Chocolate Coffee Cake with French Buttercream (video)

A chocolate coffee cake sitting on a cake stand, with a cake slice on the table

Rich and decadent coffee chocolate cake filled with a creamy coffee custard and frosted with my silky ‘French Buttercream‘ frosting! You’ll love this delicious coffee cake! The cake is moist and delicate and perfectly complemented by the cream filling! It’s a great choice for any occasion! Serve with a cup of hot coffee for the ultimate treat!

My Chocolate Coffee Cake Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube video tutorial for step-by-step instructions for making this delicious coffee chocolate cake! Plus, learn how to make French Buttercream – this video has two recipes in one! Want to stay up to date on new recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel  and turn on notifications!

Ingredients for Coffee Cake

This chocolate cake with coffee filling is made with pantry staples you’re bound to have already! Here are the main ingredients you’ll need:

  • Vanilla, Eggs, Milk: the wet ingredients for the cake batter. Have the eggs and milk at room temperature for best results.
  • Sugar, Flour, Baking Powder & Salt: the dry ingredients for the cake batter.
  • Cocoa Powder: I like to use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder to make the cake extra rich!
  • Instant Coffee: adding a little bit of coffee into the chocolate cake makes it’s more rich tasting! You’ll also need coffee for the custard filling.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: for making the cake layers and for the French buttercream. I like using a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate for the cake. It makes the cake extra rich and moist!
  • Egg Yolks, Sugar, Unsalted Butter: for making the French chocolate buttercream. The egg yolks are cooked instantly with the hot sugar syrup so no need to worry about raw eggs!
  • Egg Yolks, Whole Milk, Sugar, Butter: for making the coffee custard filling.
a slice of chocolate coffee cake on a plate

Making the Coffee Pastry Cream

A creamy coffee pastry cream filling is perfect for this chocolate cake recipe! This coffee flavored filling is a variation of my original ‘Vanilla Pastry Cream’. It’s a great filling that’s easy to make! Here’s how to make it:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, cornstarch and water for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth; set aside. Combine the instant coffee, milk and flour in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the milk, whisking constantly, until the milk is steaming hot but not boiling. Temper the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, adding it slowly and whisking.
  2. Once the two mixtures are combined, pour the custard base into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens into a custard and holds its shape on the back of the spatula. Whisk the custard vigorously to get rid of any clumps. Remove the custard from heat and add the coffee liqueur and butter. Whisk until the butter is completely melted. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to cool completely.
a close up of French buttercream dollops on a tray

Making Chocolate French Buttercream

This decadent chocolate coffee cake is frosted with my all-time favorite frosting – French buttercream! I use a chocolate version of this silky smooth and creamy buttercream to complement the chocolate cake layers! This frosting is made with egg yolks but don’t worry, there are no raw yolks! They are cooked instantly with the hot sugar syrup! Here’s how to make it:

  1. place the egg yolks into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for a few minutes until thick and pale. Meanwhile, combine the water and sugar in small saucepan. Heat the sugar, not stirring, over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 238F/115C, about 5 minutes. Keep the mixer running on medium speed and pour the hot syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolks.
  2. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until mixture is thick and pale in color. It also needs to be just lukewarm to touch. Begin adding the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter mixed in well. The buttercream will start to thicken as more butter is added.
  3. After adding the butter, add the melted chocolate, salt and coffee extract. Mix again for a few minutes until a uniform and fluffy frosting forms.
Chocolate Coffee Cake on a cake stand

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Cake

I love how easy this chocolate coffee cake is to put together! The cake layers, the coffee custard and French buttercream all come together beautifully!

  1. For Chocolate Cake: preheat oven to 350F/177C. Line three, 8-inch (20-cm) baking pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes, until fluffy. Then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Dissolve the instant coffee in the warm milk, then add to the batter.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Mix together, then sift into the cake batter to get rid of any clumps. Using a hand whisk, mix the flour into the batter just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter! Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before assembling cake.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare a batch of my coffee custard and the French buttercream. Cool the custard in the refrigerator before using.
  4. To assemble the cake, first cool the cake layers and custard completely. Prepare the buttercream while waiting. Transfer half of the buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco tip no 847. For each layer, first pipe a barrier ring of the frosting around the edge, then fill the center with the coffee custard. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Add dollops of frosting on top and garnish with chocolate pieces.
  5. Keep cake refrigerated. Remove the cake from the fridge a few hours before serving, allowing the cake to thaw and warm up.

