Chocolate Espresso Cake


April 3, 2012 by Flora Dawn


Chocolate Espresso Cake Directions:


To make this dairy-free, simply replace the butter with a butter substitute like Earth Balance sticks, or for a denser cake, you can use oil. I’ve tried it all three ways, and the end result is always delicious.


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coffee, cocoa powder, and butter (or oil if using) over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool (it doesn’t need to get to room temperature, just cooled, so it’s not extremely hot; you don’t want to scramble the eggs when you add them).
  2. Preheat oven to 325. Generously grease (or use a non-stick cooking spray) a bundt pan. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir the eggs (or applesauce if using) into the warm chocolate mixture and stir until combined. (If you happen to cook the eggs, you can solve this problem by pouring the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, throwing out the egg clumps and continuing on with the recipe.) Add the flour mixture and stir until incorporated (it’s okay if there are a few lumps, but you want it to by mostly smooth). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center tests clean. Remove cake from oven and run a plastic knife or small rubber spatula around the edges of the cake, making sure that the cake is loose from the pan. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Frost if desired before serving.


I recently came up with a gluten-free Root Beer Bundt cake and it was so good! It was an instant family-favorite at my house. So when my daughter’s birthday rolled around I thought I would get creative by replacing the root beer with strongly brewed coffee.


Being true Oregonians, coffee is a favorite drink at our house; so not surprisingly, the cake was a huge success. I’m actually not a coffee drinker myself, but seriously, coffee and chocolate are a winning combination that even I can’t refuse.


We have made this cake in a traditional bundt pan and also in one of those fancy 3-D bear pans. I confess I have less than stellar cake-decorating skills, and yet every year my kids have some elaborate birthday cake request. And being the over-achieving mom that I am, I always try my best.


So please don’t laugh at my attempt at a panda bear cake (to quote an infamous American Idol contestant, remember I’ve had no professional training). Actually my sister was over and she did most of the white part, so a big thanks to Aunt Evie. And what’s really important is that my 5 year old was thrilled with her bear cake and everyone at her birthday enjoyed the cake, even if it was gluten and dairy-free; some even had seconds.


I think one of the secrets of successful home baking is to find a few excellent recipes and then make necessary adjustments to suit the occasion. In my opinion, one great chocolate cake recipe is a necessity for any gluten-free family. This recipe can be altered simply by changing the liquid; you can of course use root beer to make it more child-friendly, or as my sister prefers a cola or Dr. Pepper. This recipe is flexible and delicious, making it a great go-to cake recipe for nearly any occasion.


This Chocolate Espresso version, although mildly coffee-flavored, is not overwhelming; and my kids and other non-coffee drinkers enjoyed it. However, the accompanying frosting has a bolder flavor.


Here is my daughter’s birthday cake using a 10-cup  3-D cake pan (it wasn’t quite enough batter to fill the pan, but it worked well enough with this recipe).



2 thoughts on “Chocolate Espresso Cake

  1. Amber says:

    Okay, so something doesn’t add up. I made this recipe exactly, though I didn’t have sweet rice flour so I just added another 1/4 cup white rice flour, and after 40mins at 325 the cake was still completely liquid inside, after 1hr and 5 mins it was finally cooked. Wrong temperature? Help please!

    • Flora says:

      I have made this cake and the root beer cake it was based on many times now and never encountered the problem you are explaining. I haven’t replaced the sweet rice flour with any other flour, but honestly I think that would make the cake drier if anything. My only two thoughts are oven temperature (do you use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is actually at the right heat) or maybe cake pan size. I have found gf cakes need to be cooked lower and slower than traditional cakes, but possibly that isn’t a good idea in your oven. I know all ovens cook differently. Sorry for the frustration.

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