Guess what? Monday was my 27th birthday! Happy birthday to me!
I had made this rich chocolate mocha cake (yes, I make my own cake) on Sunday so I can post the recipe on my blog while it's still the weekend. Well, you know what happens on birthdays. You procrastinate and brush everything off with "It's my birthday! I deserve this!" and you find that nothing gets done. And when you're finally ready to be productive, you're already swamped with other things like work and nothing gets done. So here I am, few days late and welcoming another weekend, but better late than never, right? At least I'm posting this while it's still my birthday month!
To start off, preheat the oven to 338°F (170°C). In a small bowl, combine the cake flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, canola oil, sour cream, milk, coffee, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour evenly into two greased and lined 8-inch cake pans and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before taking it out or the cake pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.
After the cakes have cooled completely, slice the domes off the top. I like to be anal with this and use a ruler and a sharp serrated knife to create marks all around the cake before I start slicing. Is it a pain? A little. But is it worth it? Absolutely. You'll see you end up with two even layers of cake when you slice the final product.
To make the amaretto simple syrup, combine the sugar and amaretto in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Soak the cakes with this simple syrup using a pastry brush. At first, I was thinking of making the simple syrup using coffee since this is a chocolate mocha cake, but I have such fond memories of waking up to the aroma of amaretto coffee as a kid and had to use the amaretto.
For the coffee buttercream frosting, first combine the instant espresso and warm water in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Add the sifted confectioner's sugar, and once combined add the vanilla extract, concentrated espresso mixture and beat until combined.
Put a layer of the coffee buttercream frosting on top of the first layer of cake, then top with the second layer.
Time to crumb coat. Cover the entire cake with a thin coating of coffee buttercream, and stick the cake in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
Cover the chilled cake with the remaining coffee buttercream frosting and decorate with chocolate covered coffee beans and crushed almonds.
I used a variety of chocolate covered coffee beans. Some were milk chocolate, some dark chocolate, and some were dark chocolate with white chocolate inside. I also had bought some wafer cubes with espresso cream and crispy cappuccino cookies but ended up not using them.
This chocolate mocha cake is rich, moist and decadent. It's also the most visually pleasing layer cake I've made, thanks to my ruler. It's a pretty big cake to take care of when it's just Tristan and I at home, but I got to enjoy leftovers on Tuesday and Wednesday for breakfast. It really helped me get through this hectic week!
Want more chocolatey goodness? How about some cupcakes?
Chocolate Mocha Cake
- 2 cups cake flour
- ¾ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons amaretto, or water
Coffee Buttercream Frosting
- 1½ cups unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso
- 1 teaspoon warm water
- Preheat the oven to 338°F (170°C) and grease and line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the cake flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, canola oil, sour cream, milk, coffee, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour evenly into the two pans and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before taking it out or the cake pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Combine the sugar and amaretto in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Coffee Buttercream Frosting
- Combine the instant espresso and warm water in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the unsalted butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the sifted confectioner's sugar and continue to beat.
- Add the vanilla extract, concentrated espresso mixture and beat until combined.
- Slice the domes off the cake and soak both cakes with the simple syrup using a pastry brush.
- Put one cake on a turntable (or a plate) and spread some of the coffee buttercream. Top with the other cake and give the entire cake a very thin coating of frosting. Keep it in the fridge for about an hour, uncovered.
- Cover the chilled cake with the remaining coffee buttercream frosting and decorate with chocolate covered coffee beans.