If the thought of a Mocha Cake slathered in mocha cream cheese frosting and smothered in crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans sounds like a dream, then I’ve got the cake for you, my friend.

A chocolate mocha cake with chocolate frosting

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Mocha is coffee and chocolate living in perfect harmony.

Both flavors are able to coexist while somehow making the other taste even better.

The cake itself is majestically moist and decadent.

I can best describe it as a melt-in-your-mouth brownie sponge cake.

It’s my vision of the perfect chocolate cake with a grown-up hit of espresso.

Whether you need an impressive cake for a special occasion (this cake makes a fabulous birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day cake) or are simply in the mood for a mouth-watering chocolate-smothered cake, this is the recipe for you!

A slice of mocha cake on a plate with a fork

While I’ll never turn down a slice of Chocolate Beet Cake, Gluten Free Carrot Cake, Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, or Strawberry Cake, this mocha cake is the one I want sitting in front of me at my next birthday party…or heck, in front of me tonight for dessert.

After you try it, I’ll bet you’ll feel the same way too.

5 Star Review

“It’s the prettiest cake I’ve ever made. It’s absolutely perfect, and of course, no one in my house can stop eating the leftover frosting.”

— Ezra —

How to Make Mocha Cake

Mocha cake is made of classic chocolate cake ingredients that are elevated by flavor superstars like espresso powder, brewed coffee, and a decadent chocolate coffee frosting.


The Ingredients

  • Flour. A blend of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour keeps the cake light and fluffy. The whole wheat pastry flour also adds vitamins. You can’t taste it, so why not?!
  • Sugar. Helps yield a sweet, moist mocha cake recipe.
  • Cocoa Powder. Adds wonderfully rich chocolate flavor to the cake and beautiful chocolaty color.
  • Espresso Powder. For a deeper chocolate flavor.
  • Buttermilk. Creates a tangy, tender cake crumb.
  • Vanilla. Vanilla and chocolate were meant to be together.
  • Coffee. Making this into a coffee mocha cake amplifies the chocolate.
  • Frosting. Lightly tangy, richly chocolaty, coffee-spiked, and absolutely delicious.

Alternate Frosting

If you’d prefer to make a frosting without cream cheese, you can swap it for the frosting in my Instant Pot Cake recipe.

  • Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans. The final touch is an optional sprinkle of dark chocolate-covered espresso beans. The beans provide the mocha cake’s most pronounced coffee flavor, so if you aren’t a die-hard coffee lover, feel free to omit them or use chopped regular dark chocolate instead.

The Directions

  1. Butter a cake pan and dust it with cocoa powder.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.
  3. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake mocha cake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool, frost, and DIG IN!
Frosting in a bowl next to a spoon

Recipe Adaptations

This mocha cake recipe will yield enough batter to bake one 8-inch round cake or a mini mocha cake in a half-size bundt pan (I use and love this half-size bundt cake pan).

  • To Make a Two-Layer Cake. If you’d like to bake a full sized, two-layer cake, double the batter and bake in two 8-inch cake pans.
  • To Use a Larger Bundt Pan. For a 10-cup bundt pan, double the batter. You likely will need to adjust the baking time as well.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate cake in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze. Wrap cake tightly with plastic wrap, then freeze in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. 
Chocolate mocha bundt cake with frosting

What to Serve with Mocha Cake

A frosted chocolate dessert on a cake stand

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Stand Mixer

A workhorse in the kitchen, this stand mixer is worth the investment. With an array of attachment options, you can experiment with a wide variety of recipes.

Triple Chocolate Mocha Cake

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Do with Leftover Frosting?

Lucky you! Try it dipped with salty pretzels or graham crackers for a scrumptious, easy treat.

Does Mocha Cake have Caffeine?

Because there is coffee in it, mocha cake does have caffeine. However, the amount per slice is minimal.

What Can I Swap for the Whole Wheat Flour?

If you don’t have any whole wheat pastry flour on hand, you can swap it for an equal amount of all-purpose flour.

I do not recommend swapping any of the flour for almond flour or coconut flour, as they react very differently in baking. If you want to make a cake using these alternative flours, check out my Almond Flour Cake and Coconut Flour Cake instead.

