The Ultimate Guide to Baking with Espresso Powder: Tips and Techniques

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If you’re into coffee and baking, you’re definitely cool in our book. Espresso powder, which is just finely ground coffee beans, gives your baked goodies a serious coffee kick. This article will delve into the many uses of espresso powder in baking. Ready to “espresso” your baking creativity with a little coffee kick?

Adding Espresso Powder To A Cake Mix
Espresso powder is a great addition to cake batter!

What is espresso powder?

Espresso powder is made from ground-up espresso beans. It is a highly concentrated form of coffee and is most often used as a flavoring agent in baking and other desserts. The process of making espresso powder involves using very dark coffee. The coffee grounds are dried out in an oven on low heat for 1-3 hours, being careful not to roast them or cause them to catch fire.

After drying, the coffee beans are ground again, but this time to a fine, even texture. This can be done with a coffee mill, a food processor, or a mortar and pestle. The grinding continues until a fine, powdery substance is achieved. This finely ground coffee dust can then be mixed with hot water to make espressoโ€‹.

Baking With Espresso Powder
Espresso powder for baking

How does espresso powder affect the flavor of baked goods?

Espresso powder is a powerful enhancer for chocolate desserts like brownies and cakes. It adds no coffee taste but instead works behind the scenes to make the chocolate flavor more intense and pronounced.

Just like adding a touch of salt to your cookies makes the sweetness more apparent, espresso powder brings out the best in chocolate desserts without adding an overwhelming coffee flavor.

When should you use it?

1. Baked Goods

You can add a teaspoon of espresso powder to most any chocolate dessert to dial up the chocolate flavor. Many chocolate recipes call for espresso powder as an optional ingredient, but nearly any chocolate recipe will benefit from it.

It can also be added to buttercream frostings, chocolate sauces, or your favorite chocolate ganache. Use anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of espresso powder, depending on the recipe yield.

Adding Espresso Powder To Cake Batter
Adding espresso powder to cake batter

For recipes when you want the coffee/mocha flavor to come through, bump up the amount of espresso powder, starting around 1 tablespoon, again depending on how much you’re making.

2. Grilled Meats

Espresso powder is not limited to sweet treats; it can also be used in savory recipes to add a unique twist. Imagine a savory rub for grilled meats, where a small amount of espresso powder complements the other spices, resulting in a flavor profile that is both robust and balanced. Experimenting with espresso powder in your savory dishes can lead to exciting and unexpected culinary creations.

How do you add espresso powder to a recipe?

1. Mix it with a liquid: Espresso powder easily blends into any liquid – milk, water, vanilla extract, beer, coconut milk, and more. In many recipes, you’ll find it mixed with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste before incorporating it into the rest of the ingredients.

2. Combine with dry ingredients: Espresso powder dissolves quickly in batter, so you can add it at any point. However, if a recipe like brownies requires mixing dry ingredients first, it’s practical to include the espresso powder at this stage.

Adding Espresso Powder To Hot Milk &Amp; Vanilla
Adding espresso powder to hot milk & vanilla

Espresso Powder Substitutions

While these substitutions may not offer the exact same results, they can still enhance your recipes in different ways.

1. Instant coffee: You can substitute instant coffee with espresso powder in a pinch. However, remember that instant coffee is not as potent or finely ground as espresso powder. As a result, the flavor may not be as intense, and the texture may not be as smooth. It serves as a decent substitute but falls short of perfection.

2. Strong brewed coffee: You can replace espresso powder with a cup of strong brewed coffee for a straightforward solution. Although the flavor may differ slightly, it will still impart a delightful coffee essence to your baked goods. Just keep in mind that the intensity may vary depending on the strength of the coffee.

Moka Pot Espresso In A Demitasse Cup

3. Shot of espresso: Another option is to use a shot of espresso as a substitute for espresso powder. This provides a concentrated dose of coffee flavor, adding depth to your recipes. Adjust the amount based on your taste preferences and the desired intensity of the coffee essence.

4. Cocoa powder mixed with hot water: If you don’t have any coffee available, you can create a concentrated coffee-like substitute using cocoa powder and hot water. While this mixture won’t replicate the exact taste of espresso powder, it will contribute to the complexity and richness of your recipes.

