Chocolate and Kahlua Layer Cake {and a Happy New Year!}

Chocolate and Kahlua layer cake, slice

Three layers of  moist and tender Kahlua spiked chocolate cake are sandwiched with a rich kahlua buttercream to make this deliciously indulgent layer cake. Topped with at thick coating of dark chocolate ganache, its the perfect way to celebrate the New Year! 

Happy New Year everyone! I hope last night saw your waving a fond farewell to the old year, and saying hello to the new one in style!

We saw in the New Year in York. We had intended to head to the Minster for midnight, but we got caught up having catch ups and a delicious dinner at a friend’s house. We ended up counting down to Midnight with Jools Holland, and popping our fizz snuggled up on the sofa under blankets. Far better than heading out into the cold I reckon!

2014 has been a crazy, busy, incredible year. It’s been a year of travel, adventure, and change. From pushing myself to run my very first half marathon way back in February, to spending three months travelling all the way from Hong Kong to England over land, so much more has happened in these last 12 months than I ever thought possible. I honestly have no idea what 2015 will bring, what I’ll do or where we’ll be, but for now I’m happy just seeing where the wind takes us.

I do, however, have big plans for this little space. I’m working on a new design, plans to improve my photographs, and I’ve got lots and lots of scrummy new recipes to share with you.

Starting with this one.

Chocolate and Kahlua layer cake, sparkles

This is the cake I made to celebrate the arrival of 2015.

Its a really delicious layer cake, combining chocolate and kahlua. A towering dark beauty of a cake. A smooth, rich exterior, cut open to reveal three layers of rich, moist chocolate cake, contrasting with a pale kahlua buttercream. Its a cake I’ve had in my head for a few months now, and I’m so happy with the way its turned out. Its rich, gooey and decadent. Its big enough to feed a crowd, and perfect for special nights and big occasions.

Chocolate and Kahlua layer cake - slice

Chocolate and Kahlua layer cake. sparklers

The cake layers are adapted from this recipe. I love this method of making beautifully moist cakes, with a wonderfully tender crumb. Rather than beginning with butter and sugar, like a traditional sponge cake, this cake uses oil for its fat, and milk for moisture. Once all the ingredients are combined, boiling water is poured into the batter. This seems to enhance the flavours, bringing a rich, strong chocolate flavour from the cocoa powder, and enhancing the kahlua.

chocolate and kahlua layer cake

The layers are sandwiched together with a rich and creamy kahlua buttercream. A pinch of salt prevents it from becoming overly sweet. The cake is then enrobed in a thick, rich, decadent layer of dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate and Kahlua Layer Cake

Chocolate and Kahlua layer cake, for New Year

Whatever 2015 has in store for you, I hope its a wonderful year for each and every one of you.

Happy New Year!



– If you don’t have 3 cake tins, you can use one or two tins, washing and re greasing and lining between layers. If you are dong this, make sure you weigh your mixing bowl before adding ingredients. You can then weigh the batter, subtract the weight of the bowl, and divide the remaining weight by three. Weighing the batter into the cake tins will ensure you get even layers, and an even bake.  

– The batter achieves quite a substantial rise, so high sided, spring-formed tins work best. 

– The recipe calls for oil. I used a light, mild olive oil (choose the cheap oil simply labelled ‘olive oil’ rather than virgin or extra virgin), but a lightly flavoured oil such as canola oil, or ground nut oil would also work. 

– I didn’t find it necessary to level my cakes, but if you find your layers have peaked or doomed whilst cooking, you will need to level the cakes before assembling. A bread knife, or large kitchen knife, will be most effective. 

Chocolate and Kahlua Layer Cake


for the cake 

340g plain flour

525g caster sugar

128g cocoa powder

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

2 ¼ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

375ml full fat milk

188ml oil (I used light olive oil)

7 tablespoons Kahlua

3 large eggs

300ml boiling water

for the buttercream

250g butter, softened to room temperature

300g icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

5 tablespoons khaula

pinch salt

for the ganache

350g dark chocolate

300g double cream


Preheat the oven to 180C/ 16o fan/ 350F.

Grease and line 3 x 20cm round tins (if you don’t have there identical tins, please see note above).

Take a large bowl, and sift in your dry ingredients, the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Using a whisk, or a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients until they are evenly combined.

 Measure the milk, oil, and kahlua into a large jug. Crack in the eggs, and gently whisk together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together to incorporate.

Once all the ingredients are evenly mixed, pour in the boiling water. Stir rapidly to combine. The mixture will be very runny and thin.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 tins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. The cakes have a very tender crumb structure, so the cakes may still appear to have a bit of wobble in their tins.

Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, then very carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

While the cakes cool, make your ganache and buttercream.

Begin with the buttercream.

Beat the butter until it is soft and light. Slowly add the sifted icing sugar, pinch of salt, and khalua, and beat until the mixture is a creamy, spreadable constancy. Put in the fridge to chill until needed.

Next, make your ganache.

Break your dark chocolate into small chunks, and place in a heatproof bowl.

Gently heat your double cream in a pan until just at boiling point. Remove from the heat, leave to stand for 30 seconds, then pour over your dark chocolate. Rapidly stir the hot cream until all the chocolate has melted into it.

Leave to stand and set at room temperature until the ganache has reached a thick, spreadable constancy. This make take a few hours.

Select the plate or stand you want to serve your cake on, and begin to assemble.

Handling the cake carefully, place the first layer of cake upside down on the plate. Spread a third of the buttercream evenly across the top. Place the next layer the right way up on top, and repeat with another third of the buttercream. Finally, place the third layer upside down on the top.

Use the remaining buttercream to coat the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This will be your crumb coat. Put the cake into the fridge for about half an hour to allow the buttercream to set.

Using a palette knife, coat the entire cake with ganache. Leave to stand at room temperature until the ganache has set.

Slice and serve!

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  1. What a gorgeous, festive, decadent cake! Happy New Year!

  2. Looks absolutely amazing! Congratulations on a fantastic year, and best wishes for a wonderful 2015 filled with lots of delicious food!

  3. This cake looks absolutely stunning and mega delicious! Love the coffee, so good! I always add coffee flavour to chocolate sponge, really enhances the taste! Happy New Year!

  4. Happy New Year to you!

    That is one mighty fine looking cake! I love how dark the sponge is! x

  5. lucyparissi says:

    I could devour this! So gorgeous. Coffee & chocolate are match made it heaven as far as I am concerned! Happy New Year!


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