Chocolate Espresso Cake

So excited to share this recipe from Simple Cake by Odette Williams. Rich, light, airy and perfectly chocolatey it comes together in a pinch.
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Nothing speaks to me more than chocolate cake. And cookies. But today, we’re talking Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake from my latest favorite obsession, freshly released Simple Cake by Odette Williams. Simple Cake simplifies the cake world to the only ten cake recipes you’ll need, 15 cake toppings and endless options.

There are recipes for Tangy Olive Oil Cake, Versatile Coconut Cake and Lovely Lemon Yogurt Cake (just to name a few). In the toppings category she covers Tres Leches, Beautiful Buttercream, Raspberry Curd, Silky Marshmallow Frosting and Nana’s Simple Glaze. Have I mentioned Self-Care Cake? This might be next on my list. Or maybe Summertime S’mores Cake? All of the cakes are super accessible, never overly fussy and complete show stoppers. You. Will. LOVE THEM!

For more info on Odette + more of her beautiful recipes + she also is the creator of the most beautiful aprons and stationary, hop on over to her site!!

Let’s bake some really delicious chocolate cake, shall we?

Simple Cake Cookbook by Odette Williams

About This Chocolate Espresso Cake

This cake comes together quickly with ingredients you have in your kitchen, nothing too complicated. The great thing about Odette’s book is that every recipe comes with hella options. Which I love. Have you ever gathered all of your ingredients to make something fabulous only to realize you don’t have just the right pan?

Don’t fret, Odette will give you options that include muffin tins, cake rounds, baking dishes and ramekins. Even better, she’ll also give you heaps of ideas on how to tweak the cake and make it unique to your style and cravings.

For this particular cake she suggests Toblerlone Ganache (I literally can’t), Tres Leches with Condensed Milk Whipped Cream or Nutella Whipped Cream (and this is just a small sampling!!). Is your mouth watering yet??

Do you see why I’m calling this the Little Black Dress of Chocolate Cakes?

Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe | DisplacedHousewife

Espresso in Chocolate Cakes

I decided to use the coffee option that Odette offers with this cake. So instead of using 1 cup of boiling water as the base recipes details, I used 1/2 cup fresh-brewed espresso (you could use fresh-brewed strong coffee) and 1/2 cup boiling water.

She recommends using a full 1 cup of coffee…but I just did a long shot with my Nespresso maker and then filled the remainder with boiling water to equal 1 cup. I can never, ever turn down coffee + chocolate. Ever. Prepare yourself for a light, dare I say ‘fluffy’, moist and perfectly chocolatey cake.

Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe | DisplacedHousewife

Chocolate Espresso Cake Ingredient Notes


You can use either Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa or just regular unsweetened cocoa powder. I always prefer Dutch-process for the rich color and flavor, but if you can avoid having to run to the store, I support that.


I use my favorite Sunflower Seed Oil as it imparts zero flavor. But, I have to say, I love olive oil and chocolate and can’t help but think that would make a fun cake.


If you don’t want to use espresso/coffee, you can just use all hot water as noted above.

Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe | DisplacedHousewife
Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe | DisplacedHousewife
Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe | DisplacedHousewife

To Decorate

I used stencils to put the words on the cake but you could just as easily print them off of your computer rather than buying them. I had a hankering for Thai food so didn’t mind the 30 minute drive to Michael’s in Lompoc. I also thought a dusting of cocoa powder could be pretty. Sprinkles? I mean, always. Get frisky.

Chocolatey Chocolate Espresso Cake Recipe | DisplacedHousewife

Chocolate Espresso Cake

So excited to share this recipe from Simple Cake by Odette Williams. Rich, light, airy and perfectly chocolatey it comes together in a pinch.
4.78 from 9 reviews
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Chocoalte, Espresso, Cake, Baking, Dessert


  • 1 ¾ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (45 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) grapeseed oil, (or any mild- flavored oil (I like Sunflower Seed Oil))
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh-brewed espresso, ((you could also use strong coffee))
  • Confectioners' sugar to sift over the top


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13X9 baking dish with butter, line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper. (I’ll let you just grease, line the bottom of the pan, and lightly flour the sides if you’re feeling lazy.)
  • Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift. Add the sugar and whisk until combined.
  • In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla together.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.
  • Carefully pour in the boiling water and espresso and stir until combined. (Watch the little ones with the hot water!) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed.
  • Sift powdered sugar over the top and you're done!
Thanks for baking with me! Please rate + comment this recipe and tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

Reprinted with permission from Simple Cake by Odette Williams, Ten Speed Press 2019.


Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

I love your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot, I look forward to chatting with you!

Rebecca xox

Rate the Recipe:


  • Rebecca Firth March 27, 2019 at 5:13 AM

    Giveaway closed! Thank you everyone for entering! xox

  • Ester Perry March 27, 2019 at 1:55 AM

    My favorite cake is carrot cake( no nuts) with cream cheese frosting. Its a family favorite as well.

  • Mary Myers March 26, 2019 at 9:34 PM

    Hi sweet Rebecca! :)
    My favorite cake is called strawberry supreme cake and I’ve been making it for over 40 years! In fact, that’s what Paul (Neumann) requested for his 40th birthday! ❤️
    Thank you so much for offering a giveaway!!

  • Elizabeth March 26, 2019 at 5:53 PM

    My favorite cake is a homemade funfetti cake!

  • cailene August 15, 2019 at 6:23 PM

    your recipe says nothing about adding in the 1/2of coffee what’s up with that?

  • Rebecca Firth August 15, 2019 at 6:47 PM

    That has been fixed — thank you for noting!! xo

  • Victoria December 23, 2019 at 7:31 AM

    My battery came out more liquid-y than expected…is that normal? I thought maybe I should have left out the boiling water? It’s in the oven now lol hoping for the best

  • Victoria December 23, 2019 at 7:31 AM

    Meant to say batter

  • Michelle S July 21, 2020 at 8:17 PM

    5 stars
    I have a couple of questions. I want to make this as a birthday cake.
    1. I only have a 9 in round pan. Would the batter have to be split into two cakes if I’m making it in that?
    2. I have either avocado oil or Olive Oil. Does the Avocado oil count as neutral.
    3. Is instant espresso okay?
    This is all I have during the pandemic but I just want to make my birthday seem as normal as possible! Really hope you see and read this. Will be posting a review after I make it! Adding whipped chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache!

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