Espresso Coffee Cake

Makes 1 9-inch 2-layer cake, serves 10 to 12

In the U.K., coffee cake is literally a cake with coffee in it. When we were thinking of our favourite cakes to include in this cookbook, we found out that in North America coffee cake is a cake that you can eat with a cup of coffee—rather like how English tea cake does not actually contain tea but does pair well with tea.

Coffee Frosting


½ cup cold vegan butter

1½ cups + 3 tbsp vegan icing sugar

1 cup vegan cream cheese

2 tbsp dark rum or coffee liqueur

2 tbsp brewed espresso, cooled

1¼ tsp pure vanilla extract




3 tbsp + ¾ tsp ground flaxseed

1½ cups unsweetened soy milk

1 cup + 3 tbsp organic canola oil

1 cup coconut sugar

2 shots brewed espresso (or ¼ cup strong coffee), cooled

2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1½ tsp apple cider vinegar

2⅔ cups all-purpose flour

⅔ cup stone-ground whole-grain spelt flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground espresso beans

2¼ tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp fine sea salt


Optional Toppings

Cocoa powder

Shaved dairy-free dark chocolate

Toasted whole or sliced natural almonds


How to Make

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter on medium-high speed until soft (1 to 2 minutes). Add the icing sugar and beat on medium-high speed until smooth.

Add the cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Add the rum, brewed espresso and vanilla and mix until smooth. Scrape the frosting into an airtight container and place in the fridge to set up for a couple of hours. Clean the bowl so there is no residue of coffee frosting.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two 9-inch springform pans with canola oil spray, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.

To make your flax egg, whisk together the flaxseed and soy milk in the bowl of a stand mixer until a smooth paste forms. If there are any lumps, push a small rubber spatula against the side of the bowl to break them up. Let sit for 10 minutes to bloom and thicken.

Whisk in the canola oil, coconut sugar, flax egg, brewed espresso, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, cinnamon, ground espresso beans, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Using the paddle, beat on medium speed until a smooth batter forms (1 to 2 minutes). Stop the mixer halfway through and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure there are no lumps or dry patches.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 700 g per pan). Bake until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean (25 to 30 minutes). Let the cakes cool in their pans on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the ring from the pan and let the cake layers cool completely before frosting (about 60 minutes).

Remove the coffee frosting from the fridge. Transfer 1 cake layer to a serving plate. Using a piping bag fitted with a plain tip or an offset spatula, pipe or spread a third of the chilled coffee frosting over the cake layer. Place the other cake layer on top and lightly press it down. Pipe or spread a third of the frosting around the sides and then the remaining frosting over the top.

Pipe some decorative droplets. Decorate by sifting cocoa powder or sprinkling shaved chocolate or toasted nuts over the top, if using. Place the finished cake back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the frosting set.

Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


This recipe was originally published in the October 2023 issue of Western Living Magazine.