On August 31, Daniel and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary! To commemorate with our siblings who also got married on Labor Day weekends, I hosted a joint party. (The cake I was planning to make would have been way too much for the two of us to eat alone!) In addition to the Homemade Fettuccine and Marinara recipe I posted last week, I made Savory Herb Swirl Bread, and a fresh garden salad. And to finish off the meal, of course I made this Chocolate Cappuccino Cake!
At our wedding reception, I made the mistake of cutting the top layer of cake. I totally forgot we were supposed to freeze it and and it made the most sense to cut the top. (Like who really cuts the bottom layer of a cake first anyway?) But of course we weren’t going to spend our anniversary without wedding cake, so I decided right away that I would make a whole new cake from scratch.
For the cake recipe, I adapted the German Chocolate Cake from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. In addition to using an aquafaba egg substitute, I also added coffee instead of water and coffee extract in place of vanilla to really bring out the chocolate flavor.
One of my favorite aspects of this Chocolate Cappuccino Cake is that it’s a butter cake. Many cake recipes use oil for the fat, but creaming butter with sugar keeps it light and fluffy. Plus, butter tastes so much better than oil!
Like I said, for the egg substitution, I found that aquafaba works beautifully! The amount in this recipe (3/4 cup) is equivalent to four eggs. If eggs aren’t an issue and you don’t have garbanzo bean water on hand, just beat the eggs in one at time instead. Obviously I haven’t tried this, but it’s what the original recipe called for.
I chose to make a coffee frosting for this cake, but vanilla, chocolate, or peanut butter would all be delicious as well. Homemade frosting is incredibly simple and tastes SO MUCH BETTER than anything in a store. For this recipe, I used salted butter, powered sugar, coffee syrup, and coffee extract. Coffee syrup consists of two parts sugar to one part extra strength coffee. (By extra strength, I mean 3/4 cup of grounds to 1 cup of water–don’t try to drink it plain!). I always use decaf because of how strong it is. The recipe to make the syrup is from The Spruce Eats.
For coffee extract, I also make my own. Simply crush some decaf coffee beans and place them in a jar of vodka. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 4-8 weeks and swirl it every couple of days. When it is ready, remove the beans and use as you would vanilla. If you don’t want to wait two months to try this Chocolate Cappuccino Cake, vanilla can be used instead.
Choosing the highest quality ingredients for Chocolate Cappuccino Cake is critical. That’s why in addition to using local, organic flour and fair trade chocolate, I always use Purity Coffee. It’s organic and free from mold and mycotoxins (unlike almost all conventional coffee). Then they package the whole beans in nitrogen flushed bags to prevent oxidation, keeping your coffee as fresh, delicious, and healthy as possible. If you want to give this amazing coffee a try, use promo code ROOTS10 to get 10% off your first order!
Cake Decorating Tools
As I continue making more cakes, I always seem to be acquiring new tools and supplies. I’d like to share with you my favorite tools that I use and find most helpful. The links I’m posting here are not affiliated–just personal recommendations.
By far, my favorite cake tool is my 6-inch Ateco offset spatula. It’s extremely cute and so handy for all sorts of things during the cake decorating process. Plus I can use it throughout my kitchen for other uses too.
To get the sides of my cake perfectly smooth, I use an Ateco icing smoother. I hold it at a 45 degree angle against the cake. As I rotate the cake on my Wilton turn table, the smoother does the work to even out the frosting.
However, before we get to that step, it’s important to get an even layer of frosting all around the cake. Use Wilton tip 789 to pipe wide ribbons of frosting all the way around the circumference. You could also use the offset spatula to apply frosting, but it isn’t always as evenly distributed.
When the cake is almost perfectly smooth, I place a damp Viva paper towel on the cake and use a fondant smoother to iron it out. Although I don’t like Viva towels for everyday use, they are the only ones that work for cake frosting because they have no pattern.
I know I’m probably missing something (such as Wilton tip #12 for making a barrier so ganache doesn’t spill out between the layers), but these are my most important tools that I always use when cake decorating. Hopefully this gives you some guidance if you’re looking for some good products to help you up your cake game! I also plan to put together a full frosting tutorial in the future!