Triple Chocolate Mocha Cake

Mocha Cake

5 from 2 votes
Super moist chocolate coffee mocha cake recipe, topped with mocha cream cheese frosting. Recipe includes layer, Bundt, and mini cake options.

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 1 hr 10 mins

Servings: 10 slices (1 8-inch round cake)

Ingredients
  

For the Cake:

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons, plus extra for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted and cooloed
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the Frosting:

  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee at room temperature or cold
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Chopped chocolate covered espresso beans for decorating

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly dust with cocoa powder a 6-cup bundt pan or an 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pan, tapping out the excess. If using a round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and dust with cocoa again.
  • Into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined and no lumps remain.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Then, keeping the mixer running on low, pour in the coffee and mix gently, just until combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure all ingredients are blended.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (either of the two pans will bake in this amount of time). Remove from the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, then let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Carefully invert onto a serving plate.
  • Prepare the frosting: in a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the coffee, espresso powder, and vanilla extract so that the espresso powder dissolves, then add the mixture to the bowl with the cream cheese and butter and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar mixture to the cream cheese. Mix until well blended. Add a little more liquid coffee or powdered sugar as needed to reach the desired consistency. Spread over the cooled cake. Sprinkle immediately with chopped chocolate covered espresso beans. Dive in!

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate cake in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Wrap cake tightly with plastic wrap, then freeze in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (of 10)Calories: 304kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 32mgPotassium: 175mgFiber: 2gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 197IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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60 Comments

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  1. happy birthday friend!! and the cake is the way to celebrate your birthday, no matter if you are 29 or 92. 

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERIN!!!!!!!  I don’t think there should be any age limit on baking for yourself–this cake looks fun and delish!  Have a healthy and fantastic birthday day!

  3. Happy happy birthday Erin! I hope I’m never too old to dig into a beauty of a cake like this! Candy and all. :)

  4. Happy birthday!! This cake looks absolutely perfect. Whenever I read Matilda as a child (which was a lot, since it was also one of my favorites), I always wished I could try that cake. Thanks to you, now I can!!

  5. Happiest of birthdays to YOU, pretty lady! This cake looks divine. I turned 28 a few months ago, and I remember feeling much the same way.  I’m a fan of getting older! But I’m definitely not where I thought I’d be at this age – and I’m ok with it. (Most days) Hope you enjoy your day!!
    P.S. A half-size bundt cake? Where have I been?! I need this in my life. 

  6. Happy birthday, Erin! I hope it’s a great one! And I’ll be making this chocolate cake for my birthday this year.

  7. I’m in chocolate heaven! This cake is fabulous! Have a Happy Birthday!

  8. A very happy birthday, Erin! There’s nothing inappropriate about baking your own cake. It guarantees you get what you want, and what you want looks supremely delicious. Hey, you’re never too old to lick the bowl or load it up with candy. Stay young, my friend, and enjoy your special day. Cheers to 29! 

  9. Hey girl-Happy 29th Birthday!! My Dad’s birthday is tomorrow and he’ll be 70 (WOW) already! Then my birthday is June 8th and I’ll be 38! Oh my goodness! Time flies!  I still love chocolate and I know I always will! I hope you have a great day and God bless you!! That cake looks so yummy! 

  10. Oh, Erin, what a lovely day for a birthday – May Day! I hope you get bundles of bouquets today! It is amazing what you’ve accomplished in your 29 years – give yourself a big pat on your back! When I was growing up, I always thought my mother was 29 (for every birthday); she had several friends who were “always 29” too! This cake sounds absolutely divine! Will make this for sure! Have a happy day and year!

  11. Happy birthday to YOU! What a wonderful post, and wonderful sentiments. I actually look forward to baking my own cake, because it’s doing something that’s just for me instead of for others! So enjoy that gorgeous mocha cake, girl, and happy birthday!!!

  12. (Continued): Darling picture, Erin! Great shirt! Are you at your favorite bakery? Looks awesome!

