A simple recipe for Chocolate Coffee Cake that comes together easily in just one bowl and bakes into a rich, chocolatey masterpiece! With every bite, you’ll get a forkful of decadent, moist, and tender cake combined with a thick, fluffy buttercream frosting. This is a treat no chocolate lover could deny!
This crowd-pleasing dessert is perfect for any and every occasion — birthdays, holidays, and potluck parties — there’s no bad time to serve Chocolate Coffee Cake!
Need more addictive cake recipes to round out that baking repertoire? Bookmark this gorgeous Butter Pecan Cake for next time!
WHY ADD COFFEE TO CHOCOLATE CAKE?
Plain and simple, coffee makes chocolate taste better. Not only does it enhance all those glorious chocolatey notes, but the addition of coffee adds a certain depth and richness to chocolate cakes you just can’t get with cocoa powder alone!
CAN YOU TASTE THE COFFEE?
Adding coffee to your chocolate cake doesn’t necessarily mean your cake will taste like a mocha; it’s mostly used as a flavor-enhancing agent.
However, if you want your Chocolate Coffee Cake to actually taste like coffee, there are certainly ways you can go about turning this into a reality, and you’ll find them down below!
In the recipe card, you’ll see there is an option to add 1 1 1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso powder to your brewed coffee. This will most definitely give your cake a little bit more of a mocha kick.
Another way to add more coffee-flavor into your cake is to spike the frosting. Sounds fun, right?
The buttercream frosting recipe calls for heavy whipping cream. However, if you’d like to use Kahlua (a rum coffee liqueur) in the place of the whipping cream, it will add a nice, lovely, little hint of java flavor to your frosting!
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE
- Prepare the Cake Pans
- Make One-Bowl Cake Batter
- Bake the Chocolate Coffee Cake Layers
- Trim the Cake Layers
- Make the Buttercream Frosting
- Assemble and Frost the Cake
HOW TO PREPARE CAKE PANS WITH PARCHMENT PAPER
Lining a cake pan with parchment paper assures you’ll easily be able to get those cakes out of said pans in one piece, without leaving any significant amount of cake behind.
However, before you line the pan, you should first grease the pan. You can use oil or butter for this task.
Now, on to the parchment paper! There’s certainly more than one way to line a cake pan with parchment, but I find the easiest way to do it is to lay the pan on top of a sheet of parchment paper and trace around the circumference of the pan. Then, use a clean pair of scissors and cut along the inside of your tracing so you do not mix any ink or led with your cake batter!
Another popular method for lining a cake pan is by using a folding technique. You can check that out here if you’d like.
ONE-BOWL CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE BATTER
This cake batter comes together very easily, and best of all, in just one bowl!
You’ll start by whisking the sugar, flour, cocoa, leaveners, and salt together in a large bowl. Then, make a well in the center of the bowl and add the eggs. Give the eggs a quick whisk with a fork, and add in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Use a handheld mixer on medium speed to bring the batter together, and take care not to overmix! You want this cake to stay nice and tender.
Now, it’s time to add a little coffee to this Chocolate Cofee Cake! Carefully add 1 cup of steaming hot coffee (the hotter, the better) and mix on medium-low until it is evenly mixed in with the batter.
As mentioned above, if you want your cake to have mocha-like vibes, add 1 1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso powder to your coffee before adding it to the cake batter!
BAKE THE CAKE
Divide the cake batter into the three prepared pans; try to get them as close to even as possible.
Place the cakes in the center of a preheated 350°F oven and bake for a total of 26 to 30 minutes. Be sure to check your cake at the 26-minute mark to prevent it from possibly overbaking.
Once the cakes are baked, set them on wire cooling racks for about 10-15 minutes.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE CAKE IS DONE
The cake is ready when the center of it springs back ever so slightly after a gentle poke or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.
HOW TO GET CAKE OUT OF THE PAN
If you’re a novice baker, turning the Chocolate Coffee Cake rounds out of the pan might feel a little intimidating. Here is the easiest way to do it:
Allow the cake to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the cake pans are cool enough to handle. Then, run a sharp knife along the edges of the pan to loosen up any cake that is stuck or attached to the sides.
Place a cooling rack over the top of the cake pan. Grip both the cake pan and the cooling rack together tightly and invert them. Set the cooling rack on the counter, lift away the cake pan, and peel off the parchment paper.
HOW TO TRIM A LAYER CAKE
Trimming the cakes before icing them makes for beautiful, even cake layers and keeps you from potentially serving a lopsided cake! So if you want your Chocolate Coffee Cake to appear level, you’ll need to trim that domed top off of each cake layer! The best tool for this is a long, serrated knife.
MAKE THE FROSTING
For a beautifully fluffy buttercream frosting, you’ll want to start with room temperature butter. And note, you can’t get a fluffy frosting without room temperature butter!
Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed for about two minutes. Then, add the powdered sugar, the cream (or Kahlua if you’d like your frosting to have coffee-flavored notes as well), vanilla extract, and salt.
Mix all of these ingredients together for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is well-combined, smooth, and fluffy in appearance.
HOW TO FROST CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE
Place one of the cake rounds on a serving dish or cake stand and add a couple of large dollops of frosting on top. Spread the frosting to the edges and then place the second cake layer on top. Repeat, and then add the top cake layer and spread the remaining frosting across the top and down the sides.
HOW TO STORE CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE
This cake does not have to be refrigerated and will stay good stored at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. Keep the cake covered in a domed cake stand or a cake carrier to prevent it from drying out.
If you’d like your cake to stay good beyond this point, you should freeze it. Although, it is best to freeze cake at peak freshness, meaning if you know you won’t eat it all, go ahead and prepare the leftover for freezing right away.
To freeze any leftover cake, press parchment paper or wax paper directly onto any cut sides to keep it from drying out. Then, lay the slices on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer until the frosting is very firm and entirely frozen.
Once frozen, you can wrap the Chocolate Coffee Cake slices in wax paper or foil and transfer it to a freezer-safe zip-top bag to store. The cake will keep for up to 2 months and can easily be thawed in the refrigerator overnight or if left on the counter at room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes or so.
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A simple recipe for Chocolate Coffee Cake - a rich, chocolatey masterpiece with a decadently moist and tender crumb and a vanilla buttercream frosting!
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee
- 1 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- 2 cups room temperature, unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (or Kahlua liqueur)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have ready three greased, 9-inch round baking pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and set aside.
Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Make a well in the center and add in the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated with the wet.
If using the espresso powder, stir it into the hot brewed coffee. Add the coffee to the cake batter and mix in on medium-low. The batter will be thin.
Divide the batter amongst the prepared pans and bake for 26-30 minutes, or until the center of the cakes spring back at your ever-so-slightly when gently poked.
Allow to cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.
Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and use a handheld mixer to mix on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. You could also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Add in the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt and mix for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
Level out any uneven cake layers using a long, serrated knife. Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or serving dish, and top with large dollops of frosting. Spread the frosting to the edges, and repeat with the second cake round.
Then, top with the third cake round, and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Serve and enjoy!