Cakes/ Dessert/ easy/ Holiday/ quick

Chocolate Pecan Espresso Cake

September 7, 2022

Moist and tender espresso cake with delicious pieces of buttery pecans and rich dark chocolate. This cake is rich and tender, and the perfect dessert pick-me-up! 

Coffee is something you either hate or can’t live without, and I’m most certainly a top member of the latter group. In fact, on the rare occasion of skipping my morning coffee, you may want to avoid me for a little while.

So for coffee lovers like me, I developed a new way to get my daily dose of caffeine, and that is, as you can already imagine, inside a cake.

How to make coffee pecan cake

  • Combine the dry ingredients. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Mix the wet ingredients together. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and espresso. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter for about 2 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat together for another 2 minutes until completely combined.
  • Add the eggs. One at time, add the eggs to the mixing bowl and beat to combine. Be sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides to make sure all the batter is combined evenly.
  • Add the dry and wet ingredients. Alternatively add the dry ingredients and the sour cream and espresso mixture to the mixer, combining slowly between each addition until everything is incorporated. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chunks and pecans, either with a rubber spatula or slowly with the paddle attachment.
  • Bake. Pour the batter into a parchment lined loaf pan with overhang so you can pull the cake out of the pan easily. I like to garnics the top with chopped pecans, but this is completely optional. Put into the oven for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake looks golden brown.
  • Cool. Once the cake is cool enough to handle, you can life it out of the loaf pan and place it on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Tips for perfect espresso pecan cake

  • You can control the amount of coffee used so that the flavor is either strong or subtle. Speaking of which, don’t be afraid to use strong coffee here because even with a double shot espresso, my final cake ended up with a pretty mild coffee flavor. Last time I made it, I added coffee granules in addition to the espresso, and liked it even better.
  • I find that espresso yields the best flavor, but you can replace it with (very strong) freshly brewed coffee or use instant coffee granules dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water.
  • Crunchy pecans and chocolate are my favorite add-ins to this cake, although sometimes I only use pecans. The bittersweet flavors combine perfectly with one another, so I definitely recommend using both.

More of my favorite loaf cakes:

4.5 from 2 votes
Chocolate Pecan Espresso cake
Chocolate Pecan Espresso cake
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins

Flavors of chocolate, pecans, and coffee come together in this moist, decadent cake.

  • 1 ¼ cups (180gz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon , optional
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) very strong espresso or brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ cup (80g) chopped dark chocolate
  • ½ cup chopped pecans , plus more for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream and espresso in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate and pecans.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with pecans if you like.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly while baking, cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Store cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or refrigerate for up to 5 days.



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  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    May 2, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    holy this cake looks incredible. love the photography too, so warm and inviting. i definitely want a slice alongside a hot shot of espresso now!

    • Reply
      May 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you so much, Thalia! 🙂

      • Reply
        May 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm

        OMGosh….where’s this recipe been all my life.

  • Reply
    Claudia | The Brick Kitchen
    May 3, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    This is so what I feel like right now, rather than sitting in my lecture – a big chunk of cake and a coffee! Love how you flavoured the cake with espresso and chocolate chunks – decadent but still perfect for morning tea 🙂

  • Reply
    Aaron Chow
    May 20, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Your photos are so beautiful!!!! I’m such a fan! One day I’ll learn how to take shorts like yours. Do you use strobes? Ahhhh! So good!

    • Reply
      May 30, 2016 at 7:01 am

      Hi Aaron! Thank you so much! 🙂 I don’t use strobes, and don’t own any fancy equipment, and I only shoot with natural light. I wrote an ebook all about food photography, including all my secrets – you can view it here.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2021 at 4:41 am

    I’ve made this one so many times now, it’s a hit! Thank you so much😃😃

  • Reply
    November 26, 2021 at 8:07 am

    I baked this today but it turned out a little fudgy, Not ideal. The only thing I changed is I used oil instead of butter.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2021 at 8:12 am

    I baked this today but it turned out a little fudgy, Not ideal. The only thing I changed is I used oil instead of butter, I wonder if that could be the reason.

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