chocolate mocha cake

A slice of chocolate mocha cake with a bite on a fork sitting on a white plate with a straberry for garnish.

If I need chocolate, this cake definitely delivers! The cake is moist, and the frosting contains a shot of espresso just to make a point. It is truly easy to make, travels well, and keeps so well that it tastes even better the next day. I remember a ski weekend with two friends when we ate leftover cake for breakfast with our morning coffee and finished the last few bites in the afternoon while sipping a lovely glass of red.

chocolate mocha cake

Serves: 12
Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • Chocolate cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Mocha frosting:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 shots espresso
  • (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar



To make the cake, heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.


Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.


In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until thoroughly combined (the batter may be a little lumpy, but that’s not a problem). Pour the batter into the prepared pan.


Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


To make the frosting, cream the butter in a medium bowl until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the cocoa powder, then add the vanilla and espresso. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add water if needed to give the frosting a nice spreading consistency.


Spread over the cooled chocolate cake.

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  • Reply
    Kim Miles
    January 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Carol, I’m going to try this in my new tiny kitchen. The recipe is vegan! – except for the butter, which I’ll swap out for Earth Balance “butter.” I’ve been craving chocolate cake for months. This looks perfect!

    • Reply
      Carol Buchan
      January 17, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Yes Kim, I should put this dessert in a vegan category if you hold the butter, or simply dust with powdered sugar. You will have to share with me some of your favorite recipes that taste best at the beach.

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