24 cupcakes
5 min

I don’t know about you, but I have always loved bakery buttercream frosting. You know the type – the cupcakes in the supermarket with the mile high frosting in bright neon pinks and yellows. The type that’s so sweet that it makes your teeth hurt a bit, and there’s just a little bit of grit from the sugar. Pure heaven, I tell you.

For the majority of my life, I’ve had the palette of a 7 year old child, able to put away hyper-palatable foods like that by the truckful. It’s only been in the past 10 years or so that I’ve come to appreciate a more mature type of frosting. This recipe for coffee buttercream is no exception.

Based on a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, this is my go-to frosting recipe. It’s rich and decadent and pairs perfectly with a chocolate cupcake. The recipe is large and makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes with a sky-high pile of frosting. You could easily cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to go into a sugar coma after eating a cupcake.

Recipe details

  • 24  cupcakes
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 5 min
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Coffee Buttercream Frosting

  • 20 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks) at room temperature 
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons instant coffee 


To Make Coffee Buttercream Frosting

In a stand mixer using either the whisk or paddle attachment beat the butter on its own for 20-30 seconds until it's smooth.  
Add the salt and confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then raise the speed to medium and continue to mix for another 30-45 seconds. 
In a separate bowl, mix together the cream, vanilla, and instant coffee; and stir to dissolve the coffee into the cream.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the cream/coffee mixture. Beat for 20 seconds or so on low speed until incorporated.
Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy - about 4-5 minutes.


  • *Leftover frosting can be refrigerated or frozen.
  • *To use after refrigeration, let the frosting sit at room temp for 30-60 minutes, then beat with a stand mixer or hand mixer until the frosting gets fluffy again.
  • *To use from frozen, follow the previous directions, except let the frosting come up to room temperature over the course of a few hours.
  • *The recipe can be cut in half easily.
  • *You can use a hand mixer to make this frosting, but expect the mixing times to be at least 50% longer.
Sara's Tiny Kitchen
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