Serving the Chocolate Cake

Once the cake has set in the refrigerator for a few hours, you can serve the cake. You can also make this cake a day or two, even three days ahead of time. Just keep it well chilled. When you’re ready to enjoy the cake, remove it from the refrigerator at least 2 hours prior to serving. French buttercream can become quite solid in the refrigerator and takes time to thaw. Serve the cake with hot coffee or tea on the side!

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a slice of chocolate cake on a plate with text overlay 'Chocolate Coffee Cake'

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this rich and decadent chocolate coffee cake? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • The Best Dark Chocolate Cake – decadent, rich and extra chocolatey, dark chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache!
  • Coffee Tres Leches Cake – soft and delicate coffee sponge cake soaked with a three milk mixture, plus coffee whipped cream frosting!
  • Coffee Caramel Cake – you’ll love this coffee cake with salted caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache!
  • Triple Coffee Cheesecake – my favorite! Three layers of coffee cheesecake, mousse cake and whipped cream!
  • Easy Opera Cake – an easy recipe for this classic cake recipe, made with sponge cake and coffee buttercream!
  • Hazelnut & Caramel Coffee Cake – this epic cake creation is made with crunchy hazelnut meringue layers and caramel buttercream!

Supplies & Tools

Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):

Chocolate Coffee Cake with French Buttercream (video)

2 hrs prep + 30 mins cook
16 servings
Rich and decadent chocolate cake filled with coffee pastry cream and frosted with a coffee French buttercream frosting!

Ingredients 

For Chocolate Cake: (from video)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For French Buttercream:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coffee emulsion or extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

For Coffee Custard: (from video)

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 6 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions

For Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • For Chocolate Cake: preheat oven to 350F/177C. Line three, 8-inch (20-cm) baking pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes, until fluffy. Then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Dissolve the instant coffee in the warm milk, then add to the batter.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Mix together, then sift into the cake batter to get rid of any clumps. Using a hand whisk, mix the flour into the batter just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter! Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before assembling cake.

For Coffee Pastry Cream:

  • For Coffee Custard: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, cornstarch and water for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth; set aside. Combine the instant coffee, milk and flour in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the milk, whisking constantly, until the milk is steaming hot but not boiling. Temper the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, adding it slowly and whisking.
  • Once the two mixtures are combined, pour the custard base into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens into a custard and holds its shape on the back of the spatula. Whisk the custard vigorously to get rid of any clumps. Remove the custard from heat and add the coffee liqueur and butter. Whisk until the butter is completely melted. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to cool completely.

For French Buttercream:

  • For French Buttercream: place the egg yolks into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for a few minutes until thick and pale. Meanwhile, combine the water and sugar in small saucepan. Heat the sugar, not stirring, over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 238F/115C, about 5 minutes. Keep the mixer running on medium speed and pour the hot syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolks.
  • Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until mixture is thick and pale in color. It also needs to be just lukewarm to touch. Begin adding the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter mixed in well. The buttercream will start to thicken as more butter is added.
  • After adding the butter, add the melted chocolate, salt and coffee extract. Mix again for a few minutes until a uniform and fluffy frosting forms.

Assembling the Cake:

  • To assemble the cake, first cool the cake layers and custard completely. Prepare the buttercream while waiting. Transfer half of the buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco tip no 847. For each layer, first pipe a barrier ring of the frosting around the edge, then fill the center with the coffee custard. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Add dollops of frosting on top and garnish with chocolate pieces.
  • Keep cake refrigerated. Remove the cake from the fridge a few hours before serving, allowing the cake to thaw and warm up.

Nutrition

Calories: 614kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 214mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 1316IU | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 2mg