Chocolate Coffee Cake by Nigella

Original post date: April 16, 2020; updated March 3, 2023

In a recent social media post, we shared this really yummy chocolate coffee cake and as requested, here is the recipe I found that I think is the best one out there.

Why do I think that? Well, it is easy to make and it came out really nicely and not too sweet. I love both chocolate and coffee and the marriage between these two faves of mine is magic!

What surprised me with this recipe? The use of freshly boiled water added to the cake mixture. It does make the batter runny but the results are moreish.



225g plain flour
275g caster sugar
75g good quality cocoa sieved
2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
175 ml full cream milk at room temperature
175 ml vegetable oil, plus a little bit more for greasing the baking tins
2 large eggs at room temperature
250 ml water, freshly boiled kettle


350g icing sugar
175g soft unsalted butter
2 1/2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp just-boiled water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan-assisted
  2. Grease the sides and line the bases of 2 x 20cm cake tins. Please don't use loose-bottomed one as the batter is runny. If using silicone baking pans, no need to grease.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee, baking powder and bicarbonate soda in a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk and oil together in a smaller bowl.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. The batter will be thick.
  6. Gently beat in the just-boiled water, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix well.
  7. Divide the mixture into the 2 baking tins.
  8. Place the tins in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes. Check around 20 minutes to see if the cakes are coming away from the sides and a few cracks are forming on the surface.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before unmoulding gently and peeling off the lining of the base. Be gentle so as not to break the cakes.


  1. Use a food processor to pulse the icing sugar to remove any lumps. Please make sure to cover to avoid icing dust going everywhere.
  2. Add the softened butter. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Using the small opening at the top of the food processor and the motor running, gently pour the coffee mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Remove the blade and carefully scrape the mixture with the spatula. You are ready to assemble your cake.


  1. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate or stand, flat side up.
  2. Spread half the buttercream icing over the cake.
  3. Place the second cake with the top of the cake facing upwards over the iced bottom cake.
  4. Spread the remaining buttercream icing over and on the sides, if you like.
  5. Add some crushed nuts, chocolate bits or fruits, whichever you fancy.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Also, try our Kalamansi Muffins recipe.

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