The Ultimate List Of Coffee Based Desserts: 15 Recipes That Will Blow Your Mind!
Having coffee at the end of a meal is a tradition.
Whether it’s a straight up filter, or any of the number of dessert coffees with alcohol, there’s something about a shot of caffeine at the end of a big meal that makes you feel ‘finished.’
This is of course true for desserts as well, so it seems only natural to combine the joys of joe with the decadence of dessert.
But not all coffee desserts are equal.
They range from simple to make, to complicated bakes. Coffee may add an accent note, or it can take centre stage.
We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best coffee dessert recipes, and there’s truly something for everyone!
Whatever your skill at cooking, if you need gluten free, vegan or low GI - browse through the list and you’ll find the perfect way to end your next dinner party.
The Marriage of Coffee And Desert (A Brief History)
Dessert is the course that is traditionally served at the end of the meal.
Although it’s usually a confectionary course, it can also include more savoury elements such as a cheese board.
It’s the way that most cultures end a meal - the only areas that don’t are some parts of Africa and China.
Coffee, meanwhile, only became popular in America after the Boston Tea Party, when the Sons of Liberty threw crates of tea into the Harbor to protest the Tea Act, taxation without representation, and ultimately, British rule.
With this, the usual drink of tea suddenly became unpatriotic in the USA, and coffee became the drink of choice.
A brew was soon the chosen way to end a meal.
When did the dessert course and the coffee course become one and the same?
We probably have the Italians to thank for that.
Their love of espresso meant they incorporated it into desserts such as tiramisu, which became an international phenomenon in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Coffee is a versatile ingredient. It works well with other flavors, particularly chocolate and nuts.
And with the invention of powdered coffee, it was possible to add intense coffee flavor without adding too much liquid.
There’s now an enormous array of coffee desserts. Keeping our list down to 15 was tricky but we’ve picked some great options for you.
We’ll start with simplicity and end with a classic - enjoy your culinary java journey!
Here They Are: The Ultimate List of Coffee Dessert Recipes
#1 - Affogato
If you have a craving for a coffee dessert, this one is the quickest and simplest to make.
Translated from Italian, Affogato means ‘drowned’. Iced coffee lovers will enjoy this dessert, which is simplicity itself.
Of course, there are always variations. You could add a shot of Amaretto, Bicerin or experiment with your favorite liqueur.
This gives the sweet and bitter mix a warming kick of alcohol.
How to make Affogato
WHAT YOU NEED
Put the ice cream into the serving bowl. Pour in the espresso. Enjoy.
Yes, that really is all there is to it!
Affogato is one of those incredibly simple and yet stunningly good desserts. Use great coffee and quality ice-cream and you have a dish fit for a king.
If you’re planning to finish off an extra-special meal you could add some crunch to the creaminess.
Use crumbled amaretti biscuits, biscotti, chopped nuts, or follow Jamie Oliver and the Food Busker’s advice and make a roast coffee bean brittle.
#2 - Cappuccino Popsicles
From the simple to the quirky. If you want to finish a meal on a fun note (particularly a summer barbecue) then let your guests cool off and perk up with a cappuccino popsicle.
They’re simple to make and have to be made ahead, giving you more time to spend with the people you’ve invited over.
This recipe is also made vegan very simply - just substitute the dairy for almond milk.
If you don’t like the idea of adding corn syrup and refined sugar, you could use agave nectar or another more natural sugar in its place.
How to make Cappuccino Popsicles
WHAT YOU NEED
Brew one cup of espresso. Add this along with the other ingredients into a saucepan and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well mixed.
Let it cool, then pour into popsicle molds.
They will take at least six hours to freeze, so are best made at least a day ahead.
#3 - Mokatines
Mokatines are fancy-looking little squares of coffee gateau.
Although the ingredients used to assemble it are pretty simple, making a Mokatine look perfect is a real skill.
Layers of genoise are sandwiched with coffee icing. The sides are covered in toasted almonds. The top has a barrier of coffee buttercream rosettes that contain a pool of coffee glaze.
These aren’t a cake that you make when you get an unexpected visitor; these are serious coffee cakes that are worth the time and effort they take.
How to Make Mokatines
The full instructions for how to make Mokatines would take up a blog post of their own.
With three different icings on top of the tricky but delicious genoise there is a lot to get right.
Rather than give you a cut-down version in the space available we’ll point you to the Bake Off recipe.
You can also watch this video, put together by Colin Starfish, which will walk you through the method step-by-step.
#4 - Coffee Macarons
Macarons are one of those classics that has been given a new lease of life in recent years.
Delectable little almond-y bites of sweetness, the plain kind has been reinvented to include fruit, nut, chocolate and of course coffee versions.
These desserts are also naturally gluten free.
