Black Forest Expresso Cake with a Bittersweet – Kahlúa® Glaze

Here it is: death-by-chocolate. But what a way to go!

Serves 14-16

Black Forest Expresso Cake with a Bittersweet – Kahlúa® Glaze

This is a magical cake – unadulterated chocolate bliss. The texture is similar to that of a very creamy truffle, but even fudgier. It’s critical that you use top quality chocolate for this recipe, such as Valrhona, Scharffen Berger or Lindt. For the unsweetened chocolate I used Ghirardelli chocolate. The bittersweet chocolate hovers in the 70% cacao range, I used Valrhona and semisweet chocolate has a cacao content of around 60% but can be used interchangeably with bittersweet chocolate.

Black Forest Expresso Cake with a Bittersweet – Kahlúa® Glaze

Timothy is a serious chocoholic so he always gives up chocolate during lent and over the Easter 🐣 weekend he’d take an IV of chocolate if he could. So our Easter dessert is always always something with deep chocolate flavor which this year is BLACK CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO CAKE with a BITTESWEET – KALHÚA® CHOCOLATE GLAZE which gets its deep chocolate flavor from the 100% chocolate & bittersweet chocolate. The flavors are ratcheted up by the espresso powder & Kahlúa® coffee liquor in the batter and the glaze.

Huge, heavy and heavenly, this cake is almost jet black, with a wicked chocolate flavor. The cake begins as a somewhat strange batter, as the huge large amount of brewed espresso coffee seems to be too much liquid for the rest of the batter. But it contributes both a balanced flavor and a wonderful moistness and in the end the cake does work, beautifully.

Black Forest Expresso Cake with a Bittersweet – Kahlúa® Glaze


  • 1½ cups of unsalted butter, in small pieces
  • 7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2½ tablespoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 2 cups boiling water, cooled or 2 cups strong black coffee.
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) Kahlúa®
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour, not self-raising flour (see note)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Kalhúa® Glaze:
  • 10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter + additional to grease the cake pan, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlúa®
  • Dark chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional but highly recommend, available at Trader Joe’s)
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving


  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325℉ and center the rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 10-inch springform pan, lined with a parchment paper circle and the paper lightly greased.
  2. Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda and the salt together onto a paper plate or bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
  3. Combine the butter, both the chocolates and coffee in the top of a double boiler or a stainless steel or glass bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring the mixture frequently with a spatula or wooden spoon until melted. If the mixture appears somewhat speckled with what looks like unmelted chocolate, don’t be concerned. (Different chocolate have different cocoa butter content and cocoa solid content and when melted with such a large quantity of liquid may seem to separate). Place the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand mixer. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and pour over the sugar. Stir to blend and dissolve the sugar, and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the Kalhúa and vanilla extract to the cooled chocolate mixture, and using the paddle attachment beat on medium speed to blend well. Gradually blend in the beaten eggs making sure that it’s thoroughly incorporated. The batter will be extremely thin at this point; don’t worry, just make sure to work each added ingredient into it carefully.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture in to additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat on medium speed for one minute. The batter may have little lumps, but the won’t affect the finished cake.
  6. Place the prepared pan on a baking sheet to catch any possible leaks. Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 1¾ – 2 hours, rotating the pan several times during that time to ensure even baking. the cake bakes slowly and stays beautifully moist. A crust will form on the top and a few cracks will appear. test for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer in a fault of the crust, poking near the center of the cake. It should come out clean, with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely on a rake in the pan. (The cake can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept in the pan at room temperature, covered tightly with plastic wrap).
  7. For the glaze: Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or a stainless steel or glass bowl, set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until melted, then remove from the heat and cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
  8. Run a small spatula or a thin-bladed knife around the cake to loosen, then remove the ring of the pan. Using a long blade serrated knife, carefully even out the top of the cake , slicing off any domed or uneven part of the crust. Keep the knife parallel to the counter and use long slow strokes of the knife to even out the top.
  9. Place a dab of the chocolate glaze on a 10-inch cardboard cake circle and invert the cake onto the board. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper. If you haven’t got cake circle or other piece of cardboard cut to 10-inches round: invert the cake onto a place and remove the bottom the pan bottom on the top of the cake. Invert the cake a 3rd time, ending up with with the bottom-side up, top-side down on the flat bottom of the springform pan, and remove the parchment paper. Brush any crumbs from the cake and pour the warm glaze onto the center. Using a metal cake spatula or palette knife, coax the glaze towards the edges of the cake and over the sides; quickly spread the overflow evenly onto the sides. Garnish with the chocolate-covered espresso bean. Give the glaze an hour or so to set, then serve the cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Use the finest quality you can afford. Unsweetened chocolate has 100% of cocao.


One Comment Add yours

  1. My Dubai Guide says:

    Wow! This looks so good! 😍😍


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