This Mocha Raspberry Cake has two layers of moist chocolate cake, a layer of sweet raspberry filling, frosted with silky mocha buttercream and topped with fresh raspberries! This impressive cake is perfect for celebrating.
Birthday cakes are a thing around here. I talk about my housemates a lot, and one of the perks of being my housemate? A custom-made, just-for-you birthday cake.
My friends are the best resource I have when it comes to brainstorming baked goods. The other night, a few of us were sitting on my bed, and I mentioned I wanted to make something with M&Ms. All of their eyes got wide as they sat, debating ideas and the pros and cons of each, barely taking a breath as every M&M dessert idea they had was thrust at me. I didn’t say one word for about five minutes as they did this.
Finally, they slowed down, and someone turned to me and said, “you probably already have an idea for this that’s better than all of ours, huh?” I proposed the idea for the Oatmeal M&M Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie, and they all agreed. It was the winner.
But, my ideas are definitely not always the winners, and when it comes to birthday cakes, flavor choices are all theirs.
My friend Mariah’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and I’ve known her favorite flavors down pat since we became friends four years ago. Dark chocolate (not milk chocolate), caramel, coconut, coffee, and raspberries. Her birthday cake two years ago checked off the first two with this ridiculous chocolate layer cake that I sandwiched with both homemade caramel AND caramel buttercream, and the whole thing was topped with chocolate ganache and has Pirouette cookies lining the thing. Check out the throwback Instagram picture to see.
So, naturally, I had to pick other flavors to do this year. She requested something mocha-flavored, and I went back and forth until the cakes had already been baked as to whether I wanted to do raspberry with the mocha. I couldn’t decide if it’d be weird. Guys…it’s sooo not weird.
Let’s make a Mocha Raspberry Cake!
The cake layers are made using my go-to chocolate cake recipe that comes together so quickly and easily and produces a super flavorful and moist chocolate cake. However, I did switch out the water for coffee. It doesn’t come through too strongly, but it helps amp up the chocolate flavor and brings out the mocha flavor in the frosting.
The raspberry filling uses raspberry jam to get that fruity flavor. Use seedless jam for a totally smooth buttercream, or be like me and use the raspberry jam that you already have on hand that has seeds in it.
Once you get the cake and filling all assembled, you’re gonna put a thin crumb coat of our mocha frosting on it. This frosting is really just a creamy dreamy super chocolatey frosting that has a bunch of added instant coffee granules in it for a kick of coffee flavor. My instant coffee granules dissolved pretty easily right in the frosting, but if yours are more granular and you want an 100% smooth frosting, you may want to dissolve them in the heavy cream first. Feel free to play with the amount as well. I left it so the coffee flavor is subtle but definitely there; you can add more or less depending on preference.
After the cake gets crumb coated and stuck in the fridge to set, you’re going to slather it with the rest of that frosting. I was so not a perfectionist in my frosting method, I just used my offset spatula to make a sort of vertical stripe pattern by pulling the spatula up the sides of the frosted cake. Easy peasy. Decorate as you please! After frosting the cake, arrange the raspberries on top. I adore the way that the raspberries ended up looking on top of the cake, and gave them a little dusting of powdered sugar to dress it up.
This cake is perfect for celebrating and is definitely a show stopper. The birthday girl declared that this cake is what dreams are made of, and I couldn’t ask for more than that. Enjoy!
For the cake
- 2 cups (8.5 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (7 oz) brown sugar
- 1 cups (3 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg white
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup warm brewed coffee
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the raspberry filling
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 1 cup powdered sugar
For the mocha buttercream
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- Powdered sugar (optional)
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
- Combine flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined.
- Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.
For the raspberry filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment (or any large mixing bowl, if using hand-held beaters), beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the raspberry jam and beat to combine. Turn the mixer down to low speed, and add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Cover and set aside until ready to use.
For the mocha buttercream
- Place room temperature butter and vanilla into a stand mixer and beat at medium-high for about three minutes.
- Add cocoa, instant coffee and salt to the bowl beat into the butter until the coffee has broken down and the mixture is smooth, 1-2 minutes.
- Add in one cup of the powdered sugar. Turn mixer on to low and then slowly add in remaining powdered sugar.
- With mixer still on low, slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. Turn mixer to medium high and mix for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- On a cake plate or board, place one cake layer. Spread raspberry buttercream filling evenly on top of the cake using an offset spatula.
- Carefully place the other cake layer top-down on the frosting, so the top is flat. Adjust the cake so that the sides are lined up evenly.
- Frost the entire outside of the cake with a thin layer of the chocolate mocha buttercream. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to lock in the crumb coat.
- Frost the cake as desired, and arrange raspberries on top of the cake. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.