Spiced with cinnamon, these Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes are deliciously moist and soft and encompass an easy homemade coffee syrup and walnuts throughout.
The most popular recipe on Ellas's Better Bakes currently is my Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake and, having already made Vegan Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes, I felt it was high time therefore to rustle up a Coffee and Walnut Cupcake recipe.
The exciting twist to this recipe though is the addition of a delicious, thick and gooey, coffee and vanilla syrup which is used throughout the cakes and drizzled over the top.
Why make these Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes?
Delicious homemade coffee and vanilla syrup throughout ✔️
Soft, light and moist cakes ✔️
Lightly spiced with cinnamon ✔️
Coffee and walnut flavours ✔️
Soft coffee buttercream ✔️
Other uses for homemade coffee syrup
The good news is if you have leftover coffee and vanilla syrup you can store it in a sterilised jar for up to a month. Some alternative uses for coffee and vanilla syrup are:
- drizzle over ice cream to give a coffee twist;
- drizzle over pancakes, which also heats the syrup up a little, together they taste amazing;
- create cocktails, for example, spiced rum, coke and coffee syrup...you'll never look back;
- add to fudge recipes such as Super Easy Biscoff Fudge;
- is the perfect gift for any coffee lover.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Instant coffee
- Soft light brown sugar
- Fine salt
- Walnut halves
- Ground cinnamon
- Icing (confectioner's) sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla bean paste
See end of post RECIPE CARD for precise quantities and instructions.
Add your coffee and brown sugar to a small saucepan and heat on a low setting mixing until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn up the heat, keep stirring constantly and as soon as the mixture starts bubbling remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Once cooled, mix in vanilla bean paste.
Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes
Beat your butter to soften, once it no longer sticks to the beaters and add your brown sugar.
Beat your butter and sugar together until soft, fluffy and and paste-like, this can take a couple of minutes.
Add one egg and a heaped dessert spoonful of sifted flour, salt and cinnamon. Beat on a low setting until incorporated.
Repeat with the remaining egg and more flour mixture. Wipe the bowl down with a spatula intermittently to ensure all is mixed in. Beat in your coffee syrup.
Add the rest of your flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Then beat briefly on a medium-high setting until light and pale.
Gently fold in your chopped walnuts. Add 12 muffin cases to a 12 hole muffin tin.
Place equal amounts of cake batter into the muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the tin and then leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Beat your softened butter, as you did above, until and no longer sticks to the beaters. Gradually add your sifted icing (confectioner's) sugar and coffee and vanilla syrup and beat until smooth.
Fit a large star piping nozzle to a large piping bag and fill it with your coffee buttercream. Squeeze down and twist the top of the piping bag to secure it.
Pipe swirls of buttercream onto each cake and then drizzle over about half a teaspoon of coffee syrup. Finally, sprinkle over chopped walnuts.
Don't have all of the ingredients listed? No matter, here are some suggestions for substitutions:
- Self-raising flour - substitute with plain (all-purpose) flour sifted together with 1 level teaspoon of baking powder.
- Coffee syrup - you can substitute this with 1 tablespoon of instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of just boiled water and then stir in vanilla bean paste to taste. For the coffee buttercream, also use 1 tablespoon of instant coffee mixed into 1 tablespoon of just boiled water. Omit from drizzling over the cakes.
- Soft brown sugar - brown sugar tends to be the best to use in a coffee cake due to the caramel-flavoured undertones, however, white sugar will work fine.
- Vanilla bean paste - you can use vanilla extract instead, it is not as syrupy or sweet so add it to the coffee syrup to taste.
Store for 2 days at room temperature, or for up to a week if refrigerated.
Pre-iced these Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Did you try this recipe?
Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the Recipe Card below.
Top tips for Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes
Coffee and vanilla syrup tips
- try to use a heavy-based small saucepan as it conducts the heat far better and prevents your coffee syrup from burning;
- to check if your sugar has dissolved, tip the pan to the side and see if any sugar crystals remain on the base
remove the syrup from heat, dip a teaspoon into it, let it cool a little and then rub a little syrup a little between your fingers, if it feels gritty then sugar still remains;
- stir your coffee syrup constantly to prevent it from burning;
- do not overheat, once boiling remove from the heat;
- if a foam forms on the top of the syrup simply scoop it off with a spoon.
