Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake

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This Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake is made with a moist chocolate Kahlua cake covered in Kahlua coffee frosting! It’s seriously so good – you won’t want to share!

Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer CakeKahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake recipe

Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake

So this past weekend the hubs and I went and looked at some houses. We’ve been considering moving within the area for a while now, but haven’t found the right thing. We’d been looking around on our own and since we haven’t had any luck, we decided to try working with a real estate agent that the hubs knows.

Well we were out looking at some homes Sunday afternoon and it started getting a little late. We knew it could go later, so we brought everything for my evening progesterone shot (for our IVF treatment) with us just in case.

As luck would have it, 6 PM came rolling around and we got the privilege of not only doing our shot while out and about for the first time, but in a new house that was still under construction. We were looking at the house with our real estate agent and the sales person when we excused ourselves to shut ourselves into a room filled with nails, dust, wood and cardboard and try to give me a safe and sanitary shot in the rear/hip. A bit comical actually!

Fortunately the shot went well. 🙂 Our real estate agent knows about our IVF, so it was fine. But still not something you do everyday!

Best Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer CakeHomemade Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake

Something I would like to do everyday, however, is eat this cake. Oh my goodness, the flavors! I can’t even handle how good it all is together. You take a bite and your eyes basically roll back into your head because you just can’t deal any other way.

The chocolate cake is richly chocolatey and enhanced by coffee in the batter and 1/2 a cup of Kahlua. Plus, it’s pretty easy to put together. You don’t even need to bust out your mixer if you don’t want to. Just one bowl and a whisk will do the job!

The frosting is a variation of my buttercream with some Kahlua and espresso. Again, the flavor is perfection! And it’s also nice and straight forward to make. You’ve got your butter and shortening (you can always use butter to replace the shortening if you prefer – read why I use it in this post – Vanilla Buttercream Frosting) and powdered sugar first. They form the base of the frosting and to that you add the Kahlua and espresso. You’ll want to heat up the Kahlua a bit and then dissolve the espresso in it and use that to flavor the frosting and thin it out to the right frosting consistency.

Once you’ve got your cakes and frosting, whip the cake together and dig in as fast as you can! This cake is full of moisture, so soft and flavorful – it’s truly delicious! If you have any love for coffee, Kahlua and chocolate, it’s a must try!

Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake sliceDecorated Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake


Read transcript

SHOP THE RECIPE

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slice of Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake
Recipe

Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 32 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake is made with a moist chocolate Kahlua cake covered in Kahlua coffee frosting! It’s seriously so good – you won’t want to share!


Scale

Ingredients

CHOCOLATE KAHLUA CAKE

  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Kahlua
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) coffee

KAHLUA COFFEE FROSTING

  • 7 tbsp (75ml) Kahlua
  • 3 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (236g) shortening
  • 10 1/4 cups (1208g) powdered sugar
  • Chocolate jimmie sprinkles

Instructions

1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
2. Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and combine.
3. Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, Kahlua and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add the coffee to the cake batter and mix well. Batter will be very thin.
5. Divide the batter evenly between cake pans and bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
7. To make the frosting, heat the Kahlua until it just begins to boil, then add the espresso. Stir until dissolved.
8. In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and shortening until smooth.
9. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
10. Add about half of the Kahlua mixture and mix until smooth.
11. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
12. Add additional Kahlua mixture until the frosting is the right consistency. If needed, refer to my tutorial on how to get the right frosting consistency.
13. To build the cake, cut the domes off the top of each cake so they are flat.
14. Put the first cake layer on a serving plate and top with 1 cup of frosting. Spread into an even layer.
15. Add the second layer of cake, another cup of frosting and then top the cake with the final layer of cake.
16. Frost the outside of the cake. Use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if desired. Use an icing smoother/decorating comb tool like this one to add a pattern on the sides of the cake.
17. Press some sprinkles into the bottom of the sides of the cake.
18. Pipe some swirls around the top edge of the cake (I use Ateco icing tip #844) and add a few additional sprinkles, then serve.
19. Store the cake in an air tight container. Cake is best for 2-3 days.

Notes

If you’d like a non-alcoholic version of this cake, I’d suggest referring to this chocolate cake. It’s the one that was altered to make this cake and there are several changes that had to be made for the Kahlua cake. You can use regular cocoa and coffee instead of water, like is used in this cake. For the frosting, replace the Kahlua with water and add an additional tablespoon or two of espresso powder, depending on how strong of a coffee flavor you want.

