Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, mocha cake with orange zest and marmalade orange peel.

Dark chocolate frosted Mocha cake with Kahlua, served with grated orange zest and orange peel marmalade.
Photo © J E Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2010

While I grew up with my family baking the traditional Eurasian Sugee Cake and the dark, rich, brandy soaked Christmas Fruit Cake, it’s chocolate cake and the myriad variations of it that I really took for granted when living in Singapore.

In Singapore, I had the opportunity and convenience to hop from café to café, whether it was Seah Street Deli and Ah Teng’s Bakery at Raffles Hotel or the corner confectionary shop under an HDB void deck, in search of the ‘mood of the moment’ chocolate cake, one that fitted my fancy.

These days, living in Sweden, there’s unfortunately no such convenience of flitting from shop to shop for that perfect chocolate cake, where I find I have to bake one that sometimes related little to the mood of the moment but was just rather decadent to have at home for the next few days.

This weekend, a rather rich Mocha Cake with a dash of Kahlúa in the recipe, frosted over with a dark chocolate butter cream frosting.

Valrhona cocoa powder, Kahlúa and coffee for mocha cake.

Valrhona cocoa powder, Kahlúa and coffee to go into the mocha cake.

This recipe gives about 8 generous slices of cake and it’s good even refrigerated overnight for serving the next day, where a thirty seconds boost in the microwave will warm up the cake and give a gorgeous melt to the chocolate frosting before serving.

Separating egg yolks from egg whites.

Separating egg yolks from egg whites.

• 200g plain flour
• 200g sugar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 70g Valrhona cocoa powder
• 175 ml vegetable oil
• 7 large eggs (egg yolks separated from egg whites)
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 4 tbsp Kahlúa
• 1 shot espresso or 30 ml of very strong coffee
• 150ml sour cream

Sugar and egg whites.

Sugar into the egg whites.

• 75g butter
• 175g Valrhona dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
• 350g icing sugar
• 1 tbsp dark syrup
• 125ml sour cream
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• pinch of salt

Vegetable oil into the cake mixture.

Vegetable oil into the cake batter. The vegetable oil is key to a lighter texture in the cake, compared to the use of butter.



The oven was preheated to ca. 160C and I used a chiffon tube pan for the baking of this mocha cake.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder and set aside in a large bowl. Into a food processor, place the egg whites and whip together with the sugar till soft peaks form. Beat the egg yolks in another bowl, combine slowly with the vegetable oil, the method being the same as making mayonnaise. Add in the espresso, Kahlúa, vanilla extract and sour cream to the egg yolk mixture. Then combine the dry ingredients with the egg yolk and coffee batter, after which, fold in the egg whites till the batter turns an even rich chocolate brown.

Now, you can either bake this in 2 separate tins, if you want to make a sandwich cake out of this or bake as I did, in a chiffon tube cake tin.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the cake comes out clean on a skewer test. Once the cake is done, turn over on a cooling rack and let cool before frosting.

Mix the cocoa powder into the batter till even toned.

Fold in the flour and cocoa powder till the batter is an even chocolate brown.


Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl, making sure that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Add the dark syrup, sour cream, vanilla extract and pinch of salt to the butter and chocolate mixture. In another bowl, sieve the icing sugar to get rid of any lumps and then whisk in this icing sugar into the liquid butter and chocolate mixture.

Right about here, you can decide how much icing sugar you’d want in the frosting. Less icing sugar will render a more runny frosting and more icing sugar will render a stiffer chocolate frosting.

Spoon some chocolate frosting into the center of the cake (in this version, I’ve halved the mocha cake after it came out of the oven, after it cooled) and then layer the rest over the top of the cake.

Mocha cake, turned out for cooling from the oven.

Turn out the mocha cake onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate frosting on top of of the mocha cake.

Once cooled, a dark chocolate frosting goes on top of the mocha cake.

Serve with grated orange zest, orange peel marmalade and a shot of Curaco Triple Sec.

A shot of Triple Sec completes this late afternoon mocha cake indulgence.

With this cake, I grated some fresh orange zest over the top and had a sliver of orange peel marmalade on top of the cake.

On the side, some Triple Sec made from the dried peels of bitter oranges from the Caribbean. A perfect rounding off to a late afternoon indulgence in a slice of mocha cake!

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