Let’s call it what it is… “cake”. A recipe for Espresso coffee cake “muffins”


Let’s call it what it is.  We can call Spanx  a body shaper if that makes us feel better. We both know it’s a girdle.   A Swiffer is just a broom and a Wet Jet ?  Well… fancy mop.  We can call these espresso coffee cake muffins, but let’s be honest, these muffins are just a delicate buttermilk cake. They are dressed up with  a crumbly brown sugar & cinnamon frosting, and spiked with a little coffee to make us feel like it’s okay to eat cake for breakfast. Although, to be honest,  they tasted just as good for lunch and dinner.  A better name might be coffee cake anytime cupcakes. It would be  “unladylike”  if we admitted we wear a girdle while we mop the floors after we ate cake for breakfast right?   So, espresso coffee cake muffins it is.

In my Geez Louise world of pretty happy thoughts, I like to refer to my vintage shopping as recycling,or reusing treasures from the past.  But if we called it what it is, I’m a stone-cold-vintage-flea-market-junkie, who can’t quit and is always looking for that next fix. It’s all there, the proof is undeniable.  There are doilies, milk glass plates & saucers, an enamel coffee pot, wallpaper, and the vintage mixer. Yes, they are all recycled, saving the planet I am.  I might use the doilies to make a table runner, the coffee pot makes a nice flower vase, the coffee mugs hold salt & pepper next to my stove, and the mixer?  Well the mixer just makes my kitchen counter look snazzy.  My family likes to throw around the word hoarding, but that has such a negative vibe to it.  When I redecorate with my recycled treasures I like to call it  a “retro revamp”.  Now that has a nice ring to it.

This recipe is the first in my series of “recycled recipes“.  Yup, you can actually recycle recipes.  One master recipe that you can reinvent by making some minor creative changes. This recipe produces a cake crumb that is tender and softly sweet, so it can easily be recycled into cupcakes by just changing out the frosting.  Think of the possibilities …

Espresso coffee cake muffins
5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: breakfast, lunch, dinner, pre-work out snack
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12- 14
  • For the topping
  • ¾ cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup whole wheat white flour
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated instant espresso powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • For the muffins
  • 2 cups whole wheat white flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup room temperature unsalted butter - 1½ sticks
  • ½ cup lightly packed golden brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large room temperature organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup room temperature low-fat buttermilk
  • ½ stick cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with 12-14 paper cupcake/muffin papers.
  2. For the topping
  3. In a medium bowl stir to combine the ¾ cup brown sugar flour, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt. Add in the cut butter pieces and then cut in the butter by using a pastry cutter or rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until small to medium clumps form. Mix in the nuts and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. For the muffins
  5. In a small bowl stir to combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and kosher salt - set aside.
  6. On medium speed cream together the room temperature butter with brown and white sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and cream for an additional 30 seconds. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each egg is completely combined. Scrape down the sides and add in vanilla, mix for an additional 30 seconds.
  7. With the mixer on low, add in the flour in thirds until just combined, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  8. On low-speed add in the buttermilk and mix until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  9. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup or ice cream scoop, fill 12-14 muffin liners.
  10. Place into the oven for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and with the rounded back of a Tablespoon, gently push down into the center of each muffin, flattening to the outside edge to create an indentation for the streusel topping. Top each muffin with 1 heaping Tablespoon of streusel topping. Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick placed into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  11. Cool and store in an airtight container.


9 comments… add one
  • sippitysup May 22, 2013, 10:08 pm

    I am a reformed hoarder! (at least partially). GREG

    • Chef Louise Mellor May 23, 2013, 7:36 pm

      birds of a feather we are…

  • Jarome May 23, 2013, 12:58 pm

    I love how the cupcakes looks so delish and sophisticated. 🙂

    • Chef Louise Mellor May 23, 2013, 7:38 pm

      Thank you Jarome! I just ate two and I have crumbs all over my lap – not all that sophisticated today 🙂

  • Kelly May 25, 2013, 5:45 pm

    These lovely looking cakes are really awesome. Can’t resist to try them.

  • Carla @ Gluten Free June 20, 2013, 8:39 am

    Oh my, these looks wonderful! I’ll have to make them with a sorghum gluten free flour blend. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  • Online espresso caps February 17, 2014, 8:31 am

    These muffins are looking absolutely gorgeous! Will definitely give them a try in one of the weekends to come, surely the folks home are gonna love them!

  • Claire September 12, 2014, 10:03 am

    “Mix in the nuts and refrigerate until ready to use”
    Nuts???? What nuts? There is nothing about nuts in the ingredients listing.

  • Claire September 12, 2014, 10:06 am

    And when do I add the instant espresso powder?

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