This flawless chocolate espresso cake is absolute decadence! Rich, moist, creamy, and very delicious, plus easy to prepare – simply flawless! Surprise your family or friends for Halloween or Thanksgiving day by offering them a nice piece of this amazing dessert. You will need around an hour to prepare it plus 45 minutes to cook. Here is the recipe:
For the cake:
- 10 1/2 ounces’ all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons espresso powder
- A pinch of salt
- 9 tablespoons/3 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or 50% whole milk plus 50% cream)
- 1/4 cup prepared espresso coffee, chilled
- 1 tablespoon whiskey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 9 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 ¼ cup (21 ounces) granulated sugar
For chocolate espresso meringue buttercream:
- 1 ½ cups (13 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- 16 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and soften (at room temperature)
- 5 large egg whites
- 3 ounces unsweetened milk chocolate, melted
- 1 ½ tablespoon brewed espresso, chilled
- 1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
To make the cakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Apply an oven rack in the middle position. Using a baking spray, lightly spray the bottom of three 8-in. cake pans and covers them with parchment rounds. Leave aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and combine until well incorporated.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the half and half, espresso, whiskey (if using) and vanilla extract.
- Using an electric mixer, on low speed, cream the sugar and butter together for 5 minutes. Apply the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to integrate before adding the next. With the electric mixer still on low, promptly alternate between adding the liquid and dry ingredients over the course of 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then, turn the mixer on medium for 30 sec.
- Divide the batter equally between the three prepared cake pans with a spatula.
- Place in the oven and bake until a tester comes out of the center of each cake clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely in the pan and then remove. In the meantime, prepare the frosting.
To make the frosting:
- In a medium-sized sauce pot, apply water, sugar, and honey (if using). Cover then turn the heat to high. When the liquid starts to simmer, steam has developed, you should remove the cover (to prevent crystallization). Cook the sugar to the soft boil stage (you can check out with candy thermometer: 235 to 240 degrees F).
- Once the sugar is cooking, use the mixer on high speed to beat the eggs until a soft peak has formed.
- Then, turn the mixer speed down to medium-low and slowly apply the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. (Remember – do not pour the hot syrup straight into the meringue.)
- When the syrup is completely combined, turn the speed to high, let the meringue to continue to create a stiff peak while chilling. Beat on high until the meringue has reached room temperature. Ice packs could be applied around the bowl in order to speed up this 15 to 20 minute.
- When the meringue is room temperature, gradually start incorporating the soft butter on medium speed. When all of the butter has been combined, turn the electric mixer to high speed and slowly fold in the espresso, chocolate, and dark rum (if using).
To assemble the cake:
- Apply the 1st layer of cake on a rotating cake stand and remove the parchment paper. Appling a cardboard round under the cake is optional – though, it will make transferring the cake easier after it’s assembled.
- Add about 1 cup of buttercream on the cake and spread it evenly using an offset spatula. Apply more buttercream as necessary to reach the wanted thickness.
- Next, repeat the process with the 1st and 3rd layer (make sure to remove the parchment every time). Using an offset spatula, apply a thin layer of frosting to the top and side of the cake.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set this 1st buttercream layer. Cover the whole cake with a final frosting layer.
- Before serving, decorate with chocolate shavings, or dust with cocoa powder (if desired). Slice and serve.
- This cake is best when served at room temperature.