When I was younger, I loved drinking café mocha. For me, it was a grown-up way of drinking coffee. When I was in college, I would mix powdered hot chocolate with coffee. Miles is the same way. His version however, is more of a latte where he puts two tablespoons of coffee in warm milk. I kept this in mind while making this chocolate chip mocha cake. I really wanted to make a chocolate chip cake and came across this recipe for mocha frosting which sounded very interesting. I knew I didn’t want to make a vanilla frosting and didn’t have enough chocolate for a full batch of chocolate frosting.
What I thought was most interesting about this cake is that it called for turbinado sugar (sometimes called raw) instead of regular granulated. Turbinado sugar is very coarse and I was curious to see if it would be able to produce a tender cake. It was! I was so tempted to blend the butter with the sugar longer than the recipe required but I staying true to my baking experiment, I followed the directions carefully. The cake rose nicely and was moist and tender and not too sweet. It reminded me a lot of the chocolate chip muffins I used to make if I tried converting that recipe into a cake. I also loved how the frosting complimented the cake. However, the frosting wasn’t a true mocha because there wasn’t any chocolate in the frosting. I would also hesitate calling it frosting. There was sooooo much butter! It was really more like a buttercream. It was so rich, that I had to add a bit more sugar to balance it. The next time I make it, I will have to see if I can keep all the chips from sinking towards the bottom. This didn’t take away from us devouring the cake though!
Chocolate Chip Mocha Cake
for the cake
- ½ cup or 1 stick salted butter , softened, more for pans
- 2 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 turbinado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk (2 percent or whole)
- ¾ cup to 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (semi sweet is fine too)
for the frosting
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup salted butter , softened
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- ¾ cup to 1 cup milk chocolate chips , for decorating (semi sweet or whatever you have on hand)
Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper cut to fit.
Using an electric mixer or by hand, in a bowl, mix the butter and turbinado sugar until evenly blended. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix again until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add half the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, mix well, then add half the milk and mix again. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. The batter may look curdled.
Pour the batter into the pans and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing cakes from pans to a rack to cool completely. If the cakes are domed, use a long, serrated knife to level the tops.
Make the frosting: Using an electric mixer or by hand, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the butter, salt and vanilla, until well blended. In a small bowl, mix the espresso powder with the boiling water to dissolve; add it to the frosting, blending well.
Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread about one-third of the frosting over the top in an even layer. Top with the second cake layer and use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread frosting over top and, optionally, sides of the cake. Decorate with the chocolate chips.
Adapted from ny times