Mocha Cupcakes

These dark, rich mocha chocolate cupcakes are made with espresso and are topped with a creamy swirl of mocha frosting. Decorated with coffee beans, these fun and festive mocha cupcakes are the perfect January treat!

This post is sponsored by Lifeway Kefir. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Taste of Genevieve possible!

Calling all coffee lovers!

Mocha cupcakes are vying for the top spot in my cupcake repertoire.

These cupcakes have a rich chocolaty flavor. The decadent espresso frosting offers the perfect hint of coffee.

They are easy to make and perfect for gifting to family and friends, enjoying as a work from home mid-afternoon snack, or ending the day as an after dinner treat! I love these cupcakes with a cold glass of Kefir milk.

The texture of these cupcakes is dense and ultra moist thanks to the addition of the Kefir. Lifeway Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured milk smoothie that is high in protein, calcium and vitamin D. I love using it in my desserts and it’s a great (and healthy!) replacement for sour cream, greek yogurt, or even buttermilk! 

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Step 2: Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour in boiling water and stir to combine.

Step 3: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, whisk together the Kefir, vanilla, sugar and eggs. Gradually add in the cocoa mixture.

Step 5: Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Step 6: Use a cookie scoop or ¼ measuring cup to divide the batter evenly in the prepared cupcake pan. Fill the liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely before frosting.


These mocha cupcakes are so easy to make, they’re practically foolproof. Just follow these tips:

  1. ALWAYS use room temperature dairy when baking. This helps the dairy mix into the batter better and will provide you with a better cake consistency.
  2. DO NOT overmix the batter. This is very important.
  3. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3rds full. If the cupcake liners are filled too high, the batter will rise up and spread over the top of the pan. For perfectly domed cupcake tops, only fill 2/3 of the way. 
  4. Cool completely before frosting. This might just be the hardest part about making these cupcakes. But cool buttercream and warm cupcakes don’t mix. In a hurry? Pop them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed things along.
  5. If you don’t want to pipe the frosting, you can simply add it on top of the cupcakes using a small offset spatula or a butter knife


The cupcakes can be made a few days ahead and stored at room temperature for 3 – 5 days without the frosting. 

Mocha Cupcakes


2 sticks salted butter (room temperature)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 c. boiling water

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

2 large eggs

1/2 c. Kefir (plain or chocolate flavor will work at room temperature)

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

6 oz cream cheese (room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp coffee extract

3/4 cup of butter (room temperature)

1 3/4 cup of powdered sugar

Chocolate coffee beans, for topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Place cupcake liners in muffin pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour in the boiling water and stir to combine. Let boil for 15 seconds, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt; set aside. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, Kefir, vanilla and baking soda. Pour the cocoa mixture over the flour mixture and stir until halfway combined, then pour in the egg mixture and stir until the batter comes together.
  5. Evenly distribute the cupcake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about 2/3 full. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely before decorating.
  7. Make the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and coffee extracts, increase the speed to high and beat until creamy, 30 seconds.

Looking for more fun desserts? You’ll love these recipes:

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @taste_of_genevieve on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. James Sacco says:

    These looks delicious! Nice job Jennifer.



  2. The District Baker says:

    Dear Ms. Taste of Genevieve,
    These look sooo scrumptious and incredible! Can’t wait to try them! I love Kefir too, so this recipe sounds absolutely bees-knees perfect!


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