Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake with Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream

chocolate devil's food cake with espresso swiss meringue buttercream

This chocolate devil’s food cake with espresso swiss meringue buttercream is probably one of my best. Not only the decoration, which I admit looks professional and elegant. But the taste is OH-MY-GODLY flavourful. The espresso buttercream is a total to-die-for. I was licking everywhere when frosting the cake.

A peek inside the cake would make you understand why this has to be a 5-layer cake. Tall cake with chic design means PRETTY. But I apologize for missing that picture! How about another picture of this same cake in a petite form!

chocolate devil's food cake with espresso swiss meringue buttercream

Ingredients (8-inch 5-layer cake):
Chocolate Devil’s Food Layer Cake
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup strong espresso, cooled (I mixed 3 tablespoons of espresso powder with 1/4 cup hot water)
1 cup sliced almond

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease five 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth.
Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Reduce the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.
Divide the batter (about 1 cup) and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Place the cakes (in the pans) on a wire rack to cool. Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack. Cool completely before frosting.
To prepare the buttercream, put egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water. Use an electric hand mixer to beat constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. Remove from heat.
With whisk attachment, continue whipping the mixture in a standing mixer until thick, glossy, and cool.
Switch over to paddle attachment. While mixing on medium speed, continuously add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. Add vanilla and salt, mix well.
Right before frosting the cake, add the espresso in the buttercream and beat for another 10 seconds. Reserve 1 cup of buttercream for piping on top.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with 1/3 of the buttercream. Repeat this process until all cake layers are placed. Smear buttercream on top and sides of the cake. Garnish with the sliced almond.
Using a large star tip to pipe a decorative border on the top edge of the cake.
Cover and refrigerate the cake. Leave out in room temperature for at least an hour prior to serving.


    1. Hi Susan, there are two pictures of two cake sizes. The first one is 8-inch, the second one is 5-inch. The recipe is good for one 8-inch cake or two 5-inch cakes. :)

  1. What tip did you use to pipe the frosting? I’ve never seen it look like that before…and I love it!
    I’m cooling the cakes right now. Thanks for what smells like it will be most delicious!

    1. Thanks, Melissa. The piping was pretty spontaneous. I used a large close star tip, and just piped overlapping swirls along the edge of the cake. Hope it helps. :)

  2. Wow, this cake looks delicious, I love the way you frosted it :) Will have this any time with a good cup of coffee :) Giving it a try thank you for the recipe.

  3. Wow! I was searching Food Gawker for a recipe for espresso swiss meringue buttercream and yours is the only one that popped out! Love almonds and espresso combination,and I am falling in love with your cake! Allow me to make this please..! ;) xx

  4. Thank you for sharing this cake recipe. I made this last night for my husbands birthday and was a super hit at home. I’m flying high!

  5. Wow! This cake looks too good to eat! It must have been a wee bit painful to cut into it because it looked so perfect. And five layers!!! I’ll have to save this for my son’s birthday, although it won’t look nearly as perfect as yours.

  6. This is fabulous! This cake has all the makings of a winner. Perfect structure, elegantly decorated and amazing flavor. I am still working on my layer skills for cakes, but I can see that you have the talent for them. Well done!

  7. Wow, that looks like heaven on a cake stand! I love the espresso buttercream. Who needs after dinner coffee with a cake like this! I’m pinning this one!

  8. Completely and totally gorgeous! It does look professional, I love the sliced almonds and the decorative icing on top. Espresso buttercream sounds out of this world too. I have a friend that loves chocolate and coffee cakes so this will probably be his next birthday cake.

  9. Holy cow, what a cake!
    I’m not usually into American “fluff” cakes, but the icing flavors sound beyond amazing, and I love the sliced almonds around it :) Great job!

  10. Oh my gosh, this cake looks absolutely magnificent! I want a slice! Thank you for the careful instructions that go along with it; I can’t wait to make it :-) Happy New Year!

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