Coffee Desserts – How to Make Coffee-Flavored Cakes, Cookies, Cupcakes, and More

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Coffee desserts – desserts that taste like coffee – are for true coffee lovers! Learn how to make the best coffee-flavored cakes, coffee cookies, coffee cupcakes, and more!

Cupcakes with Coffee beans as an example of a coffee desserts
While crumb cakes designed to be enjoyed with coffee are wonderful, sometimes you want the coffee flavor in the dessert itself. There are four ways that I recommend you impart that coffee flavor to your baked goods.

Four Ways to Make Coffee Desserts

There are four main ways to get the flavor of coffee into your baked goods. You can combine methods within a single dessert, and keep in mind that many of these methods can also be used when baking with tea, too.

Brewed Coffee

If you are using a recipe that calls for water, replace that water with brewed coffee. I suggest making a very strong cup of coffee for the best results.

Coffee Pot

Instant Coffee / Instant Espresso

Using instant coffee, instant coffee, instant espresso, or Starbucks Via is the most popular technique for creating coffee-flavored desserts. This is the easiest technique and it works well every time! Try mixing some instant coffee into chocolate cupcakes or chocolate cake to impart a mocha flavor. You can also blend vanilla extract with instant coffee to use in coffee frosting.

In this method, you add the powder directly to your recipe. I suggest adding a little bit at a time and doing a taste test to see if the flavor is right. Keep in mind that you can use less instant espresso since it’s stronger than instant coffee.

Package of instant espresso

Coffee-Infused Butter

One of my favorite ways of making coffee desserts is to use coffee-infused butter. The best part about this method is that you can use your favorite coffee beans to give the butter the coffee flavor profile that you love best.

To infuse your butter with the flavor of coffee, start by melting butter in a pot on the stove. Add coffee beans and bring to a simmer for about five minutes.

Pot of coffee beans with butter for making coffee desserts
Remove from heat, cover, and steep for fifteen minutes. Using a sieve, remove the beans from the butter.

straining coffee butter
Refrigerate if needed to come to the correct temperature for your recipe.

Tip: You will lose some of the butter that sticks to the beans. Three quarters of a cup of plain butter will yield a half cup of coffee butter.

Coffee Butter

Coffee-Infused Milk

If your recipe calls for milk, use coffee-infused milk instead. The process is exactly the same as the one above for making coffee-infused butter.

Heat milk and coffee beans until just boiling. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for fifteen minutes. Using a sieve, remove the beans from the milk and set the milk aside.

Once it comes to room temperature, use the milk as directed by your recipe.

Coffee Dessert Ideas

Here are some recipes that you can try these techniques on:

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Coffee Butter
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4.50 from 4 votes

Coffee Infused Milk and Butter for Coffee Desserts

Use the coffee- infused butter or milk in place of plain butter or milk to flavor your baked goods.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chilling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 tablespoons
Calories 152kcal
Author Stefani


  • 3/4 cup whole milk or butter
  • 1/2 cup coffee beans


  • In a saucepan on medium-high, heat milk and coffee beans until just boiling. Or, if using butter, melt butter and then add coffee beans.
  • Lower heat so the beans and milk/butter come to a simmer.
  • Simmer for five minutes.
  • Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for fifteen minutes.
  • Use a sieve to remove the beans.
  • Let the milk or butter come to room temperature. If using butter, refrigerate until it is no longer a liquid. or freeze until no longer a liquid (if you need to use it quickly). 


Use more milk or butter than you will need for your recipe. Using 3/4 cup will yield about 1/2 cup. 


Calories: 152kcal | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 5mg | Vitamin A: 530IU | Calcium: 5mg
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  1. Shirleysays:

    Hi. Are you saying instant coffee won’t work?

  2. Shainasays:

    This sounds like it would produce a fantastic punch of flavor, however, 1 cup of GOOD coffee beans can cost $13! I would love seeing if the same flavor punch could be produced with a much smaller quantity of ground coffee. Obviously that would depend on the grind size, but maybe it would be more economical though not as consistently reproducible. For example, a similar full immersion extraction method is the French Press. I use 30 g of very coarsely ground beans for 500 ml of near-boiling water and it steeps for about 3-3 1/2 minutes.

    Also, just wondering if you tried your extraction method with a chocolate recipe that calls for water instead of milk. I heard that milk mutes the chocolate flavor, hence using water. Anyways, I know it’s hard to make a mocha-tasting cake because of all the sugar and how over-powering chocolate is, but maybe it would work … I guess I just wrote a novel-length comment. Love your site and posts! Just discovered you. :D

    I guess I may have to do some experiments of my own now. ;)

  3. Lissays:

    This sucks.

  4. Vimax Dietsays:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about coffee. Regards

  5. HilD89says:

    I must say, this is a great idea. You have the best of both worlds. I love coffee (and cupcakes) so I can’t wait to try these out.

  6. Janinesays:

    I used this method to make white chocolate espresso cupcakes with mocha frosting topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean…….to die for!!!

  7. Esef aka pixensays:

    I concurred that coffee has to be ‘REAL COFFEE’ grounded from freshly roasted beans and not instant or those franchised brands – not even Nespresso or CBTL :-P

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge :-)

  8. Stefsays:

    Kympossible – That’s a great question. It doesn’t have to be whole milk. In fact, I think I used 2% milk. However, whole milk definitely makes for richer baked goods.

  9. Preserving Beautysays:

    Could I say thank you enough?

  10. Kympossiblesays:

    this may be a dumb question… does it need to be whole milk, and why?

  11. Stephaniesays:

    I wish I knew this method before I bought instant coffee for my own Irish coffee cupcakes. My household is a bit snobby about coffee so that instant stuff will only be useful in baking. In fact, I need to go find more recipes to use it up…
    Thanks for sharing, I will use this sometime in the future!

  12. Anonymoussays:

    That is a brilliant idea!!

  13. vertigoxcuredsays:

    what would you recommend doing with the coffee beans after the steeping?

  14. Anonymoussays:

    Instant coffee powders are all in the past! I love my coffee, so today I tried this quick and easy solution for coffee infused cupcakes. You blew me away with the intense flavor! This works beautifully!

  15. Anonymoussays:

    Fabulous idea. I’m a coffee addict, and have never been able to get the flavor quite right in my cupcakes. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!!

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