Coffee Buttercream Frosting

This recipe will make a sweet and delicious buttercream, reinforced with chocolate and cocoa, so much so that it will make anything you put this frosting on smell like a freshly brewed espresso.

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Every good cake needs an equally good buttercream frosting to become delicious. Rich, creamy, and super coffee-forward, this recipe will quickly become your new favorite cake frosting.

Why not make this Classic Chiffon Cake and pair it with your coffee buttercream frosting to glaze? Or for something a little more indulgent try this Chocolate Pound Cake with your coffee frosting!

Coffee buttercream icing in a small clear jar on a cutting board

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

A great Buttercream should be equal parts sweet and creamy, and make every mouthful of cake feel rich and luscious.

While you can always use the more reliably dependable regular Buttercream, which tastes of vanilla and sweetness, there is nothing stopping you from being a bit extra and making a more flavored Buttercream!

This recipe will make a sweet and delicious buttercream, reinforced with chocolate and cocoa, so much so that it will make anything you put this frosting on smell like a freshly brewed espresso.

Coffee buttercream icing ingredients in small clear bowls

How To Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

Unless you bake on a regular basis, powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) is probably not one of those things that you keep on hand. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can very easily make your own powdered sugar from the regular granulated sugar that you have in your kitchen.

All that you need is a blending appliance, like a type of blender that you use to make things like smoothies. Simply add your regular granulated sugar and blend until you reach a fine, powdery texture. It really is that easy!

One important thing to note is that 1 cup of granulated sugar is not the same as 1 cup of powdered sugar. This is because powdered sugar is much more compact and so you can fit a lot more into a cup. The conversion is roughly 1 cup of powdered sugar equals 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar.

For your coffee buttercream frosting, which calls for 4 cups of powdered sugar, it is best to blend 8 cups of regular sugar. Once the sugar is ground to a powder-like texture you can then use a cup measure to more accurately measure out your 4 cups of powdered sugar.

It is much better to find that you have made too much-powdered sugar than not enough and have to get the blender out again. You can always store leftovers in an airtight container for the next time that a recipe requires it.

The only difference between homemade powdered sugar and the stuff that you buy in a store is that the latter sometimes contains starch as an added ingredient.

In some recipes, the lack of starch can be problematic, but in the case of your coffee buttercream frosting, there should be no noticeable difference.

Coffee buttercream icing powdered ingredients in a clear mixing bowl

Why You Want Your Butter To Be Room Temperature

A lot of recipes call for you to bring your butter up to room temperature, or at the very least take it out of the fridge in advance of making the recipe.

While this can be a bit annoying to be forced to start your buttercream recipe before you actually need to, it is actually a vital step.

If you didn’t take your butter out of the fridge early enough, your sugar won’t mix properly into the butter, because it will still be rock hard.

Plus, if you use a standard mixer, your butter will just fly around all over the place, probably ending up on your counters, rather than mixing together properly.

It is thus much better to instead let your butter come close to room temperature before starting.

If you really don’t want to wait, you can also warm your butter in a microwave, heating it in a heat-proof container on the lowest setting possible.

Microwave it for 5 seconds at a time, stirring frequently, until it just barely begins to soften – any more or any hotter, and you might end up with melted butter, something that will pretty much ruin your buttercream!

Coffee buttercream icing in a clear jar

How To Adjust The Consistency Of Your Frosting

The main thing you are going to want to play around with when it comes to your buttercream frosting is the precise consistency that you end up with.

Some people like their frosting thicker, whereas others prefer it to be thinner and easier to spread.

To adjust its thickness to your liking, add in the coffee cream about one tablespoon at a time for a lighter, thinner consistency.

More coffee cream means a thinner frosting, as well as a stronger coffee flavor, whereas fewer results in something with a more chunky consistency.

Choose whichever one you would prefer and make it how you like it!

