The only thing better than classic chocolate cake… is chocolate cake slathered in mocha buttercream frosting! Instant espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor and gives the white chocolate buttercream it’s delicious mocha flavor. A must-bake for coffee lovers!
Mocha Chocolate Cake
It’s no secret I love baking with espresso powder. More specifically: DeLallo’s Instant Espresso Powder! In fact, I consider my secret weapon ingredient that makes almost any chocolate recipe just a little bit better. But up until last week… I had only baked with it.
But now, everything has changed! Glass ceilings have been shattered, my friends. Because espresso powder isn’t just for baking. You see, last week I went a little wild and added it to my white chocolate buttercream and OMG! It’s insane. It adds a rich, dark roast coffee flavor to the frosting that creates a mocha flavor you’ll instantly fall in love with. The best part? It’s so easy! You’ll literally just scoop 3 to 4 teaspoons of the espresso powder into the melted white chocolate, stir, and add to the buttercream. So simple!
- Cake Pan: This recipe calls for a 9×13-inch cake pan. I suggest using metal or aluminized steel pans, but ceramic or glass can work. You’ll simply need to increase the baking time, most likely by 5 to 6 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Parchment Paper: Preheat your oven to 350, then line your pan with parchment paper. I also suggest lightly spraying with a nonstick baking spray to ensure the cake doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Two large bowls: No standing mixer required for the cake! Instead, you’ll mix the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry in another, then mix everything together. No need to add the mixtures alternately, just be sure not to over mix!
- Wire Cooling Rack: You’ll invert the cake onto this and cool completely before frosting.
- Sugar: Granulated and brown make an appearance in this cake. Both add sweetness, but the brown sugar also adds flavor and moisture.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the only variety of flour I recommend using.
- Cocoa Powder: Dutch-process cocoa yields an extra dark and delicious chocolate cake. Regular, unsweetened, cocoa powder will work.
- Leavening Agents: Baking soda is used to give the proper rise and spread of this cake.
- Salt: Just a pinch both balances and enhances the flavors in this cake.
- Eggs: You’ll want to make sure you use large eggs, and bring them to room temperature.
- Sour Cream: Full-fat and at room temperature!
- Milk: Don’t get fancy here! Regular (whole) milk works best. Be sure to bring it to room temperature.
- Vegetable oil: Canola oil or melted refined coconut oil will also work.
- Vanilla extract: Always use real vanilla, not artificial or imitation.
- Water: Freshly boiled hot water works best. But the very hottest tap water you can get will work, too. It’s important the water is hot so the cocoa blooms properly.
- Espresso Powder: DeLallo’s Instant Espresso Powder, to be exact!
Making the Frosting!
- A stand mixer: Fitted with a paddle attachment! Or an electric hand mixer!
- Butter: For best results, use unsalted butter. But in a pinch, salted will work! Just be sure it’s at room temperature before using.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Aka powdered sugar! Sift it before use to ensure your mocha buttercream frosting is lump-free.
- Salt: If you use salted butter, omit this from the recipe.
- Milk: Again, make sure it’s at room temperature. Cold ingredients do not bond!
- White Chocolate: Use a premium white chocolate, and not white chocolate chips. Once melted, be sure to cool for 10 minutes. If added too hot, the buttercream will split.
- Espresso Powder: You know the drill, grab DeLallo’s Instant Espresso Powder and you’ll be golden!
Decorate your heart out!
If you’re a minimalist, no decor is needed! This cake is lovely and sufficient simply frosted and sliced. That being said, chocolate shavings and chocolate dipped espresso beans on top don’t hurt. And make the presentation absolutely stunning. I prefer to use bittersweet chocolate for the shavings, but any chocolate you enjoy the taste of will work. I usually add about 2/3 cup on top of the frosting.
To create chocolate shaving, simply run a cheese peeler over a block of chocolate. Or you can get fancy and make the chocolate curls from my espresso chocolate pudding pie recipe.
More Chocolate Cake Recipes:
- Best Ever Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Banana Cake with Espresso Fudge Frosting
- Super Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Chocolate Cranberry Christmas Cake
- 17 Chocolate Cake Recipes for Chocolate Lovers Only
- Triple Layer German Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (298g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (106g) light brown sugar packed
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (84g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup(227g) full-fat sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 cup (113m) whole milk room temperature
- 3/4 cup (170ml) vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (227ml) hot water
- 2 teaspoons DeLallo instant espresso powder
For the Mocha Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 and 1/4 cups (371g) confectioners' sugar sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons (42ml) milk
- 6 ounces quality white chocolate chopped, melted, and cooled for 10 minutes
- 4 teaspoons DeLallo instant espresso powder
- chocolate shavings for decor
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°(F). Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray pan generously - sides and bottom - with nonstick cooking spray, then set aside until needed.
- In a large bowl, combine both sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Use your hands to break up any large clumps, if needed.
- In a separate bowl combine the eggs, sour cream, milk, oil and vanilla extract; mix until completely combined.
- Pour wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. The mixture will be thick, that's normal. Do not over mix here.
- In a large spouted meaning cup combine the hot water and espresso powder. Pour the hot water mixture into the cake batter and let sit for 1 minute. Then gently whisk until completely combined; about 1 minute. The batter will quite thin.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached.
- Cool cake for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, flip right side up to frost.
For the Mocha Buttercream Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-speed until completely smooth.
- Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar, beating until all of the sugar is completely combined.
- Add in the salt and milk and beat smooth.
- Add the espresso powder into the melted white chocolate and beat smooth. Scrape the white chocolate mixture into the frosting and beat until incorporated.
- Once all of the ingredients have been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for a minute.
- Spread the frosting on the top and sides (if desired )of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if using. Allow the frosting to set for 20 minutes, then slice and serve!