Chocolate Espresso Cake with Mocha Glaze

September 16, 2011

Friday was our intern’s last day with us; he did a great job and will be missed! So as a consolation to us all, I made the most decadent chocolate cake I could find. I knew as soon as I read the directions for this chocolate espresso cake in my Bon Appetit cookbook that it would be rich and fudgy, since the directions are very similar to my favorite brownie recipe. Rather than creaming butter and sugar and then adding the eggs and dry ingredients, this recipe calls for melting the chocolate and butter together, then whisking in the eggs and sugar. Despite containing 4 eggs, it turned out even denser than I was anticipating, almost like a flourless chocolate cake (and that’s definitely not a negative thing!).

I usually buy Ghirardelli bars when my recipes call for bittersweet chocolate, but the grocery store was completely out of the them. Lindt brand chocolate, half 70% dark and half 50% dark, made a perfect (if slightly more expensive) substitute. The espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor without adding an overwhelming coffee taste, so even though my one coworker (who doesn’t care for coffee) was skeptical at first, he thoroughly enjoyed his piece despite the coffee ingredients.

I will definitely be making this cake again for some future occasion, and next time I’ll try to dress it up a bit more so that the outside looks just as good as the inside tastes!

Chocolate espresso cake

The glazed cake can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated.

Serves 12



  • 3/4  cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 10  ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4  teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 4  large eggs
  • 1 1/4  cups sugar
  • 1  tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4  cup all-purpose flour


  • 2/3  cup whipping cream
  • 2  teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 8  ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Stir butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Transfer to large bowl and cool to room temperature. Add eggs, sugar, and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Add flour and whisk until just blended.
  2. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist (not wet) batter attached, about 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  3. For glaze: Mix cream and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking to blend. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and vanilla; whisk until melted and smooth. Let cool until thickened but still pourable, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  4. Using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Place cake on its pan bottom on rack set over baking sheet. Pour glaze evenly over top of cake, allowing glaze to run down sides; smooth glaze over cake with metal spatula. Let cake stand until glaze sets, about 2 hours. Transfer to cake dome and refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.

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