the appetizer:

Bake a spectacular cake with Sky High, Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne, featuring recipes for Neapolitan Rum Cake, Mocha Cake with Espresso Drizzle, and Halloween Sweet Potato Cake.

I Love Desserts


Mocha Cake with Espresso Drizzle

Mocha Cake with Espresso Drizzle

Makes an 8-inch Triple-Layer Cake; Serves 12 to 16


This simple dessert, especially for coffee lovers, requires no beating of egg whites or whipping of cream. It's a quick cake, not even frosted, with a flavor that's on the sophisticated side.

  • 1 cup freshly brewed espresso
         or double-strength coffee
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder,
         preferably Dutch process
         (see Baker's Note)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-2/3 cups cake flour
  • 2-2/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Espresso Drizzle (recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or coat with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the hot espresso and cocoa powder, stirring to dissolve the cocoa. Let this mocha mixture stand until cooled to body temperature. Meanwhile, in another bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until well mixed.

3. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, evenly blend the dry ingredients. Add the butter and the mocha mixture, beating until well blended. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, then add the buttermilk-egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping well and blending only to incorporate. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

4. Bake the cake layers for 35 to 38 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean but still moist. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Carefully peel off the paper liners and let the layers cool completely.

5. To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Pour 1/2 cup of the Espresso Drizzle onto the center of the layer and spread all the way to the edge, allowing it to drip slightly over the sides. Repeat with the second layer. Set the third layer in place, then pour the remaining drizzle on top and spread to the edges, making sure the glaze drips down the sides, covering all the edges.

Baker's Note

Dutch process cocoa produces a very attractive dark cake here. However, if all you have is regular cocoa, it will taste fine but look redder and lighter in color.

Because this is such a moist cake, you'll notice the baking time is slightly longer than usual.


Espresso Drizzle

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

  • 12 ounces good-quality white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso or double-strength coffee

1 Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of very hot water.

2 Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and espresso and continue whisking until smooth. Use while warm.

  • from:
    Sky High
    Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
  • by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
  • Photographs by Tina Rupp
  • Wiley 2008
  • Hardcover; $35.00; 224 pp
  • ISBN: 0811854485
  • ISBN-13: 97808118544811
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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This page created May 2008

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