Espresso Mascarpone Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Espresso mascarpone chocolate Bourbon cake - Moist, creamy and full of flavor. |

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This is one of the most delicious and at the same time easiest cakes I’ve made in a while. It’s super-moist, creamy and full of chocolate, Bourbon and espresso flavor. What more is there, really? The cake part here is the recipe for the chocolate Bourbon bundt cake I posted earlier in the year and the frosting is a mascarpone cream that I flavored with vanilla and espresso. All around delicious!


Espresso Mascarpone Chocolate Bourbon Cake Recipe

serves 4


For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more to dust the pans
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee or 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder and 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup mascarpone, softened
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • roasted coffee beans as garnish (optional)



For the cake:

  1. Grease two 5-inch round pie cake pans (see notes), dust with cocoa powder and shake out the excess. Set aside.
  2. Head on over to for instructions as to how to make the batter.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  4. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 40 minutes).

For the frosting:

  1. Whip all ingredients together until stiff.
  2. Spread a layer of frosting between the two layers of cake and on top of the top layer.
  3. Garnish with roasted coffee beans (optional).



If you’re using two 9-inch cake pans, double all measurements.


Food Photography and Styling: I wanted the coffee beans to look like they were dancing around the surface of the cake in a circle so I spent some time adjusting their positions to that effect. A brown “tablecloth” (actually just a piece of fabric) ended up looking best as a surface, all of my rustic surfaces seemed to clash with the color of the cake. As usual, I lit the set from the side with my strobe and blocked the light in the top and bottom parts of the frame to create a spotlight on the cake.

Nikon D600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.


    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you, Mila! For the longest time I thought the only use for mascarpone was tiramisu but it turns out it’s so much more versatile! :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Whoops, that actually was a mistake, I meant 4. (Not even I eat portions that small…). Thank you for alerting me to that, Debbi! Let me know how you like the cake. :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Hehe, the frosting by itself is somewhat overwhelming (I know that because I did try to eat it by the spoonful, of course). :)

  1. June Park says:

    Please excuse my ignorance.. but when you say “vanilla”, you mean vanilla extract? Thank you! and this looks great. I’m trying to bake it for Thanksgiving :)

  2. Ron W says:

    Made this for my daughter’s birthday at her request. It way surpassed my expectations and it truly is “A Piece of Cake” to make. Best EVER chocolate cake and I have been cooking for almost as long as Jacques Pepin who claims to have started at age 14.

    My daughter and I have a years long competition baking each other the most delicious birthday cakes. I’m ahead with this winner !

    Don’t tell your friends it’s so easy, just wow them.

    I did frost the sides completely as I thought it looked unfinished with just the middle and top frosted. Next I did drizzle chocolate sauce decoratively on top including encapsulating the coffee beans I added as garnish as suggested.

    • Nicole Branan says:

      That is just WONDERFUL to hear, Ron. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment, you made my day. :)

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