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  • Writer's picturedeborahreinhardt

Easy Chocolate Coffee Cake

Dress up a chocolate cake mix with brewed coffee, extra chocolate, and sour cream for a simply delicious dessert.

chocolate cake baked in a Bundt pan.
Easy Chocolate Coffee Cake starts with a boxed cake mix.

My grandmother, Dorothy, and mom, Katie, always made sure there were fresh coffee and dessert to share with anyone who stopped by for a coffee klatsch. It's no surprise that I must pair a cup of coffee with something sweet. Sure, I can drink coffee without a slice of cake or a cookie, but it wouldn’t be as enjoyable, so why bother?

Unlike my mom or granny, I don’t consider myself a strong baker and will take a shortcut whenever I can. That’s why I love this recipe for Easy Chocolate Coffee Cake. Within an hour, I have a delicious, moist, chocolatey companion to go with my cup of joe, and I’m a happy girl.

This morning, I had the good fortune to chat about St. Louis’s coffee history and cooking with coffee on a local radio station, KTRS 550 with two delightful women, Jennifer Blome and Wendy Wiese. Jennifer and Wendy are respected media pros in our city, and their weekday show, “Jennifer & Wendy,” is like girlfriends gabbing around the kitchen table; I felt right at home!

Today is National Gourmet Coffee Day, so to celebrate, I also brought them a sample of chocolate coffee cake and Kaldi’s coffee. Jennifer said requests were coming through asking for the cake recipe, so here you go!

Here I am celebrating National Gourmet Coffee Day at KTRS 550, a St. Louis radio station. But I stopped at Kaldi's drive-through on my way home.

To make my Easy Chocolate Coffee Cake, which yields 12 servings, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix (your choice)

  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

  • 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • ¾ cup canola oil

  • ¾ cup brewed coffee

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)

St. Louis Coffee book

I was a guest on the “Jennifer & Wendy” show to talk about my new book, St. Louis Coffee: A Stimulating History. Before going on air, Jennifer shared she remembers having three kinds of milk in school growing up in Rhode Island: white, chocolate and coffee. I immediately thought if we had coffee milk in St. Louis when I was a kid, my math grades might have been a little better! Wendy and I remembered drinking a teaspoon of coffee in a mug of milk as children so we could feel all grown up. It was also shared that Jennifer makes an amazing coffee-flavored ice cream (maybe I can persuade her to share her recipe).

But even the busiest home cook can whip up this rich and moist cake to share with family and friends.

One of the reasons I like this recipe (in addition to the grocery short cut) is it makes use of leftover brewed coffee. I’ll talk more about this on Sunday during my Cooking with Coffee class at Tale to Table, but coffee often is overlooked in our kitchens as an ingredient. In this easy cake recipe, coffee is in the background bumping up the chocolate flavor (the pinch of salt does the same thing); however, you could add the teaspoon of instant espresso powder to amplify the taste of coffee.

Before starting on the recipe, be sure to bring your eggs to room temperature so your cake has a softer crumb to it. And preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Next, simply add the cake mix, pudding mix, salt, eggs, sour cream, oil, and coffee to a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed using a hand mixer to begin incorporating ingredients, then on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into a buttered Bundt pan. I usually sprinkle flour in the pan, but I didn’t want white flour on a dark chocolate cake, so I dusted the inside with a little cocoa powder.

Bake on the center oven rack for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. When it’s finished, set on a wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes (you should be able to touch the cake pan easily) before trying to turn it out of the Bundt.

After saying a little prayer, place a plate over the cake pan and invert. If you prepared the pan, the cake should slip out. I prefer this cake without a glaze, but you could decorate to your liking. Keeping it plain, however, makes the cake easier to freeze. I cut the cake in half, sliced it up, wrapped the slices in plastic, and placed in a freezer-safe container to enjoy later.

The only thing to do next is call a friend to come over for a cup of coffee and a slice of chocolate cake! Give this recipe a try and let us know in the comments how it turned out for you!



Here’s another recipe that uses coffee as an ingredient!

My Coffee-Braised Beef Roast makes THE BEST gravy; good enough to make my granny proud. Serve with mashed potatoes or make beef sliders, which were a hit at my book launch party.

About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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