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This Chocolate Espresso Cake is a delicious layered chocolate cake where the flavors are brought out with espresso bringing the chocolate flavor to life. The perfectly easy and tasty cake to grace any dessert table.

Finished Chocolate Espresso Cake on cake stand.

When it comes to chocolate cakes I’m hooked. I’ve never met a chocolate cake that I didn’t like. Once you try this Chocolate Espresso Cake you will fall in love.

The rich bold flavors of the cake are brought to life with the use of espresso or coffee which adds just that much flavor to the cake itself.

I’m a huge cake person and always have been, especially when it comes to layer cakes. I love to make layer cakes, but I love serving them for special occasions.

This Chocolate Espresso Cake is one cake that we love to bring to family gatherings around the holidays to break up all the holiday-themed food.

Who can resist a chocolate cake amiright? This cake has been one of our go-to chocolate cake recipes for a long while now and I feel like it is absolutely perfect!

Chocolate and coffee go hand in hand together because the use of the espresso in chocolate desserts is not for flavoring but to bring out the flavor of the chocolate.

With this cake, we did want that espresso to shine through so you can taste the coffee slightly but with the chocolate from the cake and frosting, you have a delicious balance of flavors. 

Some of my other favorite layered cakes that we have on our site include: Lemon Layer Cake, Layered Carrot Cake and this Naked Coconut Cake!

Cake server holding up one slice of cake.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  • Being a layered cake this is perfect to serve for a crowd.
  • The espresso/coffee really brings out the flavor of the cake itself.
  • This can be decorated however you like, let your imagination run wild!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED (FULL RECIPE BELOW):

All-purpose flour
Cocoa powder
Baking soda
Unsalted butter
Granulated sugar
Brown sugar
Eggs
Vanilla extract
Espresso or coffee
Powdered sugar
Milk

Ingredients needed to make a Chocolate Espresso Cake.

HOW TO MAKE A CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO CAKE:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter with the sugars, and once they are combined. 
  3. Mix in the eggs, and vanilla. 
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl to be sure you have all ingredients combined.  
  5. Pour in the brewed espresso or coffee and mix to combine it with cake batter. 
  6. Evenly divide the cake batter, and pour into two, lightly sprayed, 8 inch cake pans. Gently tap on the counter to make sure all air bubbles are settled. 
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the rack before frosting.
  8. In a large bowl, or stand mixer, mix the butter with the cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Use the whisk attachment or electric mixer’s beaters to whip the frosting until it’s smooth and creamy. 
  9. Layer one cake on a cake stand or turntable and add ¾ to 1 cup frosting and frost. Add the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake until covered.
  10. Garnish cake with chocolate covered espresso beans or chocolate chunks, chopped into smaller pieces.  

Step by step photos on how to make Chocolate Espresso Cake.

WHAT DOES ESPRESSO OR COFFEE DO FOR A CHOCOLATE CAKE?

You’ll see a ton of chocolate desserts ranging from cakes to brownies and cookies that will use coffee, espresso powder, or instant coffee in the recipe. 

The coffee simply enhances and deepens the flavor and richness of the chocolate flavor. It is usually not used to flavor the cake and you usually can barely taste it.

It is a great addition to any chocolate dessert because of how much it really does bring out that chocolate flavor and I love using them in chocolate desserts.

DO I HAVE TO USE ESPRESSO OR COFFEE?

No, you do not have to use the espresso of coffee if you do not have any, do not like it, or simply just do not want to use any in the cake itself.

You can swap out the coffee for buttermilk or regular milk. Coffee is not necessary, it is just great when it comes to bringing out the flavor of the cake!

Slice of Chocolate Espresso Cake on white plate with another slice behind it.

HOW TO STORE:

This Chocolate Espresso Cake can be stored covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container like a cake carrier at room temperature for up to 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

This can be frozen, I do not recommend freezing assembled cake. This is best frozen once the cake layers have been made and you want to use them for later.

To freeze the cake layers let them cool, wrap them in plastic wrap then foil. Place them in a large container or freezer bag and these will freeze for up to 3 months.

Let defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then make your frosting and assemble and serve!

TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • The use of coffee in a cake brings out the chocolate flavor.
  • You can substitute the coffee/espresso for buttermilk or regular milk.
  • Decorate the top however you’d like, we use chocolate-covered coffee beans which can be easily found at your local grocer.
  • This can be frozen, see my tips above.
  • This serves a lot of people so it is a great cake to bring for gatherings.
  • Not a fan of chocolate on chocolate you can absolutely frost with another buttercream recipe.

Fork holding up a bite out of Chocolate Espresso Cake.

If you want that perfect chocolate cake that will be a showstopper at your next gathering then you need to make this Chocolate Espresso Cake!

If you like this recipe you might also like:

If you’ve tried this CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO CAKE let me know in the comments how it turned out! You can follow me over on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK to find some more of our mouthwatering recipes!

This Silly Girls Kitchen Logo
5 from 43 votes

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
This Chocolate Espresso Cake is a delicious layered chocolate cake where the flavors are brought out with espresso bringing the chocolate flavor to life. The perfectly easy and tasty cake to grace any dessert table.
Servings 14

Ingredients
  

Cake:

Chocolate Buttercream:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda, set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter with the sugars, and once they are combined.
  • Mix in the eggs, and vanilla.
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl to be sure you have all ingredients combined.
  • Pour in the brewed espresso or coffee and mix to combine it with cake batter.
  • Evenly divide the cake batter, and pour into two, lightly sprayed, 8 inch cake pans. Gently tap on the counter to make sure all air bubbles are settled.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the rack before frosting.
  • In a large bowl, or stand mixer, mix the butter with the cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Use the whisk attachment or electric mixer’s beaters to whip the frosting until it’s smooth and creamy.
  • Layer one cake on a cake stand or turntable and add ¾ to 1 cup frosting and frost. Add the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake until covered.
  • Garnish cake with chocolate covered espresso beans or chocolate chunks, chopped into smaller pieces.

Notes

  1. The use of coffee in a cake brings out the chocolate flavor.
  2. You can substitute the coffee/espresso for buttermilk or regular milk.
  3. Decorate the top however you'd like, we use chocolate covered coffee beans which can be easily found at your local grocer.
  4. This can be frozen, see my tips above.
  5. This serves a lot of people so it is a great cake to bring for gatherings.
  6. If you are not a fan of chocolate on chocolate you can absolutely frost with another buttercream recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 60g | Vitamin A: 774IU | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Baked Good, Dessert
Cuisine American

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5 from 43 votes (42 ratings without comment)

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This came out great! I did substitute the granulated sugar for brown sugar and it still tastes delicious. 🙂

  2. Ours came out pretty dry. I’m not sure what went wrong.

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