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!

Slice of Mocha Brownie Cake on a white dessert plate with a second slice in the background

Why You’ll Love this Mocha Cake

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mocha?

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.

What is Ganache?

Ganache is decadent icing or filling made by melting semisweet chocolate with heavy cream.

How Do You Make a 3 Layer Cake?

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 below for tips about how to use toothpicks to guide the knife.

Mocha Brownie Cake on a white ceramic cake stand

Tips for Making this Chocolate Layer Cake

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.

A slice of brownie cake in front of a white pedestal holding the rest of the cake

More Chocolate Cake Recipes 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 which is perfect for a crowd!

A slice of chocolate brownie cake on a white dessert plate garnished with 2 fresh raspberries

Mocha Brownie Cake

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield 10 servings

A decadent triple layer chocolate cake iced with chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 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

Ganache:

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and mix at medium speed for 15 seconds.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Fold the sour cream into the batter.
  7. 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.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour.
  9. 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.
  10. Put the chocolate in a large bowl and pour in the boiling cream and hot coffee. Set aside 5 minutes then stir until smooth.
  11. 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.
  12. You want to use it when it just begins to thicken and can be poured rather than spread over the cake.
  13. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. With a long serrated knife, cut the cake into 3 even slices.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Place the last layer, cut side down, in the pan and press down firmly but carefully to position it.
  17. Refrigerate for at least an hour before frosting the exterior. Cover the remaining ganache with plastic and keep it at room temperature.
  18. After the cake is finished chilling, run a knife around the inside edges of the cake pan and release the sides of the springform.
  19. Pour over the remaining ganache and use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache over the top and sides.
  20. Allow to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Notes

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.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 4gSugar: 50gProtein: 8g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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