Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake {Happy New Year!}

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DSC_6722(small)Ok, so I have to tell you right now: this cake has salad dressing in it.

Don’t leave. I promise there’s a method to my madness.

Have you ever had mayonnaise cake? If you have, this cake won’t seem so strange to you.

Actually, my mom’s recipe for Crazy Cake (which I know just about every family has their own version of) calls for vinegar and oil – the two main components of vinaigrette – so using a vinaigrette-style salad dressing in a cake didn’t sound completely off the wall to me.

DSC_6663(small)Last summer when I received all those Girard’s salad dressings to taste test, I was left with a fridge full of salad dressing, looking for ways to use it up. The Espresso Balsamic Vinaigrette was a very well balanced salad dressing. It had lovely coffee flavor with a hint of sweetness and a touch of tart flavor. There may have been savory spices in there (and I’m guessing there were), but it was so well balanced I couldn’t pick out any specifically. So, if I (inadvertently) added something like garlic to my cake it went unnoticed, lol. If you’re looking for a unique and decadent treat to serve for the New Year, this would be perfect.

I’m wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! May this year bring you happiness in every sense of the word.


Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total, Incl Inactive Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake


    Dark Chocolate Espresso Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup Espresso Balsamic Vinaigrette (see note below for substitution)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Butter, for the pan
  • Flour, for the pan
  • Mocha Glaze:
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) sea salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Other:
  • 2 teaspoons grated dark chocolate, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350F; butter and flour a cake pan (I used a pan 10 1/2 inches long by 6 1/2 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches deep).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the water, vinaigrette, molasses, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk just enough to combine, being careful not to over-mix.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 1 hour in the pan size that I used. Cool completely.
  4. For the glaze, dissolve coffee powder in hot water in a small bowl; stir in cocoa powder and salt. Stir in the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon water until smooth. Spread the glaze on top of the cooled cake and sprinkle on the grated chocolate.


Cake Pan & Cooking Time: To cook the cake, I used a pan 10 1/2 inches long by 6 1/2 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches deep, and the cooking time was about 1 hour; if you use a different size pan, be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Espresso Balsamic Vinaigrette Substitution: If you can’t find this salad dressing you could very easily make your own. Mix together the following, whisking until the sugar is dissolved: 2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee, 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil (not extra virgin, which will be too strong-flavored for this), 1 teaspoon water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 pinch salt, and 1 pinch black pepper. This will give you about 1/3 cup, the amount that is needed for this cake. And here is another idea, you could also whip up this vinaigrette when you’re making a grilled steak salad – so good!


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Hello! I’m Faith and I write An Edible Mosaic. This is my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Welcome to my mosaic of recipes.

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