This chocolate espresso cake is a moist and rich cake filled with two types of coffee to intensity the chocolate flavor! Made without eggs or dairy, it’s a simple yet elegant cake that is sure to impress!
Chocolate Espresso Cake
It’s no secret that I consider myself to be a huge chocoholic. Chocolate desserts are my absolute favorite, and I am happy to admit that I enjoy chocolate every single day. Whether it be on its own or in one of my desserts, it’s a daily practice that I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
While I like all kinds of chocolate, my favorite way to enjoy it is in a rich and moist cake. There is truly nothing better than a slice of chocolate cake, especially with plenty of frosting. Sometimes, for an even richer chocolate flavor, I love to adapt my chocolate cake recipe and add some espresso powder to it, along with extra coffee, and make the perfect chocolate espresso cake.
I’ve been meaning to share a chocolate espresso cake recipe for quite some time. It’s the perfect dessert for chocolate lovers, as, even though it has espresso and brewed coffee in it, it doesn’t actually leave you with any coffee flavor. Instead, it intensifies the chocolate flavor, complemented by the frosting.
Now, this cake may look incredibly impressive but I promise you, it is such an easy and foolproof dessert to make. No eggs, no milk, and no butter are needed, but you’d never tell. The texture is moist and fluffy, with layers of creamy frosting. It’s sweet and has an intense chocolate flavor, without any real coffee taste!
One of my friends had a birthday the other night and I served them this cake and NO ONE believed me when I said it had no eggs or dairy in it- They thought I bought it from a cake shop!
How do you make a chocolate espresso cake?
- All purpose flour– Also known as plain flour. If you’d like this to be a gluten free cake, you can use gluten free all purpose flour that has added xanthan gum.
- Sugar– White or brown sugar.
- Cocoa powder– 100% unsweetened and Dutch processed cocoa powder.
- Espresso powder– Just a pinch to intensity the chocolate flavor and the namesake for this recipe.
- Baking soda– Reacts with the vinegar to replicate what the eggs would do.
- Salt– Balances out all the other ingredients.
- Vinegar– White or apple cider vinegar.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake recipe.
- Vegetable oil– Any neutral flavored oil can be used. Vegetable, canola, and safflower oil are all great options.
- Brewed coffee– Brings out the chocolate flavor. Decaf or standard coffee can be used.
- Chocolate frosting– What is a cake without some frosting?
Start by adding your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mixing until combined. Next, add the vinegar, vanilla extract, and oil, followed by the brewed coffee, and mix very well until combined and smooth.
Now, distribute the batter evenly amongst three, greased 8-inch cake pans. Bake the cakes for 25-27 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean. Let the cakes cool completely, before carefully slicing each cake into three very thin slices, leaving you with 9 thin layers of cake.
Finally, layer the cake. Place one layer onto a flat surface, before adding a thin layer of frosting to cover the top. Place a second layer of cake on top, followed by more frosting. Repeat the process until you have a 9 layer chocolate cake. If you like, frost the top and the sides of the cake and let it sit for 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.
Tips to make the best espresso cake
- For photography purposes, I made this a 9 layer cake. You do not need to do this at all and can keep it as a 3 layer cake.
- Espresso powder is not the same as instant coffee. It’s available from grocery stores or specialty baking stores. If you can’t find any, simply omit it and use a strong brewed coffee.
- If you are allergic to caffeine, you can use decaf coffee or unsweetened almond milk.
Storing and freezing chocolate espresso cake
- To store: Leftover cake can be stored in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep well for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze: Place slices of the cake in a sealable container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More vegan cake recipes to try
Chocolate Espresso Cake
- 4 1/2 cups flour all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 3 cups sugar brown, white, or a combination of the two
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups oil vegetable, canola, or safflower oil
- 3 cups brewed coffee cooled to room temperature * See notes
- 3 cups chocolate frosting ** See notes
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and mix until a thick batter remains.
- Distribute the batter evenly amongst the three cake pans. Bake the cakes for 25-27 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean.
- Let the cakes cool completely, before slicing each cake into three thin pieces. Place a single layer on a flat surface, and spread with a thin layer of frosting. Add the second piece of cake, followed by more frosting. Repeat the process until you have all nine pieces of cake frosted and stacked. Spread the remaining frosting around and all over the cake. Let it sit for 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.