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Mocha Brownie Cake

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My favorite resource for fabulous chocolate desserts, Marcel Desaulniers, shared this exquisite, 3 Layer Mocha Brownie Cake in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Baking with Julia.

Slice of Mocha Brownie Cake on a white dessert plate

Mocha Brownie Cake

I was thrilled to see that this Tuesdays with Dorie Mocha Brownie Cake recipe was from contributing baker, Marcel Desaulniers. I have a few of his cookbooks, all full of decadent, chocolate laden desserts. I have made his Death by Chocolate Cake a couple of times…probably the most magnificent chocolate dessert I’ve ever created. This man knows his chocolate.

Mocha Brownie Cake on a white, ruffled cake stand

A Few Recipe Tips for this Mocha Brownie Cake

My chocoholic family, including a visiting mother-in-law and brother-in-law, raved about this cake.

  • A thick brownie was baked in a 9 inch cake pan, then chilled. I carefully cut it into 3 relatively even slices, then filled and iced with a luscious, semi-sweet ganache.
  • PRO-Tip: I use toothpicks inserted around the perimeter at two levels to guide my knife as I sliced the cake into thirds.
  • Marcel suggested using a springform pan as a mold to keep the layers stacked perfectly as each was topped with ganache. A brief chilling before adding each layer helped firm up the filling.
  • This technique made for a bakery worthy profile. This cake sliced neatly when chilled, but the texture was ideal at room temperature. I have a feeling this exquisite Mocha Brownie Cake will be requested again and again.

More Chocolate Cakes You’ll Love:

Chocolate cakes and chocolate chip cookies are universally loved by my family, so this blog is full of inspiration. I’d recommend this La Bete Noire, a flourless chocolate cake, this Triple Layer Chocolate Cake because 3 layers are better than two, and this Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cocoa Icing is perfect for a crowd!



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Mocha Brownie Cake

A decadent triple layer chocolate cake iced with chocolate ganache.

  • Author: Liz
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American



  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 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


  1. Place rack in center of oven and heat to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake pan (3 inches deep) 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on high speed 4 to 5 minutes, or until the eggs are slightly thickened and doubled in volume. Add the melted chocolate and mix at medium speed 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.
  4. Pour the batter in the pan and smooth surface. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 20 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour.
  5. For 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.
  6. 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 remaining ganache with plastic and keep it at room temperature.
  7. 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.

The recipe can be found in the Chicago Tribune.


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65 comments on “Mocha Brownie Cake”

  1. This looks like such a treat ! I can imagine why your family raved about this cake.

  2. This cake looks like a heaven for chocolate and coffee lovers alike, beautiful and stunning!

  3. Lizzy, did you hear me moaning from over there? That’s what I did when the photo loaded LOL! Scrumptious! Can never stop raving like a lunatic when I see a chocolate cake with thick ganache coating. πŸ˜€

  4. It is indeed a heaven for coffee lovers like me…divine.

  5. Dear Liz, I knew you would ace this recipe and you did – it looks utterly perfect and decadent and I can certainly understand that your family quite enjoyed this wonderful Mocha Brownie Cake! I certainly would not mind a slice, a big one, please!
    Have a great Tuesday!

  6. I am IN LOVE with this cake!! I want it!

  7. Bet it didn’t last long:@)

  8. This cake looks gorgeous Liz! Such a wonderfully decadent treat and I love how perfect the layers look – it sounds amazing with the semi-sweet ganache too – pinning πŸ™‚

  9. Really beautiful cake. I like brownies so this cake would be perfect treat. Saving it for my birthday πŸ™‚

  10. Oo-la-la trΓ¨s magnifique! Je pense je sais what’s going into my springform pan next! Thank you Liz for the intro to Marcels Desaulniers…Looks like another cookbook may soon be in the mail to the Ninja Baker!

  11. Lizzy , that cake looks perfectly delicious πŸ˜€ I’ll check the recipe .

  12. Great tip regarding chilling the layers before applying the next one. This looks very decadent Liz and you always ace cutting layers and bars evenly. I’d love to have Marcels cookbook.

  13. wow! wow wow! i love the different layers. It brings a new level to the standard idea of a brownie. It looks amazing and so rich and in perfect shape/form might I add:)

  14. I have to get Death by Chocolate Cake! It will probably destroy my diet, but you only live once. This looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing it with another chocoholic!

  15. Your cake looks beautiful! The springform pan really works well. Great job!

  16. Your cake looks awesome!!!
    It was a great sucess and definitely a keeper! to make “again and again”!!!

  17. I love chocolate and I love anyone who loves chocolate πŸ™‚ Great cake Liz, I can eat it all by myself.

  18. That is perfection!!! Wow, does that look amazing and my mouth waters as I can imagine the taste!

  19. I love layer cakes, especially the ones filled and iced with ganache πŸ™‚

  20. This cake would please any chocaholic! Looks beautiful!

  21. I made his Death by Chocolate cake one year for my husband’s birthday. This one is so much easier! I agree–when I sliced the cake I thought it looked good enough to have been bakery-made!

