Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

My dear friend, Rhea Mitra-Dalal loves her coffee. It’s so easy to please her–a good cup of unpretentious coffee and loads of gupshup is usually enough. When her birthday arrived, however, I decided I had to treat her to a little more than just a cup of coffee. I decided to make this Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting. It was to be taken for breakfast as a surprise on the birthday morning. I think it was well-received!

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

I can’t stand the frivolous cakes that one gets in cake shops these days–with glycerin and gels to make the cake artificially soft and dairy free whip topping in hideous colors and artificial flavors. Or fondant–that cloyingly sweet, sheet of sugar that I simply cannot bring myself to pick a piece of. I prefer old-fashioned cakes because they’re more real. No artificial ingredients, just good old pantry staples and lots of love. The best part of this cake is the frosting; my current favorite frosting is the cream cheese. I like that it is tart enough to offer a contrast to the cake and light enough to lift the flavors.

Here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 75 gms. flour
  • 25 gms. good cocoa
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 100 gms. butter
  • 100 gms. soft muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Soaking syrup: 2 tsp. coffee powder + 1 tsp. caster sugar + 3 tbsp. water

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 1 tub cream cheese (about 225 gms)
  • 3-4 tbsp. icing sugar (more, if you like it sweet), sieved
  • 1 tsp. cocoa, sieved
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee granules, ground to a fine powder
  • a few coffee beans for decoration


  1. Sieve the flour, baking powder, and cocoa together into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Dissolve the instant coffee in the milk.
  3. In a food processor or separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat again until pale and well combined. If you think the mixture is beginning to separate, add two tablespoons of the flour mixture and mix again.
  4. Now slowly add the egg mixture and the coffee milk to the flour, alternatively; make sure you fold well after each addition.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8 inch cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees centigrade for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make the frosting by simply combining all the ingredients together. Return the frosting to the fridge until ready to use. This will also allow it to stay firm and easy to pipe.
  7. Slice the cake horizontally into half. Make the soaking syrup by mixing all the ingredients together and drizzle the syrup on the two halves.
  8. Slather 2-3 tbsp. of the frosting on one half of the cake and sandwich the other half on top. Use all the remaining frosting to cover the sides and top of the cake and, if liked, to pipe rosettes along the edges (I used a star nozzle). Wet a palette knife and use it to smooth the tops and sides as best you can.
  9. Decorate with coffee beans or chocolate chips, if liked. Keep refrigerated, but bring out of the fridge at least half an hour before serving so that the cake softens up.
Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

And here’s a picture that Kurush took on his phone. All you dark chocolate lovers, this is your moment!

A picture of the cake taken by Kurush on his phone

Comments (9)

  1. Rhea November 15, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Saee – friend. And she lives up to her name so very well!
    Thank you for the beautiful cake and for all that you did to make my day extra special.
    The Internet is a wonderful thing specifically because it led me to good a friend like you <3

  2. Happy Cook / Finla November 15, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I totally about fondant, i don’t know why every one use it, when ever i use even for a small decoration everybody in my family including me pick it out .
    I love coffee cake too and this looks so good, , lucky Rhea to have a crind who makes cakes for her b’day.

  3. arundati November 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    loved it! did you use regular salted cream cheese? i’ve always wanted to figure out which one to use… can you suggest a brand? also am posting pita bread that i made from your video… linking to the blog and the video too

  4. Priti November 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    What a beautiful cake! I would love a piece. I hate how fondant tastes and even the flat or false look it gives…it’s great for being crafty but not for a lip smacking cake. I personally love fresh cream frosting.

  5. Jyotsna Godbole December 7, 2012 at 6:55 am

    1) Can cream cheese for frosting be made at home?
    2) Which brand of cocoa powder do you use? I buy loose cocoa powder from Crawford Market but I wonder if it is good.!

  6. Richa February 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Hi, I was just trying to make the cake, and it occurred to me that the flour Qty is kinda too less…I am not sure if 75 gms flour would be enough to make 2 layered cake..
    I am an amateur baker myself…I just wanted to confirm…before doing anything…

    • Richa February 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      I made this recipe…it turned out to be great…everyone gobbled up the cake the moment it was out of the oven..did not even get time to frost it… 🙂
      Only thing I noticed was, that the cake was not enough to cut in two halves..the cake just rose to an inch…It could be coz I used 9 inch pans instead of 8 inch…I am not sure…
      Aneways the recipe is a sure shot keeper…Thanks for sharing it!!

  7. Rucha October 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Can u tell me which brand of cream cheese you used.

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