4-layer mocha cake // wonderland inspired

 I received Linda Lomelino's (from the Call Me Cupcake blog) gorgeous cookbook (Lomelino's Cakes: 27 Pretty Cakes to Make Any Day Special) for Christmas this year, and decided that I must try my hand at a fancy cake! 

I chose to use my own mocha cake, and then used one of Linda's swiss meringue butter cream recipes!  I must say that making the icing was a bit of an adventure, and although it turned out beautifully....it was a bit of a stressful situation.  So, don't be scared of it, but know that it can take a bit of work to get it to turn out perfectly!

I knew that I wanted to make a very whimsical cake, and thought that it paired well with Alice in Wonderland!  I had a mini postcard set that went perfectly with it, and added in a few other quirky items as well. 

Now, I'm always wary of piping on too much icing, since it can tend to be overly sweet and can overwhelm the cake, but I loved that this swiss meringue butter cream wasn't.  It gets most of it's bulk from the eggwhites and butter, rather than icing sugar.  This resulted in a light and only slightly sweet icing, that beautifully complemented the mocha cake!  I'm kind of in love now.

4 - l a y e r   m o c h a   c a k e 
cake by: kelsey // icing by: linda lomelino

yields: four 6-inch cake layers

Mocha cake


3 cups flour

1 cup cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups sugar

4 Eggs

3 tsp Vanilla

2/3 cup of espresso (or very strong brewed coffee)

1 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 cup hot water




1) In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

2) Add in eggs, vanilla, coffee and oil, and mix until batter is smooth.

3) Slowly add in hot water, until well mixed.

4) Divide the cake batter in half, and place in two 6-inch pans (or you can always bake them one at a time if you only have one pan).  For cakes, bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.  Or until a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly.

*see below for layer cake assembly

Swiss meringue butter cream 


1)  Place your egg whites and sugar into a heat proof (stainless steel or glass) bowl, and put the bowl over a sauce pan on the stove with simmering water.  (The water shouldn't be touching the bowl).

2)  Whisk the eggs and sugar constantly until the sugar has melted, or the mixture has reached 140-150 degrees F (or 65 degrees C).

3)  Remove from heat, and beat on high until your mixture is cool, white and fluffy.  This may take 5-10 minutes, so just keep mixing!

4)  Once the mixture is cool, start adding butter, very gradually.  The mixture may look curdled, or soupy, but just keep mixing!  You may need to mix it for 10-15 minutes to help the egg whites and butter come together nicely.  *Linda also says that you may need to refrigerate it for a few minutes if it's too soft, or place it back over the heat if it's too stiff.  It's a tricky one, but it's worth it!


whites from 8 large eggs

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups unsalted butter

4 tsp vanilla sugar







Layer Cake Assembly

1)  Once your mocha cakes have completely cooled, cut each cake in half so that you have four layers.

2)  Place the first layer, crumb side down, onto a cake plate or serving platter, and spread a thick layer of butter cream over top.  Try and make it  perfectly level so that your whole cake will sit nicely.

3)  Put the next layer on top.  Repeat step 2 until all the layers are done.

4)  Spread a very thin layer of butter cream on the entire cake, and then place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.  This will help secure any crumbs so that they won't be seen in your final icing layer.

5)  Place the rest of your icing into a large icing bag with a large star tip.

6)  Now this icing technique was found in Linda's book, and although I need more practice, I thought it turned out pretty well!  You just need to pipe the #9 onto your cake over and over, slightly overlapping each one so that the cake doesn't show through.

*I always do a few practice ones on some parchment paper, and then just scoop the icing back into the icing bag.

7)  I left the top flat, and just added some gold sprinkles!

Now I'm on the hunt for 4-inch cake pans so that I can make teeny cakes! Why does everything look so much cuter when it's miniature?  Also...it will give you a good excuse to finish the whole cake yourself.  Right?