High country bread: coffee cupcake with kahlua filling

Coffee scones with Kahlua filling provide you with a triple scoop of coffee flavour.

Vera Dawson / High Country Baking

Coffee lovers alert…this is for you! A moist, juicy, coffee-flavored cupcake stuffed with Kahlua cream cheese, culminates in rich buttercream with another dose of your favorite beverage. Three hits java, what could be better? To ensure its success, measure the ingredients carefully, small changes in the amount of flour or baking powder can spell disaster. Make sure the butter is at room temperature (softened until it holds a gap when pressed lightly – but not squishy or shiny…this is very mushy).

The flavor of the coffee becomes more noticeable after about 24 hours, so feel free to make it a day in advance.

Coffee cupcake stuffed with kahlua

Makes 8-10 standard cupcakes

Adjusted for altitudes of 7000 feet and above

Activity time: 45 minutes, total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, preferably soft
  • 3 tablespoons of kahlua


  • 1/4 cup full fat milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, preferably thin
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature


  • 1/3 cup very soft unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 3-4 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans, optional

Prepare: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and spray the liners lightly with flour-containing baking spray.

Make the filling: Cut the cream cheese into eight pieces, put them in a small bowl, add the sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Do not overheat or the cheese will become runny. Add the kahlua and stir until well combined. Give it a taste and add more sugar or kahlua to your liking, making sure the filling remains firm enough to hold its shape. Put this aside. Wash the beaters with a mixer.

Make the cupcakeA: Heat the milk in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop until hot but not boiling. Stir the instant coffee until it is completely dissolved and leave the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth and lumps free. Put this aside. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, vanilla, and room temperature sugar until fluffy and light, scraping bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until completely combined after each addition. Beat for two minutes after adding the last egg.

The mixture may look curdled – it will become soft when the flour is added. Add the flour mixture on three additions by hand or with a mixer at lowest speed, alternating with the coffee and milk mixture on two additions, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Stop stirring once each addition has been absorbed into the mixture. Scrape the bowl as necessary.

Bake the cupcake: Spoon the mixture into the paper-lined cups, filling them halfway.

Put a little less than 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling in the center of the mixture in each cup. Add more mixture, and cover the filling completely, until it is about a quarter inch from the top of the paper liner. Smooth and flatten the top. Place pan in oven and bake only until cupcake heads come back gently when touched and cake tester comes out dry, 18 to 24 minutes. Don’t over-bake or the cupcakes will dry out.

Cool the cupcake: Remove the tray from the oven and place it on the cooling rack. After 15-20 minutes, when the cupcakes are firm, remove them in their liners from the pan to the rack and let cool completely. A dimple may develop on top, due to which the filling has sunk; This is normal, and the deficiency frost will disappear. If you don’t freeze them once they’ve cooled, store them in an airtight container until you do.

Freeze the cupcakeFirst, make the garnish: cut the butter into pieces and beat it with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar and whisk until combined, add another ½ cup and repeat. Add 3 tablespoons of coffee and vanilla and mix. Add more confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until garnishing has reached a nice consistency for decorating or creaming. Taste and add more coffee and/or sugar to taste. Cover the decorations with the lid or spread the decorations on the cupcake and, if desired, top with a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Frost recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

Vera Dawson is a top-notch baking educator and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and tweaked to work at altitude. Contact her at [email protected].

%d bloggers like this: