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

Recipe Rating


  • Haejin March 24, 2019 at 5:36 PM

    From scratch, vanilla bean cake is my fav!

  • Tina W March 24, 2019 at 5:25 PM

    My best friend makes a wonderful chocolate cake that everyone swoons over. I say she is my best friend, but has she ever shared that recipe with me? Hmm! No, but she has made it for me many times! Besides that, my family has a recipe for Jewish Apple Cake that my grandmother got from a friend who owned a bakery in New York City. It’s pretty wonderful, too!

  • Margot March 24, 2019 at 5:23 PM

    My favorite cake is almond with raspberries and buttercream. And I made that cake this week! In layer form, with the chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. I am entering the giveaway even though I have the book because the first time I flipped through it, I literally had the thought, “this would be a great book to give someone who doesn’t have a lot of cookbooks, but would occasionally like to bake a cake.”

  • Emily J Heisler March 24, 2019 at 5:22 PM

    You had me at curd.

  • Joanna March 24, 2019 at 4:42 PM

    Stop, toblerone ganache! Toblerone is my favorite candy bar ever! My dad would travel to Europe’s when I was little and always brought back toblerone bars as they were not available where we lived! Can’t wait to try this cake with the coffee twist. My favorite cake lately is dark chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream and chocolate ganache.

  • Jan Purdy March 24, 2019 at 4:29 PM

    4 stars
    Raspberry Curd? Yummo!! Gotta try that too

  • Jen Cage March 24, 2019 at 4:28 PM

    I love love love Ina garten’s carrot cake with mascarpone cream cheese frosting

  • Cathy Moscariello March 24, 2019 at 4:19 PM

    Chocolate Cake is my favorite!!

  • Jennifer w March 24, 2019 at 4:07 PM

    I love a simple moist vanilla cake! Yummy! This cake looks delicious, can’t wait to try it.

  • Myriam March 24, 2019 at 4:03 PM

    Love a simple, traditional strawberry cheesecake. But sometimes there’s nothing like a good ol’ buttery pound cake!

  • Neisha March 24, 2019 at 3:29 PM

    My favorite cake is strawberry shortcake but only with fresh strawberries :)

    • Areena March 24, 2019 at 3:43 PM

      Carrot cake is my fave

  • Amanda March 24, 2019 at 3:19 PM

    German chocolate cake is my favorite.

  • Jackie Tomczyk March 24, 2019 at 3:16 PM

    Chocolate chocolate chocolate!!! I am allll about chocolate cake. Going to make this one today!

  • Elizabeth Con March 24, 2019 at 3:11 PM

    My favorite cake is strawberry shortcake!!

  • Susan Pfund March 24, 2019 at 3:03 PM

    White cake with white frosting covered in coconut! Pure heaven!

  • Caity March 24, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    I’m a sucker for anything chocolate and anything coffee….I’m thinking this might be my new favorite!! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Shannon March 24, 2019 at 2:47 PM

    Lemon cake with a light whipped frosting.

  • Anat Ishai March 24, 2019 at 2:47 PM

    Can’t wait to try it!!!

  • Katie Walla March 24, 2019 at 2:36 PM

    My favorite is yellow cake with chocolate frosting

  • Daisy Skinner March 24, 2019 at 1:38 PM

    Mmmm. So many. Chocolate layer, chocolate mousse filling, chocolate ganache . Oh my. Or…classic coconut layer!

  • Anita Sargent March 24, 2019 at 1:15 PM

    My own Apple Nut Cake. I’ve been making it for 50 years. Got the recipe from tv show by the Maryland Home Extension Service. My family’s favorite bar none.

  • Annette Stallings March 24, 2019 at 12:37 PM

    5 stars
    Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow fluff frosting!

  • fran March 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM

    any cake, but chocolate with lots of chocolate icing what can be better

  • Mary Andren March 24, 2019 at 10:52 AM

    I love all cake! But this morning I feel like spice cake with thick cream cheese frosting.

