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Chocolate Mocha Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Chocolate mocha cake with mascarpone cream frosting is absolutely life changing! This cake is unbelievably moist and chocolatey with a hint of espresso. The light and creamy mascarpone frosting is the perfect topping for this mocha dessert.

Mocha chocolate cake with a slice in front of it
Moist and decadent

I made this chocolate mocha cake for a get together with friends this weekend and the reaction was unanimous! This recipe is one that will be requested over and over again.

This recipe is a great make ahead dessert. It is delicious after sitting in the refrigerator after just an hour or so, but it really good the next day.

This mocha cake is unbelievably moist, chocolatey and rich. But the light creamy frosting perfectly offsets the richness of the cake. You will have no trouble finishing off a slice (or two!) of this decadent dessert.

Is mocha coffee or chocolate?

A Mocha is a drink made by combining espresso, chocolate, and milk which is often topped with whipped cream. The proportions of the ingredients often vary, as does the type of chocolate used. The coffee deepens the flavor of the chocolate, making this popular drink more like a dessert then a coffee.


For the Cake

ingredients for a mocha cake

Chocolate: I used two types of chocolate; melted semi-sweet baking chocolate and unsweetened cocoa. The semi-sweet chocolate adds creaminess to the batter while toning down the richness of the unsweetened cocoa.

Espresso: A cup of strongly brewed espresso adds moisture to this cake. Your taste buds know it is there but it really emphasizes the chocolate flavors .

The rest of the ingredients are staples in your kitchen: eggs, flour, sugar, milk, baking powder, baking soda, vegetable oil and vanilla.

For the Frosting

Mascarpone Cheese: This Italian cheese is made from cows milk and is extra creamy with a velvety feel. It is similar in texture and application to cream cheese but is not as firm and or as tangy. Many people recognize mascarpone as one of the main ingredients in Tiramisu.

The other ingredients include heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla.

Whole mocha cake with white frosting on a white plate with a black background.
Whole cake

Tips for making this cake

Brew the espresso while you prepare the batter: The espresso should be hot when you add it to the batter. I recommend brewing it while you are prepare the rest of the ingredients so that it is the right temperature when you add it to the cake.

Melting the chocolate: You can melt the chocolate in one of two ways: 1) Use the microwave or 2) the double boiler method.

I like to use the microwave. Simply cut the chocolate into small pieces and out them in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted. Stir the chocolate with a wire whisk or a spoon between intervals. Repeat this until the chocolate is completely melted, smooth and creamy. Depending on your microwave this might take 3-4 intervals.

When the chocolate is almost all melted, mix it vigorously until it is smooth and completely melted. You don’t want to overheat the chocolate because it will seize on you.

If you prefer to use a double boiler, place the chocolate pieces in a heat resistant bowl. Set the bowl on a pan of water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. As the water heats, stir the chocolate until it is completely melted, smooth and creamy. Again, it is important to remove the chocolate from the heat as soon as the chocolate melts so that it does not seize.

Measure the flour correctly. Use a spoon to fill the measuring cup with flour and level it off with the back of a knife. Don’t pack the flour down or tap the cup on your work surface as you may end up with too much flour, which results in a dry cake.

Combine the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Make sure the ingredients are well combined so that they get evenly distributed when adding them to the wet ingredients.

Mascarpone Frosting:

Mascarpone should be cold.  Whip the mascarpone soon after taking it out of the refrigerator to loosen it up.  If it is cold, it will hold it up better as you mix it with the heavy cream.

Heavy Cream should also be cold.  When adding the heavy cream to the mascarpone you want the cream to be very cold.  It will whip up better and form beautiful stiff peaks.

Don’t over beat the frosting. After adding all the ingredients to the mascarpone, beat for several minutes until stiff peaks form.  It is important to watch the cream carefully because the frosting can curdle.  As you are mixing stop every so often to check the consistency until the peaks hold their shape.

Storing the cake

This cake will stay moist if stored covered in refrigerator for up to 4 -5 days. You may find that the frosting begins to soften after a couple of days.

A slice of chocolate mocha cake with fluffy white mascarpone frosting on a white plate and a black background.
A slice of heaven


What is the origin of mocha? 

Mocha was a term first used in the 17th century to describe “moka” coffee bean that was imported from Al Moka, a Yemen port city. Sometime later the coffee was mixed with steamed milk and chocolate in Italy to create a version of the drink that is so popular today.

Will the caffeine in the coffee cook out of the cake?

No the caffeine will not cook out during the baking process. A whole cake has about 484 mg of caffeine which is equal to about 5 cups of coffee. 1 slice of cake (1/10) has about the same caffeine as ½ cup of regular coffee.

Other Italian recipes that you may enjoy:

The Best Italian Onion Soup (Carabaccia)

Easy Flank Steak Pizzaiola

Amaretto Tiramisu without Eggs

Cake recipes you will love:

Nutella Swirl Cheesecake

Pistachio Bundt Cake with Chocolate Chips

Italian Almond Cake

Apple Streusel Cake

Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate mocha cake on a white platter with a slice cut out.

Chocolate Mocha Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

This cake is unbelievably moist and chocolatey with a hint of espresso. The light and creamy mascarpone frosting is the perfect topping for this mocha dessert.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Frosting 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 653 kcal


  • 2 9" round baking pans
  • Electric mixer



  • 4 oz Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate chopped
  • 2 cups Flour all purpose
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • tsp Baking Powder
  • tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 1 cup Milk preferably whole or 2%
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Espresso brewed, hot

Mascarpone Frosting

  • 8 oz Mascarpone Cheese cold
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • cup Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla



  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9" round baking pans.
  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals. Stir the chocolate between intervals until it is completely smooth. Make sure not to over heat the chocolate or it will seize.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and stir to combine.
  • In another bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and melted chocolate.
    Liquid ingredient of mocha cake combined in a mixing bowl.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well scraping down the sides.
    Creamy mocha cake batter before adding the espresso
  • Add the hot espresso and mix slowly until it is fully incorporated. The batter will be thin.
    Mocha cake batter after the espresso has been added.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling before frosting.

Mascarpone Frosting

  • Beat the mascarpone in a medium bowl until the cheese is creamy, about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat for 2 -3 minutes just until peaks form and they hold their shape when the beaters are lifted out of the frosting. Check the consistency of the frosting often while beating it so that you do not over mix the cream. If you over beat the cream it will curdle.
  • Frost the cake as desired. The cake is best when refrigerated for about an hour before serving.


The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 


Serving: 10servingsCalories: 653kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 9gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 514mgPotassium: 227mgFiber: 3gSugar: 49gVitamin A: 784IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 3mg
Keyword chocolate, mascarpone, espresso, mocha, dessert, cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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