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chocolate mocha cake on a wood cake stand with 2 slices of cake on plates

Chocolate Mocha Cake

Tara Kringlen
Deep, rich chocolate cake forms the base of this chocolate mocha cake. Creamy tiramisu cream and espresso cream divide the fluffy cake layers with an ultra smooth espresso swiss meringue buttercream on top.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 slices
Calories 662 kcal


Chocolate Cake

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee

Tiramisu Cream Filling

  • 8 oz mascarpone
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Espresso Cream Filling

  • 2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz mascarpone
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter slightly softened and cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder


Chocolate Cake

  • Spray 3-9 inch pans with cooking spray and then line bottoms with parchment. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Combine milk, oil, eggs and vanilla in another bowl.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Add the hot coffee and stir to combine.
  • Pour the batter into pans, dividing evenly. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool in pans about 10 minutes, then transfer the cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Tiramisu Cream filling

  • Whip mascarpone for about 30 seconds until creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar and heavy cream and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds and then medium high until stiff peaks form.

Espresso Cream Filling

  • Whisk espresso powder into heavy cream and set aside.
  • Whip mascarpone for about 30 seconds until creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar and espresso heavy cream and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds and then medium high until stiff peaks form.

Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • In a medium bowl set over a pan of about 2 inches of gently boiling water that is not touching the bowl, add egg white and sugar.
  • Constantly whisk the sugar and egg whites for about 4-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved completely or an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees.
  • Remove the bowl and place into a stand mixer or use a hand mixer and mix on low speed gradually increasing to medium high speed for 10-15 minutes until a thick and glossy meringue forms.
  • The bowl and the meringue should be cool to the touch so if it is not, continue mixing until it has cooled.
  • Add the butter cubes, one at a time, mixing well after each addition until all the butter is incorporated. *See notes or blog post for troubleshooting if your frosting is runny or curdled.
  • Add the salt and espresso powder and beat until the espresso powder has dissolved completely.

Assembling the Cake

  • Trim the cake layers if they are not flat on top. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or a cardboard cake board.
  • Spread the tiramisu cream on top of the first cake layer all the way to the edges and smooth the top.
  • Top with the next cake layer and spread the espresso cream over that layer all the way to the edges and smoothing the top.
  • Place the final cake layer on top and then frost with the espresso swiss meringue buttercream.


  • To save the curdled or broken buttercream, simply place the bowl back over the double boiler with gently simmering water. Leave it there for about 2 minutes until you see the buttercream on the sides of the bowl start to melt. The middle should still be solid. Once melted, move the bowl back to the stand mixer and mix on low for a minute and then increase to medium-high until the mixture becomes smooth and fluffy.
  • To fix runny buttercream, place the bowl into the refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes depending on how liquid it is. After chilling, remove it from the refrigerator and beat it in the stand mixer (or hand mixer) until it becomes light and fluffy. If it's still too runny, place it back into the refrigerator for up to another 10-20 minutes and beat again. Do not leave it longer than 20 minutes in the refrigerator before beating again.
  • For even and flat cake layers, consider purchasing cake strips. 
  • Store the cake in the refrigerator either in a cake keeper or with foil or plastic wrap at least covering any cut areas of the cake. 


Calories: 662kcal
Keyword chocolate cake, espresso buttercream, espresso filling, layer cake, mocha cake, swiss meringue buttercream, tiramisu filling
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