Happy Saturday, friends! It’s a long weekend here in Canada, so I thought this would be the ideal time to trot out a cake, and what a cake it is. This Black Coffee Cake with Cappuccino Mousse certainly puts the “coffee” in the term coffee cake. The cake is dense, chocolaty, and packed with coffee-soaked prunes resulting in a deep almost molasses-esque flavor. The cake is topped with a mountain of airy cream cheese and white chocolate mousse accented with yet more coffee and finished with chocolate-covered espresso beans. It’s an eye-opener and show-stopper all rolled into one. So let’s get into it.
To say coffee-lovers will enjoy this dessert would be an understatement and a hair obvious. But I would venture to say, even those who are lukewarm on the subject of coffee will find joy in this dessert. I wouldn’t call myself a coffee-lover. I am more of a coffee-liker. It gets me out of bed in the morning, which is no small task. So for that, I am eternally grateful. But I wouldn’t say I enjoy a cup of coffee. I also don’t suffer through a cup of coffee. But I relish this cake. It’s got enough chocolate and rich sweetness that the bitterness from the coffee is a welcome and needed addition. And if you love coffee, this cake does a lot more than taste faintly of coffee. The coffee flavor is there full volume in surround sound.
Cakes don’t come simpler than this. This Black Coffee Cake is a single-layer, highly caffeinated affair that is incredibly dense, fudgy, and rich. That fudginess comes courtesy of a hefty handful of coffee-soaked prunes and 70% dark chocolate. Think you’re not a prune fan? No worries! The prunes don’t taste particularly pruney, they just add depth and chew. And in addition to adding to the textural experience of this cake, the prunes also reduce the need for sugar. This cake only calls for 1/3 cup of the white stuff, which is practically unheard of in most cakes. So if you’re looking to reduce your intake of refined sugars but not your intake of dessert, this cake is a good one to have in your arsenal.
The other thing I love about this Black Coffee Cake is it can easily be converted into Black Coffee brownies. You could leave them naked or swoop on the Cappuccino Mousse. And the Cappuccino Mousse? Well, you could skip the cake and just pour the mousse into stemless wine glasses for a quick and easy make-ahead dessert. I love the mousse and cake together but each by themselves is a dessert in its own right. I adore recipes like this. There is so much wiggle room to be had and I haven’t even touched on potential mix-ins.
When I was growing up, my sister was passionately opposed to nuts in cakes, brownies, muffins, you name it. And as I grew up, I realized there were a lot of people like her. I made this cake with the intention of sharing it, so I went against my instincts and decided not to add chopped nuts to the cake. But if you live in a nut-loving household (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write) feel free to add some walnuts, peanuts, pecans, any nut you wish. I really can’t think of a nut that wouldn’t be at home in this cake.
The cake’s cappuccino mousse crown brings an airiness to the dessert and yet more coffee. The base of the mousse is cream cheese and white chocolate. It’s flavored with the equivalent of three shots of espresso. It has a slight cheesecake flavor thanks to the cream cheese, but the cream and coffee make it scream “cappuccino”. Now, as with any mousse, the Cappuccino mousse needs to set in the fridge. From there it’s whipped before being piled on top of the cake for maximum swoop-ability. You can also pipe the mousse if you want to be fancy about it.
Decorating this Black Coffee Cake is as simple as making it. Scatter a few chocolate espresso beans across the surface of the cake and call it a day. You can get a little glitzy and add a sprinkling of gold luster, but that is optional. And if you want to get really fancy, you can add gold leaf. I stuck to a more rustic design and I’m secure in that decision, but really the decorating possibilities are endless with this blank slate cake.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Black Coffee Cake with Cappuccino Mousse. Rich, decadent, and undeniably caffeinated, this cake is no shrinking violet. So intense, you may only need a small slice. But you’ll want about ten.
Black Coffee Cake with Cappuccino Mousse
- 1 8" inch cake pan
- 1 hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment
Black Coffee Cake
- 200g (7oz) dried prunes finely chopped
- 1 cup strong hot coffee
- 340g (12oz) dark chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1 cup unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 large eggs
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp black cocoa powder **
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2¼ tsp powdered gelatin ***
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 cup heavy cream cold
- 227g (8oz) cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup strong coffee room temperature
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅓ cup chocolate covered espresso beans
- 1 tsp gold luster optional
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an “8 cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the prunes in a medium-sized bowl and pour the coffee over top. Set the prunes aside to soak for 30 minutes.200g (7oz) dried prunes, 1 cup strong hot coffee
- While the prunes are soaking, place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl. Create a double boiler by placing the bowl over the mouth of a small saucepan filled a third of the way with simmering water. Make sure there are about 1-2 inches of room between the surface of the water and the bottom of the bowl. Stir the chocolate and butter occasionally until they melt and form a cohesive mixture.340g (12oz) dark chocolate, 1 cup unsalted butter
- While the chocolate is melting, beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar together until frothy. When the chocolate has melted, pour it into the egg mixture and quickly whisk the two together to prevent cooking the eggs. Stir in the coffee-soaked prunes.4 large egg yolks, 4 large eggs, ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- In a separate bowl, place the flour and add the salt and espresso powder. Sift in the black cocoa and whisk to combine. Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until no streaks remain.1¼ cup all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp black cocoa powder **, 1 tsp espresso powder, ½ tsp kosher salt
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is set in the center. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
For the Mousse
- Pour the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and set it aside to gel.3 tbsp cold water, 2¼ tsp powdered gelatin ***
- Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk on high using a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside.1 cup heavy cream
- In a separate bowl place the cream cheese. Sift in the powdered sugar, and beat until fluffy. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 30-second bursts. Add the chocolate to the cream cheese mixture along with the salt. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in the coffee.227g (8oz) cream cheese, 2 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 cup white chocolate chips, ¼ cup strong coffee, ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Place the set gelatin in the microwave for 15 seconds. Pour the now melted gelatin into the coffee mixture and fold in the whipped cream until no streaks remain. Cover and transfer the mousse to the fridge. Chill for 2 hours.
- Take the set mousse out of the fridge and whisk it to loosen it up. Pile the mousse on top of the cake and, using an offset spatula, create a series of pleasing swoops. Top the cake with the chocolate-covered espresso beans and finish with a dusting of gold luster, if desired.⅓ cup chocolate covered espresso beans, 1 tsp gold luster