Mocha Pound Cake

If you like pound cake and chocolate, you’re going to love this recipe.

I made this cake for my husband’s 44th birthday recently. I asked Eli what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday this year and he said that he would like a chocolate cake. I found a new recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try. I got all of the ingredients in advance and planned to make the cake the day before the family celebration.

I was careful to grease the pan well to ensure that I could successfully invert the cake, but despite my careful planning, when I inverted the cake, I didn’t get the cake out all in one piece. Perhaps the cake batter was too thin for the heritage pan I was using or maybe I didn’t let the cake cool long enough before inverting it. I’m still not sure, but I was devastated.

I could not serve that cake at his birthday celebration the next day so I set out to make another cake. It was around 11:00 in the evening when this happened. I went about making the second cake as quietly as I could as everyone in the house had already gone to bed. I couldn’t use the cake mixer so I had to mix everything by hand. That’s commitment, right!? I didn’t want to take another chance on that new recipe so I went with my Kentucky Bourbon Cake recipe, which I have made dozens of times, and added a little mocha flair. That’s how this recipe came to be. It’s a great recipe so I’m glad something positive came out of this whole cake fiasco.

I wish I could tell you that the second cake turned out great. Unfortunately the cake gods were not on my side that night. The second cake came out of the oven at around 1:00 am. I needed to let it cool for a while before I could remove it from the pan so I went to lie down on the couch while I waited for it to cool. Well, I was so tired that I fell asleep and woke up a few hours later. The cake had cooled completely and I wasn’t able to get it out of the pan! I decided that I needed to get some sleep and would try to come up with a solution in the morning.

I told Eli what happened the next day. He suggested that I invert the cake onto a cookie sheet and put it back in the oven and turn the broiler on low for a couple of minutes to heat up the pan enough to loosen the cake. He left for work. (He has a longer commute than I do). I did what he suggested and hoped for the best. It actually helped loosen the cake from the sides, but it didn’t come out completely clean. I was grateful that I had something I could serve at his birthday dinner. I texted Eli with the good news and then got myself ready for work. I left the house feeling hopeful.

I stopped for a coffee on my way to work. I hadn’t slept much and I needed a treat. I stopped in at Bows and Arrows, one of my favourite places in the neighbourhood for nut milk lattes. While the barista was making my coffee, the pastry chef brought out some the baking. I told her what happened with the cakes the night before. She gave me a great tip for greasing cake pans. She said that she butters the pan generously and then puts it in the fridge for a couple of minutes to set the butter and then she adds flour to coat the butter. This way the two layers stay separate. It’s a brilliant idea and I will definitely do that next time.

Mishaps happen in the kitchen all the time to the best of us, but if we can learn something from it, somehow it makes it all worthwhile. I garnished the cake with some chocolate ganache, my homemade macarons and toasted coconut. I think that most people wouldn’t know that anything went wrong with this cake. It looked pretty good in the end.


1 cup butter

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup espresso coffee

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup baking cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt


3/4 cup chocolate chips

7 tbsp whipping cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the pan and set aside.

Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

Alternate adding the liquid ingredients (buttermilk, coffee and vanilla) and the dry ingredients.

Beat on low speed until mostly incorporated and then at medium speed for the last minute.  Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes.

Wait about 30 minutes before removing the cake from the pan and inverting it onto your serving plate. Serves many.

To make the ganache, warm up the cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until it’s quite hot. Pour over the chocolate chips and stir util completely smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before spooning it onto the cake.