Keywords: coffee chocolate cake, kahlua cake, coffee dessert, coffee flavored cake, coffee frosting, layer cake, layer cake recipe, best chocolate cake recipe, best chocolate cake ever

Enjoy!

 

Kahlua Chocolate Layer Cake

Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake - moist, soft chocolate cake with Kahlua coffee frosting! So good!

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Recipe rating

147 Comments
  1. Linda Jo Redmond

    I have now made this cake twice. It was such a hit the first time, and after posting a picture of my cake, I had friends request it for a get together tomorrow night. It is amazing!!! I made no changes, and decorated it the same way showed in this recipe. Highly recommend this to anyone who loves to make unique cakes.

  2. Jenny

    This cake is super moist and delicious. The frosting is to die for!!
    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  3. Sonoma lewis

    What is the minim7n amount of sugar I need to use? ( health reasons) and is coconut sugar or brown sugar ok or white sugar? coffee added cold or hot? I I’ll like to try it.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure. I’ve never tested with lower amounts of sugar. It’s white granulated sugar. You could replace the water with hot coffee.

  4. Sara

    Worst cake ever! Made the recipe exactly to your ingredients and it never worked it was a total flop. Just wasted all those good ingredients

  5. Lisarna

    Oh wow this cake is fabulous!  It is so moist and lovely flavor.  I was making a 6 inch so I put it in to two pans that were 4 inches high and just cooked it for longer and I got two lovely high cakes.  I was really worried with it being so liquid that it just wasn’t going to rise well. But what a stunner!  Thank you so much its a great recipie

  6. Sandy V

    I made this cake for a friend’s birthday last week, and it is hands down the best chocolate cake recipe ever!  I baked in 2 9” pans instead of 3 8” pans because that’s what I have. I used buttermilk instead of regular milk in the cake batter. And I omitted the espresso powder in the frosting simply because I didn’t have any. Everyone loved it!  I did a simple ganache with Kahlua to drizzle over the top. Can’t wait to make it again. 

  7. Sandy V

    I made this cake yesterday for a friend’s birthday, and it was excellent. Even non-cake eaters raved over it. I followed the recipe as written except used buttermilk instead of regular milk. 
    I baked in 2 9” pans instead of 3 8” pans because it’s what I have. I baked at 325 for 25 min, then reduced to 300 degrees until done, which was maybe 7 minutes longer. U made less frosting but used the same proportions. Actually didn’t have the instant espresso powder, so just left if out. 
    I’m not a great cake decorator, and wanted to make it like more special, so I made a quick ganache with a little khaluha in it, and drizzled that over the top after frosting. Omg it looked like a professional bakery cake. So many compliments. Definitely a keeper recipe!  

  8. Mike

    Hi, I’d like to try to make this cake but only have 9” cake pans. Is there anyway to increase the ingredients to not have smaller layers?

  9. Kim

    Wow! I love your recipe. I shared it with my daughter and guess what? She made it and the whole family loved it. Thank a lot and keep up the good work. Nice recipe.

  10. Terry

    I made this cake for my family’s Easter dessert, and it was a huge hit! I followed the recipe as written, and the cake turned out perfect. Some family members commented that this is the best chocolate cake they’ve ever eaten! I will add, however, that the frosting is VERY sweet, as expected with that much powdered sugar. Note about the frosting: instead of a vegetable oil shortening I used Organic Palm Oil shortening, as the frosting holds up much better in a humid climate (I live in Florida). Thank you Lindsay for this wonderful recipe….it’s a keeper!

  11. Dawn Shullanberger

    This cake is AMAZING and DELICIOUS!!!!!! I took a picture, but unable to post. I am obsessed with your recipes Lindsay. Everyone I have made is very easy to follow and the taste is unbelievable. I bought your cook book and wish you had another with more recipes! 🥰

  12. Ann

    I have never baked or eaten a cake with alcohol. Can children eat this cake or is this not meant for kids at all? Probably a silly question but have to ask. Thank you!

  13. Jeremy

    Lindsay this recipe looks fantastic…so much so, that I am going to be making this for one tier of my Cousin’s wedding cake in a few weeks and would REALLY appreciate any suggestions you could give me for using for a 14″ round or possibly square three layer cake. If I doubled the recipe, do you think it would be enough batter for that size? I’m going to use the Kahlua coffee frosting for a filling between the layers and then ice in white buttercream.

    1. Lindsay

      I honestly don’t really make cakes that large so it’s hard for me to say exactly. I do think you would need to at least triple the recipe though.