Coffee and Walnut Cupcake tips
- ensure your butter and sugar are beaten until soft and airy because mixing in the air at this stage is vital to the quality of your final cupcakes;
- add your coffee syrup only when it has cooled;
- ensure you wipe the bowl down regularly with your spatula to ensure all of the ingredients are equally mixed in;
- don't be tempted to test your cupcakes until they have been baking for 15 minutes as opening the oven door whilst the cake batter is still wet can cause them to deflate;
- always use room temperature butter and eggs because if too cold they will affect the final quality of your cakes.
Coffee Buttercream tips
- ensure you beat your butter first to soften it up as this makes a smoother buttercream;
- always sift your icing (confectioner's) sugar as, again, it ensures a smooth buttercream;
- add icing (confectioner's) sugar gradually to avoid a huge cloud of icing sugar puffing up;
- cover your mixer with something like a tea towel whilst you beat in your icing (confectioner's) sugar, this stops the cloud of icing sugar spreading everywhere;
- your buttercream should be soft, if too hard add more coffee syrup if too soft add more icing (confectioner's) sugar.
Walnuts are extremely nutritious due to their omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins and minerals and antioxidant content, so yes they are considered a superfood. A portion of 7-10 walnuts a day is considered healthy.
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Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes
Here's what you'll need...
- 12 hole muffin tin
- 12 muffin cases
- Small saucepan
- Cooling rack
Ingredients you'll need...
Coffee and Vanilla Syrup
- 75 ml Strong coffee made with 1½ tablespoon instant coffee and topped up to 75ml with just boiled water
- 150 g Soft light brown sugar (¾ Cup - packed)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla bean paste
Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes
- 1½ tablespoon Coffee syrup
- 35 g Walnut halves ( 3 tbsp)
- 125 g Unsalted butter at room temperature (8½ level tablespoons)
- 110 g Soft brown sugar (½ Cup packed)
- 145 g Self raising flour (1 Cup) or use plain/all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
- Pinch of fine salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon level
- 2 Large eggs at room temperature (US extra large)
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoon Coffee syrup
- 170 g Unsalted butter at room temperature (⅔ Cup)
- 300 g Icing sugar confectioners' sugar (2½ Cups)
- 15 g Walnut halves chopped into small pieces (2 tablespoons)
Here's what we do...
Coffee and Vanilla Syrup
- Place your pre-made strong coffee and your soft light brown sugar into your small saucepan and mix together.
- Heat on a low setting, continually stirring, until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn up the heat, continue to stir and once the mixture has started bubbling remove from the heat.
- Allow to cool and then stir in your vanilla bean paste.
Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes
- Heat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/355°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Place your 12 muffin cases into your muffin tin.
- Place your walnuts in your food processor and blitz until they reach a sand-like consistency. Or grind in your pestle and mortar
- Sift together your flour, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
- Starting on a low setting, with the beater attachment fitted, beat your room temperature butter and sugar together until soft, lighter in colour and paste-like. This may take up to 2 minutes.
- Add one egg and a dessert spoonful of your flour mixture and beat until all of the egg has combined, you need to ensure no egg remains before you add another. Wipe your bowl down with a spatula to ensure all of the mixture is combined.
- Repeat with your next egg and some more flour mixture.
- Add your cooled coffee and vanilla syrup and beat in.
- Add the rest of your flour mixture, beating in on a low setting until just mixed in and scraping down the sides and base of your bowl to ensure all of the mixture is incorporated.
- Beat on medium-high for about 10 seconds to ensure fully mixed, smooth and silky.
- Fold in your ground walnuts.
- Add equal amounts to each muffin tin. For mine, this was about 43 grams per cake. There is no need to spread the mixture out evenly in the muffin case, it will level off when baking.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until browned all over and the cakes spring back when gently pressed.
- Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Sift your icing (confectioners') sugar and set aside.
- Give your softened butter a beat to be sure soft enough and no longer sticking to the beater.
- Beat in your coffee and vanilla syrup.
- Leaving your mixer running on a low setting, gradually add your icing sugar a large spoonful at a time.
- Your buttercream is ready when smooth and all of the mixture has been fully incorporated.
- Cut the corner off your large piping bag and fit your large star nozzle into it, ensuring the bag fits snuggly around it so that the buttercream cannot not seep out. Then place in a large glass, fold over the sides and fill the bag with buttercream, using your small palette knife or butter knife.
- Roll the sides of the bag back up and tie off the top of the piping bag, or fold it over, so that buttercream does not seep out of the top as you ice. If you can see air bubbles in the bag give it a squeeze to release them.
- In one steady flow, pIpe a circle around the outer circumference of the cake, then continue to pipe in a swirl to fill the centre.
- Drizzle over about half a teaspoon of your coffee and vanilla syrup and then sprinkle with your chopped walnuts.