Serves a Crowd

Chocolate Espresso Cake

January 25, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

I’ve made this cake twice now for two different friends’ birthdays. The first time around, I made 1/2 the portion since there were only the 4 of us and the second time, I made the original version with the proportions below. This cake was not made to sit in my house, which is why I’m still alive to write about it; it is so heavenly moist and powerfully chocolaty that I surely would have devoured the whole thing in less time than it takes to make it, almost certainly resulting in my death. The coffee flavor in the buttercream is closer to espresso than to mocha and has much less sweetness than a typical flavored buttercream. (Adapted from Nick Malgieri's "Chocolate") —NakedBeet

What You'll Need
  • cake layers and syrup
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 5 ounces 72% chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • espresso buttercream
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 3 tablespoons finely ground coffee or instant espresso
  1. cake layers and syrup
  2. Butter or oil one 9? cake pan and line with wax paper just to cover the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, add in 1/2 the sugar and continue mixing. Add in the melted chocolate, then one yolk at a time. The mixture should start getting lighter in color, from dark chocolate to medium chocolate, set this aside. In a large, dry bowl, beat the egg whites with clean beaters until they hold a soft peak. Slowly add in the rest of the sugar, continue beating until the whites hold a stiff peak.
  4. Mix the flour into the chocolate batter followed by a quarter of the whites. Fold in the rest of the whites into the chocolate mixture and pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake the cake for 20-30 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan and then invert it onto a wire rack to cool further. Once the cake is completely cooled, cut the cake into 3 equal layers.
  5. RUM SYRUP: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup dark rum. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cool then add the rum. I only had white rum, but I’m sure the dark rum would lend a bit more caramel depth to the chocolate cake layers. Drizzle the rum syrup over the cake layers.
  1. espresso buttercream
  2. With a mixer, beat the egg whites and sugar. Over a pan of simmering water, whisk the mixture until the whites are hot and the sugar has dissolved completely. Take the whites off the saucepan and beat the whites until they have cooled. Add in the butter and continue mixing until the cream is smooth. Separately, combine the rum and coffee until the coffee has dissolved. Add this into the buttercream a bit at a time.
  3. Place 3-5 heaping tablespoons of buttercream on top of the bottom cake layer and start spreading it quickly and evenly. Refrigerate the layer for 10-15 minutes then spread more coffee buttercream over it. Do this one more time to get a fairly thick buttercream layer. Before putting the 1st layer back in the fridge, put the 2nd cake layer on top and refrigerate again. Take it out and spread more buttercream on the top and sides. Repeat with the 3rd layer and finish with a smooth spread of the espresso buttercream all around. Don’t feel the need to run out for instant espresso I found that the lovely bit of crunch from even the finely ground coffee lent a great texture to the buttercream.
  4. To complete the cake, you can leave the cake with the plain buttercream and decorate with nuts (I used toasted and peeled hazelnuts) or chocolate shavings, or a ganache layer for just the top part of the cake. (I used all three to delicious effect!)
  5. And the somewhat obvious....: This will keep refrigerated, preferably under saran wrap or in a cake box, but make sure to let it come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving (but don’t let it sit on top of a warm stove or in direct sunlight). Although the cake might cut more easily when it’s cold, the best experience of this cake’s flavor and texture require you to summon some patience while the cake defrosts.
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  • drbabs
  • Allison Cay Parker
    Allison Cay Parker

2 Reviews

drbabs January 26, 2010
Sounds delicious and looks beautiful! (You had me at dark rum.)
Allison C. January 25, 2010
Ohh, I just knew this cake was going to end up here! Good luck in the contest, baker babe. ;-)