  13. Any age is perfect for this cake! Wish I could share a slice with you. Hope you have a happy happy birthday!!

  14. 29 is a good year, Erin. Enjoy it, and enjoy everything you’ve accomplished. No qualifiers.
    This cake is amazing, too. I want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Every day.

  15. I need an excuse to make this cake and now I definitely need a half-size bundt cake pan, too.

    Happy, happy birthday! Isn’t it crazy how much our dreams and lives change over the years? Kind of amazing, too, though.

  16. Happy Birthday Erin! I just turned 29 too! 1986 twins : ) Turning 29 was the birthday that I really felt like a grown up. Looking forward to enjoying this last year of my 20’s and all the excitement it will bring. Hope you have a great day celebrating! And this cake? Amazing!

  17. Happy Birthday sweet friend!  It’s totally OK to make yourself a cake especially when it looks like this divine chocolate one.

  18. Happy, Happy Birthday, Erin! I share many of your sentiments about life/dreams/expectations in  my late 20’s.  Thanks for sharing! And this mocha cake is to-die-for!

  19. YES to cake for breakfast on your birthday! Happy 29th! And oh my word, Matilda is the best book ever! LOVE Roald Dahl :)

  20. Happy Birthday! The cake looks amazing, I wish I could try it but it’s a bit tricky to bake while backpacking. It will definitely be on my list  for once I’ve returned home though. You have made me feel a bit better about my own 29th birthday this year, although you seem to have achieved so much for your late twenties. An inspiration! Have a fantastic day and enjoy the rest of your cake (if there is any left).

  21. Happy Birthday Erin! I don’t think one can ever be too old for a decadent birthday cake. 29 looks great on you girl! I hope you have a great one :)

  22. Happy Birthday! I hope you get to enjoy some of the haunts around Milwaukee. Maybe a trip to Colectivo for more coffee? Their coffee is always a special treat for me on my flights back to Minneapolis from Milwaukee. 

  23. Whenever you ask yourself, “Should I be too mature for this?” 99% of the time your answer should be, “NO!” and do it. The day you stop asking yourself if you should do this silly, fun, harmless thing is the day you become old. Enjoy your day and go for it!

  24. Happy Birthday, Erin! This cake looks amazing! You should totally have it for breakfast and there are no calories on your birthday!

  25. Not inappropriate at all to make yourself a STUNNING cake for your birthday! Happy birthday, sweet Erin!

  26. happy birthday erin! my 29th birthday cake was a funfetti cake with tons o’ sprinkles made by my husband. this year for my 30th (this past monday…yikes) he made me cinnamon rolls. not really a grown up bday dessert but oh well! :) they were super tasty. enjoy your day! (and i still have to go get my free starbucks bday coffee before it expires!) :)

  27. Happiest birthday wishes, dear friend! I am so blessed to have gotten to know you this year. You are such a gem and I have learned so much from you and your wisdom — including the idea that this mocha cake is the right thing to do for one’s birthday. I couldn’t agree more. xoxo

  28. Happy, happy birthday to you, lady! This cake looks like the perfect birthday affair: over-the-top and yet just right. I hope you have a lovely day!

  29. My mouth is actually drooling just looking at those pictures. That cake looks STUNNING, Erin!! Pinned :)

  30. Happy Birthday, Friend! I wish we could celebrate in person with a cocktail and this cake. It’s FAB. Glad you went over the top with it! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! XO

  31. Wishing you a very happy birthday, Erin! I will be turning 27 in June, and I really understand what you mean about the age. This cake looks perfect for celebrating!

  32. Happy Birthday Erin! That cake looks delicious! I love the espresso beans!!

  33. If you ever ever give up your yummy cake for breakfast that you experience with pure joy on your birthday, then that is THE time to examine your life. It would be a sign that it had gone a bit sideways. Happy Birthday! And what a luscious cake!

