Coffee & Macadamia Cupcakes

Coffee cupcakes are the perfect tea time treat! (photo by Clare Margary)

These cupcakes could work with a multitude of different nuts but I decided to veer away from the classic walnut and use my favourite, the macadamia. The sponge is deliciously fluffy with a mellow coffee flavour without being too sweet. The light airy icing packs an extra coffee punch and topped with toasted macadamias and a dusting of bitter chocolate (I used Willie’s Venezuelan Black 100% Cacao), these are the ultimate treat for the discerning coffee fanatic!

Makes 10-12 cupcakes depending on case size


  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp decent instant coffee dissolved in 3 tsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 50g macadamia nuts
  • (25g toasted macadamias optional garnish
  • (grated chocolate optional garnish)

For the icing

  • 375g icing sugar, sifted
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4tsp decent instant coffee
  • 20ml boiling water
  • 20ml full-fat milk


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a muffin tray with 12 cases.
  • Place the macadamia nuts on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool slightly before roughly chopping.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
  • In a free-standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for a good 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Add a tablespoon of flour before slowly adding the egg, mixing all the time until fully incorporated.
  • Now fold in the flour until just incorporated before adding the coffee and milk.
  • Finally fold in the macadamias and stir until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling 2/3 full.
  • Place in the oven for 17-20 minutes until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the icing

  • In a cup, pour the boiling water over the coffee and stir to dissolve before adding the milk. Leave to one side.
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar until it starts to come together.
  • Slowly add the milky coffee mixture and beat on a high speed for a couple of minutes until light and airy.
  • Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.
  • Top with toasted macadamia nuts and a light grating of chocolate if desired.

The amount of icing here is quite generous as everyone likes a different amount on their cupcakes. If you do happen to have any leftover, why not bake a few chocolate cupcakes and top with the remaining icing to make mocha cupcakes?

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I made these yesterday, and they are fabulous! I did have to halve the amount of frosting, but it was more than enough. Thanks for posting such a lovely recipe!