Double-chocolate espresso cake



1 h


1 h 35 min


12 Servings

Double-chocolate espresso cake

Double-chocolate espresso cake.
Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Happy birthday to us! To kick off our anniversary festivities we transformed our four best-ever cakes into stunning (but easy) works of art. Warning: You might start making up reasons to celebrate!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 225-g pkg unsweetened chocolate , chopped and melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 cups icing sugar , sifted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup espresso , or strong coffee


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 2 8-in. round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment.
  • Sift flour with cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into a medium bowl. Beat butter with sugars in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, 3 min. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla. Reduce speed and beat in one-third of flour mixture, then add half the buttermilk. Repeat additions, ending with flour mixture. Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth tops.
  • Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean, 35 to 40 min. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min, then turn out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, about 30 min.
  • Beat 1 cup butter in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until creamy, 1 min. Add melted chocolate, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 min. Reduce speed and add remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating with milk and coffee, ending with sugar. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 min.
  • Assemble by slicing each cake in half horizontally. Set 1 layer on a cake stand, cut-side down. Lay short strips of parchment under edges of cake to protect the stand. Spread cake with 3/4 cup icing, right to edge. Top with another cake layer, cut-side down. Repeat icing and layering with remaining cake layers. Then spread remaining icing on top and around sides of cake, smoothing surface. Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 1 hour. Remove parchment strips. Top with unsprayed edible flowers if desired.

Decorating Tip

A Lazy Susan doubles as a cake-decorating turntable. Slip strips of parchment underneath cake edges. Hold a wide spackling knife (available at the hardware store) against the side of the cake while turning the Lazy Susan to smooth down the icing. Start off with a thick coat of icing, then scrape more off as you smooth down the sides.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 822,
  • Protein
  • 8 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 122 g,
  • Fat
  • 39 g,
  • Fibre
  • 5 g,
  • Sodium
  • 386 mg.