March 20, 2014

Espresso Cake with Hot Kahlua Syrup

It is the 20th of the month so it is time for The Cake Slice Bakers to reveal our latest cake as we bake our way through Great Cakes by Carole Walter.  Once again the votes were cast and tallied, and the winning cake was the Espresso Cake with Hot Kahlua Syrup. Doesn't just reading the title of the cake sound amazing?
I was really looking forward to this cake as I am a big fan of coffee and coffee desserts in general. In her introduction to the cake, Carole Walter notes that "chocolate and lemon have an affinity with espresso".  I knew that chocolate and coffee were a good match, but never realized this about lemon. And wouldn't you know it - she is absolutely right.  It is that little hint of lemon that really makes this cake special.

The method for creaming the butter and sugar for this cake is a little time consuming, but I promise that the end result of a beautiful light crumb will be worth it. Other than that, the cake is very straightforward to put together and the syrup is a breeze - and it is kind of fun to poke the small holes and pour the syrup over the top, knowing that the cake is going to be beautifully moist.  The recipe suggests making a half-portion of ganache, and although the cake would be delicious on it's own, I decided to put together a thinner version of a ganache and just drizzle a little over the top.

Espresso Cake with Hot Kahlua Syrup
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Cake ~
  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2¼ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated
  • lemon zest
  • 1½ cups superfine or strained sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream
Kahlua syrup ~
  • ⅔ cup Kahlua or Tia Maria liqueur
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Cake ~
  1. Position rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350℉. 
  2. Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with baking spray.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso in boiling water. Stir in the cold water and set aside to cool.
  4. Using a triple sifter, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. [If you do not have a triple sifter, sift the dry ingredients together three times.] Set aside.
  5. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and put them and the lemon rind [zest] in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with beaters of paddle attachment. Soften on low speed, then increase speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1½ to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  7. Add the eggs, 1 at a time a 1-minute intervals. Blend in the vanilla and sour cream. The mixture will look somewhat curdled at this point. This is okay.
  8. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the espresso, dividing the dry ingredients into three parts and the espresso into two parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 seconds longer.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a tablespoon. Center the pan on the rack and bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan and a twig of straw or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.
  10. Remove from the oven. Set the pan on a cake rack for 10 to 15 minutes to cool slightly.
Kahlua syrup ~
  1. In a small saucepan blend the Kahlua, water, and honey. Bring to a slow boil and simmer 2 to 3
  2. minutes. Remove from heat. 
  3. Pierce the top of the cake with a wooden skewer and slowly spoon the hot syrup over the top of the hot cake. 
  4. Let stand in the pan for at least 1 hour to allow cake to absorb all the liqueur, then invert onto a rack and remove pan.
  5. Store at room temperature under a glass dome or in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Recipe from Great Cakes by Carole Walter.

You can check out all of the Espresso Cakes made by my fellow Cake Slice Bakers by clicking here, or just click on the pictures below. Also, remember to come and join us on our Facebook page where we share not only each months cake but also baking tips and other goodies that have been baked by our members. The Cake Slice Bakers are also accepting new members for a limited time. If you would like to join us as we bake our way through some great cake books (currently it is Great Cakes by Carole Walter), please send an email to our administrator Paloma -  The only requirements are that you have a blog and you love to bake cakes! I can guarantee that you will love baking with this group of wonderful bakers - they are all so friendly and welcoming.


  1. The lemon truly is an interesting and unexpected lovely accent to the cake. Your cake does look delicious, Felice. I'm quite sure your clan is feeling quite content at about this time.

  2. I agree - the lemon really does make a surprising difference! Your cake looks great!

  3. I can see why the winning cake was Espresso cake with Kahula-Delicious!


  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it, it looks lovely.

  5. There's that espresso flavor I love!! And Kahlua to boot?? I'm ready to hop a plane over to see you! #love

  6. What's missing from this post.... is the picture of that famous last crumb!! Lovely cake enjoyed by most of us this month!

    1. Emily I was so sad not to get that shot too - it has become a tradition! I took the last of the cake to a water polo match, so the crumbs ended up on the ground near the pool :)

  7. Wow - I'm no fan of coffee of any sort, but this looks remarkable.

  8. The crumb on your cake looks perfect! And that hot Kahlua syrup sounds divine as well! What a wonderful combination!

  9. I was a little concerned about the lemon too, but yes, Walters was right. It was a good combination. Lovely cake you made!


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