Espresso Martini // Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Icing

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

I live in Melbourne. I love coffee. I love cocktails. And Espresso Martinis pretty much just taste like strong coffee with an alcohol kick. They also seem to be the cocktail of the moment to go out and drink in Melbourne (Eau de Vie and Lilly Blacks have my vote), so unsurprisingly it was the most requested cocktail cupcake I've had thus far. Pina Coladas have also been popular, but they're not my faves so I wasn't as keen to make them just yet.

So I kinda felt like the pressure was on to really nail these ones... And that's how I ended up with over 60 cupcakes on my kitchen bench! The first batch had a cup of strong coffee from ground beans and when I tasted the batter, it wasn't coffee-y enough, so I added two Nespresso capsules. After the cupcakes baked, it still didn't taste strong enough. So I ended up making a second batch and added ground coffee beans straight into the dry ingredients and that worked beautifully. I also made them in the afternoon so the lighting was amazing for photographs. Winning!

Before I get into Notes from Steve (still haven't thought of anything more creative to call Steve's bit), a little side note! I'm also friends with Steve's mum and she happens to have chickens running around in her backyard and has started giving me eggs from her chickens. So I got ridiculously excited about the fact that there was real chicken poop on one of the eggs I used. My housemates thought I was slightly crazy. Anyway, Steve got really chatty about this cocktail. He's also made me one of these before and it was gooood!

Notes from Steve:
It was first made in Franks Bar in the UK where there was an espresso machine behind the bar. The bartender (who’s name I have forgotten) was serving a model (most commonly believed to be Kate Moss, although this is most likely fiction), who said “I want a drink that will wake me up, then f*&$ me up”.

So he looked across at the espresso machine and mixed a shot of coffee with a shot of Kahlua and two shots of vodka.

Originally called an Espresso Cocktail, it was then popularised as an Espresso Martini, although it has no similarities at all to that of a martini (other than the gross 1980s style martini glass).

Specs for a banging Espresso Martini:
  • 40ml Vodka
  • 15ml Kahlua
  • 10ml Gomme or sugar syrup
  • 30mL Cold drip coffee
  • 40mL Vodka
  • 20ml Kahlua
  • 30mL Cold drip coffee

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Espresso Martini Cupcakes

Coffee, Chocolate and Kahlua Cupcakes
Makes 24-28 standard sized cupcakes


Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 heaped tablespoons ground coffee beans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Kahlua Cream Cheese Icing

  • 500g cream cheese
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coffee
  • 30mL Kahlua

To make the Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes:

  1. Line tins with cupcake cases and preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius (fan forced).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, coffee, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
  4. Stir in boiling water (the batter will be very thin but this is right!).
  5. Fill cupcake cases 3/4 full of batter. I usually put the batter into a jug to make this easier.
  6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes. They're done when a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. 
  7. Cool on wire rack before icing.
  8. I also brushed them with some Kahlua as they were cooling.

To make the Kahlua Cream Cheese Icing:

  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter at high speed until it mixes together and looks a bit fluffy.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the icing sugar a bit at a time. If your bowl and electric hand mixer combo is anything like mine, you get giant clouds of icing sugar unless you add it in a bit at at time. Mix for a minute to incorporate the sugar and then increase the speed to high again and mix for another minute or two. The icing should be light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the ground coffee and Kahula (you can always add in more if it doesn't taste strong enough! I mean... what?) and you're ready to ice!

1 comment

  1. Tried this but substituted Kahlua for Tia Maria as I already had some collecting dust on the shelf. These are delicious!! Will definitely make again.