Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

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This Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake recipe is inspired by the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino!

I have been wanting to make a coffee-y cake for some time now. And I love my coffee beverages with caramel. My drink of choice at Starbucks is a caramel frappuccino. That whipped cream with caramel on top – I die. So I guess you could say this Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake is inspired by that delightful little drink. 🙂
Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

The Perfect Chocolate Celebration Cake

But before I dive too much into the cake and get lost, we have to celebrate!

What are we celebrating? It’s the hubs and I’s 5 year wedding anniversary today! Five years ago today, I was getting ready to marry my high school sweetheart (we’ve been together since we were 17) and party the night away! Can I go back?


It was seriously the most fun day ever. Some people say they never want to plan another wedding after theirs is over, but I planned ours with my mom and I tell you – we’d easily do again. SO fun! The designer side of me loved everything about it. I’d plan your wedding, if you let me.

I actually have a link to a part of our wedding video I can share if you’d like to see. I love, love, love watching our wedding video! Crown Alley Films is THE BEST there is and he travels. Just sayin’.

Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

We watch it together every year and one of our favorite parts is re-watching the ceremony. It’s funny how much more the vows and what was said during the ceremony means now that we’ve been through a few years of marriage. That has become the hubs and I’s favorite part of weddings.

I wish the clip was the part of me and the hubs when we were talking photos because it’s so cute and fun. But the one that was posted online focuses on my mom and I. If you want to see it, here’s the link. I warn you though – it’s a lot of me. Which is kind of embarrassing. Yet, I love it anyway.

Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Coffee Icing & a Touch of Kahlua:

So anyways, now that we know why we are celebrating, let’s get to the cake. I actually made a little single layer Neapolitan Cake replica of our cake for our anniversary last year. So I kept it simple this time around.

The cake base used in this recipe is my absolute favorite chocolate cake recipe, Best Chocolate Cake, and if you try it, you will never make another chocolate cake. It’s amazing.

Plus I put a little hidden surprise in there for you – Kahlua. I can’t decide if I like Baileys or Kahlua better, but Kahlua found it’s way into this cake. It’s subtle, but there.

The filling is a wonderful caramel icing. I could live off of caramel icing.

Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

And the icing is full of coffee. Which means that you can totally have this cake for breakfast. It’ll be your caffeine. You’re welcome.

Together, they make a stellar combo that we couldn’t get enough of. Yum!

So now it’s time to make the cake! We have to celebrate after all. 🙂

Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

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Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake slice on red plate

Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 Servings
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake recipe is inspired by the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino!



  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup kahlua
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 tbsp milk or cream


  • 2 tbsp instant espresso coffee
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease three 8 inch pans.
2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
3. Add eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and kahlua to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture. Mix well.
5. Pour into cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 7-9 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.


1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
2. Add brown sugar and heavy cream and whisk constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes, no more.
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
5. Transfer caramel to mixer bowl.
6. Mix in powdered sugar, beginning with 2 cups and increasing from there until you get the desired consistency. You can add a few tablespoons of cream to make the icing more creamy, if desired.


1. Dissolve the instant espresso coffee in the water.
2. Beat the shortening and butter until smooth.
3. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
4. Mix in the vanilla extract and half of the espresso coffee water.
5. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add more espresso until you are happy with the coffee flavor.


1. Cut the domes off of the 3 cake layers with a serrated knife.
2. Place first cake layer onto your cake plate and add half of the caramel icing. It will be thick. Spread into an even layer.
3. Add second layer of cake and top with over half of caramel icing.
4. Top with the third layer of cake.
5. Spread a thin layer of coffee icing around the outside of the cake, filling in any holes.
6. Use the rest of the coffee icing to frost the outside of the cake. Decorate as desired.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 1092
  • Sugar: 124.4 g
  • Sodium: 257.6 mg
  • Fat: 55 g
  • Carbohydrates: 147.8 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 91.6 mg

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Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

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Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

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    1. Lindsay

      Yes, you could leave the recipe as is and have it be quite tall, or cut the recipe in half and have a cake that’s roughly 4 inches tall.

  1. Stephanie Gillespie

    I made this recipe for a bridal shower. Bride requested caramel mocha cupcakes. They were delicious. Even before they were iced! I couldn”t keep everyone out of them. I froze them for a couple of weeks and they were even better! I didn’t make the coffee icing because I had to pipe and needed a firmer icing. This is now my favorite recipe and I’m making it again today.

  2. Holly

    I made this for our 10 year anniversary tonight. Delicious! 
    I like that I can adjust how sweet I want the frostings. 

