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.
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Butter a cake pan and dust it with cocoa powder.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.
- 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!
- 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.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Cake Pan. A round cake pan or bundt pan will work for this recipe.
- Stand Mixer. Makes it easier to prepare batter for a cake like this one.
- Measuring Spoons. An easy-to-use set of measuring spoons is critical in a recipe like this one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lucky you! Try it dipped with salty pretzels or graham crackers for a scrumptious, easy treat.
Because there is coffee in it, mocha cake does have caffeine. However, the amount per slice is minimal.
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.
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
- 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!
- 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.
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