Chocolate and coffee are always a good combination and this Espresso Brownie Cake is the perfect dessert if you want to enjoy both together. It is made with a very generous dose of dark chocolate and plenty of espresso, along with a splash of coffee liqueur. The cake evenly delivers intense coffee and chocolate flavors that really compliment each other.
Brownies are known for their dense, chewy texture and deep chocolate flavor, but this cake isn’t as dense as a brownie is. Instead, it has brownie in the name because it also delivers an intense chocolate flavor. It is lighter in texture than a classic, chewy brownie, however, and has a tight, tender crumb that almost melts in your mouth as you eat it.
I used brewed espresso in this cake for a very strong coffee flavor. If you don’t have espresso, you can substitute strong or dark roast brewed coffee. The coffee should be warm or at room temperature, but it does not need to be extremely hot. The coffee is added to a warm mixture of melted chocolate and butter, so warm coffee incorporates much more easily than cold would. Coffee liqueur is added for extra coffee flavor, but it can be substituted for additional coffee if you prefer to have an alcohol-free cake.
There is a generous amount of dark chocolate in this cake and I recommend using one with a cacao content somewhere between 55 and 70% for best results. Chocolate in this range will give you a great chocolate flavor without making the cake too bitter. Although the cake recipe calls for a fair amount of sugar, it really isn’t overly sweet thanks to the intensity of the dark chocolate and the espresso/coffee in the batter.
This is a great cake that can be serve all year round. Although it’s not a layer cake, it’s a fairly tall cake and has a real presence on the dessert table. In the summer, you can pair it with ice cream or fresh berries. In the winter, you can serve it alongside a cup of coffee or with some caramel sauce drizzled over the top to make it even more indulgent.
Espresso Brownie Cake
7 oz dark chocolate (55-70%), coarsely chopped
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups espresso or dark roast coffee, warm or room temperature
1/4 cup coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt together dark chocolate and butter, stirring until mixture is very smooth. Stir in espresso/coffee and coffee liqueur, followed by the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 70 minutes, or until cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely in the pan before removing the sides of the springform and sliding the cake onto a serving plate.