Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

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

Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

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

Keywords: starbucks cake recipe, chocolate cake, caramel chocolate cake, caramel icing, coffee cake icing, coffee frosting recipe, kahlua cake, celebration cake recipe


Caramel Mocha Chocolate Cake

These are the parties I link up to.

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Recipe rating

  1. 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.

  2. 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?


  3. 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!

  4. Trish - Mom On Timeout

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

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12