Mocha Brownie Cake
This exquisite, 3-layer Mocha Brownie Cake comes from Marcel Desaulniers, my favorite resource for fabulous chocolate desserts!
This Mocha Cake has a spectacular chocolate ganache frosting that adds rich, luxurious breaks between each lovely layer of cake!
Why You Must Make
- It’s a recipe from Marcels Desaulniers, whose amazing chocolate recipes also include this Death by Chocolate Cake! This man knows how to create chocolate desserts.
- Three layers instead of two provide a bigger ratio of frosting to cake.
- A touch of coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor without overwhelming it. Coffee is added to the ganache, giving the cake a subtle mocha flavor.
My chocoholic family, including a visiting mother-in-law and brother-in-law, raved about this cake.
- Bake the thick brownie in a 9-inch cake pan with a depth of 3 inches, then chill.
- My 9-inch cake pan wasn’t deep enough so I used my 9-inch springform pan to bake the cake instead.
- The cake is carefully sliced into 3 relatively even slices, then filled and iced with a luscious, semi-sweet ganache.
- PRO-Tip: Use toothpicks inserted around the perimeter at two levels to guide the knife as the cake is sliced into thirds. Place the first set of toothpicks slightly below an imaginary line 1/3 of the way up the cake, then the second set just below 2/3 of the way up.
- Slice the cake into 3 pieces, using the toothpicks to guide the lower edge of the knife. Work your way around the cake, sawing with a serrated knife an inch or so around the cake, then going deeper with the second passing of the knife through the cake. Repeat until the first layer is cut. Then use the next set of toothpicks as a guide and repeat the process.
- Marcel suggests using a springform pan as a mold to keep the layers stacked perfectly as each is topped with ganache. A brief chilling before adding each layer helps firm up the filling.
- This technique makes a cake with a bakery-worthy profile. The cake slices neatly when chilled, but the texture is ideal for eating at room temperature. I have a feeling this exquisite Mocha Brownie Cake will be requested again and again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Originally, mocha only referred to a specific type of coffee grown in Arabia and shipped from Yemen through a port called Mocha. Now it can mean a hot coffee and chocolate drink or anything made with the flavor combination of chocolate and coffee, like this cake.
Ganache is decadent icing or filling made by melting semisweet chocolate with heavy cream.
There are two basic ways to make a three-layer cake. One is to bake three cake layers, then frost and stack them.
The second method was used in this cake recipe. One thick cake is baked, then carefully sliced horizontally into 3 even layers, and then frosted. See above for tips about how to use toothpicks to guide the knife when slicing.
You May Also Like:
Chocolate cakes and chocolate chip cookies are universally loved by my family, so this blog is full of inspiration.
- La Bete Noire
- Triple Layer Chocolate Cake
- Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cocoa Icing is perfect for a crowd!
- Plus, if you don’t have time to make a triple-layer cake, this Simple Chocolate Cake Recipe is also delicious!
- And check out my Recipe Index for my Best Homemade Cake Recipes
Mocha Brownie Cake Recipe
A decadent triple layer chocolate cake iced with chocolate ganache.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 stick (3 ounces or 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup hot strong brewed coffee
- Place rack in center of oven and heat to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake pan (3 inches deep) or a 9-inch springform pan with an oil and flour cooking spray like Baker's Joy; set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Put both chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully blended and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the eggs are slightly thickened and doubled in volume.
- Add the melted chocolate and mix at medium speed for 15 seconds.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Fold the sour cream into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour.
- For the ganache, heat the cream, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches a boil.
- Put the chocolate in a large bowl and pour in the boiling cream and hot coffee. Set aside 5 minutes then stir until smooth.
- The ganache must cool thoroughly. You can leave it to cool at room temperature, which should take an hour or so, or you can refrigerate it. It thickens as it cools.
- You want to use it when it just begins to thicken and can be poured rather than spread over the cake.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator. With a long serrated knife, cut the cake into 3 even slices.
- Place the top layer, cut side down, in a 9-inch springform pan with the sides closed. Pour 1 cup ganache over, spreading it to the edges with a rubber spatula; refrigerate, uncovered, until set, 15 minutes.
- Top with the center layer, pressing it gently into place, and pour another cup of ganache over, spreading it to the edges; refrigerate until set.
- Place the last layer, cut side down, in the pan and press down firmly but carefully to position it.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before frosting the exterior. Cover the remaining ganache with plastic and keep it at room temperature.
- After the cake is finished chilling, run a knife around the inside edges of the cake pan and release the sides of the springform.
- Pour over the remaining ganache and use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache over the top and sides.
- Allow to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
To guide cutting your cake into 3 even slices, place toothpicks around the perimeter 1/3 the way up the sides and 2/3 way up the sides. See details in the blog post.
Make sure your baking powder has not expired. Unlike baking soda, it loses its potency before you can use it all.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 4gSugar: 50gProtein: 8g
78 Comments on “Mocha Brownie Cake”
Made this from the recipe in Julia child’s book. Did not quite get the height, but otherwise it was great. The 3″ high spring-loaded pan is a good tip, as is the toothpicks. May have under-beat the batter. Calorie count is scary, but can easily cut into 12 (still scary). A once-in-a-while treat.
So glad you enjoyed and that my tips helped! Yeah, I try to just eat a sliver, then go back for seconds 🙂
This looks delightfully decadent! What a chocolate dream. And, the coffee makes it even better.
I always take your endorsements seriously, so this is a cake I’ll make note of. I’m also very interested in your reference to La Bete Noir, since it means “nightmare” in French, and who doesn’t want a chocolate nightmare! THAT sounds delicious!
Although this cake would be terrific any time, Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. This would be perfect! 🙂 Thanks!
Beyond delicious chocolate dessert Liz ! It makes every celebration so special !
Mocha is such an underrated flavor! I love coffee and chocolate together. This looks delicious Liz!! Pass me a fork!
What an awesome looking cake! I love that it’s made with sour cream. You’re such a fabulous baker!
I have one of his cookbooks and each recipe is spectacular! Plus they are all good. This one looks wonderful also!
This cake looks really good. It looks like it comes from a famous expensive bakery. You are a great baker,
Now I am totally craving this!! I love the flavor of mocha. I think more desserts should have that chocolate coffee flavor!! This looks deeeelicous!
Oh well – this cake looks stunning and impeccable, Liz! Light and airy layers and smooth and silky ganache. And the combination of chocolate and coffee always is a great idea.
I’m a Marcels Desaulniers fan too. I have the “Desserts to Die For” book and it’s one of my favorite cookbooks. This cake looks truly decadent! I want a slice! 🙂 ~Valentina
I don’t know why I am not surprised that you own several chocolte cookbooks 🙂 And I see that you broke into your secret rasberry stash again…
Now I definitely think I over-baked mine. We were pretty unimpressed, but after your glowing review I’m sure it’s my mistake. Thanks for the tip about the toothpicks. My layers were not especially even.
it does look like a cake from a bakery. gorgeous!
Beautiful layers! This cake sounds perfect for me… brownies and coffee!? That’s me! 😛
That is a beautiful cake! I always leave the layer slicing to my mom, but we’ve never done three layers from one cake. You did an awesome job!