Skip to content

Delicate Coffee-Filled Layer Cake (Espresso Cake)

  • by

Coffee buttercream floats across layers of tender coffee-flavored cake in this delicious layer cake. A simple, yet elegant, coffee-flavored cake that can be made for any celebration.

A coffee buttercream that is both light and creamy, sandwiched between layers of tender coffee cake. The sweetness is just right, and the coffee flavour is fantastic.

I never liked coffee cake when I was younger. And by “coffee cake” I don’t mean a cinnamon-flavored sweet cake served with coffee. When I say “coffee cake,” I mean a cake flavoured with coffee. These coffee cakes were commonly found in Sri Lankan bakeries and were served at social gatherings. When I was older, I realised how much I enjoyed treats with a coffee flavour. I used to buy coffee layer cakes from the store, but now I make my own, and it’s the best thing ever!


Two ingredients are required for this dessert, with a third one being extra.

  1. Coffee flavored cake layers
  2. Coffee buttercream
  3. Chocolate fudge sauce (optional)


My go-to coffee cake recipe calls for instant coffee because it’s more readily available and its flavour can be tweaked without disturbing the consistency of the cake or the icing. All you have to do is use your preferred instant coffee brand. Nescafé is what I grew up with, so that’s why I like it best; it also makes fantastic iced coffee.

Details on how to assemble the layers of a cake

  1. Lightly beat the butter, oil, and sugar together until creamy.
  2. Blend in the eggs.
  3. Coffee should be incorporated into the liquids, and dry ingredients should be sifted.
  4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk mixture while folding them together.
  5. Put equal amounts of batter into each of the prepared cake pans.
  6. Put the cake layers in the oven and bake.
  7. We recommend waiting to use the cakes until they have cooled completely.

In order to ensure that your coffee layer cake turns out perfectly, here are some pointers (espresso cake).

  1. Ensure that everything you’ll need is at room temperature.
  2. Before adding any additional ingredients, be sure to thoroughly mix the butter and oil together. The cake’s buttery flavour and airy texture come from the combination of butter and oil.
  3. Do not overmix the eggs into the cake batter. You need simply beat them until the eggs are incorporated.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and gently fold them in. If you overmix the batter, the cake may become tough and/or gluey.
  5. Insulate the cake pans with a bake even strip for flatter cakes. The comma is optional, though.


Two methods exist for creating coffee buttercream. Create either Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream OR American Coffee Buttercream.

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature.
  2. Fluffy butter can be achieved by beating it in a mixer. You may need to wait up to 10 minutes for this.
  3. After the butter has been whipped until light and fluffy, add the powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  4. Instant coffee should be dissolved in the heavy cream and then added to the buttercream.
  5. Don’t leave out the salt and vanilla; they’re essential to balancing out the buttercream’s rich flavour.

It’s possible to get a buttercream that tastes and feels like solid butter if the butter isn’t whipped thoroughly. If that happens, the buttercream on your coffee cake will be thick and sticky.

If the buttercream hardens, as it sometimes does in the winter, you may easily get it back to the right consistency by giving it a good whipping.


The preparation of this coffee cake couldn’t be simpler. You can opt for an unrefined look by just assembling the cake with a layer of buttercream in the middle and frosting the outside.

If you want to go all out, however, you’ll need to make sure the cake layer is perfectly flat on top and the buttercream filling is spread out evenly. The cake’s layers should be uniform in height and width. Some advice is provided below.

  1. Smooth and level the cake’s layered surface (i.e. slice off any domed tops).
  2. After preheating the tray, set the first cake layer on it (the bottom of the cake layer facing down).
  3. Spread the buttercream icing out in a uniform layer.
  4. Arrange the second cake layer on top of the first (the bottom of the cake layer facing up this time).
  5. Crust the cake by applying a crumb coat of frosting and letting it set (in the fridge or a cool place).
  6. Whether you’re going for a rustic or minimalistic aesthetic, the cake will benefit from a coffee buttercream frosting.

Preparing the icing for the cake

There is a border of coffee buttercream that I piped around the top of this coffee cake (espresso cake) for decoration. But with chocolate fudge sauce, I made it look like marble. As traditional Sri Lankan coffee cakes feature a thin layer of melted chocolate on top, I couldn’t help but do the same.

I did this by making the chocolate fudge sauce ahead of time and letting it cool. The remaining portion should be refrigerated for later use on ice cream, waffles, pancakes, or even chocolate milk.

In a bowl, pour in a few tablespoons of the fudge sauce. My fudge sauce is typically very firm even when not refrigerated. I add around 1–2 tsp of water and stir it in until the sauce has softened little but is still relatively thick.

Finally, get a pastry bag and fit it with the decorating tip of your choosing (with the end of the bag snipped off). Apply the chocolate sauce inside the pastry bag, along one side, beginning at the tip and going up to about halfway up the pastry bag, in a line 1–2 inches wide. There’s only one narrow band of chocolate in the pastry bag.

Toss the coffee buttercream into the bag. There will now be a streak of chocolate fudge sauce running through the buttercream as it is piped (see picture below).

A chocolate drizzle, a sprinkling of chocolate sprinkles, or a scattering of roasted nuts are all easy ways to dress up a coffee layer cake.

Storing the cake

In order to keep the coffee cake layers (unfrosted);

The cake layers should be brought to room temperature. Cover the layers in plastic wrap and then in foil. Then store in the freezer for up to three months; defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Also, you can use plastic wrap to keep them fresh at room temperature for a whole day.

Cakes that have been frosted can be kept at room temperature for up to three days if they are stored in an airtight container. Unprotected areas will dehydrate.

It’s also possible to store the cake in the fridge. The ideal way to enjoy the cake is to let it defrost to room temperature before serving, as the buttercream and cake will be at their most delectable texture and flavour profile at this temperature.


If you want a coffee cake that’s not too bitter and not too sweet, this is it!

The layers of cake are fluffy, and both the texture and sweetness are just right. The coffee aroma and taste are both strong but not overpowering.

A coffee lover’s delight, with its layers of coffee cake and coffee buttercream! If you have a friend or family member who is particularly fond of coffee and whose birthday is coming up, you may bake them a delicious coffee-flavored birthday cake like this one.

Download complete article in PDF Format.