This one has coffee in both the macaron and the delicious, mocha ganache giving you two opportunities to wake yourself up in each tasty mouthful.
Macarons are one of those desserts that seem tricky but as long as you follow the basic steps, they’re actually pretty simple.
How to Make Macarons
WHAT YOU NEED
For the macarons
For the ganache
Whisk the egg whites with the caster sugar in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Sieve the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl to make sure there are no clumps.
Then slowly fold these in to the egg white mixture. Incorporate the espresso a little at a time. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.
Use a pint glass to hold the piping bag to make filling it easier.
Cover baking sheets with non-stick paper or baking parchment. Pipe small circles onto them to fill them.
Macarons don’t spread too much when baked so you only need to leave a small gap between them.
When you’re done, tap the baking sheet onto the worktop a few times to help release air bubbles.
Then leave your macarons for 20-40 minutes, or until they get a nice crust; they should be dry to the touch before baking.
Watch this professional pipe macarons to get the technique right!
Preheat the oven to 150℃/300℉. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it comes to a boil, then remove from the heat and add your espresso and the chocolate (in pieces).
Wait a few seconds for the chocolate to melt and then stir until it combines into a shiny ganache. Leave to cool.
Bake your macarons for 20-25 minutes.
They should come off the baking parchment easily when they are cooked, transfer them (carefully) to a cooling rack.
When they are completely cool, spoon some ganache onto one macaron and then sandwich it with another.
Try not to eat them all at once.
#5 - Coffee Brownies
No list of desserts is complete without the squidgy perfection of brownies.
Served hot with ice cream for the full dessert experience, or cold with a cup of Joe, brownies make a great match with coffee.
This recipe combines chocolate and coffee, for a mocha hit of fudgey goodness. Throw in some chopped walnuts and you have a taste sensation to end any meal.
How to Make Coffee Brownies
WHAT YOU NEED
Preheat your oven to 375℉/190℃. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie. Sift the flour, baking powder and espresso powder into a bowl.
In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are fluffy and creamy. Add eggs to the chocolate and butter mixture and fold together.
Then fold in the dry mixture.
Finally stir in the vanilla and chopped nuts. Bake for 25 minutes.
It’s ready when the centre springs back when pressed.
#6 - Vegan Coffee Gelato
Italian coffee ice cream is one of those grown-up treats.
A rich combination with just the right amount of acidic bite to keep it from being cloying. Perfect to pep you up on a hot day, blitz into a shake or to end a meal on a cool note.
If you live the vegan life, then the only thing that produces genuinely creamy ice cream is coconut milk.
This recipe can be made with or without an ice cream machine, but it’s a lot easier if you do have one.
How to make vegan coffee gelato
WHAT YOU NEED
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, and warm over a low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Leave to cool.
Pour into your ice-cream machine, and follow the makers’ instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, don’t worry.
As long as you have a hand mixer, you can just remove the gelato from the freezer and give it a mix every 45 minutes or so until it’s completely frozen.
#7 - Mocha Meringue Pie
With a graham cracker (or digestive biscuit to you Brits) crust and a lush filling made with dark chocolate and strong coffee, topped with fluffy meringue - this dessert is definitely on the rich side.
Inspired by s’mores, you don’t need a campfire to enjoy it. In fact it wouldn’t look out of place at the swankiest dinner party.
Making it isn’t complicated, it’s just a matter of assembling the ingredients in the right order.
If you follow the steps below, you’ll have an impressive (and tasty) dessert to show for your efforts.
How to make Mocha Meringue Pie
WHAT YOU NEED
For the crust
For the mocha filling
For the meringue
Put the crackers into a zip-lock bag and crush with the end of a rolling pin until you have crumbs - alternatively you can lightly process in a blender or food processor.
Melt the butter, chocolate and nutella in a small saucepan, cool and then add the cream.
Pour this into the crumbs and mix well. Press this mixture into the base of a pie dish and put into the refrigerator.
Make the filling by bringing the cream to boiling point, and then removing from the heat. Add in the chocolate, coffee and butter (cut into small pieces first).
Leave for a few minutes to melt, and then stir until smooth. Leave to cool completely, then pour into the crust and return to the fridge.
Finally, get a clean bowl and whip the egg whites until you get stiff peaks.
Add the caster sugar a little at a time until it’s all combined. It should look smooth and glossy.
Not sure what stiff peaks look like?
Check out this video from Everyday Food and wonder no longer!
Retrieve the dish and add the meringue to the top. Use the back of the spoon to make rough peaks.
If you have one, use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue.
If you don’t, warm up your broiler and pop the dish under - keep a close eye to avoid burning any narrow peaks.
#8 - ‘Cappuchia’ Pudding
While you can eat this as a dessert, it also makes a great pick-me-up to start your day.
