Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream

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A beautiful Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream that will wake up your tastebuds, cure that chocolate craving, and have you wishing there was more!

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream from www.happyfoodhealthylife.com

 Oh.Em.Gee. you guys. Really. This is happening, and I have no apologies. If you’ve come looking for a healthy recipe today, I’m oh so sorry… no, I’m really not. Sometimes, you have to indulge a little, and my friends, if you’re going to indulge, this is the way to do it.

Let me tell you something. I have a jealousy issue. It’s geared towards those who can make amazingly beautiful cakes. Perfect buttercream on the sides. Gorgeous piping. All of it. I would give my right arm to be able to make cakes like that…. ok, that’s a little much and may hinder the cake-making-process.

But really, I have pinned so many beautiful cakes that I just wish I could put together myself. But making food pretty isn’t always my strong suit. In fact, it’s probably where I struggle the most.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream from www.happyfoodhealthylife.com

But for this wonderful occasion, the celebration of Happy Food Healthy Life turning two this week, I had to put my jealousy aside and create something that was just so yummy and was beautiful in its own rights.

I wasn’t even going to attempt to put buttercream on the sides of the cake. I already know I’m not great at that step of cake decorating. But I am great at stacking cake-buttercream-cake-buttercream-and so on until I’ve achieved what looks like something irresistible to me!

This cake was actually inspired by what was my first post. I have got to show you how far I’ve come. It’s quite stunning. In photography (thank goodness!). In my baking. In my styling. In my writing. All of it. I have come so far, and I am proud of that achievement.

Two years, my friends! Can you believe it?? Some days, I really can’t. This has been such an awesome journey for me, as I’ve shared posts through tears, frustrations, happiness, pain, and excitement. Above all, it has been so amazing to share it with you!

Having the support of friends and strangers alike has been such a humbling experience for me. In some of the moments that I felt so alone and shared my pains, I didn’t know if anyone would care or even read my posts. And then I would receive a comment from someone on the other side of the world telling me their similar struggles and pains. Those comments are what have kept me going. Knowing I’m helping. Knowing that you can relate. Knowing that I’m not alone.

And in the times I wasn’t sure if I could keep on blogging because life was just too much, you were right. You told me to take as much time as I needed and that you’d still be here when I was ready and able. Thank you. Thank you for that. That support was what I needed.

I appreciate each and every person who reads this little space of mine on the internet. I know it’s not huge. I know it still has a long way to go. I know there is always room for improvement. But for now, this is my space, and I am so happy to welcome you into my space.

As long as you don’t mind when I make desserts with real butter, chocolate, and heavy cream every so often!

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream from www.happyfoodhealthylife.com

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream for a Blogiversary

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream from www.happyfoodhealthylife.com
This recipe makes a 3-layer 8-inch cake. The buttercream makes more than enough to frost all layers and possibly even the sides if you are into that.
Holly Waterfall


  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong coffee (it can be hot, warm or cool)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil , melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

For Buttercream

  • 4 sticks butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar , sifted
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee , cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon espresso powder

For Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Heath Candy Bars , chopped roughly, for topping


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prep your baking pans. I use the parchment paper method in the bottom of my cake pans, but you’re welcome to grease and flour – whatever works best for you.
  • In a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla to dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Yes, this is a one bowl cake!
  • Pour your batter evenly into your prepped cake pans. Gently tap the pans on the countertop to remove air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate your pans. Bake for about 15 minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • When done, let your pans cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then remove cakes from the pans.
  • Once the cake is completely cool, you are ready to prepare your coffee buttercream frosting.
  • For Frosting: Whip butter in the bowl of your mixer for about 3-4 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
  • Alternating sugar, coffee, and vanilla, incorporate into the butter. Once these ingredients have been added, add in the espresso powder and mix well. This will be the kick you need for the coffee flavor.
  • To make Chocolate Ganache: Put chocolate and heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Continue this until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Let sit to room temperature in order to achieve a thick ganache that will stay on the top of your cake rather than spilling over the sides.
  • To assemble cake: Ensure that all cake layers are flat and even. This will allow for a cake that doesn't lean. Place first layer on your cake stand or board.
  • Top with a generous mound of buttercream and spread. Simply top with the next layer and do the same. The final layer will be next, and I like to be sure the buttercream on this layer is as smooth as I can make it, so the ganache will look nice on top. (No need for perfection here though because we're topping it all with candy, and all will be covered up!)
  • Once all buttercream has been smoothed, place spoonfuls of ganache on top of the cake. At the thickness of this room-temperature ganache, you can play around with it a little bit. You can make it almost spill over the sides, and it will stay put without puddling all around the bottom of your cake.
  • Once it looks the way you want it to, top with your chopped Heath candy, step back, and admire!

