Until now, everything I have called a “cake” on this blog (for example, this, this, this, this, and this) is not something that your average three-year-old would recognize as a cake.  And that’s not just because I like quirky,  unusual desserts, but because the things I’ve foolishly called “cakes” have lacked one crucial ingredient: frosting.

This cake does not have that problem.


In fact, not only is this cake frosted with pure deliciousness, but the recipe makes so much frosting that I had no choice but to eat a fair amount of it with a spoon after the fact. The cake itself was superb, but it was the frosting that slayed me.

Also, can someone teach me how to properly frost a cake? If the photo doesn’t make it clear, I have no idea how. Or how to make the plate look clean and pretty afterwards. Help!

Chocolate espresso cake with chocolate mascarpone frosting
From Sassy Radish

2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water

1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese
Bittersweet chocolate curls (optional)

For cake:

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; dust with sugar or cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.

Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about two minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down sides after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions alternately with buttermilk in two additions, which you should drizzle in, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually drizzle hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake; invert again so top side is up. Cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made one day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.

For frosting:

Sift cocoa powder into large bowl—this will ultimately the bowl where you add mascarpone, so use the mixer bowl or another large bowl, to limit number of dirty dishes; add espresso powder. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in small saucepan. Slowly pour cream over cocoa mixture, whisking until cocoa is completely dissolved, about one minute. Add sugar (add the sugar in three parts) and then when it dissolved, add in 1/2 cup cream. Chill until cold, at least two hours.

DO AHEAD: Can be made one day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Add mascarpone to chilled cocoa mixture. Using electric mixer, beat on low speed until blended and smooth. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until mixture is thick and medium-firm peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes (do not overbeat or mixture will curdle).

Assembling cake:

Using pastry brush, brush off crumbs from cakes. Place one cake layer, top side up, on platter. Spoon 13/4 cups frosting in dollops over top of cake. Using offset spatula, spread frosting to edges. Top with second cake layer, top side up, pressing to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill ten minutes. Using offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively. Top with chocolate curls, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.