Packed with the brain-enhancing effects of coffee and super-food chia to keep you feeling full, Mocha Chia Pudding is an easy make.
Just assemble and leave in the fridge to come together.
Make it vegan!
Use almond milk instead of cow’s milk for a vegan version of this dessert. Unfortunately the almond milk doesn’t froth as well as cow’s milk, so it’s harder to get the cappucino look.
Let us know if you come up with a good alternative!
How to make Cappuchia Pudding
WHAT YOU NEED
The quantities in this recipe make an individual pudding, so if you’re feeding more people then scale up.
To make the pudding, simply combine all the ingredients and stir well. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, then return and stir again.
Otherwise your chia seeds may clump together. You can then leave it overnight.
When you’re ready to eat, just froth some milk and add to the top, cappuccino style. You can dust with more cocoa to give it the authentic look.
Alternative: You can always add yogurt, or a dairy-free yogurt alternative to top this dessert.
#9 - Coffee Mousse
A mousse dessert is a wonderful way to end a meal. Rich ingredients that feel light as a feather, you don’t need much to satisfy any appetite.
If you want to make your mousse a show-stopper then consider serving it in chocolate cups.
Not only do these look great, but the taste combination is a classic.
How to make coffee mousse
WHAT YOU NEED
Sprinkle the gelatin over the coffee and leave for two minutes to allow it to bloom.
(It’s a little different from a coffee bloom - read more about how and why you need to bloom gelatin).
When that’s done, gently warm the coffee in a pan or in the microwave until the gelatin completely dissolves.
Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Put to one side.
In another bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar for about 4 minutes with an electric mixer. They should look like salad cream when you’re done. Then pour in the coffee & gelatin mixture.
In yet another bowl, whip the cream until it is formed.
Then fold the cream, a little at a time, into the coffee mixture. When that is all combined, do the same with the egg whites.
You can either chill the final mixture in serving bowls, or return to the fridge in the mixing bowl and spoon it into the chocolate cups or an alternative serving dish when ready to eat.
Vegetarian or vegan?
Just substitute in your favorite vegetarian gelatin alternative. Read the packet to ensure that you use the right amount.
#10 - Coffee Profiteroles
Traditionally coated in chocolate and filled with whipped cream, these delicious little pastry puffs are not as tricky to make as you might think.
This version sees them filled with a coffee flavored cream and topped with a coffee icing, bringing a bitter note to cut through the rich pastry and cream combination.
How to make Coffee Profiteroles
WHAT YOU NEED
For the pastry
For the filling
For the icing
Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃. In a saucepan, warm the water and butter until it melts. Reduce the heat, then add the flour and mix.
Keep stirring until the mixture starts to come away from the side of the pan. When that happens, take it away from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Then mix in the beaten egg, a little at a time, until the mixture gets to the consistency where it will easily drop off the spoon. There should be about 2 tbsp left over.
Sound a bit complicated?
Watch Gordon Ramsay demonstrating how to make them on the F Word.
You can now put the dough into a piping bag and pipe out small rounds of choux pastry for each profiterole.
If you’re not that bothered about getting them even, you can just pile about 2 tbsp of mixture together. Brush with the remaining egg mix and then bake for 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
To keep your profiteroles crisp, puncture them with a knife or skewer to let the steam escape from the hollow in the middle.
To make the cream, simply add the coffee and cream to a bowl and whip with an electric mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you have stiff peaks, ready to pipe into the pastry.
Once filled, you can top the pastries with the icing. Simply make that by adding in enough espresso to make the powdered sugar the right consistency.
Too thin and it will run straight off the profiteroles!
If you want to make this dessert extra fancy you can pile the profiteroles up in a pyramid. Then pour over the icing to create a beautiful centrepiece.
#11 - Coffee Semifreddo
If you’ve never had a semifreddo before, it might be easiest to describe it as a frozen mousse.
Made with similar ingredients to ice cream, it has more of a whipped texture. There are lots of varieties of semifreddo, but of course we’re focusing on the coffee variation.
What makes semifreddos a great dinner party finish is that they can be made in advance and left in the freezer until it’s time to serve, then sliced straight from the freezer - freeing up your time as a host to be with your guests.
How to make a coffee semifreddo
WHAT YOU NEED
The best mould to use is a 1-litre silicone loaf tin. If you don’t have one of these, you can line a regular loaf tin with cling film.
In a bowl, combine the liqueur, espresso powder, egg yolks and sugar. Mix for a few minutes until well combined.
In another bowl, whip the cream into soft peaks.
Do the same to the eggs in a separate bowl. Carefully fold the cream into the coffee mixture, and then fold in the egg whites.
Finally, fold through the pieces of chocolate.
