Cardamom and coffee are a wonderful combination of this cardamom cake. A light and airy butter-based coffee cake delicately flavored with cardamom and nutmeg. Then, generously frosted with mocha buttercream. Perfect for a festive celebration or special occasion.

A decorated cake and a slice of cake
Layer Cake Recipe – Cardamom with Mocha Buttercream

About this cake

Cardamom with coffee and coffee with chocolate has always been classic combinations. Those flavors are beautifully balanced in this yogurt-based cake. The cake is a rich butter-based vanilla cake flavored with cardamom and coffee along with other spices that help balance them all together. While delicious on its own, this cake is frosted with a dark chocolate mocha buttercream that’s perfect to serve as a dessert, celebration cake, or just when you crave a chocolate flavored coffee treat.

A simple, easy, and fuss-free recipe that takes no more than 10 minutes to mix and 40 minutes to bake. Try using good quality dark chocolate for a less sweet yet richer dense chocolate flavor to the frosting. Alternatively, use a milk-chocolate to add more sweetness to your chocolate mocha frosting.

There are three components to this recipe

  • CakeBake the cake then cool completely – 60 minutes (this can be done up to 2 days ahead)
  • FrostingPrepare the frosting – 10 minutes (this can be done up to two days ahead as well)
  • Assemble the layers – 30 minutes (this is best done at intervals with some chilling time in between steps – can be done up to two days ahead and kept in the fridge)
A slice of cardamom cake on a wooden stand
Layer Cake Recipe – Cardamom with Mocha Buttercream

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter so I can control the quantity of sugar in my recipe. And yet, if salted butter is all you gave go ahead and use it. Just omit salt in the recipe.
  • Brown sugar – The molasses in the brown sugar contributes to the soft texture and slight fudge softness.
  • Eggs – Always use large size eggs when baking unless specified. The size of eggs varies significantly these days, so as a guide one large egg weighs between 50 to 60 grams.
  • All-purpose flour – Simple plain all-purpose works just fine for this cake. If you choose to use any other type of flour, make the necessary adjustments to the leavening in this recipe.
  • Yogurt – You want to use plain non-flavored yogurt. I often use my homemade yogurt. If you don’t have yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream both will work just as well.
  • Spices – In this recipe, we are using a wonderful combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. But, pumpkin spice and gingerbread spice would work wonderfully as well.
  • Coffee – I like a light coffee flavor with my cardamom, but if you are a coffee lover then go ahead and use a nice strong espresso.
  • Vanilla – A good quality vanilla will make a huge difference in anything you make. Premium vanilla can be expensive, which is why I make my own homemade vanilla extract, bean paste, or sugar.
Ingredients for the cake
Layer Cake Recipe – Cardamom with Mocha Buttercream
Mocha cake on a black stand
Layer Cake Recipe – Cardamom with Mocha Buttercream

Step by step instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven at 170 C / 340 F.
  • Grease and line 3 x 7-inch round cake pans or 2 x 8-inch round cake pans.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
  • Next, add the flour mixture and the yogurt in three additions. Followed by the espresso and vanilla extract
  • Divide batter equally between the prepared baking pans 
    Tip – I like to use cake strips to ensure my layer cakes bake flat.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  • Wrap the cake in cling/plastic wrap and chill for a few hours before you decorate.

Mocha buttercream

  • Add coffee and vanilla to the cold cream – mix well and set aside
  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler – set aside
  • Add the coffee mixture and cream some more. The mixture will curdle and become smooth again.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter until smooth.
  • Now, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
  • Once all the powder sugar has been incorporated. Continue to mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes more until you have a light and fluffy buttercream.
  • The cream in the mixture will whip and give you almost stiff peaks.
    Tip– If the buttercream is too soft, you haven't whipped enough. However, If the butter is melting chill the bowl for 10 minutes then whip again. (this can happen in warmer temperatures)
  • Now, add the melted and cooled chocolate. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides to ensure you have a smooth chocolate buttercream with no white streaks.
    Tip– if the chocolate is not cooled, it will seize when added to the buttercream and you will end up with small shards of chocolate in the buttercream. So, make sure the chocolate is cooled.

Assemble

  • Prepare simple syrup – cool completely before using.
    Tip– Simple syrup is just sugar water that has been boiled and cooled. Used to keep cake layers moist.
  • Once cooled, cut the domes off the cake layers with a serrated bread knife
    Tip – see my tutorial on how to level, torte, and fill cakes like a pro
  • Brush each layer with simple syrup on both sides.
    Tip – Simple syrup is just water and sugar boiled then cooled. This keeps the cake moist.
  • Place a cake layer on the cake board or cake stand. Top with about a cup of buttercream – spread evenly using a spatula
  • Place the second layer followed by more buttercream and then the last layer.
  • Place the cake in the fridge to chill for 10 to 15 minutes.
    Tip – Chilling the cake at this point will ensure the layers don't move when you frost the outside. Though, if you leave the cake uncovered in the fridge for too long it can dry out. So, 10 minutes is all you need.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream around and top of the cake.
    Tip – A straight-edge spatula for the top, an off-set-spatula, and bench scraper for the sides work better.
  • Create a rustic buttercream look by simply swirling the tip of the spatula up and down the side of the cake creating distinct lines.
    Alternatively – you can also place the remaining frosting in a piping bag with a large star piping tip into swirls on top of the cake.
  • I decorated with whole spices used in the cake for a rustic buttercream look.
  • Enjoy

Storage

  • Once decorated, the cake does not need to be refrigerated.
  • It can stay at room temperature for two days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Once cut, always cover the cut side of the cake with cling/plastic wrap so the cake does not dry out.
  • The cake can be frozen for up to a month if wrapped well. Thaw in the fridge overnight for a moist cake.
A sliced buttercream cake on a wooden stand
Layer Cake Recipe – Cardamom with Mocha Buttercream

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this cake fudgier?
This cake does have a slightly soft texture from the brown sugar, and yet, I would not call it a fudgy cake. I do have a wonderfully moist chocolate fudge cake that you may like to consider instead.

If I omit the coffee will this be a vanilla cake?
Yes, the result is a vanilla-based cake, but it does have spices in there as well. If you’re looking for a vanilla cake, perhaps try my vanilla birthday cake, light and fluffy vanilla cake, one-bowl vanilla cake,

Can I omit the cardamom and spices in this cake?
Absolutely, it will still be a wonderful vanilla-cafe-latte cake.

What other frostings can I use instead of mocha buttercream?
There are so many other choices for frosting. Such as:
Swiss or Italian Meringue Buttercream
French or German Buttercream Frosting
Classic American vanilla or Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
I have 30 plus frosting recipes on this blog. And I highly recommend checking them out.

Can I use tea instead of coffee in this cake?
Yes, you can use tea instead of coffee for sure just like my Chai latte cake or Earl grey cake.

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Layer Cake Recipe – Cardamom with Mocha Buttercream

More similar recipes

A decorated cake and a slice of cake

Cardamom Cake with Mocha Buttercream

Veena Azmanov
Cardamom and coffee are a wonderful combination of this cardamom cake. A light and airy butter-based coffee cake delicately flavored with cardamom and nutmeg. Then, generously frosted with mocha buttercream. Perfect for a festive celebration or special occasion.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Cooling time 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 servings
Calories 432 kcal

Equipment

  • 7-inch round cake pans
  • Stand Mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 6 oz Butter (170 g), unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 cup Light brown sugar (220 g)
  • ½ cup White sugar (100 g)
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 2 ½ cup All-purpose flour (310 g)
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • tsp Cinnamon ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • ¼ tsp Ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¾ cup Yogurt plain (180 ml)
  • ¼ cup Espresso brewed (60 ml)
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp Coffee extract optional

Mocha Buttercream

  • 8 oz Butter, unsalted (227g) room temperature
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar (360 g)
  • ¼ cup Whipping cream 32% (60 ml)
  • 1 tbsp Coffee instant powder
  • 4 oz Chocolate semi-sweet (100 g) melted
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Plus

  • ½ cup Simple syrup (120 ml)

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat the oven at 170 C / 340 F.
  • Grease and line 3 x 7-inch round cake pans or 2 x 8-inch round cake pans.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
  • Next, add the flour mixture and the yogurt in three additions. Followed by the espresso and vanilla extract
  • Divide batter equally between the prepared baking pans 
    Tip – I like to use cake strips to ensure my layer cakes bake flat.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  • Wrap the cake in cling/plastic wrap and chill for a few hours before you decorate.

Mocha buttercream

  • Add coffee and vanilla to the cold cream – mix well and set aside
  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler – set aside
  • Add the coffee mixture and cream some more. The mixture will curdle and become smooth again.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter until smooth.
  • Now, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
  • Once all the powder sugar has been incorporated. Continue to mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes more until you have a light and fluffy buttercream.
  • The cream in the mixture will whip and give you almost stiff peaks.
    Tip– If the buttercream is too soft, you haven't whipped enough. However, If the butter is melting chill the bowl for 10 minutes then whip again. (this can happen in warmer temperatures)
  • Now, add the melted and cooled chocolate. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides to ensure you have a smooth chocolate buttercream with no white streaks.
    Tip– if the chocolate is not cooled, it will seize when added to the buttercream and you will end up with small shards of chocolate in the buttercream. So, make sure the chocolate is cooled.

Assemble

  • Prepare simple syrup – cool completely before using.
    Tip– Simple syrup is just sugar water that has been boiled and cooled. Used to keep cake layers moist.
  • Once cooled, cut the domes off the cake layers with a serrated bread knife
    Tip – see my tutorial on how to level, torte, and fill cakes like a pro
  • Brush each layer with simple syrup on both sides.
    Tip – Simple syrup is just water and sugar boiled then cooled. This keeps the cake moist.
  • Place a cake layer on the cake board or cake stand. Top with about a cup of buttercream – spread evenly using a spatula
  • Place the second layer followed by more buttercream and then the last layer.
  • Place the cake in the fridge to chill for 10 to 15 minutes.
    Tip – Chilling the cake at this point will ensure the layers don't move when you frost the outside. Though, if you leave the cake uncovered in the fridge for too long it can dry out. So, 10 minutes is all you need.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream around and top of the cake.
    Tip – A straight-edge spatula for the top, an off-set-spatula, and bench scraper for the sides work better.
  • Create a rustic buttercream look by simply swirling the tip of the spatula up and down the side of the cake creating distinct lines.
    Alternatively – you can also place the remaining frosting in a piping bag with a large star piping tip into swirls on top of the cake.
  • I decorated with whole spices used in the cake for a rustic buttercream look.
  • Enjoy
Keyword cake, Cardamom, cardamom cake, fall recipes, layer cake, mocha buttercream, spice cake