Spiked Coffee Cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream

Spiked Coffee Cake with Bailey's Irish Cream
Spiked Coffee Cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream

Intense Chocolate Mocha Cake

Intense Chocolate Mocha Cake
Intense Chocolate Mocha Cake

Intense Chocolate Mocha Cake

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, with frosting adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 9 servings

This easy snack cake packs an intense mocha punch! The espresso powder deepens the already fantastic chocolate flavor of the cake and smooth-as-silk frosting. Be sure to pour a tall glass of milk with this cake (or maybe a nice cup of coffee?)

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:
7 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
7 tablespoons warm water
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
coffee ice cream (for serving)

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with Baker’s Joy® nonstick cooking spray. Place a square of parchment in the bottom and spray this with Baker’s Joy® as well.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and water to a boil, whisking to mix. After it boils, whisk it into the dry ingredients until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs (a clean toothpick means a dry cake, so be sure to pull it out before then!) Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes before cooling the rest of the way in the fridge. When your cake is completely cool, invert it onto a square plate or platter.

Make the frosting: In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, espresso powder, and warm water. In a separate bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the melted, cooled chocolate and the cocoa mixture. Let this sit for exactly 30 minutes (no really, exactly 30!) before you use it to obtain the perfect spreadability. Pile the frosting on the top of the cake and smooth it out to an even, thick layer. Cut into slices and serve with coffee ice cream.

The Ultimate Gooey Caramel Brownie Mug Cake Sundae

The Ultimate Gooey Caramel Brownie Mug Cake Sundae
The Ultimate Gooey Caramel Brownie Mug Cake Sundae

5 from 1 reviews
The Ultimate Gooey Caramel Brownie Mug Cake Sundae
Prep time
Cook time
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I took an already-great mug cake from one of my faves, America’s Test Kitchen, and pumped it up! I added some espresso to deepen the chocolate flavor and a slew of my favorite toppings from my pantry to create a dessert as decadent as one it takes hours to make. Throw this together at home when you want a special dessert but don’t want to get out of your jammies! I used a big espresso mug for this cake, but you can use any regular size coffee mug that’s microwave safe. Different microwaves may require different cooking times, but your finished cake should look set up but very moist.
Serves: 1
Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (half bittersweet and half semisweet)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 square of your favorite dark chocolate bar
Topping Ingredients:
  • 3 Werther’s Original® Baking Caramels
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • melted chocolate chips
  • vanilla bean ice cream or gelato
  • crushed toasted nuts
  • crushed cookie
  • whipped cream
  1. Place butter and chocolate chips in a coffee mug and heat on half power for 15 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted (about 45 seconds total). In a separate small bowl or ramekin, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl or ramekin, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, and espresso powder. When the chocolate is melted in your mug, stir in sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in the egg mixture. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir well to eliminate lumps.
  2. Microwave the mug on half power for 30 seconds (I set mine on a plate just in case there’s spillover). Stir. Microwave on half power for 35 seconds (the cake will rise over the top of your mug like a giant soufflé, but stay calm.) Press the square of chocolate bar down into the center of the cake (I broke mine into two pieces), being careful not to burn your fingers. Microwave on half power for 40 seconds. Let the cake cool in the mug for 2 minutes while you prepare your toppings.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips by heating on half power for 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until melty. Melt the Werther’s Original® Baking Caramels by placing them in a small bowl with the milk. Heat on 30 second intervals, stirring carefully between each, until melty. Top your mug cake with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, crushed toasted pecans, a crushed cookie (I used a Biscoff cookie), and the kitchen sink. Just kidding about the sink. Enjoy!


Spiked Mocha Mousse Bars

Spiked Mocha Mousse Bars
Spiked Mocha Mousse Bars

Spiked Mocha Mousse Bars

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yield: 9 servings

I was surprised by how quick and simple this recipe turned out to be — and how amazing! I loved spiking it with creamy Bailey’s Hazelnut Liqueur. Forget buying a fancy coffee; why not make a fancy coffee bar for dessert?

Crust Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Ganache Ingredients:
6 tablespoons heavy cream
about 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao chips)

Coffee Mousse Ingredients:
1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
4 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons Bailey’s Hazelnut Liqueur (or Kahlúa)
2 cups well-chilled heavy cream
chocolate covered espresso beans (optional, for topping)

Make the shortbread crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 9 in. baking dish with a foil sling. Cut the butter into the flour and icing sugar and press into the baking dish (I used a food processor to cut the fat into the flour — about 6 pulses — and then the bottom of a glass to press the mixture into the pan). Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown. Set on a wire rack to cool.

Make the ganache: While the shortbread is baking, place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan (or microwave it for a couple of minutes). Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let it stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Set it aside until your crust is finished and has cooled for a few minutes, and then pour it over the crust (it’s okay if it’s not cooled all the way). Place the chocolate covered crust in the fridge to chill until the ganache is set into a firm layer.

Make the coffee mousse: Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside as an ice bath (I just stopped up my sink and used it). Place 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and sprinkle the envelope of gelatin evenly over the top. Let it soften for 2 minutes. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and instant espresso powder. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, whisk in the Bailey’s (or Kahlúa), and then transfer the saucepan to the ice bath. Cool, whisking frequently, until the mixture is cold and thick.

