Cappuccino Cake

With Mascarpone Ganache

I'm adding coffee to everything these days, I find it always provides a really good balance to a dessert, the slight bitterness of it offsetting the sweetness of everything else. The mascarpone ganache just happened as I had some in my fridge and I wondered what would happen if I tried it with chocolate, well it worked so perfectly I don't know why I didn't do it before! It sets beautifully like a proper ganache and is very easy to work with, great for layered cakes. This is a long-winded recipe but I just wanted to give you every detail to get the recipe right, cakes do take patience, so I've learned.

Serves 12-16


250g butter, at room temperature

370g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

300g flour

2 Tbsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 2 Tbsp boiling water (or you can use 1 shot strong espresso, but I find the espresso powder provides more intense flavour)

225ml milk

Coffee Syrup

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp instant espresso powder or 1 shot espresso

Mascarpone Ganache

500g mascarpone (I use Tatua brand in this case as it is softer than most other brands)

300g dark chocolate

Pinch of salt


Chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 180˚C. This batter makes enough for one large 8 inch (22cm) cake, or I prefer to make it into 2 x 6 inch (15cm) tins which I can layer.

Make sure your butter is at room temp, if not, whack it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it is soft - be careful, you don't want to take it too far!

Place butter, sugar in a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer. Use electric beaters to cream them together for 8 minutes (this is not a joke, time it, 8 minutes, it will be beautiful and light in colour and texture).

Add the eggs, one at a time (seriously) incorporating well after each addition.

Add the baking powder, salt and half the flour and gently stir in with a spatula. Add the coffee and half the milk and gently stir, then add remaining flour, stir, remaining milk, stir until all is just combined - don't stir too long though or your cake will be tough!

If you don't already have one, invest in a kitchen timer, they are super affordable, you can get them from the supermarket or here and they will help you achieve consistent baking results. Depending on the size of the tin you chose, the cook time will change. If you're making it all in one 8 inch tin, this will take 50-75 minutes, depending on your oven. Check at 50 min, then every 5 min after that. For two 6 inch layers, it is more like 35-45 minutes.

While the cake bakes, make the coffee syrup. Place all the syrup ingredients in a small pot on medium heat and cook for 2-4 minutes, until sugar has dissolved. Place in a jar and set aside.

As with any cake, it is imperative you let the cake cool completely before icing, otherwise the icing will just melt! I am impatient. So to speed up the process, I wrap my cake layers in cling film (to keep the moisture in) and put them in the fridge so I can get to the icing quicker.

I almost always cut my layers in half, so I can fill it with icing or other goodness. Click here for a quick video from my pastry idol Zoe, showing you how to cut a cake layer with a serrated knife.

Once the cakes are chilled, cut your layers or cut off the domed top of the cake with a serrated knife. Drizzle each layer with your coffee syrup, you don't have to use it all up - just enough to cover the surface. This will inject extra flavour and moisture into the cake.

Melt the chocolate for the ganache, in 30 second bursts in the microwave or in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. You will need to allow this to cool for about 10 minutes before using.

Once cooled, use a spatula to combine mascarpone and melted chocolate. Stir well until smooth and combined. If you get bits in your ganache, it's because the chocolate was too warm and it seized in the mascarpone - you can fix it by putting in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt it, then stir it together. You'll need to put the ganache in the fridge for 10 minutes before icing the cake.

Choose your serving platter and put the first layer of cake on it. Top it with some ganache and spread out. I like to fill mine with chopped nuts like hazelnuts, but you could also do some crushed up biscuits, it's always nice to have a bit of texture in each bite. Cover with your other layer and cover with remaining ganache.

Decorate your cake in whatever way pleases you. For beginner decorators, the easiest and most impactful way of decorating I've found, is to use a dessert spoon and make swooshy patterns in your icing like I've done here. You can add nuts or do some piping, add flowers or sprinkles or whatever tickles your fancy to make it beautiful.

Et Voila! Enjoy 🥰