Mocha Chocolate Cake
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Hi everyone! Today’s recipe for Mocha Chocolate Cake is the latest rendition of crazy cake (also known as depression cake). Crazy cake is super simple and has no eggs, milk, or butter, making it vegan. However, I made a traditional style buttercream frosting. The whole cake is still egg-free and it’s also possible to use a vegan frosting if need be.
What makes this crazy cake different than most, is the coffee infusion and mocha frosting! First, I made a coffee syrup with a recipe from The Spruce Eats . Then I mixed some into the cake batter, giving it a mild essence of coffee. But where the flavor is especially evident is in the frosting! It really takes the cake to the next level and is a pleasant surprise to anyone expecting just plain chocolate!
What do I need to make Mocha Chocolate Cake?
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to make a Mocha Chocolate Cake:
- All purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa
- Granulated sugar
- Baking soda
- Coffee extract (or vanilla)
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Coffee syrup
- Powdered sugar
How do I make Mocha Chocolate Cake?
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease either an 8×8 baking dish or two round 6-inch cakepans with coconut oil or butter. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then add the vinegar, coffee extract, applesauce, water, and coffee syrup. They do not need to be mixed together first. Stir until the batter is smooth, but do not overmix.
Pour the batter in the cake pans, ensuring even distribution if using two pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If using two round pans, let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before removing and transferring the cakes to a cooling rack. If using a square pan, the cake can remain in the pan. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa. Then add the coffee syrup and extract. Gradually increase the speed and periodically stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Whip the frosting until it is light and fluffy. Feel free to adjust the amount of cocoa to achieve the desired degree of chocolate flavor. If it’s too thick, add more coffee syrup (or half and half) and if it’s too soft add more sugar.
How do I frost a layer cake?
If you made a square cake, spread the frosting on top using an offset spatula. If you made two round cakes, I recommend wrapping them in plastic wrap and foil and freezing them before decorating. 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 an 8-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 each layer and smooth it around using a 6-inch offset spatula. Place an extra dollop on top of one of the layers and spread it out evenly. Set the other cake layer on top.
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 has set, 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 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!