Double-chocolate espresso cake

Prep 1 hour
Total 1 hour 35 min
Makes 12 Servings



2 cups
all-purpose flour
3/4 cup
unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
3/4 cup
unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup
lightly packed brown sugar
2 tsp
1 1/2 cups


1 cup
unsalted butter, at room temperature
225-g pkg
unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted
1 tbsp
1/4 tsp
6 cups
icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup
1/4 cup
espresso, or strong coffee


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 2 8-in. round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment.
  • Sift flour with cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into a medium bowl. Beat butter with sugars in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, 3 min. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla. Reduce speed and beat in one-third of flour mixture, then add half the buttermilk. Repeat additions, ending with flour mixture. Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth tops.
  • Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean, 35 to 40 min. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min, then turn out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, about 30 min.
  • Beat 1 cup butter in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until creamy, 1 min. Add melted chocolate, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 min. Reduce speed and add remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating with milk and coffee, ending with sugar. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 min.
  • Assemble by slicing each cake in half horizontally. Set 1 layer on a cake stand, cut-side down. Lay short strips of parchment under edges of cake to protect the stand. Spread cake with 3/4 cup icing, right to edge. Top with another cake layer, cut-side down. Repeat icing and layering with remaining cake layers. Then spread remaining icing on top and around sides of cake, smoothing surface. Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 1 hour. Remove parchment strips. Top with unsprayed edible flowers if desired.


Calories 822, Protein 8 g, Carbohydrates 122 g, Fat 39 g, Fibre 5 g, Sodium 386 mg.

Decorating Tip

A Lazy Susan doubles as a cake-decorating turntable. Slip strips of parchment underneath cake edges. Hold a wide spackling knife (available at the hardware store) against the side of the cake while turning the Lazy Susan to smooth down the icing. Start off with a thick coat of icing, then scrape more off as you smooth down the sides.

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