Breakfast & Brunch · Desserts · Drinks

Real Coffee Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Before I start my advertising about how scrumptious and un-phony this cake is, I first need to take out some frustration on the cake. Plug your ears and turn away.

You knew I was sick and not feeling well but you still kept me tossing and turning all night. I got 2 hours of sleep and have been in non-stop meetings since 5:30 AM. And now…now… you are begging me to eat you for breakfast? I hate you! I’m going to replace you with decaf!

Alright. Now that’s out of the way….is it weird to get mad at food? I surely do.

Ironically, the coffee cake as we know it today has no coffee in it. It tastes delicious accompanied with a cup of jo but that’s about it. This is a cake that will replace your coffee (or espresso) fix in the morning as well as fulfill your sugar and fat intake for the next week.

Just to make it even more glutinous, it’s topped with a beautiful flecked coffee buttercream frosting. Shhh, I also made a cream cheese coffee frosting and Bailey’s buttercream frosting too. Variety is the spice of life, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Notes: if you instant coffee has large flecks, consider grinding them to small flecks. This will prevent any unwanted bitterness – it’s a bit like eating chocolate covered espresso beans.


For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 sticks butter (yes, you are reading this correctly)
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla

For the icing:

  • 1-½ stick butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons instant coffee crystals (see note about coffee size flecks)
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a pot over medium-low heat. While that’s melting, add 3 tablespoons instant coffee  and 2 tablespoons cocoa to 1 cup boiling water. Set aside.

Once butter has melted, add coffee mixture to the butter in the pot. Let it come to a boil for about ten seconds, then turn off the heat. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease and flour your cupcake molds.

In a separate bowl, add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

Pour the butter/coffee mixture into the flour mixture. Stir the mixture together gently. The purpose here isn’t to mix it together perfectly, but to cool down the heat before adding the egg mixture.

Add in the egg mixture and stir gently until well combined. Then pour into pans. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely.

Combine all icing ingredients (taste and add powdered sugar as necessary starting at 3 cups), then ice the cake. Chill for an hour before serving.

Adapted from the talented Pioneer Woman.


5 thoughts on “Real Coffee Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

  1. Yum! The cake looks amazing and while I try to practice moderation in my everyday eating, and thus will stock to my regular cup of coffee, I may just try this one weekend as an out there indulfgence! My mouth is watering and now I can’t sleep! Gorgeous!

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