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Easy Espresso Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix)

If you love a rich chocolate cupcake but you’re also a fan of coffee, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make the easiest espresso cupcakes ever. Best of all, they start with a box of cake mix! 

Doctored Cake Mix Cupcakes

This recipe might start with a box of cake mix but it certainly doesn’t stop there. 

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m crazy about doctoring boxes of cake mix. I usually start with a white mix (like I did in my How to Doctor a Boxed Cake Mix post).

Really, any cake mix can be doctored up by adding milk, butter, or any number of other things. 

Today I decoded to doctor a chocolate cake mix by adding melted espresso ganache. It was super simple to make. You’re not going to believe how easy it is to pack a punch of coffee in your chocolate cupcakes! 

Espresso Cupcake Ingredients

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you might already have on hand.

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Nestles espresso chips

That’s it! Just a few simple ingredients! 

How to Make Easy Espresso Cupcakes

These come together so easily! You’re going to absolutely love making them! 

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prep your cupcake pans with liners. This recipe makes 15 (ish) cupcakes, depending on how much batter you add to the liners. 

Let’s Make the Ganache!

Put the milk and butter into a heat safe bowl. (A medium bowl will do.)

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Heat it up in the microwave. I cooked mine for two minutes. Stir well. 

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add espresso chips and stir until they are completely dissolved. 

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Let your bowl rest until the ganache cools down. 

Now it’s time to add the eggs. Whisk them in until they are fully incorporated. 

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Now fold in your cake mix. Stir well so the dry ingredients are well blended.

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups to the 2/3 point. (You can use paper liners if you like but I always use foil liners because they’re sturdier.)

Scrape down the sides of the bowl so you don’t miss any!

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Press a few leftover chips into the cupcake batter. 

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 16 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back to the touch. 

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

When you can handle the cupcakes, lift them from the pans and place directly on the wire cooling racks to continue cooling. 

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Frost cupcakes in any way you like. I went with my Swiss Meringue buttercream, which is made with egg whites and white sugar.

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

I did a couple of white ones and then added some espresso ganache to the Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting and used it to pipe the rest. (I used a piping bag and a Wilton 1M tip.)

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in airtight container and store at room temperature (depending on the frosting. . .some, like my Dreamy Buttercream, require refrigeration). 

These cupcakes can be frozen in freezer bags up to two months. Allow to thaw naturally. 

Hint: If you’re transporting these chocolate coffee cupcakes to an event, I’ve got the perfect idea for you. Check out these spacious throw-away cupcake carriers!

What to Expect from these Cupcakes

Coffee lovers, unite!

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Y’all, if you love chocolate and coffee you’re going to be in heaven with these. 

They are rich, they’re decadent, and they give you that pop of coffee flavor you love. (And trust me when I say you’ll get a caffeine punch from these!) 

If you like, you can skip the frosting altogether and eat these as muffins. If you choose to do that, don’t use the cupcake liners. Just prep your cupcake pan with Baker’s Joy or other non-stick baking spray. 

I took these to my daughter and granddaughter and they declared them to be the perfect cupcake, giving them a five star rating! They particularly loved the espresso flavor.

Warning: I would suggest eating one of these with a cup of milk, not a cup of coffee. Talk about a caffeine overload!

Variations on this Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes Recipe

Easy Espresso Cupcakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

This recipe is absolutely delightful just like it is with its mocha chocolate flavor. But you know me! I’m always thinking of ways to make things even better. Here are a few ideas that come to mind: 

Espresso Powder: If you really want to punch up the coffee flavor, add a teaspoon of espresso powder (instant coffee) to your melted ganache before adding the eggs. Mix well to make sure it dissolves. 

Ganache Frosting: If you aren’t a fan of Swiss Meringue buttercream, try my Chocolate Ganache Frosting. It’s divine! If you like, you can poke a hole in the cupcake and fill the hole with ganache, then frost with more of the ganache frosting. 

Marshmallow fluff: I think my seven-minute frosting would be lovely on this cupcakes. It’s light and billowy, perfect with the coffee flavor. 

Sour cream: You can substitute sour cream for the milk in this recipe if you like.

Questions People are Asking about this Recipe

I love a great cupcake recipe, and this one is moving up on the list! Here are some questions you might be asking about this recipe.

