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Make moist and fluffy vegan Coffee Cupcakes loaded with bold coffee flavor, and topped with silky, creamy frosting – with no dairy or eggs (+ you can’t tell!). A simple, crowd-pleasing treat!

completed Easy Coffee Cupcakes on a white surface
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Quick and Simple Cupcakes with Coffee

These easy coffee cupcakes are a coffee lover’s dream, combining moist yet light and fluffy coffee cupcakes with a rich and creamy buttercream. The rich, bold, and slightly bitter coffee is well balanced with sugar for a sweet and tasty, caffeine-boosted pick-me-up, whether at breakfast, afternoon tea, or dessert.

Better yet, this easy coffee cupcake recipe is super simple to prepare in one bowl with inexpensive pantry ingredients, can be customized with different frosting and add-ins, and requires NO eggs or dairy (or alternatives! not that you’d be able to tell), for an impressive, diet-friendly treat your whole family will love.

If you love coffee any way you can get it, then have your coffee and eat it too with our healthy coffee oatmeal, coffee smoothie, Biscoff latte, or coffee walnut loaf cake.

The Ingredients and Substitutions

ingredients on a white surface for Easy Coffee Cupcakes

The Batter

  • Coffee: We dissolved 2 tsp of high-quality instant coffee in 1 cup (250ml) of hot water and leave it to cool, but feel free to use cold brew coffee or your preferred method to brew strong coffee (regular or decaf). It should be about double strength.
  • Vanilla extract: Use a natural extract for the best flavor and no unpleasant aftertaste.
  • Oil: A mild oil (like vegetable oil or canola oil) makes super tender, moist vegan coffee cupcakes.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour or up to 50% whole wheat flour. Spelt flour may also work. For gluten-free cupcakes, use an all-purpose blend like Bob’s Red Mill/King Arthur’s.
  • Sugar: Organic white sugar ensures it’s vegan. Alternatively, use unrefined raw cane sugar or coconut sugar. 50/50 combination of white and brown sugar works, too.
  • Baking soda: This leavening agent helps make light and fluffy vegan coffee cupcakes.  
  • Apple cider vinegar: This activates the leavening agent for fluffy eggless coffee cupcakes.
  • Salt: Just a little to balance and enhance the flavors in the batter.

Other Ingredients

  • Vegan frosting: Use store-bought or homemade vegan frosting. Several flavors work particularly well with coffee-flavored cupcakes, like vanilla, chocolate, Biscoff, salted caramel, vegan Baileys, or vegan coffee buttercream. Alternatively, use a coffee glaze.
  • Decorations: Like a sprinkle of instant coffee granules or dairy-free chocolate-covered espresso beans. You could also drizzle the vegan frosted cupcakes with caramel sauce.

What Could I Add To Coffee Cupcakes?

  • Mocha cupcakes: Add 3-4 tbsp of cocoa powder and an extra splash of liquid. Alternatively, use vegan chocolate frosting for delicious dairy-free chocolate coffee cupcakes.
  • Nuts: Our favorite option is coffee and walnut cupcakes, but you may like hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds.
  • Spices: Add depth with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Orange zest: The citrus brightness complements the coffee surprisingly well.
  • Vegan chocolate chips: (or chunks) Sprinkle in your favorite dairy-free chips/chunks.
  • Dried fruit: Like raisins or chopped dates for sweet flavor and chewiness.
  • Coconut: Add up to ½ cup shredded coconut for texture and flavor.
  • Ganache: Optionally fill the cupcakes with vegan chocolate or mocha ganache.

How to Make Coffee Flavored Cupcakes

  • First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a 12-hole cupcake tin with silicone/paper liners. Then, if you haven’t already, brew the coffee and set it aside to cool.
  • Next, in a large bowl (with an electric mixer) or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth.

Alternatively, use a hand whisk. Be careful not to over-mix the batter, or the vegan cupcakes can end up dense and rubbery.

  • Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling them each ¾ full, and top with an extra sprinkle of instant coffee.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
  • Remove the tray from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before piping (we like a Wilton 1M piping nozzle) or spreading the vegan frosting over the top. Enjoy!
completed Easy Coffee Cupcakes in a muffin tin

FAQs

Can I make the cupcakes oil-free?

You can experiment with reducing or replacing the oil with unsweetened applesauce, though the cupcakes won’t be as tender.  

Can I substitute espresso for the coffee?

Use espresso for a more intense coffee flavor or a combination of espresso and water if you don’t want it to be overly strong.

Why are my cupcakes bitter?

This may happen if you use low-quality coffee or over-brew it.

Can I make mini cupcakes?

Yes – you’ll need two mini muffin trays and to reduce the baking time to between 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Measure the flour accurately: First, fluff it up in the bag with a fork. Then, use a spoon to transfer it to the measuring cup, leveling it off with the back of a knife.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter: Mix the ingredients until just combined and smooth – a few tiny lumps are fine. Over-mixing leads to dense, gummy, sunken bakes.
  • For a stronger coffee flavor: Dissolve more coffee in the hot water or use espresso instead. If it tastes too mild after baking, a strong coffee vegan buttercream works wonders.
  • Make leftovers: They taste even better on day two!
completed Easy Coffee Cupcakes on a white surface

Storage Instructions

Once cooled and frosted, store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days (bring back to room temp before serving for best texture). Unfrosted vegan cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

You can also freeze the vegan cupcakes (unfrosted is best) for up to 2 months. Flash-freeze them first (to avoid them sticking), then transfer them to a Ziplock/Stasher.

To thaw a vegan cupcake, leave it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for several hours.

completed Easy Coffee Cupcakes on a white surface

More Vegan Cupcake Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Easy Coffee Cupcakes

5 from 16 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Make moist and fluffy Coffee Cupcakes loaded with bold coffee flavor, and topped with silky, creamy frosting – with no dairy or eggs (+ you can’t tell!). A simple, crowd-pleasing treat!

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of white or apple cider vinegar
  • cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Homemade or store-bought vegan frosting, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Line a cupcake tin with silicone or paper baking cups.
  • In a cup, dissolve the instant coffee in the warm water. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), mix together all the ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into each baking cup until it’s three-quarters full. Sprinkle a pinch of instant coffee on top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Test a cupcake by sticking a toothpick in the middle. If the toothpick comes out dry, the cupcakes are done.
  • Place the trays on cooling racks and allow them to fully cool down before frosting.

Notes

  • Measure the flour accurately: First, fluff it up in the bag with a fork. Then, use a spoon to transfer it to the measuring cup, leveling it off with the back of a knife.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter: Mix the ingredients until just combined and smooth – a few tiny lumps are fine. Over-mixing leads to dense, gummy, sunken bakes.
  • For a stronger coffee flavor: Dissolve more coffee in the hot water or use espresso instead. If it tastes too mild after baking, a strong coffee vegan buttercream works wonders.
  • Make leftovers: They taste even better on day two!

Nutrition

Calories: 93kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 287mgPotassium: 48mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 8gCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Method: OVen
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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Comments

  1. Hi. Can these be made into a cake ?
    Can I use applesauce in place of the oil?
    Can you suggest a frosting recipe?
    Thank you!