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream from www.happyfoodhealthylife.com

What’s YOUR favorite kind of Cake??

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  1. I made this cake for my dad’s birthday yesterday and it was amazing. I used 2% milk instead of buttercream and the cake still turned out delicious and moist. Also, the buttercream and ganache recipes makes A LOT. I iced the sides of the cake with buttercream and was very generous piling it on top, and I still had a lot left over. Anyway, definitely highly recommended!

  2. I made this cake tonight but with some modifications. I did not have any coconut oil so I used canola oil for the cake part. For the buttercream icing I left out the coffee and espresso powder. Instead of using 1 T of vanilla, I used 1 T of mint extract. I did the ganache the same but instead of topping it with Heath Toffee Bits I used Andes Creme de Menthe bits! It was delicious!! YUM, tasted like Girl Scout Thin Mints!

  3. Pingback: Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream | Heaven's Meals
  4. Pingback: Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream | Heaven’s Meals
  5. Hello!
    I’m hoping to make this cake tomorrow for my birthday, but I only have brown sugar. Can I use that instead of the white sugar in the cake batter? Should I use slightly less?

    1. First of all… Happy Birthday Rose! You’ve absolutely picked the perfect cake to celebrate 🙂
      As for substituting brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar: the molasses in brown sugar is going to add more moisture to the batter, so you may need to adjust by adding less of the wet ingredients to compensate. This wouldn’t be a big deal in something like a banana bread where you want the moisture, but a layer cake requires everything to “stay put” you know? So, as much I want to tell you to experiment and see what works, I have personally never made this specific recipe with brown sugar, so I can’t guarantee the results.
      Regardless, I hope you have a wonderful day!

      1. Hi Holly,
        Thanks for your fast reply and birthday wishes! I figured as much about the molasses maybe over-moisturizing the batter… Thanks for your honesty! As a somewhat experienced cake maker, I’m willing to experiment and get back to you on the results.
        Hope you have a wonderful day too!

      2. Hey again!
        The cake was a huge hit last night!

        Here are the changes I made due to ingredient/bakeware limitations:
        -I used 1 3/4 c. brown sugar instead of 2 c. white sugar for the cake batter.
        -I baked three 9-inch pans for 15 min, took one out that was done (thanks uneven oven/house), and rotated/shifted the other two (both had wet toothpick tests) and baked them 5 minutes more. In the future, I would bake 9-inch pans 10 minutes, check+rotate, then 5-10 minutes more.
        -For the buttercream frosting, I used 1/4 c. coffee + 1/4 c. Kahlua instead of 1/2 c. coffee, and just 3 cups of powdered sugar, and it was plenty sweet. I also didn’t have any espresso powder, but the icing still had a good coffee flavor without it.
        -I topped the ganache with roasted pecans instead of Heath bars.

        Thanks again for posting!

      3. Rose thank you so much for coming back and telling me how it went and what subs you ended up going with. It’s nice to see how others use your recipe and get a feel for other things that work. So happy you were able to celebrate your birthday with this cake!

    1. Right?! Time goes by way too fast!
      Thank you so much for your support and your friendship Dorothy. You are inspiring to me, and I appreciate you for being a part of my journey!

  6. This looks incredible! There are definitely other cakes out there very jealous of this one. What could I use to substitute the coffee? We’re not coffee drinkers, but I’m dying to make this!

    1. Kami for the cake, just omit the coffee. It just enhances the chocolate. For the buttercream, just add milk or heavy cream to make a vanilla buttercream. Thank you so much for your kind words