Decadent Chocolate Coffee Cake

I love chocolate cakes but more often than not, the cakes I have are dry and lacking that rich chocolate flavour that I’m looking for. In preparation of my dad and I’s birthday tomorrow, I was once again tasked to make another birthday cake. Kinda sad that I had to make my own birthday cake actually… but not really since I do enjoy doing it so I don’t mind 🙂

Birthday Cake

This is the first time that I tried making this chocolate cake recipe. I decided to modify the original recipe slightly so that it had more of a coffee taste to it. I wanted to make a coffee cake but everytime I google’d coffee cake, I get traditional coffee cake, and not coffee flavoured cake -_- so I kinda had to make this one up on the go.

Cake Layers

I was extremely satisfied with the end results. Despite the fact that my cake almost overflowed in the oven because the batter doubled in size and my cake pan wasn’t large enough, it all turned out well. The cake was very moist and rich in chocolate flavour. This recipe is going down in the books – will be making this again. It was sooo good 🙂 It wasn’t too sweet either so that’s a plus!

cake slice

As for the extra cake batter, I used it to make my Oscar the Grouch cupcakes.

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook time: 50 mins

Yield: An 8 inch, 3 layered cake + 3 cupcakes.


  • Butter to grease the pans
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • Dark chocolate coffee beans for garnish (optional)

Espresso Buttercream

  • 2 1/2 sticks (1.5 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • Brown food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8-inch x 3 inch deep pan. I only had one 8 inch pan whereas the original recipe called for two. I poured the remaining batter into muffin tins to make 3 cupcakes.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt into a Kitchenaid stand mixer mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and vegetable oil.
  4. With a paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients together on stir speed (slowest setting). Then, slowly add the wet ingredients until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Finally, add your 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee.
  5. Your batter should look super runny and soupy…. fear not! It’s supposed to look like that and it will turn out just fine 🙂 Fill your cake pans half way full as it will double in volume when it cooks, leaving the cake super fluffy! With the remaining batter, distribute it in the muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.
  6. Bake the cake for 50 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cake. The cupcakes should take approximately 15-20 mins to bake. I always recommend people to set the timer 5 minutes prior to the recommended bake time to prevent the cake from overbaking. Set the cake aside to cool, face down to help the top flatten out.
  7. While the cake is baking, prepare the espresso buttercream frosting. Whisk the butter on medium high speed until pale yellow or almost white in color. It should be super fluffy.
  8. Add the powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time and mix on slow speed. Add in your vanilla extract and espresso powder at the very end and mix until well combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl throughout the mixing process.
  9. Here’s where I hacked the recipe… The frosting is actually supposed to be more white than brown since there’s no cocoa in it. In order for the frosting to have that “coffee cake” color that I wanted, I used a bit of brown food coloring to mimic that coffee icing look that I wanted. I also saved some of the original (non-dyed) frosting so I can use it to pipe my rosettes after.
  10. Once your cake is cooled, slice the cake horizontally to create the 3 layers. Place the layers on a 10 inch cake board and set it on top of a cake turner to make frosting easier.
  11. Frost the layers in-between using an offset spatula and stack the layers of cake together. Add a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to make the crumb coat. This locks in all the cake crumbs prior to the final layer of frosting. Allow the crumb coat to set in the fridge for 30 mins.
  12. After 30 mins, continue frosting the rest of your cake. I decorated the top of the cake with a 1M piping tip to make rosettes, and topped each rosette with dark chocolate covered coffee beans. Either serve right away or store in fridge until ready 🙂
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