It doesn’t get much better than a chocolate cake to make a birthday special. This is an easy recipe for a dark, rich, chocolate mocha cake with fluffy chocolate frosting. It is decadent and a perfect birthday celebration dessert that begins with a box mix!
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Enhanced chocolate flavor
Lots of the rich chocolaty flavor of this chocolate cake comes from a surprise ingredient. It is the addition of coffee that actually accentuates the chocolate flavor! Both chocolate and coffee are incredibly complex in flavor and together they compliment each other.
Coffee can be added in the form of espresso, instant coffee or brewed. This recipe has brewed and instant coffee in the cake batter and additional coffee in the frosting. You won’t notice the taste of coffee in the final product but you will enjoy the rich flavor of the chocolate.
Most popular birthday cake
It is no surprise that a chocolate cake is at the top of the list of the most requested birthday cake. But not for everyone. In a recent survey, people were asked what flavor of cake they wanted for their birthday. Is your favorite cake on the list?
- Chocolate chip
- Vanilla or yellow cake
- Red velvet
What was the most popular cake the year you were born?
Here is a fun list of most popular birthday cakes by years. How many do you remember? A few of these cakes I have featured on this site. For the recipe, just click the highlighted link.
- 1948-1956: Chiffon cake
- 1957-1960: German chocolate cake
- 1961-1965: Pink champagne cake
- 1966: Tunnel of Fudge cake
- 1967-1971: Carrot cake
- 1972-1973: Sock-it-to-me cake
- 1974: The Watergate cake
- 1975-1976: Jell-O poke cakes
- 1977: Rum Cake
- 1978-1981: Hummingbird cake
- 1982-1983: Robert Redford Cake
- 1984: Country Apple Coffee Cake
- 1985-1987: Tiramisu and Mississippi Mud Cake
- 1988: Chocolate praline layer cake
- 1989-1990: Funfetti and Better Than Sex Cake
- 1991-1992: Chocolate lava cake
- 1993-1995: Barbie Birthday Cake
- 1995: Viennetta
- 1996-1999: Red Velvet Cake
- 1997-1999: Coca-Cola Cake
- 2000: Anything in cupcake form
- 2001-2004: Tres Leches Cake
- 2001-2007: Bacon cakes
- 2007: Texas Sheet Cake
- 2008: Anything in cake pop form
- 2012: Layered Rainbow Cake
Now, let’s make a chocolate mocha cake
Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans using nonstick cooking spray or shortening. Baker’s Joy is my favorite. If you are using shortening, dust the pans with a small amount of flour.
In a large bowl, add the cake mix, 1 cup of cooled, brewed coffee, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs and 2 tablespoons instant coffee.
With a mixer, beat on low speed, to combine. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Pour the batter into the two prepared pans.
Bake for 30 -35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
Making the fluffy frosting for chocolate mocha cake
Gather the frosting ingredients and allow the butter to come to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 2 3/4-cups confectioners’ sugar, 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and instant coffee and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream 6 tablespoons room temperature butter until smooth.
Gradually beat in sugar/cocoa powder mixture alternately with the 5 tablespoons evaporated milk.
Blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the frosting by adding a few drops more milk or additional confectioner sugar.
Spread frosting on the bottom layer of the cake and place the second layer on top. Continue frosting the sides and top of the cake.
If desired, using a microplane, grate a chocolate bar to garnish the top of the cake. Or, you can make little chocolate curls using a vegetable peeler.
Just a few chocolate covered espresso beans and the cake is ready to serve.
Chocolate Mocha Cake
- 1 package Devil’s Food Cake Mix
- 1 cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee, divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans using nonstick cooking spray or shortening. If using shortening, dust the pans with a small amount of flour.
In a large bowl on low speed, beat the cake mix, brewed coffee, vegetable oil, eggs and 2 tablespoons instant coffee until moistened.
Increase speed to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
- 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 5 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- (I like to add a small pinch of salt but this is totally optional)
In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and instant coffee powder and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth, then gradually beat in the sugar mixture alternately with the evaporated milk. Blend in the vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.
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