Mocha Kahlúa Cake

I am not an avid baker, and ususally I don’t buy cookbooks on an impulse, either – especially not when it comes to baking books. But searching for a Kahlua Torte I came across Lisa is Cooking, staring at the Mocha Kahlua Cake, drooling, and the Oatmeal Maple Bars didn’t exactly improve my condition. The recipes are from The Greyston Bakery Cookbook. Reading the reviews to the book on Amazon, I was hooked – and bought the book.

Not my worst idea, to tell the truth.

The intro to the recipe for the Mocha Kahlúa Cake reads

This luscious cake is great way to celebrate the birthday of a coffee-lover.

Which was exactly what I was looking for…

Now, since I don’t bake often, I don’t own 3 8-inch cake pans, instead I had to bake all three layers in my 20 cm round springform pan. Cleaning the pan after each turn, re-buttering it and adding fresh parchment to the pan worked like a charm, though. I rarely make cakes, let alone layered ones, and I had never made buttercream frosting before, so I expected the worst and hoped for the best.

Mocha Kahlúa Cake

serves 8

1/4 cup good-quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/4 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda “
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 egg whites (reserve yolks for custard)
3 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 1/4 cups half-and-half
2 egg yolks (reserved from cake ingredients), lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup good-quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
3 cups confectioners‘ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons half-and-half


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350T. Butter and flour three 8″ round cake pans and line the pan bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.

In a large metal bowl, combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Add the hot water and stir to blend. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk i cup of the sugar with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to blend.
Beat the 6 egg yolks, oil, and vanilla into the cocoa mixture, then stir in the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the 8 egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
Stir about one-third of the egg whites into the prepared batter to lighten. Carefully fold the remaining whites, in two batches, into the batter until thoroughly combined. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake layers begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a wooden skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Set the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Turn the cake layers out of the pans and carefully peel away the parchment. Reinvert the cake layers onto the wire rack. While the layers are still warm, brush each with 1 tablespoon Kahlua (or coffee-flavored liqueur). Cool completely.


In a saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the half-and-half and egg yolks. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until the custard thickens. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the Kahlua (or coffee-flavored liqueur). Chill at least 20 minutes, or until cooled.


In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the cocoa powder and Kahlua (or coffee-flavored liqueur). Gradually add the sugar, mixing until combined. Beat in the half-and-half.


With a long serrated knife, trim the rounded top off each cake layer to create a flat surface (see Toasted Crumb Garnish, page 33).
Place the first layer on a serving plate, cut side up. Spread half of the custard on top of the first layer, to within ‚/f of the edge. Place the second layer on top of the first layer, cut side down, and spread the top with the remaining custard. Top with the third layer, cut side down. Refrigerate the assembled cake at least i hour to allow the custard to become firm. Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Serve with vanilla, chocolate, or coffee ice cream.

First things first: the recipe worked like a charm. The only thing which didn’t turn out as planned was the custard – not thick enough. (Add some more cornstarch would be my suggestion; a friend who made the cake had the same problem). Otherwise, this is a total keeper! A luscious, delicious cake, which looked good and tasted even better.

The mocha sponge is light, airy, and only slightly sweet, contrasted by the mocha buttercream frosting, which is quite sweet for the European palate, but works exceptionally well with the other components. The frosting was a snap to handle and decorate – just what a baking noob like me needs.

Makes one 8-inch layered cake (I’d call it a mini torte) – and a happy husband, too 🙂

If all recipes from this book are as good, this is a must-have in any cookbook shelf. I like the step-by-step approach and versatility of recipes, great ideas by the dozen.

Eine deutsche Version dieses Rezeptes findet man hier.

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4 Antworten

  1. Brigitte sagt:

    Great! I really smell the flavour of fresh chocolate cake in the air! 🙂

  2. Jessie sagt:

    Yammi ! Tastes delicious. I love coffee and i love cake. This is a perfect combination.

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