Perfect Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

Perfect Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes |

Hershey’s developed this fantastic chocolate cake and I’m not one to typically mess with perfection. But, I did.

I’ve been baking this rich, chocolate cake for years, with good, consistent results. But after learning that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, I just had to mess with perfection. The espresso takes this cake to a new level of richness and makes the chocolate even bolder.

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes  Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes  Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes |

This recipe IS for the chocolate lover. It is rich, decadent and will leave you wanting another and another. However, if you prefer a more mellow cake, but still with good chocolate flavor, instead of using Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder, use natural, unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes   Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes   Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

If a two layer cake is more of what you are looking for, instead of cupcakes, use two 9″ cake pans for this recipe. Just bake the cake for 30-35 minutes instead of the 25 minutes the cupcakes require. Be sure to spray your pan, line with parchment and spray with oil again. This will ensure an easy release.

Perfect Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes |

Have fun with the icing! This is the joy of cupcakes! I used a large closed star tip, like the one in this set to make my rosette.  Cupcakes can be garnished with so many different things. I like to add cocoa nibs which give an added layer of texture. But I’ve also used shaved chocolate, chocolate jimmies, sprinkles or nothing at all! Whatever you top your cupcakes with, have fun!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Perfect Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Dark chocolate and espresso are the perfect pair. The dark chocolate buttercream finishes this cake to make it extra rich. These cupcakes are for the dark chocolate lover.
Serves: 27 Cupcakes
For The Cake
For The Icing
  • 2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature (8 oz)
  • ⅔ C Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa (2 oz)
  • 2½ C Powder Sugar (8⅝ oz)
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract (1/8 oz)
  • ¼ C + 2 TBS Milk at Room Temperature (3 oz)
For The Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add sugar to a mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt into the sugar bowl. Whisk, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Add this mixture to the sugar/flour mixture of the stand mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients on low just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  4. With mixer off, pour in the espresso and boiling water. Mix by hand until all ingredients are incorporated. A few lumps are ok. The batter will be runny. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Line muffin pan with cupcake cups. Fill each cup to ¾ full. Use a #20 ice cream scoop to make portioning a snap! One scoop per cup. Or, fill each cup ¾ full, about 3 Tbs. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes (but start checking for doneness at 22 minutes using the toothpick test).
  6. Once out of the oven cool cupcakes, in pan, on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan and let cool completely before icing.
For The Icing
  1. In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the butter is creaming, sift together the powder sugar and cocoa powder. Once the butter is creamed, add the sifted cocoa and sugar alternatively first with all of the vanilla extract, then with 2-3 TBS of milk at a time reserving the last two TBS for consistency adjustment. The icing should be spreadable, not too stiff or loose.
These cupcakes are very moist and you'll find the tops are sticky.
The cupcakes will keep, in a covered container for about 3 days.

Adapted from Hershey's

Perfect Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes |

If you make this recipe, or any others on Vanilla And Bean, be sure to post it to Instagram and tag #VanillaAndBean!  I’d love to see what you’ve made!  Also, if you like my content, please consider sharing it with three friends and/or family.  Thank you!



  1. Lyndsey says

    Made these this weekend and they were wonderful. I used vegetable oil instead of coconut and it was fine. I did find the batter to be a little runny, so I added a couple of tablespoons of flour to make it a bit thicker (in the future could add less water).

    I made the icing into chocolate coffee buttercream by subbing the 2 tablespoons of milk for iced coffee.

    These were absolutely divine. Thanks for sharing!

      • Sara says

        Sooo I couldn’t find the hersey cocoa powder, and i was to short in time to buy it on Amazon. So I used a regular cocoa powder, with canola oil. I wanted them to taste expresso a bit more, so i filled them with expresso buttercream and topped them with dark chocolate ganache !
        Made some mini cupcake for a friend’s exposition. SUUUUPER cute and delicious ! Thanks again for your recipe !

        • Traci says

          Hi Sara! Oh this is fabulous! You are welcome! I’m inspired by your adaptations of buttercream stuffed and ganache topped (ohhhh ganache!)! Thank you for sharing your success and adaptations! Well done!

  2. says

    yum, yum, yum!! I’ve been using the Hershey’s cake recipe for years as well. I love it and use it as the base for most of my chocolate cake/cupcake recipes. Adding espresso powder is a great trick!

  3. Barbara Finch says

    Hi Traci;
    This is Mother Finch from Columbia, SC, and what an informative, helpful website you have got goin’ on! The Photos are so clear and tempting, and that is one fine Photographer you have!
    Carrie arrives Wednesday evening, and we will be trying these healthy recipes. Thanks for a fine job!! All the Best to You, Rob and Kitties! Barbara

    • Traci says

      Hello Ma Finch! Thanks for stopping by! Thank you for your kind comments. Hope you enjoy the recipes! And have a wonderful visit! Best to you!

  4. Jessica says

    Thank you for including a recommend bake time for those preferring to make it as a cake. I always have the hardest time with that!

  5. says

    Ohh…Love adding coffee to chocolate. What a great idea. I’ll do this sometimes with my chocolate smoothies – throw in a shot or two of espresso and some cinnammon. YUM! Maybe these will be great for our B-Days?? One could only hope.

  6. Mom says

    Fantastic pictures and commentary. My mouth is watering and I can’t wait for more!!!! Congratulations, Traci. You are a star who has caught her dream.

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