Mocha Latte Cake

mocha latte cake 1

When asking my husband what he wanted for his birthday, he kept telling me that he didn’t need anything. When I asked him what kind of cake I could bake him, he said, “I don’t need a cake.” To which I immediately refused to accept as an answer: EVERYONE should have a cake for their birthday! For me, baking has become a love language for me and I absolutely enjoy putting my heart and joy into creating something delicious for the people in my life. Of course, baking during a pandemic means using whatever you have on hand, and in our house, there is never a shortage of coffee or chocolate. Since Brian’s favorite froufrou coffee drink is a mocha latte, I set out to recreate the flavor into an absolutely phenomenal cake that is now a favorite.


For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee, hot
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 -6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
  • 4 tablespoons – 1/4 cup hot water

For the ganache:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces heavy cream



For the cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease, flour, and line three 6″ round cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together until thoroughly combined.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, combine all wet ingredients, except coffee, until well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating between flour mixture and coffee in three additions. When adding the coffee, do so slowly or the eggs risk getting cooked. Mix everything on medium-low until well combined, about 2 minutes. The batter will be super thin.
  5. Using a kitchen scale if available, pour evenly into the three prepared pans.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. *
  7. Set to cool for 5 minutes before turning the pans out onto wire racks to completely cool.

*If the cakes dome (mine did like crazy), immediately take a clean tea-towel to the tops and press down very gently until flat. You must do this immediately after removing it from the oven or it won’t work. Be gentle as pressing too hard could cave in the top of the cake. Be careful as hot steam may come out.

For the buttercream:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the instant coffee or instant espresso with enough hot water to dissolve. Stir and set aside to cool completely.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter and salt on medium speed until light and smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Mix in half of the powdered sugar and half of the coffee, starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high as powdered sugar is incorporated.
  5. Add remaining half of both powdered sugar and coffee, mixing on medium-high speed for another 3 – 6 minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Buttercream should be smooth and light.

For the ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until bubbles begin to form on the outside. Do not boil or the cream will burn.
  2. Place the chocolate in a medium, heat-proof bowl.
  3. Pour the hot heavy cream over the top of the chocolate and cover for about 5 minutes.
  4. Using a fork or small whisk, stir the mixture until well combined and glossy.
  5. Set aside to cool completely.


Assemble the cake!

  1. Using a decorating cake plate, place a completely cooled cake layer down.
  2. Using a measuring cup (I used 1/2 cup) to ensure equal amounts of frosting per layer, scoop up the buttercream and plop on top of the cake.
  3. Using an offset spatula, spread the buttercream evenly over the top of the cake. If some gloops off the side, that’s okay!
  4. Add the next cake layer and repeat!
  5. Once all layers are placed, frost entire cake. I personally prefer this method:How to smooth frosting on a cake.
  6. Slowly pour cooled ganache over the center and sides of the cake. I like to use the spoon method to get the drips down the sides. 
  7. Decorate however your creative mind wishes! Enjoy!

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