I realize that I start all these recipes by saying it's the best thing ever, but I am only adding my very best things.

This frosting on a devil's food is my idea of the perfect cake. After years of doing this for a living, I am pretty caked out. But this, this I can eat forever.

Similar to the coffee-cinnamon shortbread, this flavor is hard to place at first bite, and just registers as awesomeness. I had a friend say, "Don't even tell me what I'm eating."

This is dead easy to make, and can elevate a simple cake to something truly elegant and unique. Because the flavor here is intense even if you don't amp up the flavorings (but you should!), it needs to be paired with a basic cake (chocolate and vanilla definitely work; caramel or coconut might too).

This recipe makes enough to frost a three-layer cake. That's a lot.


  • 1.5 cups (3 sticks / 12 oz / 340g) butter, salted or unsalted, room temp
  • 3 teaspoons (0.3 oz / 8g) espresso powder or about 4.5 tsp (0.45 oz / 12g) instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons (0.2 oz / 6g) cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoon (0.05 oz / 1g) salt
  • 3 teaspoons (0.5 oz / 13g) vanilla extract

  • 9 cups (39 oz / 1125g) powdered sugar, measured, then sifted
  • ~1 cup milk (8 oz / 260g), anything but whole (or thinned-down whole)


Beat butter for a few minutes until pale yellow.

If your espresso powder or instant coffee looks like granules, mash it with the back of a spoon until it's more like a powder. Add this, and the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla, to the butter and mix well.

Add sugar and milk alternately - there's really no wrong way to do this, as long as you scrape down the bowl once in a while to make sure everything's incorporated. You may not need quite all the milk. Stop when it's a good spreadable consistency.

Taste it and add anything you think it needs, until you just can't stand how good it is. I almost always add more of all the flavorings, although the above amounts will also yield a delicious result.


Sift the sugar or you'll regret it.

This will keep in the fridge (weeks) or freezer (months). It does tend to separate a bit over time - not a problem, just give it a stir before using.

Photo here.

If you make this, you know I would love to hear about it.

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