Remember, each substitution offers a different profile, so feel free to experiment and adjust the quantities to achieve the desired flavor in your baked goods.

Where can you buy espresso powder?

You can usually find espresso powder in most grocery stores, although its location on the shelves may vary. Sometimes it is placed near the coffee section, while other times, it can be found in the Italian food aisle. In some cases, you may even find it available in both areas.

Shop King Arthur Baking For All Your Baking Needs!

If you prefer a convenient option, purchasing espresso powder on Amazon is a great choice. The most popular brand is King Arthur Flour, and it is priced at approximately $10, making it super affordable.


How to make your own espresso powder at home

If you really love coffee, you might want to try making your own espresso powder. Super doable. Just follow these steps:

  1. Start with whole coffee beans, preferably a dark roast. My go-to for dark roast beans is Spirit Animal Coffee’s Espresso Roast.
  2. Use a coffee grinder or a spice grinder to turn the beans into a fine powder.
  3. Spread the ground espresso beans evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Put the baking sheet in a preheated oven at a low temperature for about an hour until the beans are completely dry.
  5. Once the beans have cooled down, use a food processor to process them until you get a fine texture similar to store-bought espresso powder.
  6. Congratulations! Now you have your very own homemade espresso powder.

6 Ways to Enhance Your Recipes by Baking with Espresso Powder

1. Enriching Chocolate Desserts with Espresso Powder

Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate and coffee? Adding a teaspoon or two of espresso powder to your brownie batter or chocolate cake can do wonders for the flavors. One recipe that I particularly enjoy is Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Espresso Chocolate Chip Cake:

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cake – Sallyโ€™s Baking Addiction

This espresso chocolate chip cake combines a soft and moist espresso powder-infused chocolate chip cake with creamy coffee buttercream.
Try this recipe
Espresso Coffee Chocolate Chip Layer Cake 2 1

2. Enhancing Frostings and Fillings

For a delightful surprise, incorporate espresso powder into your frostings and fillings. Whether you’re making a classic buttercream frosting or a silky ganache, a touch of espresso powder can turn a good recipe into an unforgettable one. For a delectable Espresso Frosting recipe, I recommend checking out A Food Lover’s Kitchen.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

This Espresso Buttercream Frosting is so decadent and lusciously creamy. Coffee lovers rejoice, this is definitely going to become your favorite frosting recipe.
Try this recipe
Espresso Buttercream Frosting

3. Creating Irresistible Coffee Flavored Cookies

Cookies with a coffee kick? Yes, please! The slight bitterness of the espresso powder beautifully contrasts the sweetness of the cookie, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors. Whether it’s a batch of chewy chocolate chip espresso cookies or delicate espresso shortbread, these treats are bound to become your new favorites.

Espresso Cookies

A simple recipe for chewy chocolate espresso cookies that you can make in under 15 minutes. Plus, more recipes to use espresso powder in.
Try this recipe
Espresso Cookies

4. Amplifying the Flavor of Muffins and Scones

Give your morning baked goods a wake-up call by adding espresso powder to your muffin or scone recipes. The aromatic coffee essence will add a delightful twist to classic flavors like blueberry, banana, or cinnamon. The earthy undertones of espresso powder perfectly complement the warmth of these classic feel-good breakfast pastries.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

These Espresso Chocolate Chips Muffins are moist and filled with rich coffee taste and sweet chocolate chips.The perfect breakfast for coffee lovers.
Try this recipe
Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

5. Adding Depth to Cake Fillings and Layers

By adding espresso powder to fillings like buttercream or cream cheese, you’ll introduce a touch of luxury and sophistication to the taste of your cake. So as you cut into each layer, the subtle coffee flavor will mingle with the other elements, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors.

Espresso Filling

Coffee lovers will go crazy for cakes made with this heavenly filling. Itโ€™s rich, decadent and irresistible! โ€”Megan Byers, Wichita, Kansas
Try this recipe
Espresso Filling

6. Boosting the Flavor of Bread and Rolls

Imagine the aroma of freshly baked bread infused with the rich scent of coffee. By adding espresso powder to your bread and roll recipes, you can experience this tantalizing combination. The coffee notes will enhance the overall flavor profile, making each bite an experience to savor. Whether it’s a batch of coffee-infused cinnamon rolls or a hearty espresso walnut bread, your homemade baked goods will leave everyone wanting more.

