I tried baking a chocolate espresso cake from this recipe. The idea was to produce a cake that could be used for a layered cake, similar to the entire recipe itself.

I baked a single layer as a test, using a third of each ingredient. I used the toothpick test and found the cake to be done around 28 minutes, which is considerably earlier than the recipe called for. However, the cake came out almost sponge-like, very light and delicate. Removing the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake without causing it to crumble proved nearly impossible.

The cake didn't come out with the domed, cracked top which I suspect has to do with the oven time. My question is whether this alone answers for why the cake turned out as it did. In the video the cake seems much sturdier than the one I ended up with. My ingredients were weighted, except for the coffee which was measured to 180ml.

Is it a matter of letting the cake sit out longer in the oven, or is there something else I'm missing?

For reference, the scaled recipe was as follows.

  1. Cream together in a bowl 115g softened unsalted butter and 150g light brown sugar using a handheld mixer.
  2. Add one egg and mix with the beater.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift 120g all-purpose flour and add 25g Dutch-processed cocoa, 1.4g fine sea salt, and 3.4g baking soda. Mix them well.
  4. Add 80ml brewed strong espresso coffee (cooled) and half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix with the beater.
  5. Add 100ml brewed strong espresso coffee (cooled) and the other half of the dry ingredients to the mixture, and mix with the beater.
  6. Pour into the prepared circular 20cm light aluminum baking pan, smooth out the top, and place into the preheated oven (175°C).
  • Hi. It will help to have the recipe in your questions, ingredients and process both. It helps us eliminate possible factors
    – Megha
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 5:46
  • @Megha Alright, I've laid out the steps I took with the recipe. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 6:05
  • The coffee - was it 80ml or 180ml?
    – Cindy
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 19:13
  • @Cindy It was 180ml, added in two batches. The first batch was 80ml and the second was 100ml. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 20:52
  • 1
    Was it baked in the same size pan as the original recipe called for? The change in depth of the cake will greatly affect cooking time, rise, density, and structural integrity.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


With a batter like this there are several things that can go wrong. My first guess would be, that the cake would have come out much different had you made the full recipe. When using only a third of the batter you have an increase in surface area compared to the inside of the cake. Not knowing the exact circumstances, I assume your cake dried out a bit too much while baking, especially around the edge. Higher cakes tend to be a bit more moist and also a bit more dense, which makes them more stable.

Another thing could be, that you didn't let the cake cool enough, before removing the parchment.

  • For what it's worth, in the recipe the entire batter is divided evenly in three parts; each cake layer is baked separately (this can be seen in the linked video). Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 19:08
  • 1
    Hm... I see. In the video the cake seems pretty dense to me. Maybe you incorporated to much air into the batter. However, whenever I make a cake like this, i want to incorporate as much air as possible to make it extra spongy. In any case, i'd let the cake cool completely before removing the parchment. This might help the cake to settle a bit more and be more stable.
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 5:55
  • I added some more questions in the comments. Maybe I was a bit hasty to post an answer, before clarifying the exact circumstances.
    – Gretel_f
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 5:59

Doming and cracking is because hes using a varm oven. Crust forms ontop while the inside still is expanding. Check your oven temperature. It may be 20deg off.

As he says in the video, let it rest for at least 30min before removing form and parchment.

You may try removing some sugar to stabilise the gluten.

Butter the parchment as well.

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