Good morning guys! We’re back today with another small batch recipe, and I’m obsessed with this one. If you’re a coffee person, this one is for you.

This recipe makes six coffee cupcakes, topped with a crunchy crumb topping and a fluffy coffee frosting. We’re using a few different forms of coffee in this recipe, and it creates a really yummy, not too bitter coffee flavored cake. Let’s get to it!

How to Make Coffee Crunch Cupcakes

You can make these cupcakes completely by hand, and it’s super simple. We’re using instant coffee granules here instead of instant espresso powder or normal coffee granules. It’s kind of an odd ingredient, but it makes for a light coffee flavor without much bitterness.

Start by whisking up the melted butter, oil, and sugar until combined, and then stirring in the egg. Then, we’re starting to add in the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in alternating additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Your batter should look something like this- the more it sits, the more the coffee granules will dissolve, but it’s totally fine to have flecks running throughout.

The crumb is super simple, and you just want to stir all the ingredients together with a fork until you’ve got a crumbly mixture to sprinkle over the tops of each cupcake before baking.

Finally, top the cupcakes with a fluffy buttercream, flavored with coffee and instant espresso powder (optionally), and any sprinkles you prefer!

Tips & Tricks for Small-Batch Coffee Cupcakes

I love recipes that can be mixed entirely by hand, and this is one of them! I’ve still got a few tips and tricks to help you along the way.

  • Use instant coffee granules and not instant espresso or regular coffee. These big, oddly light granules have the perfect flavor for baking. They should be easy to find in most grocery stores!
  • As always, don’t over-mix your batter. You want to just mix until things come together at every stage of this cake batter. Over-mixing can cause your cake to become too heavy, and sink while baking.
  • Room temp ingredients for the frosting are super important here! I find that American style buttercreams can break fairly easily, so be sure that your ingredients are at room temp.
  • Beat your frosting for longer than you think to help make it fluffy! Unlike the cake, you can’t really over beat your buttercream, so go for a good 5-10 minutes while you mix here. And if it breaks, gives it another few minutes of mixing!
  • I’m at about 5,000 ft above sea level and I find that people who live between about 3,000 and 7,000 feet above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes!
  • You can easily double this recipe to make 12 cupcakes instead of just the 6!

Hope you guys enjoy this one!

5 from 2 votes

Small-Batch Coffee Crunch Cupcakes

Servings 6 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 6 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. melted butter
  • 2 tbs. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbs. instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee cooled

For the topping:

  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. instant coffee

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 tbs. sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. instant espresso (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. strong brewed coffee


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with 6 paper liners.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, and oil until combined. Whisk in the egg until just combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, coffee granules, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In another small bowl, stir together the milk and coffee. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until just combined. Then add about half of the milk mixture and whisk until just combined. Repeat until you've added all of the flour and milk to the large bowl. The mixture will look a bit streaky from the coffee granules, but that's ok!

  3. Divide the batter evenly into your prepared 6 cupcake cups. They should be fairly full, and you should use all of the batter here.

For the topping:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, flour, brown sugar, salt, and instant coffee granules using a fork until combined. The mixture should form small crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of each cupcake and spread evenly. Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting!

For the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sour cream until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat for several minutes. The mixture should be very thick. Beat in the vanilla extract, instant espresso powder if you're using it, and salt. Then, slowly add in about 1 tsp at a time of the coffee, beating well between each addition, until the frosting has reached a fluffy, soft, pipe-able texture. You can't really over-beat the frosting, and it gets fluffier as you go! Frost cupcakes as desired, and enjoy!


  1. Cat

    March 8, 2021 at 10:01 am

    5 stars
    Made these yesterday and they are fantastic! I’ve been loving the small batch recipes for quarantine- they are great!

    • Dough-Eyed

      March 12, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      So glad to hear you're enjoying the small recipes!!

  2. Beekite

    March 10, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    5 stars
    It was so delicious that I think I want to make it again tomorrow. Thanks you so much for sharing.

    • Dough-Eyed

      March 12, 2021 at 4:06 pm

      So glad to hear it!

  3. Ttacyy

    October 17, 2021 at 11:04 am

    What did you use for the decoration on top of the cupcakes? Was thinking of using some crushed up chocolate covered coffee beans but I love how yours look with the little balls!

    • Dough-Eyed

      October 17, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      Hi there! I'm using chocolate pearls from Valrhona- you can find them online pretty easily! They are like chocolate coated crispies!

  4. Keith

    January 23, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    Do you have any YouTube for me to follow it up….

    • Dough-Eyed

      February 4, 2022 at 1:32 pm

      Hi there- I do have a youtube channel with just some of my short videos on it if you'd like to take a look, but I don't believe I have one for this recipe up. I do have one on instagram for this recipe a while back though! dougheyedblog on both!


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