More Cakes You’ll Love
- Chai Tea Latte Cake
- Coffee Infused Cake with Mocha Frosting
- Milk and Honey™ Chocolate Cupcakes
- Cappuccino Cheesecake
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake
- Coffee Glazed Mocha Cheesecake
Chocolate Cappuccino Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp Celtic sea salt
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup Purity coffee freshly brewed, very hot
- 1 tsp coffee extract*
- 8 oz salted butter softended
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup aquafaba
- 240 g plain Greek yogurt
Coffee Flavored Buttercream Frosting
- 8 oz salted butter softened
- 690 g powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp coffee syrup**
- 2 tsp coffee extract
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, starch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl and pour the piping hot coffee over the top. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the coffee extract and set aside.
- Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for about 30 seconds to make it extra creamy.
- On medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar. Beat for 4-6 minutes until light and fluffy. Periodically, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Gradually beat in the aquafaba, 3 tablespoons at a time.
- Decrease speed to low and add the chocolate mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture. When it is mostly mixed in, add half of the Greek yogurt. Continue alternating with the flour and yogurt until it is all mixed into the batter.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl throughout the process. When all the ingredients are well-combined, but not over-mixed, evenly distribute the cakes between the prepared pans.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and when it comes out clean, they are done. Try not to open the oven more than you have to.
- When the cakes are removed from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans. I always recommend freezing cakes before frosting them. Wait until they are completely cool before wrapping each layer in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and sealing them in a freezer bag.
Coffee Flavored Buttercream Frosting
- Add the butter, sugar, coffee syrup, and coffee extract to a large stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Turn the mixer on low speed as the sugar gets worked into the butter. (If it starts too fast, sugar will be flying everywhere!)
- Gradually increase the speed as the sugar gets incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. Beat until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more syrup or half and half. If it is too thin, add more sugar.
- Place the chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl.
- Add the cream and butter to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Stir the mixture together with a small whisk until smooth.
Decorating the Cake
- Remove the frozen layers from the freezer and unwrap. If they are uneven, use a sharp, serrated knife to level them. Place the bottom layer on a 10-inch cake board and set on a turn-table.
- Separate some of the frosting into a separate bowl for the crumb coat. Taking from this “dirty” bowl, place a dollop of frosting on the cake and smooth it around using a 6-inch offset spatula.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with Wilton decorating tip #12. Pipe a border around the edge of the cake. Spoon some ganache onto the top of the cake, with the border to keep it from spilling over the edges.
- Place the next layer on top and repeat the previous two steps with the remaining cake. Do not put ganache on the top layer–only between them as filling.
- Using the offset spatula and only taking from the dirty bowl, frost a thin layer of buttercream all around the cake. Get it as smooth as possible. If the frosting gets too cold from the frozen cake, dip your offset spatula in a bowl of hot water, wipe dry, and continue frosting. Hot tools can be incredibly helpful with a stiff buttercream.
- When the crumb coat is finished, place the cake in the refrigerator to set up for about 10 minutes.
- When the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake. Fit a piping bag with Wilton Cake Icer Decorating Tip 789. Using the flat edge, pipe ribbons of frosting all around the cake, starting at the bottom and working your way up.
- Hold an icing smoother at a 45° angle to the cake. Lightly hold in place on the frosting as you rotate the turn-table to smooth the frosting. Again, it may be helpful to heat up the smoother depending on how stiff the frosting is. Continue smoothing the cake until you are satisfied. If needed, fill in gaps or air pockets with the offset spatula.
- Place a dollop of frosting on the top of the cake and smooth with the offset spatula.
- To have a perfectly smooth cake, dampen a Viva paper towel (this is the only brand that works) and gently place it on the cake. Use a fondant smoother to “iron” out the frosting.
- If you want a textured cake, use the back of a hot spoon to make swirls around the cake. For the sides, start at the top and work down, For the top, start in the middle and work your way out.
- Pipe any type of border you desire on the top or bottom of the cake. Transfer to a cake stand before serving.
- The cake should be stored in the refrigerator, but brought to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!