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Leftover Coffee Chocolate Cake

Leftover Coffee Chocolate Cake

Want to hear a joke? DECAF.

You know how sometimes you wake up in the morning and you don’t want to get up but you have to because you’re an adult and need to shower and work and pay bills?

I am at the point in my motherhood journey that I need coffee to wake up. It’s not only the caffeine, but the familiar smell, the feeling of the warm cup in my hand. It’s the ritual each morning of grinding, brewing, and pouring that tells me “hey, girl, it’s time to flip that switch to ON and rock it today,” and me, subsequently rocking it that day.

So after all of the humans were dressed and fed and out the door to work and school, I was cleaning up the table and you will NEVER guess what I found:

Leftover coffee chocolate cake

Leftover coffee.  Rare as a unicorn in this house. I don’t even know what happened. I poured it in a glass, set it on the counter, and stared at it.

Leftover coffee chocolate cake

Glass half full at least.

Dear husband and I have been coffee hobbyists for years.  From our late-night study dates in college at the coffee shop to the new parent I-can’t-see-straight mornings, we’ve bonded over coffee and espresso. We’ve sought out the best coffee in several cities, taken tours of roasters, cupping classes, roasted our own beans (neat, but a pain), mastered espresso drinks on our own semi-commercial machine, and learned how to pour latte art.

But NEVER, EVER do we leave leftover coffee.

I’m going to turn this sin into a slice of heaven; chocolate heaven.  A coffee chocolate cake that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snack time, elevensies, in a house, with a mouse, on a boat or with a goat. Enough talk. I pulled ingredients left and right out of the cupboards and got to work.

Leftover coffee chocolate cakeLeftover coffee chocolate cakeLeftover coffee chocolate cake

It started with creaming some butter and sugar, throwing in a couple of eggs, pouring in that leftover coffee, sifting some cocoa and flour, then baking until I smelled that rich chocolaty coffee aroma wafting out of the oven. Pulled it out just in time to pick up our son from school. Rocking it, yes?

Leftover coffee chocolate cake

I like you so much I’m going to share this with you so you can rock it too.

In this recipe, I’m going with natural, not Dutch-process cocoa. Not to get too sciency on you, but basically, this cake needs to rise, and natural cocoa is acidic and will react with the basic baking soda to help it do just that. It also has a more concentrated chocolate flavor. But no worries, because most of the cocoa you see on the store shelves are natural (Hershey’s, Ghiradelli, Trader Joes).

Leftover coffee chocolate cake cocoa

This cake turned out amazing.  The thin top crackles a bit like a brownie, but the middle is perfectly moist. The bitterness from the coffee is balanced by the cocoa, but it’s not too sweet. It’s the kind of cake that you can eat however you like: plain, with a bit of yogurt, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or drizzled with ganache (my favorite). You can’t really go wrong.

Leftover coffee chocolate cake with strawberries

Don’t let that coffee go to waste! Make this cake because it can go with your coffee or BE YOUR COFFEE.

Leftover coffee chocolate cake three ways

Leftover coffee chocolate cake
Leftover Coffee Chocolate Cake
You will need:
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c brewed coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray.

  3. Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until blended.

  6. Add vanilla, beat until combined.

  7. Pour in coffee, beat until combined (the batter will be loose).

  8. Add dry ingredients and stir with a spatula, as little as possible until combined and few lumps remain.

  9. Scrape batter into pan and bake 30 min.

  10. After 30 min, turn the oven down to 325F, bake another 10-15 min until a toothpick comes out clean or only a few crumbs stick.

  11. Cool in pan for 30 min.

  12. Slice and serve with toppings of choice (powdered sugar, ganache, yogurt, whipped cream)

Recipe Notes

This cake is best kept covered at room temperature, up to a few days.