Coffee and walnut cupcakes recipe

(1963 ratings)

This recipe for coffee and walnut cupcakes makes a great teatime treat. They take less than an hour and are easy to bake.

coffee and walnut cupcake
(Image credit: john shepherd/Getty Images)
  • healthy
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time20 mins plus cooling
Total Time40 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories423 Kcal21%
Sugar35.9 g40%
Fat25.3 g36%
Saturated Fat11 g55%
Salt0.15 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein4.4 g9%
Carbohydrates44.5 g17%
Salt0.15 gRow 7 - Cell 2

These coffee and walnut cupcakes are the ideal sweet treat with a caffeine boost to help beat the mid-afternoon slump.

Nothing goes better with an afternoon cup of coffee than a matching cupcake, and these coffee cupcakes are a great choice. They’re a delicious combination of light and fluffy sponge, generously studded with nuts, and thick, sweet frosting. We’ve used espresso-strength instant coffee, rather than brewed coffee, to add an intense flavour without making the mixture too wet. To transform the coffee and walnut cupcakes in mocha cupcakes,  replace 40g of the flour with cocoa powder and sprinkle grated chocolate over the frosting.


For the coffee cupcakes:

  • 25ml espresso strength instant coffee
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 75g walnuts, finely chopped

For the frosting:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 10ml espresso strength instant coffee
  • 12 whole walnuts




  1. Pre-heat oven to 170⁰C/325⁰F/Fan 160⁰C/Gas Mark 3.
  2. Make up the instant coffee according to packet instructions, and leave to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamed and fluffy.
  4. Beat the eggs with the vanilla and pour them bit by bit into the butter and sugar, mixing thoroughly until everything is combined.
  5. Stir through the cooled coffee – the mixture will now be quite wet, but don’t panic!
  6. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, and then fold in to form a sturdy batter.
  7. Spoon the mixture equally into cupcake cases and bake in the center of the oven for around 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Make the frosting whilst the cakes are cooling.
  9. Beat the butter with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Slowly add the remaining coffee with the mixer on low, and then gradually sift in the icing sugar until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  10. When the frosting is complete, spoon or pipe it onto the surface of each cake and top with a whole walnut for decoration.

Top tips for making coffee cupcakes with walnuts:

For an even richer flavour and darker colour, swap out the caster sugar for brown sugar. Would you rather avoid nuts? Swap out the walnuts for chocolate chips.

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Jessica Dady
Senior Content Editor

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.