  34. This is such a gorgeous cake my dear. Happy birthday. I wish you all he best. You look so beautiful and young. Have a wonderful Sunday ;-)

  35. Congratulations on your birthday! With such a beautiful and scrumptious looking cake the celebrations must have been great! Take care, Carlos

  36. Happiest of birthdays to you Erin! I agree you never feel as old as you think you are gonig to. In fact, everything just gets better I think. It’s wonderful to see how you are living it up with this full on cake. Hope you are enjoying your birthday weekend :)

  37. Happy birthday! I love all the mocha goodness here, from the frosting to the espresso beans. I just got a bundt pan and I’m excited to put it to use :)

  38. Oh no! How did I miss your birthday?? Happy Happy Birthday! You share my brother’s birthday and my son Brian’s birth year! Hope you had a really lovely day! I can see that your breakfast was delectable, lol. I love chocolate and coffee and just happen to have espresso beans. I can’t wait to try this! Just remember that you are where you are because that’s where you are meant to be. Everything in God’s time, not ours. Have a delightful year! You’ve been delighting me with your creatively written blog and delicious recipes for a long time. Thank you, and again, Happy Birthday! God bless you.  <3

  39. Happy happy birthday Erin! I loved this post because I feel the same in so many ways. I will be turning 28 soon and now the big 30 is on the horizon, even though I still often feel like a teenager. I am proud of what I have achieved and yet still unsatisfied with those dreams that have yet to come to past. But at the end of the day, all I want for my birthday is a big huge piece of chocolate cake. Have a great day!! 

  40. Happy belated Erin! Hope you had a great time celebrating!! Love this gorgeous cake! It’s perfect!

  41. Happy belated birthday Erin! And what an incredible cake to celebrate with too…. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a good, rich and decadent chocolat-y flavoured cake.

  42. Made this for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious!  Moist and chocolatey, with just the right amount of coffee flavor. Thanks!!

    1. Wonderful Anna! Thanks for taking time to let me know and a very happy birthday to your husband too!

  43. normally I don’t like cake (too dry). I’m a brownie person all the way. but my husband likes “fluffy” cake, so I’m always looking for chocolate cake recipes for him. when I took it out of the oven it looked so good I had to try it and I LOVED it . OH MY GOODNESS, this cake was wonderful! it was so fudgy and moist, yet fluffy enough for my husband! this is the best chocolate cake I have ever made, and I’ve tried lots of them. I’m trying your snickerdoodle bread this afternoon. I’m sure it’ll be just as good!5 stars

    1. HOORAY Laurie, I’m so glad to hear it was the perfect cake for both you and your husband! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  44. hey I just wanted to say thanks for this awesome recipe! I just made a double batch as a layer cake for my friend’s birthday tomorrow and it’s the prettiest cake I’ve ever made — and of course I just had to level it and got to taste it too, and of course it’s absolutely perfect, and of course no one in my house can stop eating the leftover frosting. can’t wait to share it!!!!5 stars

  45. Hello,

    Is there a reason for the use of low fat buttermilk and cream cheese and also the pastry flour?

    1. Hi! Whole wheat pastry flour makes the cake extra tender and provides some whole grains. You could use all purpose flour instead. The buttermilk and cream cheese are essential to make the recipe turn out well; I chose low fat to save a few calories, but you can use regular buttermilk and regular cream cheese if you like.

  46. Can I replace the cheese with something else please ?
    I don’t want to use cheese as an ingredient/frosting

    1. Hi V! I haven’t tried to replace the cream cheese in this recipe, so I’m afraid I don’t have any specific advice to offer. However, you could try using the frosting recipe from this Instant Pot Cake instead. I hope this helps!

  47. 1. I’m not a coffee drinker although I love coffee flavored desserts. So I don’t have a coffee maker. Can I use instant coffee (such as Nescafé) instead of a freshly brewed hot coffee?

    2. I am unclear on the size of a “small” Bundt pan. How many cups capacity is that Bundt pan?

    3. If using round pans, can I use a 9 inch round pan instead of 8 inch? (Since 9 inch is all I have) Would this change the bake time or temperature?

    THANK YOU!!!

    1. Hi Deb! 1) I’ve only tested this with brewed coffee – personally I don’t love the taste of instant coffee, but I think you can still use it here. 2) It is a 6-cup pan. 3) If you use a 9 inch round pan, the cake will be thinner, so I’d suggest checking the cake early; you can keep the bake temp. the same. I hope you enjoy the recipe!