This chocolate espresso cake with cooked flour buttercream was inspired by some coffee research my husband and I were doing for another project. We aren’t coffee drinkers, we are tea drinkers, but I had a craving for a delicious espresso buttercream frosting, and this is it. This is the first time in my life I wanted more frosting on my cake. I could have eaten it just on its own. I used a cooked flour frosting for the first time, at the suggestion of my sister-in-law who has her own bake shop on Etsy. It was light with a substantial consistency for spreading. The flavor reminded me of marshmallows. Espresso buttercream marshmallows.
This is what happened to my cake just three days after I made it. Don’t worry, that last piece didn’t go to waste. I ate it with my fingers. This cake was so good; it may just trump my third chocolate cake, with mousse filling and port wine frosting. That cake was to die for.
Now that I’m on my fifth chocolate cake, I’m feeling like a pro-with the cake part. My cakes are coming out consistently moist, rich and chocolaty. The cake decorating part is another story. I’m a complete newbie when it comes to piping, or just icing a cake. I keep trying, thinking in my head that my attempts at using a piping bag will somehow come out perfect without lots and lots of practice. When I actually apply that piping bag and start squirting out the icing, something else happens entirely. My rosettes come out shaky, my rim decoration is uneven…I’m all over the place. To cover up my ineptitude, I’ve started photographing my cakes in the background, all out of focus, which is sad, because they taste really, really, good.
- Butter, for greasing the pans
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the baking pans
- 1 cup sugar (original recipe has 2)
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken OR ½ cup milk and ½ cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup walnut or vegetable oil
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed, strong hot coffee
- 5 Tablespoons Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 cup Butter
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans. I use a paper towel to smear the butter around, and then tilt the pans over the sink to make sure the flour covers every bit of the pan. You can line them with parchment on the bottom, but my cakes came out fine without.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, blend together the buttermilk (or milk and sour cream), oil, eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on a low speed, slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients. Once combined, mix in the hot coffee.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until they are done and a wooden cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, and then remove them from the pans to cool on a wire rack.
When cool, stack and frost the layers with buttercream.
Whisk together flour and milk in a small saucepan, first adding the flour, then a small amount of cold milk until you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the milk, vanilla and instant espresso, whisking so there are no lumps. Over medium heat, continue to whisk, until the mixture is thick.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring every now and then so a crust does not form.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture and continue to beat on high until it is light and fluffy, like whipped cream.