chocolate cake with mocha buttercream

"HE LIKES IT! Hey Mikey Hubby!" (For those of you of a certain vintage, you'll remember the wonderful LIFE cereal ad campaign.) I wanted to yell that when The I-Don't-Like-Sweets Hubs ate the cake. I can count on one hand when he's had seconds for dessert, and this was one of those rare times.

It is a testament to how good this cake is. It is perfectly moist and not overly chocolatey (though for some of you out there, there is no such thing as too much chocolate). It's a kind of cake filled with nostalgia. I picture being in the mid-1950's, with school kids coming home and eating a slice for snack, with a huge glass of whole milk. The mocha buttercream modernizes it, though The Daughter was yammering on about how it'd be better with vanilla. Whichever way you choose to frost it, this cake is a definite winner.

Special thanks to The Maine Friend (hi Weez!) who clued me in to this recipe with me. It's Ina's, who, I have an inkling, probably based it off of Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake, with the substitutions of buttermilk (for milk) and hot coffee (for boiling water).

 After sifting the dry ingredients and pouring the mixture into a bowl,

 you add the buttermilk mixture, followed by some coffee.

The Daughter frosted.

We devoured. We loved.

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream
slightly adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Home

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Mocha Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.


  1. Don't you love it when you can win over The Hubby? Mine actually ate three slices of my Vegan Peanut Butter Pie! :-)


    1. oh yes. he actually prides himself on not eating sweets. i'm trying my best to convert him.

  2. Glad that you (and the hubby) enjoyed the cake! Isn't the frosting a dream to spread? It's due, I'm sure, to the fact that it is a BUTTERcream frosting. Too often I try to frost a cake and a piece of the cake pulls off as I try to spread. We're re-celebrating my niece's birthday next Monday (her actual b-day is 12-26) and I'll be making the cake. She wants "banilla" (that is, vanilla) in the shape of a flower, (I have a daisy pan) with pink icing and sprinkles. Should be fun!

    1. Yes, it was a good spread. Thanks SO much for pointing me to this recipe. Do you have a good go-to vanilla cake recipe? I use one from Silver Palate that calls for white wine...

  3. Absolutely gorgeous cake! I love chocolate and that frosting...*swoon*

  4. This was posted on my husband's birthday! He would have loved to have this cake - although he liked the chocolate/ chocolate one I made... this just seems so fitting! I would love to make a mocha frosting, but I'm allergic to uncooked egg. Do you know of any others? Any way to substitute? While I love my husband dearly, I'm not making a delicious cake for him that i can't eat!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...