In the meantime, whip the chilled heavy cream to stiff peaks. Stir about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cold espresso mixture to lighten it up, and then pour this mixture into your remaining whipped cream, folding it in gently until there are no streaks. Pour this mixture over your chilled ganache. Chill the entire dessert until it’s set up nicely (a few hours). Lift the bars out of the pan, slice into 9 servings, top each bar with a chocolate covered espresso bean, and serve.

Trashy Krispy Kreme Doughnut & Coffee Tiramisu

It was one of those long, hazy summer days of childhood: the ones with so much potential that nevertheless usually devolve into dangling oneself, dead-doornail-bored, from a creaky swingset. Not for me, though. I was holed up in my treehouse next to my immaculate play-kitchen, planning my brilliant invention.

For my genius plan, I would need dozens of new, clean foam meat trays. The ones dad threw in the trash while making chili would never do: I may have been an eccentric crackpot inventor, but I wasn’t heedless to the risk of e.coli.

On the next trip to the grocery store I timidly asked the man at the meat counter for trays “for a project” — thankfully he didn’t ask many questions — and left the store with a pile of pink foam boards.

To this day, I wonder why there was very little parental intervention at this point. Perhaps they assumed my “project” was some sort of harmless collage? A make-believe grocery store? A school assignment?

It was a hang glider. I was building a hang glider out of styrofoam meat trays. To jump off of buildings.

A HANG GLIDER, Y’ALL. Adult-me shakes her head in disbelief at 10-year-old-me, and is thankful to be alive.

It all started when I was playing with a foam meat tray I’d found. I know that it makes no sense for a child to be playing with a foam tray. I do not understand why this occurred. Maybe it’s the same reason babies eschew perfectly good toys to play with keys, or cats ignore billion dollar scratchy posts to play with bags.

Anyway, I noticed that it floated across the air with lovely aerodynamics. I imagined being tiny enough to float along with it. I imagined the tray itself being gigantic enough to hold my real weight. It occurred to me that while one foam tray wouldn’t hold me, dozens of foam trays might. Could I attach them together somehow to form a giant foam flying apparatus? Thus my ponderings became a mission.

You know those kids who want to tie hundreds of helium balloons together and fly, à la Up? I was basically the slightly-more-trashy, meat-tray version of those kids.

In some ways, I am now the slightly-more-trashy, meat-tray version of a creative adult. Did I just say that? Yes.

No matter how ill-advised an idea might be, if it excites me and I believe in it, I’ll go for it. This tiramisu, as you might have guessed, is an example of just that impulse. But hear me out: lots of people love doughnuts and coffee, right? This is basically that: sweet, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts with a fluffy coffee-flavored mousse and the zing of some rum for good measure. It’s rich, indulgent, and not too sweet — and a lot of fun to make.

Oh, and were you wondering how my hang glider worked out? Don’t worry. Apart from having wild and delusional schemes as a child, I also had quite the attention deficit. After stapling roughly 20 pink foam trays together, I got bored and threw the whole mess in the garbage. All’s well that ends with no broken bones?

What’s your favorite trashy indulgence? Discuss here or on my Facebook thread about the same topic.

One year ago: Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Orange Rosemary Butter & Goat Cheese
Two years ago: Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar Crusts
Three years ago: Red Berry Pie

Trashy Krispy Kreme Doughnut & Coffee Tiramisu

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, based on this recipe
Yield: about 8 servings

If you love coffee and doughnuts, you’re going to love this “trashed up” tiramisu! This tiramisu does include raw eggs, and therefore probably should not be consumed by the elderly, folks with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, or young kids. Feel free to use pasteurized eggs, also, to minimize the risk.

3 eggs, separated
7 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup chocolate malt powder (like Ovaltine)
1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee, divided
5 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons rum, divided (I might do Bailey’s next time; I’m not a huge rum fan)
1 pound Bel Gioso Tiramisu mascarpone cheese*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts
cocoa powder mixed with chocolate malt powder for dusting
dark chocolate covered espresso beans and malted chocolate candies for garnish, optional
*I accidentally used Bel Gioso’s Tiramisu mascarpone instead of regular, so it already had a bit of coffee and sugar in it — you can use it, too, or add a tiny bit more coffee and sugar to your mixture.

In a large bowl, beat 3 egg yolks, 7 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/4 cup chocolate malt powder, 1 tablespoon espresso, and 5 tablespoons rum for a couple of minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

In a separate (very clean) bowl, preferably with a stand mixer to spare your arm muscles, whisk 3 egg whites until foamy. Add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Stir about 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it; then fold the rest of it in gently. Taste for flavor and add powdered sugar or vanilla if more is needed. Though you don’t want to be cloying, of course, you do want it to be sweet enough to counteract the bitterness of the espresso/rum mixture you’ll be dipping the doughnuts in.

Pour the rest of the espresso and rum into a flat dish. Dip one side of each doughnut in this mixture for just 5 seconds (so it doesn’t get soggy) before layering them, soaked side up, in a deep serving dish. Repeat, lining the entire bottom of the dish with doughnuts. Dollop about 1/3 to 1/2 (depending on how many layers you think you’ll be able to get in your dish) of the mascarpone mixture (called zabaglione) over the top and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Dust this with a mixture of cocoa powder and chocolate malt powder. Repeat layering dipped doughnuts, zabaglione, and a dusting of cocoa powder, ending with a layer of the zabaglione dusted with cocoa powder.

Chill at least one hour before serving. Dot with dark chocolate covered espresso beans and malted chocolate candies and serve. Eat within 36 hours or so, or things start to get soupy.

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