Chocolate Espresso Cake

by Linda Capeloto Sendowski on December 12, 2009

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake

Rich, dark, moist with an intense chocolate flavor, this cake is always popular.  It is a large enough cake to serve 12-16 people and is a good choice to serve as part of a dessert buffet.  I have given the recipe to many people and often take it to friend’s homes as my contribution to a dinner party.

3 cups  flour

1 cup cocoa powder

3 teaspoons  baking powder

1 and 1/2 teaspoon  baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (Medaglia de Oro)

2 and ¼ sticks unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

2 and 2/3 cup sugar

5 extra large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups  water

Extra butter or margarine for greasing cake pans

Extra flour for dusting  pans

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease three 9 inch round cake pans or 2 ten inch pans.  Line pans with parchment paper cut to measure.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 1

To measure trace the base of cake pan onto parchment with a pencil and cut out the circles.  Grease parchment paper as well. Dust pans with 1 tablespoon of flour, then shake out  excess.  Only grease  bottoms, not sides of  pans.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 2

Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium low.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 3 half-size

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 4 half-size

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 5

Crack  eggs in a glass bowl and check them for shells or blood spots.  Add eggs to creamed butter and sugar and mix for an additional 3-5 minutes until pale yellow in color and thick.  Add vanilla and blend.  Add  dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with  water and blending in between each addition until just combined.  End with  last addition of dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 6

Over mixing cake batter, makes for a tough cake.

Divide  batter equally among prepared cake pans.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 7

Bake on a rack in center of oven until just done about 30-35 minutes.  Check for doneness with a toothpick.  Poke  toothpick in  center of  cake layer and when you pull it out it should be dry with no moist or wet crumbs clinging to it.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 8

Remove cake layers from  oven and place on cooling racks for 10 minutes.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of each pan and invert pans on to another cooling rack.  Carefully remove pan and remove the parchment paper (it peels off in one piece).  When the cake layers are completely cool you can proceed.  Use  cake layers immediately or wrap and freeze them individually until the day you need them.  I place them on foil wrapped cardboard rounds for support.  They sell the round cardboard at supply stores like. 

If you are going to use  cake immediately, place  first layer on your lined serving platter.  Trim top of  layer you are going to start with so top is flat.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 9

Trimming cake layers flat with a long serrated knife allows  cake to be even when you assemble it.  The frosting recipe below makes enough to fill and frost  cake.  The chef gets to eat all the cake trimmings.

Using an icing spatula, scoop about ½ cup of  frosting ontofirst layer.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 10

Spread evenly to edges.  Place  second trimmed cake layer on top.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 11 half-size

Repeat same thing with frosting.  Place  third layer on top and frost top.  Use remaining frosting to cover sides of cake.

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 12

Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 13

Decorate by swirling  spatula or using a cake comb.  You can decorate cake with chocolate espresso beans, candied violets, chocolate curls, or just leave it plain.  Store cake in a cake keeper in  refrigerator.

This makes a big cake, great for birthdays, holidays, and tastes great made non dairy with unsalted margarine.


1 and ½ sticks butter or parve margarine

1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

5 and 1/3 cups of powdered sugar

2/3 cup milk or non dairy like soy or almond

2 teaspoon  vanilla

2 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Process mixture until it is smooth and silky.  Stop one time to scrape down bowl and incorporate everything.


Picture of Chocolate Espresso Cake, Step 14 half-size

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael December 13, 2009 at 2:47 AM

check out my food blog and tell me what you think:


theborekadiary December 13, 2009 at 2:19 PM

I will posting apple pie in two weeks. Your blog sounds yummy.

Erna December 23, 2009 at 6:07 AM

The best cake ever – feeds an army

Michelle December 23, 2015 at 9:58 PM

Baking this tomorrow for my dad’s birthday. Can’t wait to try it out. Looks amazing.

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