  22. I have one of his cookbooks and it is fabulous. I find that his desserts usually have a lot of components but it is nice to see that this one doesn’t. However when they do it is fun to take just one or two of them and use them in a different way. This dessert is one I could fall in love with!

  23. Wow, Liz, you sure must have a chocoholic family! This sounds totally yummy.

  24. That looks brilliant. I know I’d eat the whole thing so I think I need to make a small one. πŸ™‚

  25. Lizzy this brownie cake look perfect and georgeous!!! xxx

  26. This brownie cake looks absolutely incredible πŸ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  27. Okay, I have to make this. (didn’t get to it) Beautiful looking cake!!!

  28. I used to love watching Marcels Desaulniers’ show, as I recall he was one of the early Food Network (or its predecessor) hosts. I have his cookbook Death by Chocolate too although I haven’t really made anything from it (it’s got to be at least 10 years now). Shame on me. You have inspired me to get this book out and find something to bake for my next dinner party.

  29. Simply stunning. Off to get the recipe!! My chocoholic husband is going to cry for this one! πŸ˜€

  30. Perfect! Love your layers.

  31. Liz, this is a awesome looking cake, and perfectly layered…I so wish for a slice of this cake now…
    Have a wonderful week πŸ˜€

  32. an you see me drooling!! Your cake looks delicious, can I come to your house!!!

    Michael πŸ™‚

  33. That is one gorgeous slice!!! I love anything mocha, so I know this cake and I would be verrrry good friends πŸ™‚

  34. Lizzy,
    This cake looks delicious. I wish I had some now. Pinned.

  35. Dear Lizzy, This is one beautiful chocolate cake. I would love it. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  36. Oh wow this cake looks really special! So big and dark, I would love a slice, I need a sugar hit to pick me up!

  37. I always find it stressful when I have to cut a cake into layers. I use a tape measure and go around the cake making cuts to help guide me. Toothpicks are a great idea. The cake looks so yummy and I love the image of the whole cake covered in all that chocolate. How many pieces did Bill eat? xx

  38. Hi Liz, your brownies cake look awesome. Nice layering and love the coating, it look so tempting.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a nice week ahead.

  39. Yeah…this one looks perfect… layers, icing, cake. You are the best, Liz! πŸ™‚ ela

  40. This kind of cake always looks so impressive and it’s definitely on my bucket list to make one myself. Great idea to use a brownie base. Delicious!

  41. How I wish I had a slice of this cake right now, gorgeous!

  42. Coffee and chocolate are definitely a divine combination of flavours. Your brownie cake looks fantastic.

  43. I am a chocoholic too! This is my type of cake!

  44. We got rave reviews for this one as well, wasn’t it fantastic to look at and to eat? A keeper for sure!

  45. This sounds so good and I love the really simple icing you went for.

  46. So amazing! Beautifully done my friend, I want this cake with my coffee!:)

  47. Wow! This is such a great looking cake! Beyond decadent — just what I like! Great recipe — thanks.

  48. Is there anything better than chocolate cake? Well, yes! Mocha brownie cake. Yuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmm!

  49. You’re making me wish I liked chocolate, Liz. That is a gorgeous dessert. You’re right about it being bakery quality, but the fact that it’s home made and has that love ingredient makes it even more swoonable.

  50. Awesome cake and perfectly layered!

  51. Wow I think I would be bouncing off the walls with the intense chocolate cake but I would be very happy about it, it looks amazing, as does the icing.

  52. Look at that luscious, chocolaty slice of heaven! The chocoholic in me is freaking out over this fabulous cake! Lovely job, Liz.

  53. Looks gorgeous, Lizzy! I’m sorry I missed this one…sounds luscious!

  54. This is a gorgeous cake! I could so get behind a brownie layer cake–going to bookmark this recipe!

  55. This gorgeous mocha chocolate cake would not last long in our house. I know that chocolate tastes better at room temperature but I always like my cakes really really cold so chilling before cutting is a good thing for me. Love your stunning photos of the Grand Canyon, hoping you had a lovely time.

  56. I am in love with this cake.

  57. Oh boy does this cake sound terrific. I certainly would love a slice with a cold glass of milk. πŸ™‚

  58. Ok, what do I need to do (anything at all) to convince you to send me a piece? I will basically do anything C:

  59. I will be needing a slice of the brownie cake! It looks so delicious and decadent!

  60. Lizzy, I never doubt your cakes, and dessert to be less than perfect. The layers are simply gorgeous, and the mocha chocolate flavor is to ‘die for delicious’! xoxo

  61. 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!

  62. Beautiful layers! This cake sounds perfect for me… brownies and coffee!? That’s me! πŸ˜›

  63. it does look like a cake from a bakery. gorgeous!

  64. 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.

  65. I don’t know why I am not surprised that you own several chocolte cookbooks πŸ™‚ And I see that you broke into your secret rasberry stash again…

    Beautifully done!

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