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Coffee-Cocoa Snack Cake


Serves sixteen.

Yields one 9-inch-square cake.

The coffee in this recipe intensifies the chocolate flavor of this super-moist cake. I  suggest you use a freshly ground, medium-bodied variety, such as Colombian.

  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) very soft unsalted butter; more for the pan
  • 1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 7-1/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
  • 2-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not  Dutch-processed)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 cups good-quality brewed coffee, cooled  to warm
Give the butter plenty of time to warm up. You can tell your butter is soft enough if it squishes when poked lightly with a finger.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and  heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-inch-square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a square of parchment, butter the parchment, and then flour the bottom and sides of the pan. Tap out any excess flour.

If mixing by hand, put the softened butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon, cream them until smooth, about 1 minute. Switch to a whisk and blend in the eggs one at a time. Stir for another 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve. (If using a stand mixer, put the butter and sugar in the bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream until smooth, about 1  minute. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Then switch to a whisk and blend in the rest of the ingredients by hand.) Mix in the vanilla and salt. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder directly onto the batter. Pour in the coffee. Gently whisk the ingredients until the mixture is smooth and mostly free of lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it, 40 to 43 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edges of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, and remove the pan. Invert again onto another rack and let cool right side up until just warm.

Make Ahead Tips

The cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to five days.

Serving Suggestions

Try drizzling pieces of the cake with a little warm ganache.

Photo: Scott Phillips

The cake is good, but I feel that 1.5 cups of coffee is too much--the center of my cake, though testing done, the cake feels loosey-goosey to me. Would prefer something firmer. I would not make this again, but would opt for another recipe.

This might be the best chocolate cake I have ever had let alone made. I'm a tentative baker but this recipe has never failed me. I up the salt a little which makes it caramelly. I've added ground sour cherry seeds (mahlab,) lavender, and nutmeg. I've switched out some of the coffee for rose or bitter orange blossom water. I've dusted it with powdered sugar. Iced it with peanut butter frosting. Spooned stewed fruit on top. Even soaked it with booze and lit it on fire! It seems to cook perfectly no matter what size or shape pan(s) you use. (It makes beautiful mini Bundt cakes.) And it stays moist for ages. I think even very accomplished cake makers would be quite thrilled with this. I know it has impressed some of the most jaded guests I have.

Was searching for "coffee cake" for my morning golf group and came upon this recipe so I made it instead. It was a huge hit! I had trouble getting the center of the cake to cook (my oven is actually reliable so I was surprised) so I'm going to try convection next time. I'm also going to try the Nutella cream cheese frosting that one of the other reviewers mentioned. Coffee, chocolate, hazelnut -- what more could you ask?

Delicious! Didn't use parchment paper. Dusted the cooled cake with powdered sugar and we ate it directly from the pan. It was very moist and the crumb is nice. I brewed my coffee too strong so the coffee taste was a little overwhelming. I used fresh ground Columbian coffee. Next time, I'll use weak to medium strength coffee.

This goes excellent with a recipe I found for nutella cream cheese frosting, it just compliments the kick of the coffee even more, and is great for nutella lovers. Recipe:

This goes excellent with a recipe I found for nutella cream cheese frosting, it just compliments the kick of the coffee even more, and is great for nutella lovers. Recipe:

This is easy and so good...who knew making a cake from scratch could be so yummy...easy and cost effective. I just use left over coffee from the morning. Try it you'll love it!! My 13 year old is making it for Mom's day...her freind came over and is making one for her Mom too!!

Great recipe, but really needed high altitude tweaking before it came out right...we live over 6000 ft so needed to try it a few times before it came out right...decreased baking soda and baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon...added 1 extra tablespoon of butter and an extra 1/4 cup of coffee...used only a wooden spoon because the whisk added too much air and the cake boiled over and lastly, increased the temp by 25degrees and decreased the cooking time by 7 minutes...baking at a high altitude is truly an experiment each time...

Very good, simple enough for weeknight dessert or can be dressed up with frosting, glaze etc. if you like. We liked it just with powdered sugar, but I think a glaze would be nice if you want it sweeter. I am always happy with a moist cake, and this fits the bill!

Great recipe! Moist and very chocolaty...I served it with a warm vanilla-butter sauce...looking forward to another slice tomorrow!!

I keep coming back to this recipe time and time again. It is moist, lots of chocolate flavour and my whole family loves it. Top notch!

Made a very moist and tasty birthday cake for my daughter. Her friend loved it, too! I used the ganache as icing.

This is everything you want in a snack cake. Very moist with rich chocolate flavor. The coffee flavor blends in with and enhances the chocolate without calling attention to itself. I did not miss frosting at all but I did toss in about 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips and I liked the added chocolate bump they gave the cake.

This was a wonderful casual cake..... I like the word 'snack cake'. It fits. No frosting needed, no fuss, just pick it up with your fingers and eat it : ) The cake had a fantastic texture, nice crumb, and good rise too.

This is a wonderfully light, moist, and delicious cake that is also easy to make. I usually like icing on my chocolate cake to boost the chocolate flavor, but the rich chocolate flavor of this cake was fine on its own. I used an equal amount of espresso and water in place of the brewed coffee. The first time I made the cake, I didn't use parchment paper, and the cake stuck to the pan in a couple of spots. I thought greasing and flouring a nonstick pan would be sufficient but it wasn't. Now, I always use it. Great recipe!

This is the best chocolate snack cake I've ever made. I reduced the sugar amount by about 1/3 cup and made the coffee extra strong. It is very moist and rich and absolutely delicious. This is a keeper!

I make this all the time and always get great reviews!

This was easy and delicious. I cooked it two days ago and it is still extremely moist. A keeper! Would be delicious with a side of ice cream.

It's unique and good.

This is fast and delicious, great for a group who will just nibble on dessert, this has a lot of flovor and serves 16 easily.

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