  14. Pam

    I am new to your website and your recipes look delicious.  I do have a question.  In many of your cake recipes you use oil instead of butter.  I normally shy away from cake recipes that use oil unless it’s a small amount.  Do you use oil as it makes for a more tender cake instead of butter?  Just trying to clarify why and when is it best to use oil in cake recipes.

    Thank you.

    1. Lindsay

      In most of my chocolate cakes you will find primarily oil. I find that oil produces a much more moist cake. However in most of my vanilla cakes, you will find that they either use all butter or a combination of butter and oil. An all oil vanilla cake often lacks some of the flavor from butter, so depending on the cake, I use both. With chocolate cake though, I don’t notice the flavor issue with oil versus butter. in fact, my oil based chocolate cake has much better flavor than any butter based chocolate cake I’ve had. But I do think taste is subjective. Everyone has their own preferences. I hope that helps.

  15. Cheryl Gyles

    Looks delicious! I am going to attempt this for our oldest daughter’s birthday (28th) this weekend. If I cannot find espresso powder can I substitute instant coffee granules?

  16. Shari

    I made this cake for my 28 year old son’s birthday last week. The cake turned out beautiful! It has to be one of my favorite cakes ever!! The flavors were perfect! Just enough chocolate, coffee and Kahula. It was moist and light and delicious!  Thank you for sharing! 
    In fact I loved the flavors so much I made brownies this weekend with the same three flavors. Delicious! 

  17. Laura

    This recipe is absolutely the best! And if you use the Kng Aurthur Flour Espresso Powder, you only need 2 tblsp 🙂 I make this using cupcakes (makes 36) and took them to work (I work in a restaurant!)…everyone devoured them!

  18. Josh

    Can you make cupcakes with this recipe?   I love this cake and would love if I could turn it into a cupcake. Thank you ????

  19. Rachel Hintz

    This fabulous cake has become my go-to cake for special occasions! I have served it to my coworkers on my birthday two years in a row. The cake is very moist. I read some complaints about it being too sweet. I brewed very strong coffee for the batter; i think doing so offset some of the sweetness. The recipe for the frosting yielded way too much frosting, even though I generously frosted the cake to try to use it up. I’m not sure if cutting the recipe in half would be enough frosting, so I will experiment further. Thank you!!!

  20. Jenny

    Hi Lindsay,

    I was wondering whether you have attempted to try this recipe using gluten free flour? I made it last year for my husband’s birthday and everyone loved it, but need to make a gf cake this year and wondered whether it is modifiable.

    Many thanks.

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t made the cake as a 10 inch, but I would think you would probably want to make 1 ½ recipes worth of the cake.

  21. holly heppner

    the cake part turned out great. But 10 1/2 cups of icing sugar for frosting. WHAT??
    way too much fat butter and shortening.

    I bake alot and never seen recipes like that

  22. terry stenson

    Hello. Tried your cake recipe tonight. I have a few questions. When you say tbsp. are you saying tablespoon or teaspoon? I always thought an L had to be in there for tablespoon and tsp was for teaspoon. Also, how the heck did you get those sprinkles on the bottom of the cake?? Everything I tried didn’t work out and they ended up all over the floor. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Lindsay

      tbsp = tablespoon
      tsp = teaspoon

      For the sprinkles, I just press them into the sides. They do tend to make a mess as not all of them stick. I grab a handful at a time and go for it. Try putting a cookie sheet under the cake while you do it – it’ll keep the sprinkles more contained. Also, this frosting is a crusting buttercream, so you want to add the sprinkles right away or they won’t stick.

  23. Nicole Moon

    Hi, I was just wondering if you can replace the shortening with butter?
    In Australia we only get Copha which I personally don’t like unless you go to a bake shop which can be a bit of a hassle, as it usually takes about half an hour to be served.

  24. Rebecca D.

    Hi! I am going to be trying this for my boss’s birthday and am so excited! I am short on time, however, and although I am making the frosting from scratch I don’t have all of the ingredients for the cake and don’t really have time to stop at the store. I luckily already have all of the ingredients for the frosting. Would I be able to use box cake mix and add Kahlua? Then bake as directed on the box? Or would I compensate with the baking time for the added liquid of the Kahlua?

    I really look forward to making this! Thank you! 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      I really don’t use many box mixes and haven’t ever tried adding Kahlua so I’mn ot entirely sure how it would affect baking. It be worth trying though. I hope you enjoy it!