Pour the mixture into the mould, then freeze. It will keep for up to six weeks; if you’re not going to eat it straight away then wrap it in foil to protect it from freezer burn and flavor tainting.
To serve, just remove from the freezer and unwrap.
Cut into slices and garnish with chocolate curls, a mocha sauce or some chocolate covered coffee beans.
#12 - Mini Coffee and Walnut Cakes
Coffee and walnut cakes are a staple of any bake sale or coffee morning event.
There’s something classic and charmingly dated about the recipe but they’re brought right up to date in these miniature versions.
The flavors have endured for a reason; it’s a great combination and is often quoted as one of the best coffee flavored cake recipes.
Made with the best ingredients and served with a hint of retro-irony, these are the perfect end to a dinner party and hold their own in any dessert buffet.
How to make Mini Coffee and Walnut Cakes
WHAT YOU NEED
For the cake
For the buttercream
Preheat the oven to 320℉/160℃.
In a bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth.
Put into a 23cm/8 inch square tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the edge of the tin. Remove from the tin and leave to cool.
Using a hand or stand mixer, make the icing. Beat the butter until it softens, then slowly add the icing sugar a little at a time.
If it begins to get stiff, add in the coffee. When all the ingredients are combined, check the consistency. If it’s too firm add a little milk or double cream and beat again until you get the right texture.
Cut the cake into 16 squares (4 x 4). Then cut each square horizontally. Fill with coffee buttercream.
Add more to the top, and finish with half a walnut.
#13 - Japanese Coffee Jelly
Once upon a time, coffee jelly was found in many English and American recipe books.
Today its popularity has waned in those places, but is a big hit in Japan. Now you can be the first to bring this trend back where it belongs!
It’s a simple no bake dessert, and combined with coffee gelato makes a grown-up version of a kids classic.
If you want to find out more about Japanese Jelly, follow this link to Extra Crispy for an introduction.
How to make Japanese Coffee Jelly
WHAT YOU NEED
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and leave it for 2-3 minutes to bloom.
Meanwhile, gently warm the coffee and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat until the mixture is almost boiling.
Add the gelatin and whisk until it completely dissolves. Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate until set.
If you prefer to serve this the Japanese way, then set the jelly in a square or rectangular container and cut into cubes.
#14 - Cheese Board with Banana and Coffee Chutney
This one is for those of you who don’t want something sweet for dessert.
A sweet and sour concoction of banana chutney with coffee for added zip. It’s perfect to bring a bit of heat to mild cheese and crackers.
This chutney is made with xylitol rather than sugar, making it suitable for those trying to maintain a low GI diet.
How to make Banana and Coffee Chutney (no added sugar)
WHAT YOU NEED
Combine all the ingredients in a large pan and bring to a boil.
Turn down to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour, stirring regularly to make sure it isn’t sticking.
It’s important with chutney to cook it until the vinegar flavor no longer dominates.
Taste and adjust the coffee and spices to your preference. This will store for up to a week in the fridge in a jar.
#15 - Tiramisu
If you crave coffee desserts, then tiramisu is the one for you!
Perhaps the most famous of all coffee-flavored desserts, tiramisu layers coffee-soaked biscuits between layers of creamy filling.
There’s some debate about where tiramisu was invented, but it’s generally accepted to have first been served at Le Beccherie, in Treviso, Italy, in the 1960’s.
It is thought the inspiration was another Italian dish, Zuppa Inglese, which layered sponge and custard. That dessert was said to be inspired by the English dish, trifle.
As recipes are shared around the world, they are changed and shared.
There are now many variations of tiramisu, even some where the coffee is excluded in favor of other flavors.
Why? I’m not sure.
How to make Tiramisu
WHAT YOU NEED
Using an electric mixer or whisk, mix the egg yolks and sugar until they are doubled in size and leave a ribbon trail when folded onto itself.
Add ⅓ of the Marscapone at a time, and beat in well between additions.
You can add 2 oz of coffee liqueur rum or marsala wine at this point if you like.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they make soft peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.
Spread ⅓ of this mixture into a serving bowl. Soak ladyfingers in espresso, then lay on top of the cream until it is covered.
Repeat, and finish with a layer of cream. Put into the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Just before serving, dust the top of the dessert with cocoa powder.
The variations of tiramisu usually involve substituting something else for the ladyfinger biscuits.
Panettone or other yeast-based desserts are used, or cake is substituted for the biscuit to give a different texture.
What a finish!
Hopefully you can now see the versatility that coffee has when used as a dessert.
Whether it’s used to enhance flavor or it’s the main event, there’s no doubt there are a number of delicious ways to use coffee in your final course.
What do you think? Did we miss any coffee dessert recipes that you really love? Have you tried one of these recipes? Let us know in the comments below!