Chocolate Espresso Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Taking a moment to compare baking a chocolate cake to having kids:

     1. Sometimes, baking a cake takes longer than labor. Truth.
A “labor of love” is equally relevant to childbirth and baking this cake. 
     3. It’s (almost) possible to love chocolate cake as much as your child.

This is a time consuming and labor intensive recipe, but the result is well worth the effort. The cake is moist and fluffy and holds up very well to the amazing buttercream. The ganache? Well, ganache makes everything better, doesn’t it? Don’t just take my word for it, try it!

Chocolate Espresso Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Espresso Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Williams Sonoma


¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
⅔ cup sour cream

1 ¼ cups hot water
2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, softened
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1. In bowl, mix cocoa powder, sour cream and hot water. Set aside to cool. 

2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In mixer, beat butter and shortening together until fluffy, about 5 minutes
4. Add sugars and beat 5 more minutes. 
5. Add eggs, one at a time. 
6. Add vanilla, beat on low until incorporated. 
7. Add dry ingredients, alternating with cocoa mixture, in three parts, ending with dry, into mixer bowl. 
8. Divide batter into 3 round pans, buttered under and over parchment paper and dusted with flour.
9. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 45 minutes, then remove from pan, and cool completely.


1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1. In heavy sauce pan, whisk sugar & flour, then add milk & cream. 

2. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 10-15 minutes. 
3. Transfer to mixing bowl, and mix on high with paddle attachments until cool. 
4. Reduce speed to low, add butter. Mix on high until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. 
5. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract and espresso powder. Stir until dissolved.
6. Add vanilla and espresso mixture to buttercream. Mix to incorporate.


1. Place bottom cake layer on plate and trim top to be level. Spread 1.5 cups frosting. 

2. Add next layer, trim and frost. 
3. Add third layer, frost top and sides, with thin layer of frosting. 
4. Place in fridge for 15 minutes. 
5. Then spread cake with remaining frosting, & return to fridge for another 15 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache:

8 oz 60 to 72% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tbs light corn syrup

1. Place chocolate, butter, & corn syrup in double boiler, stirring until completely melted & smooth. 

2.  Remove from heat and stir to slightly cool. 
3. Drizzle over cake. 
4. Place in fridge to harden glaze. 
5. Repeat glazing and refrigeration 3 times, allowing the glaze to coat the sides evenly.

Optional: Garnish with 10 to 12 chocolate-covered espresso beans. Good for 3 days, room temp or fridge.

Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

One thought on “Chocolate Espresso Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

  1. John

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