the week so I could use it again.

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes | @simplywhisked

I might have to do this every year because two birthdays in two weeks is a lot of work. I’ll have to start coming up with different variations of cupcakes or cakes with the same frosting. It’s genius, right?

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes | @simplywhisked

These cupcakes are like a grown up version of a chocolate cupcake. They’re laced with Kahlua and instant espresso coffee – a gourmet coffee cocktail in cake form. They’re the perfect blend of childhood nostalgia and grownup taste.

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes | @simplywhisked

I topped with them with traditional chocolate jimmies and kept the decorating to a minimum – no need to go all crazy when the cupcakes are already delicious. To decorate them, I piped frosting on the top in a circle pattern – I didn’t even use a tip, just a bag with the corner cut off – and then I dipped them in a bowl filled with those sprinkles. I absolutely love the simplicity of it.

Now, I just have to whip up something amazing for dinner tonight, and I’ll be the best birthday non-party thrower ever. I already have something special in mind, but we’ll see if I get the chance to execute it properly.

Looking for more dairy free cupcakes? Try these:

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Even more chocolate recipes:


Dairy Free Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 1 hours
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 18 minutes
  • Yield: 16 cupcakes 1x



For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua or coffee liqueur
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 24 tablespoons water, as needed
  • 45 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C) and place liners in a muffin pan.
  2. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat sugar, espresso and shortening at a medium speed until fluffy – about 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
  4. Add vanilla extract, water and cocoa powder, beating until incorporated.
  5. Add Kaluha, salt and baking soda, beating until incorporated.
  6. Add flour in three parts, scraping sides as needed and mixing until smooth.
  7. Divide batter between muffin liners – filling about halfway.
  8. Bake for 16 – 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow muffins to cool completely before frosting.
  10. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat shortening, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and water until smooth. Add powdered sugar in 1 cup increments until desired consistency is reached.


You can substitute the shortening with unsalted butter or coconut oil if you prefer.


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes | @simplywhisked

Last Updated on November 3, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. Your instructions for the cupcakes say to add “salt” – but the ingredient list doesn’t list salt for the cupcakes. if we are to add salt, how much?

    1. Thanks for pointing that out! I must have missed it in the ingredient list. It’s actually just a pinch (or 1/8 teaspoon).

    1. You can use any liquid you want. Coffee, water, dairy free milk. It’s really just to add flavor, but the cupcakes will be great with even water.