  3. Emily

    This looks amazing! I’ve been looking for a chocolate espresso cupcake recipe for my wedding (yes, we’re making our own cupcakes!!), and I’ve found an amazing espresso frosting, but still searching for a coffee chocolate (/mocha) cupcake base…..can this recipe be made as cupcakes? How would you adjust oven temp/cook times?
    Also, would using both drip coffee instead of water, AND the regular kahluah boost up the coffee taste, or would it be too much do you think? Haven’t tried the recipe yet
    Thanks so much! 🙂

  4. Olu

    Hi Lindsay, Lovely recipes! But I want to reconfirm. Is that Chocolate recipe for 3 8″ tins? What is the height of the 8 inch you made use of? Thanks

      1. Jen Shears

        This looks amazing! Making it for my daughters birthday this weekend! I don’t have 3 8” pans- but I do have 2 10” pans- think that would work? I’m going to have to do some math if you don’t know????
        Thanks so much!

  5. Nolwazi Mhlongo

    Hi, Lindsay. Hope you are doing well. I am a big fan of your recipes, especially your Best Chocolate Cake. I made it recently and it was a success!

    I also want to try your Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake, but I don’t know what kahlua is. Is it a mandatory ingredient?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the recipes! Kahlua is a liqueur that has a coffee flavor to it. You could leave it out if you prefer. Just replace it with additional water.

  6. Delia

    Woww this cake looks absolutely delicious!

    I was wondering if I can use something else instead of the shortening?

  7. Trouty

    Hi!  I’m a new baker so I don’t understand some things as I go along making different recipes.  I’m making this cake this week and just had a question.  What is the reason for adding the vanilla to boiling water?  

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      It saves a mixing step by adding it to the water, then the batter. It’s not imperative to do it that way though.

  8. Cindie

    I just made this cake, and it lives up to the hype. My only complaint is with the coffee icing. I am not a fan of icings made with shortening. if I replace the shortening with butter, do I use the same amount?


  9. Aunt J

    I need a twelve step program to deal with my chocolate thing. Thanks for including the link to the wedding video. You made a stunningly beautiful bride. It is a joy to see daughters and moms loving and enjoying one another. Your mom is gorgeous too. Oh, and the cake: knocked it out of the park, my friend.


      Thank you so much! I love looking back at that video – I’m glad you enjoyed it too. I love the relationship I have with my mom and value it so much. And we both would do that whole wedding process all over again – it was so much fun to do it together. I’m so glad the cake was a hit!

  10. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    Happy Anniversary! This is definitely one awesome cake to celebrate with! Pinned and shared on FB!

  11. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain

    Happy Anniversary, Lindsay! That’s so exciting and romantic. <3 And I adore this cake!! Caramel mochas are my favorite at Starbucks, and the cake version looks absolutely gorgeous. 🙂

  12. Kathi @ Deliciously Yum!

    I am so with you when it comes to coffee. Nothing beats a good Caramel Frappuccino :). Wait… except for this cake. I don’t think one could bake a cake that looks any more perfect than this one. Beautiful and I bet it tastes absolutely amazing.

  13. risa

    Everything about this cake is calling to me. But if I’m being completely honest – I’d make the icing and eat it out of a bowl by itself….
    Happy anniversary!!!

  14. Bites of Life (#14) | Noble Pig

    […] A lovely no-bake cake! And even more no-bake cake love. This will be happening for dinner. And this gorgeous layer cake. Oh, this dip. Nutella love. More cake envy. A yummy, seasonal salad. My kind of nachos. […]

  15. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting

    Aww, the wedding video is so cute!! Happy Anniversary! Plus, your frosting look AMAZING and smooth. Tell me your secrets….for real <3

  16. Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector)

    Girl, you have a gift of making some beautiful cakes!! Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby! Hope it’s a great one!

  17. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Congratulations on your anniversary!! Today is our anniversary too…props to May 23rd being the day to get married 🙂 Now where is my slice of cake? Holy yum! That is definitely my kind of cake. Chocolate, caramel, and coffee all married together in one amazing looking cake!! Love it!

  18. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    Girl you know how to celebrate an anniversary! I just went out for dinner and ordered dessert for ours – I didn’t even make it. Bad food blogger!
    This cake is INCREDIBLE. There’s coffee, so I can eat it for breakfast right? 😉
    So great to meet you at BHF! Pinned 🙂


        Yes, it might be hard to tell in the picture because they are similar colors, but the caramel icing is inside the cake and the coffee icing is on the outside. I updated the instructions to make that more clear. Thanks!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29