Can I use instant espresso powder?

If you don’t have espresso chips, you might opt to add instant coffee instead along with regular chocolate chips.

Can I use an electric mixer (or stand mixer) for this recipe?

Absolutely! Use the paddle attachment if you decide to go with your stand mixer. Start at low speed then move up to medium-high speed.

Can I add extracts to this recipe?

If you like, you can add a bit of vanilla extract to this recipe. It won’t affect the luscious espresso flavor.

Can I use regular chocolate chips?

Yes, you can skip the espresso chips and go with plain chocolate chips if you like.

Do I have to use cupcake tins?

You don’t have to bake these up as cupcakes. You can use this same recipe to make two 8″ round cakes.

What if I only have a white cake mix?

You can use a white mix. Just add cocoa powder to it. A quarter cup should do.

Can I make an espresso buttercream frosting?

Yes! Just melt down some of the espresso chips in a tiny bit of cream and stir well. Mix into your buttercream.

Can I add Irish cream to this recipe?

Absolutely! You can use it in place of some of the milk or you can add some to the frosting recipe.

More Chocolate Desserts from Out of the Box Baking

If you love chocolate, we’ve got you covered here at Out of the Box. Here are some fan favorites: 

German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies: These delicious cookies start with a box of cake mix and they’re over-the-top delicious! 

Triple Chocolate Coffee Cake from Scratch: If you love a rich chocolate cake with a hint of coffee flavor, this is the recipe for you! This is a simple recipe, perfect for a quick brunch or even as a dessert. 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles: Whether you’re hoping to impress that special someone or simply come up with a delicious snack, these Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles will hit the spot!

The Best Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake: This Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise cake is a southern favorite guaranteed to please everyone on your guest list. 

Oozy-Gooey Chocolate Chip Blondies: Not quite a cookie, not quite a brownie, not quite a cookie bar. Gooey, chewy, and crisp on the edges. . .they are (in a word) perfect.


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious moist coffee cupcakes recipe. Why not check out the Espresso Cupcakes Web Story while you’re here?

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


Learn more about doctored cake mixes, the theme of this blog. 

For the master list of all doctored cake mix recipes on this site, visit Doctored Cake Mix Recipes, Master List. 


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Easy Espresso Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix)

Easy Espresso Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix)

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

If you love a rich chocolate cupcake but you’re also a fan of coffee, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make the easiest espresso cupcakes ever. Best of all, they start with a box of cake mix!

Ingredients

  • Espresso Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Nestles espresso chips

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prep your cupcake pans with liners. This recipe makes 15 (ish) cupcakes, depending on how much batter you add to the liners.
  3. Let’s make the ganache: Put the milk and butter into a heat safe bowl and heat it up in the microwave. I cooked mine for two minutes.
    Stir well.
  4. Add espresso chips and stir until they are completely dissolved.
    Let your bowl rest until the ganache cools down.
  5. Now it’s time to add the eggs. Whisk them in until they are fully incorporated.
  6. Now fold in your cake mix. Stir well.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners to the 2/3 point.
  8. Press a few leftover chips into the cupcake batter.
  9. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 16 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back to the touch.
  10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  11. When you can handle the cupcakes, lift them from the pans and place directly on the wire racks to continue cooling.
  12. Frost cupcakes in any way you like. I went with my Swiss Meringue buttercream. I did a couple of white ones and then added some espresso ganache to the frosting and used it to pipe the rest.
  13. Place in airtight container and store at room temperature (depending on the frosting. . .some, like my Dreamy Buttercream, require refrigeration).
  14. These cupcakes can be frozen in freezer bags up to two months. Allow to thaw naturally.

Helen at the Lazy Gastronome

Sunday 27th of August 2023

I'm running behind!! Thanks for sharing at the what's for dinner party last week - The new party is open now. Hope to see you there!

Esmé Slabbert

Monday 21st of August 2023

Oh wow, they look so good. Hard to believe it is out of the box! I visited you via What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link up # 433 I linked up this week with = 11+12 and this is a friendly reminder to come and join us at SeniorSalonPitStop. You will find the linkup information under BLOGGING.

booksbyjanice

Monday 21st of August 2023

Thank you so much for visiting!

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