The Ultimate List Of Coffee Desserts: 15 Recipes That Will Blow Your Mind!
There’s something about a satisfying coffee at the end of a meal that makes you feel ‘finished.’ This is 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. Coffee may add an accent note, or it can take centre stage.
Yes, you could simply eat coffee beans like a caveman, but why would you subject yourself to such cruelty when could coat them in chocolate, or better yet, whip up one of these amazing recipes. It’s time to step it up – We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best coffee dessert recipes, and there’s truly something for everyone.
1. The Affogato
In Italian, Affogato means ‘drowned’. Iced coffee lovers will enjoy this dessert, which is simplicity itself.
- Vanilla ice cream
- A shot of freshly brewed espresso coffee
- Put ice cream into serving bowl. Pour in espresso. Enjoy.
Yes, that really is all there is to it!
It’s almost the definition of “minimum effort for maximum reward”, which just adds to the fall-in-love happiness that this dish delivers every time it’s served.
To finish off an extra-special meal, 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 (1).
Related: What is an affogato?
2. Cappuccino Popsicles
For a fun summer treat, cool off with a cappuccino popsicle. They’re simple to make and must be made ahead, giving you more time to spend with your guests.
Want to make this vegan? Substitute almond milk. If you don’t want to use corn syrup (2) and refined sugar, use agave nectar.
- 1 cup (250 ml) espresso
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 cup milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Brew espresso
- Combine all ingredients into saucepan and warm gently until the sugar dissolves and everything is mixed.
- Let cool, then pour into popsicle moulds.
Make them at least a day ahead.
Mokatines are elegant squares of coffee gateau. Made from layers of genoise sandwiched with coffee icing, the sides are covered in toasted almonds. The top has a rim of coffee buttercream rosettes enclosing a pool of coffee glaze.
Making a Mokatine look perfect takes real skill.
The full instructions for Mokatines could take a blog post of their own. With three icings on top of genoise, there’s a lot to get right. Rather than give you a cut-down version, we’ll point you to the Bake-Off recipe (3)
You can also watch this video by Colin Starfish, which will walk you through the method step-by-step.
4. Coffee Macarons
Macarons are delectable almond-scented bites of sweetness recently reinvented to include fruit, nut, chocolate and of course coffee. They are also naturally gluten-free. This one has coffee in both the macaron and the ganache.
So it all begins with whole blanched almonds from California – the world center for almonds – that are ground and mixed with confectioner’s sugar. Egg whites are whisked until peaks form and natural food colorings are added to give the macarons their subtle colors.
- 4 egg whites
- 75g caster sugar
- 225g icing sugar
- 115g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp espresso
- 1 tbsp espresso
- A pinch of salt
- 150g dark chocolate
- 125ml double cream
- Whisk egg whites with caster sugar in clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Sieve icing sugar and almonds into bowl to prevent clumps.
- Slowly fold these into egg white mixture. Incorporate espresso a little at a time. Spoon mixture into piping bag.
PRO TIP: Use pint glass to hold piping bag while filling.
- Cover baking sheets with non-stick paper or baking parchment. Pipe small circles of mixture onto parchment. Macarons don’t spread too much when baked; leave only a small gap between them.
- When finished, tap baking sheet onto worktop a few times to help release air bubbles.
- Leave macarons for 20-40 minutes, or until they get a nice crust; they should be dry to the touch before baking. Watch a video of a professional piping macarons below to get the technique right!
- Preheat oven to 150℃/300℉. Heat cream in saucepan until boiling, then remove from heat and add espresso and chocolate (in pieces).
- Wait a few seconds for chocolate to melt, then stir until it forms a shiny ganache. Leave to cool.
- Bake macarons for 20-25 minutes. They should come off the parchment easily when partially cooled. Transfer carefully to cooling rack.
- When completely cool, spread ganache onto one macaron, then sandwich it with another.
Try not to eat them all at once.
5. Coffee Brownies
Served hot with ice cream, or cold with a cup of Joe, brownies make a great match with coffee. This recipe combines chocolate and coffee, for a hit of fudgy goodness. Throw in chopped walnuts and you have a taste sensation to end any meal.
Adding the flavour of coffee to any chocolate recipe gives it an automatic boost. The two flavours were made for each other.
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- ⅓ cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375℉/190℃. Melt chocolate and butter in bain-marie (double boiler). Sift flour, baking powder, and espresso powder into bowl.
- In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and creamy; add vanilla. Add eggs to chocolate and butter mixture; fold together.