Latte Bread | Julie Blanner

Latte Bread fills a kitchen with an incredible aroma – itโ€™s moist + fluffy with a hint of espresso. This no yeast bread is a great gift, too!
Try this recipe
Latte Bread 3

FAQs About Using Espresso Powder in Baking

Are espresso powder and instant coffee the same?

No, espresso powder and instant coffee are not the same. Espresso powder is made from dark-roasted coffee beans that have been ground and brewed into an espresso, then dehydrated into a powder. Instant coffee, on the other hand, is made from coffee beans that have been brewed and freeze-dried or spray-dried into granules.

Is espresso powder the same as ground coffee?

No, espresso powder is not the same as regular ground coffee. It is specifically made from coffee beans that have been roasted, ground, and brewed to create a concentrated coffee flavor.

What’s the best espresso powder for use in baking?

King Arthur Espresso Powder

For baking, it is recommended to use a high-quality espresso such as King Arthur Espresso Powder. Look for espresso powders specifically labeled for baking, that are made from finely ground, dark-roasted coffee beans.

Are there any vegan-friendly espresso powders available?

Yes, there are vegan-friendly espresso powders on the market. Also, espresso powder is inherently vegan, to begin with, but it’s a good idea to check the label regardless.

How long does espresso powder last?

When stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, espresso powder can last up to a year. However, for the best flavor, it’s recommended to use it within six months.

Is espresso powder gluten-free?

Espresso powder itself is usually gluten-free since it is made solely from coffee beans. However, it’s important to check the packaging or contact the manufacturer to ensure that there are no additives or cross-contamination issues that could introduce gluten into the product.

How much espresso powder should I add to brownies?

The amount of espresso powder to add to brownies depends on personal preference. Generally, adding 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder to a batch of brownies can enhance the chocolate flavor. Adjust the amount according to your taste.

How much espresso powder should I add to a chocolate cake?

Similar to brownies, the amount of espresso powder to add to a chocolate cake can vary. As a starting point, try adding 1-2 tablespoons of espresso powder to the cake batter. Adjust the amount based on how strong you want the espresso flavor to be.

How much espresso powder should I add to cookies?

When adding espresso powder to cookies, start with 1-2 teaspoons for a mild flavor. If you prefer a stronger coffee taste, you can increase the amount up to 1 tablespoon. It’s important to balance the espresso flavor with the other ingredients in the cookie recipe.

Where can I find espresso powder in Walmart?

In Walmart, you can usually find espresso powder in the coffee aisle, near the other coffee products. If not there, check the baking aisle or ask a store associate for assistance.

Where can I find espresso powder in Whole Foods?

In Whole Foods, espresso powder is typically located in the coffee or baking section. Check the shelves where they stock specialty coffees, coffee flavorings, or baking ingredients.

Can you make espresso with espresso powder?

No, espresso powder is not meant to make actual espresso. It is used as an ingredient in baking and cooking to add espresso flavor to recipes.

Espresso powder vs. instant espresso – What’s the difference?

Espresso powder and instant espresso are similar but not identical. Espresso powder is usually more finely ground and can have a stronger, more concentrated flavor. Instant espresso is designed to dissolve quickly in hot water to create a cup of espresso-like coffee, while espresso powder is used primarily for baking and cooking purposes.

Conclusion: Discover the Wonders of Espresso Powder in Baking

Espresso powder can really change the way you bake. It makes chocolate desserts taste even better and can add an interesting twist to frostings and fillings. All you need to do is get some espresso powder and start experimenting with your baking.

Whether you love coffee and want to add that flavor to your baking or you’re just looking for a way to make your recipes stand out, espresso powder can do the trick. It’s easy to use and can make baking fun and flavorful. Enjoy the amazing taste it adds to your favorite sweets!

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
Kelsey brings over 20 years of hands-on experience in the coffee industry, having honed his craft as a professional barista in both Seattle and Santa Barbara. He is an accredited member of The Coffee Association of America and holds an active membership in The Baristas Guild. Beyond his practical experience, Kelsey is deeply committed to the academic study of coffee history and its cultural impact. Outside of his professional pursuits, he enjoys quality time with his family and shares his extensive knowledge of coffee through insightful articles on this blog.

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