  25. Kelly

    I have to agree with the comments above about the baking time. i followed the recipe to a t and at that low temperature I had to add about 12 minutes of baking time. It is a lovely dense, moist cake, and I did not find it too sweet as mentioned in a previous comment. But at 300 this recipe will not be done in 32-35. Love the frosting!

  26. Sandy

    I made this cake for a friend’s retirement party, and all I can say is ‘amazing’! The cake was moist and the buttercream was incredible. Everyone loved it! One guest asked which bakery it was purchaced from. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. The recipes are well written and easy to follow (and I watched your videos) Thanks for making me look like a professional!

  27. CMacK

    I made this Kalua chocolate layer cake yesterday and I was so disappointed.  It looked beautiful and ehen sliced looked gorgeous.  However, way too sweet.  The topping and filling afte being in the fridge has almost a fudge consistency.  Too sweet! However, the chocolate cake tasted delicious.  Would not recommend if you don’t like extremely rich and sweet.

  28. Caroline

    Hi about to bake it but can I clarify, is the 3/4 cup coffee about 3 double shots of espresso?  Only have two cake pans so how’ve long should I bake for??

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure of the amount of espresso for the amount of coffee. You do want to have a full 3/4 cup of liquid though, however you decide to add the coffee.

      Not sure of the exact baking time with two pans. Maybe 40-45 minutes? You’ll want to be sure to check it along the way so as not to over bake it.

  29. Sherry

    I’ve made this cake three times and each one has been an all out hit. It is just plain delicious. It’s very rich, but somehow manages to disappear in a few days. 

    Also I’ve frozen half of one with no problem. This is a winner!

  30. Marc

    Lindsay, thank you so much, what a wonderful cake, the coffee flavor truly comes out, and is great with the chocolate. The cake itself was perfect, no problem at all with them coming out of the pans, step by step everything went exactly as you said. Now I’m pretty good with an icing bag, give me a cupcake and watch me shine, but smooth icing on a cake and I’m a complete spaz. So i throughly read your icing tutorial, I bought the same scraper and icing tip. I was confident and ready and then I was broad sided. I thought I had the right consistency, I really did. I think i was on the thick side. and it all went south when I was using the icing tip, I had to squeeze so hard, the tip blew out. It was actually kinda funny. But that lil metal scraper really helped me out, and I got it almost smooth. In the end it was presentable, didn’t nearly look as good as yours, and didn’t look like it was made by a kindergartener, somewhere in between. But i will forge ahead and not give up with my future endeavors!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Getting frosting consistency right can take a little practice, but it sounds like it went alright. I’ve certainly had my share of funny things happening. 🙂

  31. Samantha Reeves

    Hi Lindsay, I’m so glad I stumbled upon your site. I made this cake for (Canadian) Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and it turned out AMAZING. So delicious, not too sweet, it was perfect! Your very thoughtful and detailed instructions are to thank.

  32. Jessica

    I’m planning on making this for my aunt’s birthday and going to follow your smooth frosting tutorial. Do you think this frosting recipe will be enough or should I double it? I’m nervous, I’ve been baking for years but I’ve never tried to make such a professional looking cake.

  33. Michelle Dawson

    I found a link to this recipe on Pinterest and when I made this cake it was stunning! I took it to work to share with my colleagues …… and got a marriage proposal!! Well it went like, “if you bake like this I want to marry you – when I get rid of my current wife” 🙂 Anyway I followed the instructions which you made so easy to follow and the cake turned out beautifully moist and super tasty. I’m intending to try cupcakes for a bake sale using the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing with this keen baker from New Zealand. 

  34. Maria

    I am baking the cake as i write this. I baked for 35 minutes and it was still fluid in the center I left it another 2 minutes and still fluid. I’m leaving another 10 but checking every 2. I followed the recipe and am wondering why it turned out this way. The frosting though looks (and tastes) great.

    1. Maria

      Finally took it out but it was still a bit fluid in the center. And all 3 fell the first time I opened the oven door to check for doneness.

      1. Lindsay

        I’m really not sure why there was the trouble. As for falling, it sounds like the oven was opened a little too early and cakes will definitely fall when that happens because of the heat leaving the oven.

  35. Kelli

    Hi, do you think this could be made without the cocoa powder? I have a family member who would like a coffee cake without any chocolate.

  36. Candy Scanlon

    Hi Lindsay,
    I am so happy to have found you website. I made this delicious moist yummy cake for my hubby’s birthday. He loved it and he does not drink coffee.

    Thank you can’t wait to try more recipes.