  • Kristin Mullen March 24, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Chocolate layer cake with raspberry – it looks so pretty on the plate as well as delicious!!

  • Hope Hill March 24, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    My favorite cake is Boston Cream cake.

  • Mary Ann Crimmins March 24, 2019 at 9:41 AM

    My favorite is Silver Palate Carrot Cake.

  • Janet March 24, 2019 at 9:40 AM

    I guess I’m shallow but my favorite cake is crumb cake! I would rush into the kitchen and make this cake right now if I hadn’t baked yesterday. PS Right now I’m eating your maple walnut scones.

  • Cassie March 24, 2019 at 9:30 AM

    I love carrot cake in the spring and spice cake when it is cooler out!

  • CLAUDIA DAVIS March 24, 2019 at 9:07 AM

    Technically not a cake but can be made into one with the right recipe, tiramisu. I love love tiramisu and have seen cakes with that flavor profile or called tiramisu cake so I will take that back and simpkesay, my answer is TIRAMISU CAKE.

  • Rhianna March 24, 2019 at 4:53 AM

    Nigella’s chocolate Guinness cake!

  • Sj Dc March 24, 2019 at 4:12 AM

    i love a plain simple cake loaded with seasonal fruit and warm custard and/or salted caramel

  • Anne Wallace March 24, 2019 at 2:44 AM

    Should say cola cake because it rhymes but my fav is coconut pineapple cake with lime curd filling!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Anne Who Loves Your Cookie Book!!!

  • Amy March 24, 2019 at 2:06 AM

    Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting – and this one looks like I really must give it a try!

  • Debi Krogstad March 24, 2019 at 1:49 AM

    Old school yellow cake with chocolate frosting for all birthdays. But a rich German chocolate leads me into temptation every time!

  • Casey March 24, 2019 at 1:35 AM

    4 stars
    My favorite cake is rum cake. Booze AND cake all in one??? Yes please!

  • Jordan Prince March 24, 2019 at 1:26 AM

    Oh my word, jazz hands! your killing me haha! My favorite cake has got to be lemon with blueberries. I’m a sucker for lemon desserts so obviously that lemon yogurt cake is calling my name. Thank you for the recipe and giveaway!

  • Kim March 24, 2019 at 1:25 AM

    My favorite cake is from a longtime local Santa Barbara bakery, Jeannine’s — their Chocolate Heaven Cake is divine, elevated in decadence with a mocha frosting!

  • JK March 24, 2019 at 1:24 AM

    Rebecca, I will have to try this cake due to being in a search for a chocolate cake to make that would equal a cake I would buy from a caterer/deli when I was short on time when having a dinner party for over 20 years now. With all of the chocolate cakes I have made trying to duplicate this cake, I have failed. Wish me luck, thanks Judykay

  • Jeanne March 24, 2019 at 1:14 AM

    I love a delicious spice cake with a tangy cream cheese frosting

  • kesha March 24, 2019 at 1:03 AM

    My favorite cake is chocolate with a chocolate buttercream. I would absolutely love this cake!

  • Celeste Lamosse March 24, 2019 at 1:02 AM

    Coconut. Nothing tops a delicious home made coconut cake.

  • Tina W. March 24, 2019 at 12:52 AM

    carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

  • Kelly Kardos March 24, 2019 at 12:43 AM

    Any cake that is full of chocolate and maybe some buttercream is my kryptonite

  • Katie Schneider March 24, 2019 at 12:41 AM

    My favorite cake is strawberry shortcake. There is nothing better than fresh strawberries and light whipped cream in the spring!

    • Rebecca Firth March 24, 2019 at 2:45 AM

      That is so perfect and spring-y! I’m so ready for berries! xo

  • Linda March 24, 2019 at 12:02 AM

    Oh my god this cake looks delicious!! My favourite cake to eat is chocolate cake so this is definitely up my alley.

    • Rebecca Firth March 24, 2019 at 12:03 AM

      It’s so good, we can’t stop eating it! And me too!!!

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