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Chocolate Espresso Cake

5 from 11 votes

Rich, moist, dark chocolate espresso cake is topped with a thick mocha frosting in this show stopping fancy coffee dessert recipe.

Mocha Chocolate Cake Recipe

The best chocolate espresso cake

If you are a chocolate and coffee lover, this is the cake for you.

Filled with bold coffee flavor, the decadent double chocolate cake is a fantastic option for elegant dinner parties, fancy birthday parties, or any time you wish to celebrate.

Homemade mocha frosting takes it over the top in deliciousness, or you can frost the cake with white chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, or even caramel frosting instead.

Also make this Chocolate Mug Cake

Frosted Espresso Chocolate Layer Cake

Easy dark chocolate espresso cake ingredients

The recipe calls for flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, brewed espresso, water, salt, baking soda, applesauce or yogurt, granulated sweetener or sugar (unrefined if desired), vegetable or coconut oil or almond butter, and optional mini chocolate chips.

With no eggs in the batter, this simple cake is already naturally vegan as long as you use applesauce or dairy free yogurt and a plant based frosting.

For a flourless, sugar free, and gluten free espresso cake, use the keto chocolate cake recipe mentioned below, replacing water with an equal amount of brewed espresso.

Still craving coffee? Make this Frappuccino Recipe

Above, watch the video on how to make a chocolate espresso cake

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake

How to make the chocolate coffee cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two eight inch square or round baking pans or one nine by thirteen inch rectangular pan.

Stir the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, sugar, and optional chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk all of the liquid ingredients, including the espresso, in a separate bowl. Then pour this mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until just evenly mixed, because overmixed cakes can turn out gummy and dense.

Divide the cake batter evenly into the prepared pans. If you have a food scale, each baking pan should hold around 550 grams of coffee chocolate cake batter.

Bake the pans next to each other on the center rack of the oven for twenty five minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out mostly clean.

Let the cakes cool before going around the sides with a knife. Invert each onto a large plate. For a double layer espresso cake, frost each layer separately before placing one on top of the other and frosting the sides and top.

You might also like Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Chocolate Coffee Cake

Mocha buttercream frosting recipe

Feel free to use any frosting you wish for this chocolate espresso cake.

If you want to make it exactly like I did, use this Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, and add half a teaspoon of instant coffee, or use brewed espresso (or Bailey’s or Kahlua) instead of the milk.

The cake also tastes wonderful with plain chocolate frosting and raspberry preserves spread in between each layer. Or try a vanilla bean or banana cinnamon buttercream.

If you need inspiration, look up the Starbucks coffee drink menu to create your own favorite coffee dessert flavor. Peppermint mocha espresso cake? Yes, please.

Chocolate Covered Katie Chocolate Coffee Cake

Espresso cake decoration ideas

Decorate your layered mocha cake with chopped hazelnuts, crushed walnuts or almonds, cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, or chocolate covered coffee beans.

Nutella lovers can top the cake with store bought or Homemade Nutella.

Pipe the frosting with a star tip, sprinkle on some chocolate curls or add a border of three ingredient Chocolate Truffles. Your guests will think the chocolate espresso layer cake came straight from a fancy Italian bakery.

Espresso Cake With Mocha Buttercream Icing
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Chocolate Espresso Cake

Dark chocolate espresso cake is topped with thick mocha frosting in this show stopping fancy dessert recipe.
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 2 cakes, or 1 double-layer cake
5 from 11 votes


  • 2 cups spelt or white flour (for low carb, try this Keto Cake Recipe)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp each: salt and baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar, or granulated erythritol for low sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup espresso
  • 1/2 cup applesauce or yogurt of choice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil, or almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
  • frosting of choice, or the mocha buttercream frosting above


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-inch pans or line the bottoms with parchment paper. Stir all dry ingredients in a large bowl. If using almond butter, gently warm it up until easy to stir. Whisk remaining ingredients, then combine everything until just evenly mixed. Divide the batter evenly into the pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out mostly clean. Let cool, then go around the sides of the espresso cakes with a knife before inverting each onto a large plate. Frost separately, then place one cake on top of the other and ice the sides and top. Frosting options are included above.
    View Nutrition Facts


Readers also love this Vegan Chocolate Mousse.

Have you made this recipe?

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Published on September 27, 2023

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    • CCK Media Team says

      Sure! It has a stronger flavor than almond butter, so as long as that’s what you are going for then it will be fine 🙂

  1. Sandra says

    5 stars
    Fabulously moist and delicious, also very easy to make. We used freshly brewed coffee and we still couldn’t taste much coffee, since we used coconut oil which is quite a strong flavour. Next time I think we may leave out the water & replace it with instant coffee to get more of a coffee kick.
    This cake is a winner, I def will be making it again!

    • CCK Media Team says

      Thank you so much for trying it! You can actually also add instant coffee granules directly to the cake, no need to dissolve them 🙂

      • Martha says

        At what stage of the batter building would you add instant coffee granules directly to the cake?
        And what would the instant coffee granules be replacing, if anything?
        Thank you.

        • CCK Media Team says

          They are in addition to everything else and can be added with the flour. Instant coffee granules can always be added to cakes and baked goods this way, and it’s a great way to easily add coffee flavor 🙂

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