Coffee buttercream icing in a clear mixing bowl with a spatula

How To Use Your Coffee Buttercream Frosting

While it might be tempting to eat your coffee buttercream frosting with a spoon there are many excellent ways to use this delicious frosting when baking that won’t leave you feeling guilty after.

  • Cupcakes

A cupcake is just as much about the frosting as it is about the actual cake itself and so it would be wrong to not test out your coffee buttercream frosting on a few homemade cupcakes. Plus cupcakes also get you one of the best ratios of frosting to cake!

You can pair your coffee buttercream with almost any cupcake base; it entirely depends on your taste. If you want to focus on the frosting then opt for vanilla, or a relatively plain cupcake will tend to work best.

Alternatively, you could pair your frosting with a chocolate cupcake for a decedent flavor combination. Other flavors such as banana or strawberry will also work great!

  • Chocolate Cake

While most chocolate cakes tend to be pretty sweet already, the slight tartness inherent in any kind of coffee flavoring like this recipe makes for a great contrast with the sweet chocolate flavors of your cake.

  • Bowl of Strawberries (Or other berries)

There are no rules that say you have to pair frosting with cake, so why not instead serve a spoonful of frosting alongside a bowl of strawberries?

Just dipping in the strawberries into a bowl of a slightly thinner frosting makes for a super sweet and delicious summer snack!

Looking for more delicious Frosting and Icing recipes? Try these out:

Maple Frosting

Buttery Vanilla Glaze

Strawberry Whipped Cream

Pin this recipe to your FROSTINGS RECIPE Board and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!

This coffee buttercream frosting will be perfect on cupcakes and makes them smell like a freshly brewed espresso.

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

This recipe will make a sweet and delicious buttercream, reinforced with chocolate and cocoa, so much so that it will make anything you put this frosting on smell like a freshly brewed espresso.
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 Cup salted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Instant coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons sifted cocoa
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3-6 Tablespoons coffee cream (more makes a creamier frosting)


  • Let the butter sit out of the fridge for about 5-10 minutes, just so it isn't very cold. Beat the butter until it is smooth and soft.
  • Crush the coffee granules between two spoons so it is a powder and not lumpy. Add the coffee, cocoa and powdered sugar and beat until it is very light.
  • Add in the cream one tablespoon at a time if you want the icing to be a bit more light. Add until your desired consistency is reached.
  • Frost cupcakes, cakes or even make a layered cake with this icing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 3618kcal, Carbohydrates: 503g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 186g, Saturated Fat: 118g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 48g, Trans Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 488mg, Sodium: 1479mg, Potassium: 924mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 473g, Vitamin A: 5673IU, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 3mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Margo Stretch says

    General question about buttercream frosting: if I ice a cake with it for a dessert auction, where the cake will need to sit out at room temp on display for maybe 4-5 hours, is buttercream food safe for that length of time.? Having made dozens of birthday cakes for my four grown children, my hunch is that yes it is safe; but for a dessert auction, I need to be sure it’s foodsafe. I have your cookbook, but couldn’t find the answer in it, so please help if you can! My cake definitely needs frosting, but it needs to be safe as well.

  2. RedMtl says

    Note that the addition of cocoa to this recipe makes it a mocha icing, not a coffee-cream icing. This difference is absolutely critical for people who might have allergies to chocolate. If making this for some sort of group event, make it clear it is NOT a pure coffee-cream icing when listing ingredients for anyone attending.

    For the person who asked what “coffee cream” is: 10% or 15% cream, or half-and-half, is “coffee” cream. It is just cream that you’d put in your cooking or coffee, that is not as heavy as a whipping cream.3 stars

  3. Carie says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe for this frosting!
    It looks scrumptious! 😁

    • Catherine Jankowski says

      what suggestions do you have to put the icing on, ie. Vanilla cake or cup cake, chocolate, or some other flavors

  4. Marilyn Carleton says

    The price of butter is over the top. Is there any substitute

4.34 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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