Cappuccino Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Frosting

Coffee naturally enhances the flavor of chocolate, and this recipe packs a one-two punch—instant espresso powder cranks up both the batter and the frosting.

For the espresso powder, try Starbucks’ Via in individual packets and dissolved it in a little liquid before adding to the bowl. Chop a dark chocolate bar for the top.

Serves: 16 Save

Ingredients (20)

  • Cake:
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoon milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetned chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate, optional

Ingredient Facts and Health Benefits

Discover fascinating facts and health benefits about some of the ingredients in the recipe, including other delicious recipes!


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat two 9-inch round layer pans with baking spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk espresso powder and vanilla with buttermilk in a medium bowl.
  4. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate. Turn mixer to low speed; add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture and beat until well blended. Turn to medium speed and beat until smooth and creamy. Pour into pans, spread evenly and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on racks.
  5. To prepare frosting, whisk espresso powder and vanilla with 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl.
  6. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Turn to low speed and gradually beat in powdered sugar. Add melted chocolate and milk mixture; increase mixer speed and beat until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add more milk to make spreadable.
  7. Place one cake layer on plate. Spread with about 2/3 cup frosting. Cover with second cake layer and frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle chopped chocolate in a circle around top edge of cake, if desired.