A moist and flavorful coffee flavored cake with a rich whipped mocha icing. It's the perfect way to have your coffee and eat it too!
One of my favorite recipes on the blog - and one of the most popular - is my recipe for coffee cupcakes with mocha buttercream. It is incredibly moist and tastes just like a cup of coffee in cake form. The frosting is so good that you want to ask it out on a date.
Or eat it by the spoonful. Whichever you are willing to admit to wanting.
What I am saying is... the cupcakes are incredible. I needed to have the cupcakes in my life again. But instead of just taking new photos (which I am planning on doing eventually), I decided to see if it would work as a layered coffee flavored cake. It does. It really, really does.
It bakes up beautifully and is so irresistibly moist. When you slather whipped mocha ganache between the layers, the cake tastes downright sumptuous. The whipped mocha icing is just the perfect addition to the cake.
It's chocolate with delicious rich coffee undertones. Trust me when I say you will want to eat the icing by the spoonful. I might have done that a couple of times myself.
I use real, caffeinated coffee in both the cake and frosting. You can always use decaf if you want to share this coffee flavored cake with kids. Let's be honest though, it would be gone way before those tiny hands could get at it.
Now that my daughter is in kindergarten, I am realizing that for the first time in... forever, I have my days completely to myself to do whatever I want. It is almost overwhelming. As I type this, I am at my second coffeehouse (can you believe that when I started this blog I wasn't that into coffee?) and have been ordering things I don't have to share with someone else.
Later, I plan on going to a store and looking around. All without having a tiny person following behind me pointing out every little thing she wants now, for Christmas, and her birthday in April. After that, I might even go out to lunch at my favorite place that my kid hates so I haven't been there in years.
I can also have a huge slice of coffee flavored cake without any guilt or needing to make something special for her.
I can't believe I was really upset about her going to school.
Coffee Flavored Cake with Whipped Mocha Icing
- 3 cups 360g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup 56g instant espresso powder
- 2 cups 396g sugar
- ½ cup 98g vegetable oil
- 1 cup 227g milk, room temperature
- 1 cup 227g room temperature strong brewed coffee* (see note below)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup 226g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups 454g powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup 21g cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons 14g instant espresso powder
- 3 - 4 tablespoons 56g heavy cream, slightly warmed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, espresso powder, and sugar together. Stir to combine well.
- In a separate bowl, add the oil, milk, coffee, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk well until completely combined.
- Slowly dd the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing gently between each addition.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the baking pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
- Allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Gently run a knife between the cake and pan, then gently remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
- Beat the soft butter for the icing until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add in the salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Stir well.
- Mix together the espresso and heavy cream together. Slowly drizzle the heavy cream mixture into the frosting until it reaches a creamy texture. Whisk on high speed for one minute.
- Cut the two cakes in half to make four even layers. Slather the whipped frosting on each layer of the cake and layer the cakes on top of each other. Run an offset spatula on the sides of the cake to smooth the icing on the sides.
I made the cupcake version of these last year as my farewell to coffee before Lent and loved them. This year, we have several more people in the house, with everyone home for quarantine, and just baking and icing one big cake might save my sanity. I had that recipe written down and seeing the minor tweaks between the cupcake and the cake, I'm just wondering if they change the texture or quality of the cake much? I 100% don't mind adding the changes in my ever-growing recipe book in a different pen color, but just wondered if they could be baked exactly the same way as the cupcakes, just in round pans and with a slight bake time difference?
Amanda Powell says
Hi Emily! I’m so glad you loved them! If you loved the cupcakes just as they were, just use that recipe as-is baked in cake pans! I made a few tweaks to the cake recipe because I wanted it to be just a little bit different to the cupcakes so I’m not just giving you the same exact recipe twice. The cupcakes can definitely be baked as a cake just fine though!
Rebecca Fisher Curto says
Made this for my husband's birthday! I'm only an amateur baker but this turned out amazing- the directions are so easy to follow! Loved it, and will be making again! I added shaved coffee chocolate to the top which made it look so nice!
Thank you for the great recipe!
Amanda Powell says
Rebecca, this made my whole night! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Happy birthday to your husband!!
Alexandra Morphet says
Can you use Dutch-processed cocoa powder ( Droste) instead of regular cocoa powder for the frosting?
Amanda Powell says
Yes that should work!
I tried this cake yesterday , Unfortunately the cake was snelling a bit like Soda and cakes big dome in the middle and cracked ! not sure what went wrong. i used everything exactly as in the recipe.
Amanda, I love this cake. I made this for the office and it was a surprise hit! I have baked this at least 4 times and receive repeated requests for this very same recipe. Like other commenters suggested, I left out the cinnamon and nutmeg, and make this into a single layer 9 by 13 sheet cake. The batter seems watery, but it bakes up divine. The frosting is good as-is (though I've tried switching out half the butter for cream cheese, with excellent results). I tweak for sweetness as I usually do (by using only half the sugar in the recipe), with no adverse consequences. Thanks for a great recipe!
Amanda Powell says
I am so glad to hear that you enjoy this recipe! The cream cheese in the frosting sounds amazing!! Thank you for taking the time to come back and comment!
Kerri A says
Cake and icing are very good.
I would strongly recommend using 3 - 8" round pans or 2 - 9" or 10" round pans. My cake ran over and cooked to the bottom of the oven.
