Chocolate Espresso Cake

Gravestone Cake

As my mother-in-law Jeanne likes to say, “Old Age is not for Sissies!” And she is right! She’s a feisty lady in her mid eighties who’s still having a great time! She is involved in so many activities we practically have to make an appointment to talk with her! Jeanne runs the weekly movie theatre where she lives, still goes to the gym, is always heading up some kind of a committee to help others and is inspiration to all who know her. Age is a state of mind so if the mind and heart are happy, then who cares what the age is. They say “laughter is the best medicine” so why not poke fun at whatever age we are and keep the laughter coming!

Our friend Grant just turned 60 and you’d never guess by the way he lives his life. Full of adventure, he is one of the funniest, warm-hearted people we know! And he and his wife Sherri have a great sense of humor! So how could I make just an every day kind of cake to celebrate his milestone birthday? I couldn’t and so a gravestone cake had his name all over it…..literally! 🙂 Happy Birthday my friend!

Grant's 60th

The chocolate espresso cake is a wonderful cake for chocolate and coffee lovers for any occasion. Chocolate and coffee are best friends! Transform it into the perfect cake for the holidays! You can make it in 8 inch round pans for a layer cake or a sheet pan for ease and less frosting. But I’m telling you, once you taste this light, buttery coffee flavored frosting you will probably want it on more than just the cake!

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan (for gravestone) or two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray with flour. Or you can butter and flour the pans.

Sift the dry ingredients

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined.

Why you sift

And this is why you sift your dry ingredients! Every time! Who wants dry lumps in their moist cake?

Wet Ingredients

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Buttermilk is the secret ingredients to a very most cake. You’ll never know what it is but you will know it is moist!

Wet into Dry

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.

Add Coffee

Coffee! The baker’s secret to making chocolate taste more chocolatey! With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Batter will be thin and that’s OK.

Pour into prepared pan

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Shake to remove bubbles

Gently shake pan to remove any air bubbles. They will make big holes in your beautiful cake! Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes.  

Make Cake Plate

*Cover a piece of cardboard, a few inches bigger all around than the cake pan, with heavy duty aluminum foil to make a cake plate. Yes, we just got new blinds so I had a cardboard box at the ready. If not, you can purchase cardboard cake boards at your local crafts store.

Flip Cake on Foil

Flip the single cake (gravestone) out onto the foil lined cardboard cake plate to cool completely.* Or turn the round cake pans out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Cake on Foil board

For the Gravestone Cake: Place the foil side of cake plate down on the top of the cake pan and flip it over so the cake is now positioned on the foil covered cardboard.

Or for a layer cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Cut off the corners

Cut off the top corners to form the rounded top of the gravestone. Good time to taste the cake too! No corners shall go to waste! Like little chocolate ears to nibble upon.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Espresso and Vanilla

Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside. I prefer to use Medaglia d’Oro espresso powder for all my chocolate or coffee flavors but could not find it at my local market like I used to. In a pinch, which I was in, you can substitute instant coffee. It has a wee bit of a bitter edge sometimes but the sugar helps balance it.

Whip the butter

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. You will see the butter go from yellow to a pale yellow color as you whip it.

Add powdered sugar

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time so you don’t get a powdered sugar facial! Wait until it is mostly incorporated before adding more powdered sugar.

Scrape down the bowl

Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two.

Espresso to frosting

Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

Making grey frosting

Color your frosting at this time if you are using different colors, or just frost the cake with the Espresso Buttercream Frosting.

Base Frosting

Make the Espresso Buttercream Frosting and divide it into 4 bowls. The largest amount of frosting is needed for the base grey layer that will cover the entire cake. About 2/3 of the frosting. Color it with Wilton Black Icing Color Gel, using enough to turn icing a medium grey color. You will use the leftover grey frosting and add more black to it for the letters.

Grant's Gravestone Cake

Divide the remaining frosting into 3 bowls with 1/2 in one bowl (green grass) and 1/4 for cream (flower petals-no color gel added) and 1/4 for yellow (flower centers). The flower petals are cream color because of the espresso. If you would like them to be white, remove some frosting before you flavor it. Pushing up daisies!

I use disposable pastry bags. Use them once and toss them! I used a Wilton Tip# 2 for the letters, Tip# 233 for the grass, Tip# 61 for the petals and Tip# 21 for the star flower centers.  You can use whatever ones you like but this will give you an idea of where to start. I AM NOT a pastry or cake decorating pro (as you can see) but I do have fun with it for friends and family. They are very forgiving and amused by the cakes!

Time to frost and create some fun!

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
Serves 12
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Print
315 calories
52 g
33 g
11 g
5 g
2 g
117 g
442 g
35 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
117g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 315
Calories from Fat 101
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
18%
Saturated Fat 2g
8%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 33mg
11%
Sodium 442mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 52g
17%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 35g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
6%
Iron
7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. Cooking Spray with Flour
  2. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 2 cups sugar
  4. 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  9. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  10. 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  11. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  12. 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan (for gravestone) or two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray with flour. Or you can butter and flour the pans.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Batter will be thin and that's OK.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes.
  7. *Cover a piece of cardboard, a few inches bigger all around than the cake pan, with heavy duty aluminum foil to make a cake plate.
  8. Flip the single cake (gravestone) out onto the foil lined cardboard cake plate to cool completely.* Or turn the round cake pans out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  9. For the Gravestone Cake: Place the foil side of cake plate down on the top of the cake pan and flip it over so the cake is now positioned on the foil covered cardboard.
  10. Or for a layer cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
  11. Cut the top corners off of the cake to form the rounded edges of the gravestone.
beta
calories
315
fat
11g
protein
5g
carbs
52g
more
Life of the Party Always! http://lifeofthepartyalways.com/

 

Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Serves 12
Write a review
Print
366 calories
54 g
41 g
17 g
2 g
10 g
88 g
180 g
25 g
1 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
88g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 366
Calories from Fat 149
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
26%
Saturated Fat 10g
51%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 41mg
14%
Sodium 180mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 54g
18%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 25g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
9%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
2%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes or 2- 8 inch round cakes.
  2. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
Instructions
  1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.
  2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more.
  4. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two.
  5. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.
  6. Color your frosting at this time if you are using different colors, or just frost the cake with the Espresso Buttercream Frosting.
  7. Make the Espresso Buttercream Frosting and divide it into 4 bowls. The largest amount of frosting is needed for the base grey layer that will cover the entire cake. About 2/3 of the frosting. Color it with Wilton Black Icing Color Gel, using enough to turn icing a medium grey color. You will use the leftover grey frosting and add more black to it for the letters.
  8. Divide the remaining frosting into 3 bowls with 1/2 in one bowl (green grass) and 1/4 for cream (flower petals-no color gel added) and 1/4 for yellow (flower centers). The flower petals are cream color because of the espresso. If you would like them to be white, remove some frosting before you flavor it. Pushing up daisies!
  9. I use disposable pastry bags. Use them once and toss them! I used a Wilton Tip# 2 for the letters, Tip# 233 for the grass, Tip# 61 for the petals and Tip# 21 for the star flower centers. You can use whatever ones you like but this will give you an idea of where to start. I AM NOT a pastry or cake decorating pro (as you can see) but I do have fun with it for friends and family. They are very forgiving and amused by the cakes!
  10. Time to frost and create some fun!
beta
calories
366
fat
17g
protein
2g
carbs
54g
more
Life of the Party Always! http://lifeofthepartyalways.com/
 

2 Comments

  1. Chris W. says:

    Your mother-in-law sounds like a classy lady! And I’m a sucker for anything coffee-flavored. This is a win-win for me!!

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