  37. Liliana

    It looks amazing, I would try it for sure, thank you for sharing, but if i don’t want to use the hole cup of oil, can I substitute with something else? Or just use 1/2 cup? I don’t know if change the consistency and moisture of the cake, any suggestions? Please 

  38. Romuald P. Miranda

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, I’m just finished my course of Bread & Pastry, and passed the Assessment Competency Examination, I keep on searching and want to learn more about different kinds of cakes, bread and pastry, please help me by following your amazing recipes, GOD bless, 🙂

  39. Zoe

    I tried that cake and i followed all the instructions but unfortunately i did use the right heat temperature and the outcome was a pity. hahhha anywhere was hurt but i won’t give up. Baking is going to be my hobby from today onwards.

  40. Elizabeth D. Gladic

    Can’t wait to try the cake. However, I’m confused. You indicate “salted” butter for the frosting. Is this correct? Thank you.

  41. Lois

    How do I print the recipe please, also not a coffee lover can I increase Kahlua and cocoa powder to compensate. Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      There is print button in the recipe card. Kahlua is a coffee flavored liqueur so I would think the espresso would be fine. You’re going to have coffee flavor from the Kahlua. However, the coffee in the cake can be replaced with water and the espresso in the frosting can simply be left out.

  42. Sarah Barkley

    Hi! I made this beautiful cake yesterday and ran into some issues that I hope you could help me figure out. I thoroughly buttered and floured the pans, but the cake stuck horribly to the pans. What do you use to help the cakes release properly? Also, after cooling and trying to figure out how to remove them from the pans, they ended up becoming a crumbly mess and broke into pieces. I tried to be creative and used a biscuit cutter to make them into mini cakes which worked well given the situation. When trying to frost them this morning after crumb coating and chilling, the frosting did not want to stick to the cakes and because of their moistness(although delicious) pretty much fell to pieces. Do you freeze your cakes prior to assembling? Do you chill after crumb coating??  I followed your recipes to a T, but am wondering how it could’ve ended up such a failure! Both turned out delicious and my husband was happy to eat it in pieces, but the decorator in me is going crazy! Help would be appreciated! Thank you for the delicious recipe! 

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t personally find butter and flour to work that well. I put parchment circles in the bottom of my pans and grease the sides with baking spray. I typically use Baker’s Joy spray. The way your question is written, it sounds like you let the cakes cool in the pan. If that’s the case, you want to remove them from the pans a few minutes after they come out of the oven. If you leave them in the hot pans, the cakes will continue to cook and will be more likely to stick to the pans.

      As for the frosting, if sounds like it was maybe too thick. Check out this post on getting the right frosting consistency. I don’t freeze or chill my cakes. I really do think was probably a consistency issue. I hope all that helps!

    2. Suszie70

      You can use the Wilton Icer Tip it’s about 2-3 inches wide it helps with crumbs sticking to your icing cooking the cake before icing works best and after you crumb coated it you chill it again I put mine in freezer for about 30 minutes and add another layer of icing you should get a good smooth layer I’m a cake decorator so it takes some practice 🙂 

  43. Marilyn

    thank you so much for sharing and inspiration….this coming september 2017, son in law first birthday what do you suggest , I plan to bake cupcakes and cake ……what flavor and frosting better.

  44. Leanne

    I agree this cake looks amazing!! Almost could taste it through the screen. However, since I want to serve this at a family event where children / teenagers will be eating it, what can I substitute for Kahlua? Unfortunately, research has shown that not all the alcohol cooks away or evaporates and I don’t want to risk causing any problems. Thanks for your help. Maybe I’ll have to make it just for myself and not share….LOL

  45. Anna_g

    Oh my! I can’t wait to try this out! Although I have to wait 10 days for my new oven to arrive, it died on me today ????
    Thanks sooo much for sharing!
    One question though, can I omit the shortening for the frosting and use butter altogether?
    Looking forward to your reply!
    Thanks again ????

  46. Cynthia Caballes Papangelis

    Hi Lindsay

    As a loyal coffee drinker and a little love for alcohol, I will definitely bake this cake.

    It looks yummy and amazing- I will let you know what the outcome of the baking and verdict from my friends.

    Cheers
    Cynthia

      1. LottieSharp

        This is my favorite chocolate layered cake. Make it fo husband. We all love it

      1. Huma

        Thank you so much Lindsay! I cannot wait to try to make this cake!
        On a separate note, I made the Berry Mascarpone cake this weekend and it was a huge success with my family!!! Thank you so much for the recipe and video tutorial!!

Lindsay
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!

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