Mocha Spice Cake

  • Rating ****

Makes 9 cups batter

For approximate batter amounts and baking times, see more below. You will need to make this recipe 3 1/2 times for all the tiers. For even layers, bake each one separately.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
  • 3 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee


1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Brush the cake pans with butter. Line each with parchment paper; butter again, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium until light. Add the brown sugar and eggs; beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, cocoa, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt; mix well.

3. With the mixer on low, add a third of the flour; mix just until combined. Add half of the sour cream; mix. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream, ending with flour. Pour the coffee into the batter; mix until smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake, rotating 90 degrees halfway through baking, until the sides start to pull away from the pans and a few crumbs remain on a cake tester that has been inserted into the centers and removed. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Invert and remove parchment. Let cool completely, right-sides up.

Approximate batter amounts and baking times for 3-inch-deep contoured pans: 6 inch: 3 1/2 cups, 75 minutes; 10 inch: 10 cups, 1 hour 50 minutes; 14 inch: 18 cups, 2 hours 10 minutes.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter 2007. All rights reserved.

RecID 11267

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