Mocha Cake with Espresso Buttercream

February 19, 2021 · by Hannah Graley

Typically I am a make-the-cake-from-scratch kind of gal, but for my son's first birthday party I was in a pinch. We were expecting a snowstorm and our electricity kept flickering off and on. I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to make a cake from scratch (they seem to take forever, especially with two kids to tend to), so I improvised with a cake mix I just happened to buy a few days before.

The devil's food chocolate cake mix called for water, oil, and eggs, so I substituted the water for a strong black coffee (room temp) and then mixed in some instant coffee mix for extra coffee flavor. Voila!

Tip: Add some sour cream or frosting to your cake mix to make it more moist.

For the buttercream, I made this from scratch. It’s super easy! I made a classic American buttercream which consisted of:

-I cup unsalted butter (softened at room temp; never melt your butter in the microwave as it will make your frosting greasy and chunky)

-2.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

-1.5 tsp vanilla extract

-1.5 tsp espresso grounds/powder

Now here is where your coffee flavor will come in. Add equal parts espresso powder to your vanilla extract; mix and set aside.

Below you will find the process for how I make my buttercream:

I use my electric mixer and whip the butter on high for about 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy.

Next, I add half of the powdered sugar, mix it in completely, then add the rest and mix completely. I then increase the speed to high and whip until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high speed until it is completely incorporated.

I like to sprinkle salt in my buttercream before it’s completely mixed, as I think it’s too sweet without it, even with the coffee flavor.

After my cakes have been baked and cooled, I do a light crumb coat and put the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Then I frost the cake and add my little designs with whatever cake tip I decide to use.

And there you have it! A super easy mocha cake with espresso buttercream frosting. 

Hannah Graley

About Hannah Graley

Hannah Graley is a young stay-at-home mom to two beautiful babies. She is married to her soulmate, Joel. She grew up in Indiana. She is active in her church and has been involved in both music ministry and children’s ministry. You can find Hannah on Instagram as @graleyhannah