It’s something that makes my heart beat faster: coffee in desserts. And no, I’m not talking about the side-effects of caffeine. Latte this, cappuccino that – I blog about it more than necessary (see here, here, here and here) and I’m always trying to sneak coffee into any chocolate dessert I make.
Coffee is my valentine!
Crisp butter cookies dunked in strong coffee is a favorite flavor combination of mine, and it’s the inspiration for this cake. Espresso cake layers are filled with Biscoff buttercream and the entire cake is frosted with Mocha-Biscoff icing. I wrapped the cake in chocolate with the help of a decorative chocolate transfer sheet.
You can find instructions for applying a chocolate transfer sheet to a cake in my video here. I’d suggest trying it if you’re looking for a little wow factor, but the cake is just as delicious without.
Since I don’t own any heart-shaped cake pans, I cut a heart from a piece of wax paper and used it as a template for cake carving. The cake’s dense crumb was very forgiving and I really love how it turned out! (I recycled this idea from my Heritage Red Velvet cake.)
The quilt-like texture on top is fairly easy to achieve. You’ll need 1/2-inch plain piping tip or just use a piping bag with the tip snipped to size. If you’re making the heart-shaped cake, you’ll start with piping a line across the upper 1/3 of the cake as indicated in the photo above. Pipe rows of icing on either side of the line, allowing the icing to overhang the edges.
Smooth the edges of the piped icing down and frost the edges with more icing, then dust the top with cocoa powder for a soft, velvety look.
This cake was instantly a family favorite. The Biscoff filling was especially well loved and I think it would be a real treat between butter cake layers, too.
Espresso-Biscoff Heart Cake
Yield: One 9-inch cake
Source: Cake adapted from Cooking Light; all other components are original to SprinkleBakes
I used Biscoff spread for this cake, but you could use your favorite brand of cookie butter. If you plan to carve the cake in a heart-shape as I have, consider allowing the cake to stand overnight so the crumb fully develops. It will be slightly firmer and easier to cut. I’ve included instructions to carve this cake into a heart-shape, but you could also just serve it as a standard round layer cake. It’ll be pretty (and tasty) either way.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment circles. Grease paper, set aside.
- Sift flour, baking soda and salt onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper. Set aside. Combine water and espresso powder. Let cool slightly.
- Whisk together the granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl. Place 1/4 cup of this mixture along with the white vegetable shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well incorporated. Add the rest of the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the espresso mixture; blend well. Add eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pans then turn out onto wire racks for further cooling. Peel off wax paper and discard.
- For the heart template: Trace the bottom of a cake pan on wax paper, cut out the 9″ circle. Fold it in half and cut into a heart shape. Lay the paper heart on the cake and trim it down if it doesn’t comfortably fit inside the cake’s circumference. Stack cooled cakes and place template on top; make strait cuts around the template with a serrated knife using a sawing motion until the heart shape is achieved.
- Reserve cake scraps for breakfast, if desired. (smile)
1 cup Biscoff spread or other cookie butter spread
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
- Place all ingredients except heavy cream or milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until well incorporated. If mixture is dry add milk or heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time until a smooth consistency is achieved. Mixture should be thick but spreadable.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Biscoff spread or other cookie butter spread
1/2 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- Combine softened butter, Biscoff and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until well combined. Add espresso powder and cocoa powder. Mix again; scrape down sides of bowl and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.
- Transfer half of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip. Pipe lines diagonally lines across the top of the cake (see picture for heart cake instructions) allowing the icing to overhang the edges. Smooth piped edges down onto the edge of the cake with a metal spatula. Frost sides of cake with remaining frosting.
Chocolate transfer sheet application *optional
1 cup chocolate chips
1 chocolate transfer sheet, your choice of pattern
- Measure side of cake and cut the chocolate transfer sheet to size. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Let chocolate cool slightly, then spread onto the chocolate transfer sheet with an offset spatula in one or two even strokes. Apply to cake.
- Allow chocolate to harden then peel away the acetate, revealing the patterned chocolate. Cut a heart shape out of the leftover chocolate transfer sheet and spread with chocolate to create an embellishment, if desired.