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PERFECT Vanilla Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coffee buttercream, vanilla cupcakes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 15
Calories: 390kcal
Simply delicious vanilla cupcakes are topped with creamy and flavorful coffee frosting.
Print Recipe


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup oil vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk whole or low fat, but avoid fat free
  • 1/3 cup sour cream full fat or light, but avoid fat free

Coffee Buttercream

  • 2 packets single serve instant coffee or 2 rounded teaspoons
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream milk or half & half
  • 1/2 cup Challenge unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 4 oz Challenge cream cheese 1/2 block
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt only if using unsalted butter
  • optional - chocolate covered espresso beans, as garnish


Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with a whisk, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add the milk, then the rest of the flour and the sour cream.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.
  • The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.
  • Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are just slightly golden brown on the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Cool fully (about an hour) before frosting.

Make the frosting

  • In a small bowl, add the instant coffee and the milk or cream.  Stir together to dissolve the coffee, then set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter (on medium speed) until completely smooth (30 seconds to a minute).
  • Add cream cheese,  and then continue to beat until smooth.
  • One cup at time, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla, salt, and the bowl of dissolved coffee.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, one at a time.
  • Continue to blend until all ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and pipe onto fully cooled cupcakes.
  • Top frosted cupcakes with sprinkles or a few chocolate covered espresso beans, if desired.


Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg