This Chocolate Mocha Cake is the ultimate indulgence. A rich dark chocolate cake with a silky mocha swiss meringue buttercream.
This cake right here? It’s amazing. I mean, it knocked the Momofuku Birthday Cake right out of the #1 spot, and that was a damn good cake. This Mocha Chocolate Cake is seriously. SO. GOOD. Rich dark chocolate cake and a silky Mocha Swiss Meringue buttercream, topped with a dreamy chocolate ganache. Does it get any better? I don’t think so.
How to make this Mocha Cake
I kept the cake decorating simple, as I wanted to try the drippy ganache technique that I’ve seen on a lot of cakes recently. I was super nervous about it, but it was surprisingly easy, I swear!
Step #1 is to frost the cake evenly and smooth the sides and top. This is probably the most time intensive part if you want to get it perfect (which, obviously, I do).
I had to patch some areas here and there, so it took a while to get it perfect. It really helps if you have a turntable to do this on, so that you can spin it while holding the bench scraper at an angle. You don’t have to shell out a lot of money on a turntable, but I do not recommend getting a plastic one. They’re not super stable and don’t spin smoothly.
Once I got the top and sides mostly perfect, I popped the whole thing in the fridge overnight and made the ganache the next day.
I made WAY too much ganache. I had no idea how much I would need, so I overdid it. I ended up having 1 1/4 cups and only used 1/4 cup total. Once the ganache was made and cooled, I took out the cold cake and used a teaspoon to drop dollops of ganache along the edges and let it drop down the sides. I
added more/less on certain areas to vary the drips a bit. You can also just pour a bunch of ganache on the top and use your offset spatula to nudge it over the sides, but I wanted a bit more control over the drips, and my research said that the spoon technique was a good approach.
I was worried that the ganache would harden quickly on the cold cake, but I had plenty of time to work with it. Once the drips were good, I poured a bit of ganache on the top to fill that in, and smoothed it with a small offset spatula.
This Swiss meringue buttercream gets rock hard in the fridge, so you’ll want to leave the cake out for a couple hours before serving so that it can soften up. When I took the pics and cut the cake, it was still hard, so you can see that it’s not totally silky smooth between the layers.
This Chocolate Mocha Cake is insanely good. Like, ridiculous. It is my all time favourite cake!
I mean, just LOOK at that piece! The cake is dense, moist, and ultra chocolatey. The buttercream is silky, smooth, and has the BEST mocha flavour ever. You will not be disappointed with this cake. I promise!
More Chocolate Cake recipes
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
- French Silk Pie Cake
- Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake
- Chocolate Truffle Cake
- Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake
Notes & tips for this Chocolate Mocha Cake
- Ensure there is NO trace of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won’t stiffen.
- The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- For the ganache, I let mine set overnight (with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface). It will be too thick at this point, so I microwave it for 10 secs and stir it until it’s the right consistency.
- The drip technique works best on a chilled cake so that the drips set quickly.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my Flat Top Cakes post.
Originally published Aug 23, 2015.
Mocha Chocolate Cake
- 3 oz dark chocolate
- 3 oz heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350F, grease three 6" round baking pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment.
- Place all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine.
- In a medium bowl whisk all wet ingredients (pour coffee in slowly as not to cook the eggs if very hot).
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.
- Pour evenly into prepared pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed.
- Bake until a cake tester comes out mostly clean. A total of 30-35mins.
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.*
- Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment.
- Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.
- Add vanilla, melted chocolate, and espresso powder. Whip until smooth.**
- Frost cake and refrigerate before adding ganache.
- Finely chop chocolate and place into a bowl. Bring cream just barely to a simmer and pour over chopped chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 2 mins. Stir with a spatula until combined and smooth. Allow to cool and thicken slightly before using on cake.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 2/3 cup of frosting and spread evenly. Repeat with remaining layers and apply a thin coat of frosting all over the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Frost and smooth the sides. Chill for 20mins.
- Using a small spoon, place dollops of ganache around the top edges of the cooled cake, allowing some to drip down. Fill in the top of the cake with more ganache and spread evenly with an offset spatula.***
** The buttercream may look like it's curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
*** You will likely have some leftover ganache.