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.