- Fold in dry mixture.
- Stir in chopped nuts. Bake for 25 minutes.
It’s ready when the centre springs back when pressed.
6. Vegan Coffee Gelato
A rich combination with just the right amount of bite to keep it from being cloying, Italian coffee ice cream is a grown-up treat. If you live a vegan life, the only thing that produces 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 have one.
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 shot espresso
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine ingredients in saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Leave to cool.
- Pour into ice cream machine, and follow makers’ instructions.
- If you don’t have an ice cream machine, remove gelato from freezer every 30-45 minutes, and beat with a hand mixer. Repeat until completely frozen.
Alternatives: Add ½ cup dark chocolate chips for an extra-indulgent dessert. If you are looking to cut out refined sugar, substitute an equivalent amount of agave nectar.
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7. Mocha Meringue Pie
Inspired by s’mores, you don’t need a campfire to enjoy this. 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.
- 9 whole graham crackers (about 150g)
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp Nutella
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp finely ground coffee
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ cup sugar
- Put crackers into zip-lock bag and crush into crumbs with end of rolling pin; alternatively, lightly process in a blender or food processor.
- Melt butter, chocolate, and Nutella in a small saucepan. Cool and add cream.
- Pour mixture into crumbs and mix well. Press into base of pie dish and chill 30 minutes.
- Make the filling: bring cream to boiling point, then remove from heat. Add chocolate, coffee, and butter.
- Leave for a few minutes to melt, then stir until smooth. Let cool completely, then pour into crust and return to fridge.
- Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.
PRO TIP: Your bowl must be scrupulously clean and dry or egg whites will not whip. A pinch of cream of tartar will help egg whites stiffen.
- Add caster sugar a little at a time until combined. It should look smooth and glossy. Not sure what stiff peaks look like?Check out a video from Everyday Food below and wonder no longer!
- Add meringue to top of pie filling. Use back of spoon to make rough peaks.
- If you have one, use a kitchen torch to brown meringue. If not, place pie under preheated broiler – keep a close watch to avoid burning.
Alternative: Top with whipped cream for a mocha cream pie.
8. ‘Cappuchia’ Pudding
This dessert also makes a great pick-me-up to start your day. Packed with the brain-enhancing effects of coffee and super-food chia (4) to keep you feeling full, Mocha Chia Pudding is easy to make.
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 cappuccino look.
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp cocoa
- ½ tsp espresso powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup milk
The quantities in this recipe make one serving, but it scales up easily.
- Combine all ingredients and stir well. Chill for 10 minutes, then stir to prevent chia seeds from clumping. Let it rest overnight.
- To serve, froth milk and add to the top, cappuccino style. You can dust with cocoa to give it the authentic look.
Alternative:Top with yoghurt, or a dairy-free yoghurt alternative.
9. Coffee Mousse
A mousse 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. To make your mousse a show-stopper, consider serving it in chocolate cups. Not only do these look great, but the taste combination is classic.
- 4 tsp gelatin
- ⅔ cup espresso (cooled)
- 4 eggs, separated
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Sprinkle gelatin over coffee and let stand two minutes to bloom. (It’s a little different from a coffee bloom – (5)
- Gently warm coffee in pan or microwave until gelatin completely dissolves.
- Beat egg whites in clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Put to one side.
- In another bowl, mix egg yolks and sugar for about 4 minutes with an electric mixer until pale and lemon-coloured. Add coffee and gelatin mixture.
- Whip cream until soft peaks.
PRO TIP: Cream whips more effectively when cream, whisk, and bowl are all ice-cold.
- Fold cream, a little at a time, into coffee mixture, turning bowl slightly with each fold. When combined, repeat with beaten 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? Substitute your favourite 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 uses a coffee flavoured cream and a coffee icing, bringing a bitter note to cut through the rich pastry and cream combination.
- 60g of unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅔ cup plain flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 6 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2 tbsp espresso (approximate)
- Preheat oven to 400℉/200℃. In a saucepan, warm water and butter until it melts. Reduce heat, then add flour and mix.
- Keep stirring until mixture starts to come away from side of pan. Then remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Then mix in beaten egg, a little at a time, until mixture will easily drop off the spoon. There should be about 2 tbsp egg left over.
Sound a bit complicated?
Watch Gordon Ramsay demonstrate 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.
PRO TIP: 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, 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!
To make this dessert extra fancy, pile the profiteroles up in a pyramid. Then pour the icing over it to create a beautiful centrepiece.
