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A three layer piece of mocha cake.

Mocha Cake

A rich and moist cake flavored with chocolate and coffee. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10
Calories 320kcal


For the Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder nice quality
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs large
  • 1 1/4 cups coffee hot, strong
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¾ cup veggie oil

For the Buttercream:

  • 1 lb butter unsalted
  • 2 lb confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Assembly:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered espresso beans


For the Batter:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. 
  • Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans. I highly recommend using cake strips for a more even bake.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  • Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  • Whisk to combine then mix on level 2 for two minutes.
  • Distribute batter evenly to the three pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I recommend rotating the pans halfway through the bake.
  • Allow time to cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool fully.

For the Mocha Buttercream:

  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar, salt, cocoa and espresso powder into a bowl.
  • Whip the butter for about 5 minutes using a paddle attachment (in a standing mixer).
  • Beat in the sugar mixture slowly.
  • Add vanilla and drizzle in the cream while beating until desired consistency is reached. If the you want the buttercream to have a stronger espresso taste, add as much as you would like! 

For the Ganache:

  • Warm the cream and pour over the chocolate. Set aside for a few minutes and whisk together. If there’s a few bits of unmelted chocolate just microwave it for 10 seconds on half power and whisk again.

For the assembly:

  • Pipe buttercream on the first layer, add a swirl of the ganache then a sprinkle of chopped espresso beans.
  • Add the second layer on and repeat the process.
  • Add third layer on and cover cake with buttercream. Smooth using an offset spatula.
  • Drizzle ganache on top of cake, smooth the top and allow to set.
  • Pipe dollops of buttercream on the edge using a large closed star tip.
  • Top each dollop with a chocolate covered espresso bean.



  • You can substitute sour cream for the whole milk yogurt if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set on the shop page or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!
  • If you'd like a bit of extra crunch then add some cacao nibs! Pure chocolate, no sweetness and full of antioxidants.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.4mg