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Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe

This decadent chocolate espresso cake recipe defines rich indulgence! Moist cake topped with a smooth, drippy ganache for good measure.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 514kcal
Author: Megan Porta


  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder
  • 3 shots espresso 1/3 cup
  • 1 cup buttermilk shaken
  • 10 oz mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 batch Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • 1 batch Chocolate Ganache
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously spray three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans (or you can do this with one cake pan, baking one at a time) with cooking spray. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), combine the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and sour cream and beat on medium speed until creamy and free of lumps.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. Mix well. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Pour the espresso shots into a liquid measuring cup. Add water to make 1 cup total. Add the espresso-water mixture to the mixing bowl, along with the buttermilk, and mix on medium speed for 90 seconds. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon flour and stir until the chip are well-coated. Add to the mixing bowl and stir until just combined.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Using a serrated bread knife, cut the rounded tops off each cooled cake.


  • Place one cooled cake in the center of a cake or serving plate. Spread Chocolate Ganache Frosting over the top in an even layer. Top with another cake and another layer of frosting. Top with the remaining cake.
  • Using an offset or icing spatula (or icing smoother), apply the remaining frosting to the top and sides of the cake in a smooth, even layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the ganache. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip over the edges. Decorate cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans. Refrigerate cake until ready to cut and serve!


  • Dark brown sugar and light brown sugar can be used interchangeably in this recipe.
  • Be sure you refrigerate the cake before drizzling the ganache over the top. The base layer of frosting should be nice and firm!
  • Don't throw the tops of the cakes away! Use them to make a batch of cake truffles!
  • If you only have one cake pan, distribute the batter between 3 same-sized bowls before pouring into the cake pan and baking. This will ensure each cake is exactly the same size.
  • The mini chocolate chips can be eliminated from the batter for a smoother textured cake!
  • If you cannot find espresso powder, replace with an equal amount of finely ground instant coffee.
  • Store the finished product in the fridge until ready to serve!
  • Cake flour is not recommended for this recipe. All-purpose flour, all the way!
  • Allow the cakes to fully cook while sitting on either parchment paper or wire racks.


Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 4mg
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