Themed Mocha Rum Cake

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Cakes / Chocolate


You all know I am an avid fan of Summer.  I live for the fresh fruit, breezy summer dresses and lazy days spent by the pool.  However, no one is more surprised than I am that I’m giddily excited for Fall.  Perhaps it’s the cooler weather I’m starting to feel in the morning, or the recipes now popping up that are all things pumpkin, and apple.  Or, most of all, it could be that football is finally back.  Now, my husband is a huge(!) New Orleans Saints fan.    I won’t get into detail, but let me assure you you’ll be hard pressed to meet a bigger one.  And, what how now officially turned into a tradition I’m now into my 4th year of baking a Saints-themed dessert to kick off the start of the season.  As they say crabcakes and football…that’s what Maryland does.


End of Summer is always a weird transition period for me when it comes to baking.  Fruit options have dwindled down to pathetic and pumpkin, apples and squash are only just starting to show face and, in my humble opinion, nowhere close to the standard I’d consider usable in my cakes/pies/cookies.  When in a rut, I always (always) turn to chocolate.  And, as if it could get any better…chocolate and booze.


This years Saints-themed dessert included a few of my husbands favorite things.  Chocolate, booze and black, white and gold.  I am always on the look out for inspiration as the season opener starts to creep up on us (hello, how is it already mid-September?!) and once I stumbled upon these I knew what I had to do.  This particular sprinkle medley shipped from Canada, for quicker and more cost-effective options you should check out thesethese, and particularly these.  Oh, let’s not kid ourselves…I want them ALL.

Lastly, as a small thank you for sharing this recipe with you would you mind saying a small prayer for the Saints this year, fan or not?  You see, my husband’s mood is quite a bit dependent on their ability to win and I really don’t need to deal with a giant mope every Sunday for the entire rest of the year.  Just sit on that for a minute and contemplate my potential fate before you make your decision.

*adapted from Style Sweet CA


Mocha Rum Cake

1 3/4 cups all-pupose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a mixture of 1/2 cup dutch process and 1/4 cup black cocoa to give it that high-impact black colored cake made so famous by one of my very favorite bakeries)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup dark rum

1 cup hot coffee


Vanilla (and Espresso) Buttercream

4 large egg whites

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ounce ground espresso (I prefer illy)


For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 6-inch pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the oil and sugar until combined.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the eggs and vanilla. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  5. With the mixer on low, add in half of the flour mixture.
  6. Stream in the milk and mix until incorporated.
  7. Add in the rum.
  8. Add in the second half of the flour and mix until just combined.
  9. Stream in the hot coffee and mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds.
  10. Evenly distribute that batter between the pans and bake for about 24 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
  11. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

For the Frosting

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whisk together(by hand) to combine.
  2. Fill a saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium-high heat.
  3. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.  Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it no longer feels ‘grainy’/all the sugar his dissolved.
  4. Once hot, carefully return the mixer bowl back to the mixer.
  5. With the whisk attachment, beat on high for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until medium-stiff peaks.  The mixture should be cool.
  6. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.
  7. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla bean seeds, vanilla, and butter – a few tablespoons as a time.
  8. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until silky smooth.
  9. Separately, mix 1 cup of the frosting with 1 ounce ground espresso for in between your cake layers

To Assemble

Spread 1/2 cup of espresso buttercream in between first and second layers of cake.

Crumb coat and let refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Then, ice your cake with remaining buttercream.

If using sprinkles, I suggest you refrigerate your cake for at least 1-1 1/2 hours before applying.  Set cake in rimmed sheet pan and pour out sprinkles into pan.  Scoop sprinkles onto cake, pressing down hard enough sprinkles stay (those big ones were a bit tricky).  Continue to scoop sprinkles until cake is covered desired amount.



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