Our Eggnog Latte Cupcakes are the perfect holiday dessert for eggnog and coffee lovers! This cupcake recipe uses boxed cake mix, eggnog, and instant espresso powder for the most flavorful, moist cupcakes. Then they're topped with a silky smooth eggnog espresso buttercream for an ultimate dessert the whole family will love!
I'm a huge fan of cupcakes! If given the option of cake or cupcakes, it's cupcakes every time. And seasonal cupcake flavors, like our gingerbread cupcakes, snickerdoodle cupcakes, and hot chocolate cupcakes, are even better.
I've made eggnog cupcakes for years but lately decided to try them with instant espresso powder. The espresso powder takes them up a notch and turns regular eggnog cupcakes into eggnog latte cupcakes.
Let me tell you, they are so good! They taste like an eggnog latte but in cupcake form. Best of all, they're so easy to make!
Substitutes and Variations
- Cake Mix: Use yellow or white cake mix to make the cupcake batter. I had white cake mix in the pantry, so that's what I used.
- Eggs: Follow the instructions on back of the box of cake mix. Mine said 3 large egg whites OR 3 large eggs. Yours may indicate a different amount.
- Frosting: Make cream cheese frosting if you'd prefer it instead of espresso buttercream.
- Oil: Any neutral tasting oil works fine. Our box of cake mix indicated vegetable oil, but canola oil would make a good substitute.
You'll need a few pieces of equipment to make the cupcakes. If you make cupcakes or muffins often, everything you need is likely in already in the kitchen.
- Muffin pans: You'll need two separate pans or use the same one twice. It needs to be standard-sized not jumbo or mini.
- Mixing bowls: We used two large mixing bowls, one for the batter and one for the buttercream. Then, you'll need a small, heat-safe bowl to dissolve the espresso powder.
- Mixer: Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, but you'll need an electric mixer for the batter and the buttercream.
- Cookie scoop: I like to use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out the batter into the muffin tins. If you don't have a small scoop, use a ¼ cup measuring cup but don't fill it all the way full. A 1 tablespoon measuring spoon also works.
- Cupcake liners: Some festive cupcake liners are a nice touch, but you can just as easily spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Measuring spoons, measuring cups, spatulas, etc.: All the basics for measuring and stirring ingredients.
- Frosting bag with tip: Use your favorite frosting bag with tip, knife, or offset spatula to apply the buttercream.
Refrigerator: Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezer: If you'd like to freeze the cupcakes, it's best to do it before you add the frosting. Bake them and let them cool completely. Wrap the cupcakes in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil, then drop them into a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. They'll stay fresh for about 1-2 months.
Thawing: Thaw the cupcakes in the fridge before frosting.
Make Ahead: Eggnog latte cupcakes can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. The texture begins to change slightly the longer they're stored, so it's best to serve them within a day of baking.
- Chill the dissolved espresso: Don't skip this step! After dissolving the espresso powder in hot water, place it in the refrigerator to cool for a few minutes. Otherwise, it may melt the butter in the frosting.
- Let the cupcakes cool: Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting so the buttercream doesn't melt.
- Sift the powdered sugar: This isn't 100% necessary, but if the powdered sugar is lumpy you may want to sift it to remove any lumps. Removing the lumps gives the buttercream an ultra smooth and creamy texture.
- Don't overfill the liners: I used 3 tablespoons of batter per cupcake liner. That was the recommended amount listed on box of cake mix. Take care not to overfill the liners; otherwise, the cupcakes will spillover onto the pan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use instant coffee granules?
No, coffee granules aren't a good fit for this recipe. They're too large and don't dissolve well.
Instant espresso is much finer and dissolves better in water. Plus, it has a stronger flavor, so you end up using less.
Do these cupcakes have caffeine?
Yes, they contain a little caffeine from the espresso powder.
Can I use eggnog with alcohol?
We haven't tried eggnog with alcohol in these cupcakes and can't say they'll turn out.
Other Desserts to Try Next
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Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
For the Cupcakes:
- 14.25 ounces white or yellow cake mix
- 3 large egg whites, *See note.
- 1 cup non-alcoholic eggnog, *See note.
- ½ cup vegetable oil, *See note.
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Frosting:
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons non-alcoholic eggnog
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, egg whites, eggnog, oil, espresso powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Combine for 1-2 minutes until smooth.14.25 ounces white or yellow cake mix3 large egg whites1 cup non-alcoholic eggnog½ cup vegetable oil1 tablespoon instant espresso powder1 teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Divide the batter equally between the cupcake liners (3 tablespoons each or just a little less than ¼ cup.)
- Bake for 14-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting:
- Heat the water in a small bowl then stir in the espresso powder until completely dissolved. Place in the refrigerator to cool.2 tablespoons hot water1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- Using a large bowl and electric mixer on low-medium speed, beat the butter until smooth and light in color (about 2-3 minutes).1 cup unsalted butter
- Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until fully incorporated. Pour in the eggnog, chilled espresso, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.5 cups powdered sugar2 tablespoons non-alcoholic eggnog1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Use a frosting bag and piping tip or a knife to apply the frosting to the cupcakes. Enjoy!