What if you could have your beloved Café Mocha… in cake form? This Brian Hart Hoffman mocha cake recipe is nothing short of genius. He wanted to create the vibe of a mocha, but as a cake. (“Coffee, but make it cake!”) Using Nespresso capsules and their gadgets, which can brew both drip coffee and espresso (from capsules) in seconds, he achieved his goal. This cake has a silky, Dutch cocoa base crumb, made light and moist thanks to buttermilk and plenty of brewed coffee. (Brian likes Nespresso’s Vertuo Intenso.) On top of that goes a silky, sultry espresso mocha buttercream. The final touch is whipped cream, leavened with a touch of crème fraîche and high-quality vanilla paste.
It’s a dream (or, er, an eye-opener!) of a dessert, and one for which we’re happy to share the recipe below (and on the Williams Sonoma website).
The magical pairing of chocolate and freshly brewed coffee inspired this irresistible dessert from Bake from Scratch editor-in-chief Brian Hart Hoffman. “The beauty of caffè mocha calls for a cake of the same name,” Hoffman says. “The flavors of espresso and chocolate take center stage in this cake that I created to resemble the visual layers of the famed beverage, complete with the foam on top, or in this case, a vanilla bean-studded whipped cream.”
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 oz./185 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./300 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./180 ml) whole buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz/75 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./180 ml) brewed coffee, I used Nespresso Vertuo Intenso
For the chocolate-espresso frosting:
- 2/3 cup (4 oz./115 g) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./120 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) brewed espresso, I use Nespresso Vertuo Double Espresso Chiaro
- 4 cups (17 oz./480 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup (16 oz./225 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
For the whipped cream topping:
- 1 1/2 cup (12 1/2 oz./360 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 ml) crème fraîche
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- Shaved dark chocolate for garnish
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan with baking spray with flour. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, egg yolk and vanilla until well combined. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk together until smooth. Slowly add the brewed coffee, whisking until smooth and fully combined; the batter will be quite thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
While the cake is baking, make the chocolate-espresso frosting. In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate, cream and espresso. Set over but not touching barely simmering water in the bottom pan until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the confectioners’ sugar, butter and cocoa at medium speed until smooth. Add the cooled chocolate-espresso mixture, and beat until combined, smooth and the frosting is stable and spreadable, stopping occasionally to scrapes sides of bowl.
To make the whipped cream topping, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the whipped cream, crème fraîche, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla bean paste tougher at medium speed until medium-stiff peaks form.
Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving platter. Top with the chocolate espresso frosting. Spread the whipped cream topping onto the frosting in a smooth layer. Using a warm offset spatula, smooth the sides of the cake so that the frosting and whipped cream topping layers are even with sides of cake.
Garnish with shaved dark chocolate as desired and serve. Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) round cake; serves 8.