Recipe: Espresso Chocolate Chip Cake with Espresso Buttercream Frosting {#TheCakePlateProject}

by Cate on February 29, 2016

Light, fluffy, espresso-infused cake with the most amazing buttercream that ever was. Let’s start #TheCakePlateProject!


Last month, I was rearranging stuff in our dining room hutch and happened to notice just how many cake plates and cake stands I have.

I guess it’s a bit of an addiction, but I find it hard to pass up a pretty cake stand.

Although in my defense, I have under 10.

So not too terrible.

And knowing how many I already have, I am very picky about adding to the collection.

I don’t add just for the sake of adding.

It has to be different enough to warrant the space in my home, and I’m like that with most things.

But that got me to thinking… I want to make a concerted effort to use my cake stands more.

Not just for holidays and birthday cakes.

And so, #TheCakePlateProject was born.

Once a month, I will be sharing a new recipe worthy of using YOUR OWN beautiful cake stands.

Since I had already been in the kitchen all afternoon, I wanted a recipe that was simple to start us off. Making dinner for Sunday evening, and my breakfasts and lunches for the week had already used up most of my energy, so I used a boxed cake mix and started doctoring it.

No guilt when using a cake mix, because it’s really just pre-measuring your base ingredients.


I added some espresso and mini chocolate chips and now it’s a completely different animal.

But honestly, the star of this show is the Espresso Buttercream Frosting.

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that buttercream is pretty much my favorite kind of frosting.

And this version takes it to completely differently levels.

Even if you don’t make the cake, MAKE THE FROSTING.

Especially if you love coffee.

Or espresso.

Or cappuccino.

Or anything in the caffeine family.

It is SO good.

And I don’t really have a sweet tooth.

I actually ended up pouring water in the bowl that had the leftover frosting in it.

Just so I could stop dipping my finger in for swipes.

It is that good.

Half of the cake went to a neighbor, and the rest is going to my office tomorrow. The other part of my plan with this project is to gift them, and make other people happy.

Because, luckily, unless it’s chocolate, my kids don’t go crazy for cake. And I don’t need any temptation.

So a project that makes good use of beautiful dust collectors AND puts smiles on other people’s faces?

Can’t think of anything better.

I hope you will join me with my new monthly project. If you do, use the hash tag #TheCakePlateProject and tag me. Let’s get ALL of our beautiful cake stands and cake plates out there in the every day. I can’t wait to see YOURS.

*Details: The cake plate above is from HomeGoods (here is a similar one from Amazon), and the little flags are from the dollar spot at Target. LOVE THEM. Because, glitter.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cake with Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley

1/3 cup water
3 teaspoons instant espresso granules
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips,

Espresso Buttercream Frosting (see below)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two round baking pans and set aside.

Place the water and instant coffee in a small glass liquid measuring cup and microwave for 40 seconds. Remove and stir until the coffee is dissolved. Set it aside to cool.

Place the cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, and coffee in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined, stopping the mixer as needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter should be well combined. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Divide the batter into the two baking pans and place them into the oven.

Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 20-25 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the pan to remove the cake and place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Meanwhile, prepare the Espresso Buttercream Frosting (see below).

Espresso Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup milk
1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso granules
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla, as needed

Place the milk and instant coffee in a small glass liquid measuring cup. Place in the microwave for approximately 30 to 40 seconds, or until coffee has dissolved. Remove and stir. Set aside to cool.

Place the butter in the large mixing bowl and add the coffee and blend on low speed with a mixer until the mixture is combined, 30 seconds. Stop and add the confectioners’ sugar. Blend until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon vanilla if the frosting seems too stiff.

Note: The above recipe can be converted into cupcakes by adding an additional egg. It will yield 24 cupcakes, and the baking time will be about 18-20 minutes (test for doneness using the same method above).

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom March 1, 2016 at 8:32 am

Well, since this has coffee in it, I assume it is perfectly acceptable for breakfast!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom recently posted..Empowering Tweens to Make Healthy Choices


Marye March 1, 2016 at 9:43 am

This sounds amazing! I love this!
Marye recently posted..Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans


Megan Keno March 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Being from Seattle, I’m a crazed coffee fanatic. This cake sounds so amazing, I would love a slice of this with some vanilla ice cream!


Ali March 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Looks so good
Ali recently posted..Pineapple Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping


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