Allison Bothley says
Hi--love the cake. Can you please put up/provide the old recipe for icing.
Thank you! Allison
Amanda Powell says
It was 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream, 2 cups semisweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons instant espresso. Heat the heavy cream and espresso until boiling then remove from heat. Add the chocolate and allow to sit for 10 minutes before stirring to mix. Set in the refrigerator until it is completely cooled. Put in your mixer and whip until light and fluffy. It will get grainy if you over whip or mix the chocolate too soon when you add it to the cream
Can someone tell me -exactly- what they use in regards to the instant espresso powder and "strong brewed coffee?" I'm talking brand names and specific details. I know virtually nothing about coffee, but would like to make this cake for someone who is a bit of a fanatic. Thank you in advance!
Also, has anyone subbed cake flour for AP flour? I'm thinking I'll try that, too.
I used an instant espresso powder called Cafe Brustelo (https://amzn.to/2DkIfpw here is a link to what it looks like, but there are a ton of brands out there. I know a lot of people use King Arthur Flour instant espresso, but I think you can only get it online and certain stores (it's a bit expensive, too!). If they are a coffee fanatic, you might consider adding an extra tablespoon or two of the instant espresso! As for the strong-brewed coffee, I used Chameleon cold brew concentrate (https://amzn.to/2DjGHw9), but any cold brew, cold brew concentrate, or dark roast coffee should work! You can also use cake flour if you want. It should work just fine. I like the all-purpose only because it has a sturdier texture to hold in the moisture of the coffee, but I don't think cake flour would be an issue! I hope this helps!
Amanda, it looks awesome! So much flavors packed on this recipe that makes this simply irresistible, definitely having this on my table!
For a novice baker which do you think I should try first? The cupcake version or this? I recently tried to make Genoise cake and it was a fail! Struggled making layers
The cupcakes for sure! This cake isn’t too hard, but the ganache can be tricky and easy to make grainy (still tasty though). If you need any tips just let me know and I can help!
Oh ok! I’m curious how much to fill the cake pan? 1/2 - 2/3 full of batter? I don’t have a mixer ; will that be a deal breaker? Think I have an immersion blender somewhere. If not would using whisk be a no go?
If you are making the cake, you are using a couple of pans, just evenly divide the batter, you will use all of it. You can use a spoon to move batter from one pan to another if one is more full than the other. And since you aren't creaming butter and sugar in this recipe, you can use a strong whisk and be alright for the cake. As for the ganache.... you can try using a whisk (maybe starting with something stronger like a wooden spoon at first), but it will be quite the arm workout!
I only have (1) 8” cake pan at home! Recipe needs 2.. Another question - you think almond milk will be good substitute?
Well, the cake tastes an awful lot like gingerbread - not bad, but certainly not coffee-flavored. The "ganache" did not whip up and was grainy even though I waited the 10 minutes before stirring and let cake and ganache cool overnight. I followed the instructions exactly, but had to bake 40 minutes rather than 30. My oven temp was spot-on.
I was looking forward to reading the reviews for this cake as I want to make it. But just like so many recipe sites most of the comments, if not all, are gushing about how good it sounds and looks. I mean I will be putting a lot of work, time, and money in a cake that nobody else has baked. Sorry but, I've gone ahead and made a couple of recipes that were awful. I have been cooking many years and am told my cooking is very good so I'm not just starting out. I'll probably try it anyway. Can't you tell by this long comment that I like coffee? lol
Donna, if you scroll through some of the comments, there are a few reviews of the cake. The comments are paginated to help the site load faster, but here are some notes others have said: a few mentioned they had trouble with graininess in the ganache (usually this is due to not letting the chocolate and cream sit unmixed long enough), one or two have noted that the spice levels sometimes muted the flavor of the coffee, so if you are sensitive to a spice such as nutmeg, I would cut down or omit it!
The cake base is the same as my coffee cupcakes which do have plenty of reviews here on the site and on pinterest! I hope this helps! I understand how frustrating it can be when there aren't many reviews of how the actual recipe comes out (trust me, I am always looking at reviews for dinner recipes!), but unfortunately, not everyone who tries a recipe leaves a review and I have no way of "forcing" people. I wish they would as it helps me know what changes I could make to improve the next recipe moving forward!
Hi there, if I don't have espresso powder, can I use all coffee granules? Thanks.
Yes, that should be okay
Brianna Moore says
Hi! Beautiful cake! Would this amount of icing frost the entire cake or would it be spread thin as pictured?
Hi Brianna, If you cut the cake into this many layers, it may be tough to frost it completely. I'd leave it as two layers and you should be fine. To be safe, you can also try making 1.25 - 1.5 of frosting
To clarify, I meant you can make an extra 1/4 (take the frosting recipe and divide that into a quartet and add that amount to the full recipe) or 1/2 (divide the recipe in half and add that to a full recipe for the frosting) as opposed to just doubling the recipe. Of course, you can also double the recipe if that is easier for you. You will have extra frosting leftover for sure though!
I made this cake this week. It's delicious! My ganache came out a little bit grainy even with very patiently waiting, but when the cake is at room temperature (compared with when I take my tupperware of extra ganache out of the fridge to swipe a spoonful out) it's not noticeable. It was a crowd pleaser at my friend's birthday 🙂