11. Coffee Semifreddo
This Italian dessert is a kind of frozen mousse. While similar to ice cream, it has more of a whipped texture. There are many varieties of semifreddo, but of course, we’re focusing on the coffee variation.
Make this ahead and enjoy time with your guests.
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 1 tbsp coffee liqueur (Tia Maria, Kahlua or similar)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 100g caster sugar
- 300ml heavy cream
- 100g chocolate honeycomb, finely chopped
The best mould to use is a 1-litre (1-quart) silicone loaf pan. If you don’t have one of these, you can line a regular loaf tin with cling film.
- In a bowl, combine liqueur, espresso powder, egg yolks, and sugar. Mix until well combined.
- In another bowl, whip cream into soft peaks.
- Beat egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Carefully fold cream into coffee mixture, then fold in egg whites.
- Fold pieces of chocolate through mixture.
- Pour mixture into mould, then freeze. It will keep for up to six weeks; if you’re not going to serve immediately, wrap in foil to protect from freezer burn and flavour taint.
To serve, 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
There’s something classic and charmingly vintage about coffee and walnut cakes but they’re brought right up to date in these miniature versions.
The flavours have endured for a reason: it’s often mentioned as one of the best coffee flavoured cake recipes. (Note that most coffee cake recipes are meant to be served with coffee, not made with it.
“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child
- Walnut halves, for decoration
- 170 g butter
- 170 g sugar
- 170 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp instant espresso in 1 tbsp water
- 170 g unsalted butter
- 340 g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp instant espresso in 1 tbsp water
- 170 g unsalted butter
- 340 g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp espresso powder in 1 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 160℃.
- In a bowl, combine all cake ingredients and mix by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Put into 23cm square tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake starts to pull away from edge of tin. Remove from tin and let cool.
- Using hand or stand mixer, make icing. Beat butter until it softens, then slowly add icing sugar.
- If it begins to get stiff, add coffee. When all ingredients are combined, check consistency. If it’s too firm, add a little milk or double cream and beat again until you get the right texture.
- Cut cake into 16 squares (4 x 4). Then cut each square horizontally. Fill with coffee cream. Add more to top, then 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!
This is the Japanese version of the regular coffee jelly recipe.
- 2 cups of coffee
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp gelatin (or an equivalent amount of vegetarian gelatin)
- 4 tbsp water
- Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let bloom for 2-3 minutes.
- Warm coffee and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, then raise heat until the mixture is almost boiling.
- Add gelatin and whisk until completely dissolved. 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
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 (6)
- 3 bananas, sliced
- 2 apples, diced
- 200g prunes, cut into chunks
- 200ml apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp espresso powder
- 100ml apple juice
- 200ml water
- 1 tsp Xylitol
- 1 tsp ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp horseradish, finely grated
- ½ tsp red chilli, finely chopped
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a large pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about an hour, stirring regularly to prevent sticking.
It’s important with chutney to cook it until the vinegar flavour no longer dominates.
- Taste and adjust the coffee and spices to your preference.
This will store for up to a week refrigerated in a jar.
Perhaps the most famous of all coffee desserts, tiramisu layers coffee-soaked biscuits between layers of creamy filling.
Tiramisu is generally accepted to have first been served at Le Beccherie, in Treviso, Italy, in the 1960s. The inspiration is thought to be another Italian dish, Zuppa Inglese, layers of sponge and custard. That dessert was said to be inspired by the English dish, trifle.
There are now many variations of tiramisu, even some in which the coffee is excluded in favor of other flavours.
Why? I’m not sure.
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 340 g mascarpone
- 4 egg whites
- 12-14 ladyfinger biscuits
- 1 ½ cups espresso, cooled
- Cocoa powder
- Using electric mixer or whisk, mix egg yolks and sugar until doubled in size and leave a ribbon trail when folded onto itself.
- Add ⅓ of the Marscapone at a time, and beat well between additions.
PRO TIP: You can add 60 ml of coffee liqueur, rum or Marsala wine at this point if you like.
- In separate bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks. Carefully fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture.
- Spread one-third of mixture into serving bowl. Soak ladyfingers in espresso, then lay on top of the cream until covered.
- Repeat, finishing with a layer of cream. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Just before serving, dust top of dessert with cocoa powder.
Whether used to enhance flavour or as the main event, you can now see the versatility that coffee has when used as a dessert. If you’re hungry for more more coffee recipes, visit this page and start creating. For something a little more spicy, check out our coffee cocktails recipe list here.
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