Espresso Chocolate Cake





This dark and sumptuous cake is the match for Lou Doillon‘s music and Celeste Ng’s writing.  I recently finished reading Celeste Ng’s impressive debut novel Everything I Never Told You, and the album Lay Low has been on replay for the past few days.  Surprising that such a simple cake can have such depth.  The intense espresso flavour really comes through.  If you follow the original recipe, this dessert is vegan and dairy-free.  It all comes together with a saucepan, bowl and wooden spoon.  The dessert is beautifully decorated with a sprinkling of rose petals and chopped pistachios.  Feel free to play around and use the topping of your choice.  If you enjoy Nigella’s presence, watch her video for this recipe.




Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Simply Nigella

Yields 10 to 12 slices




60ml (1/4 cup) cold water

5 tablespoons coconut butter (NOT the same as coconut oil!) (I used unsalted butter)

50g (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped


225g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

75g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder

300g (1 1/2 cups) dark brown sugar

(1 1/2 cups) hot water

6 tablespoons solid coconut oil OR 90ml liquid coconut oil (you can also use vegetable oil)

1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar OR white wine vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)

1 tablespoon edible rose petals

1 tablespoon chopped pistachios




  1. Pour all the icing ingredients into a saucepan except for the chopped chocolate.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the stove.  Add the chopped chocolate.  Whisk until incorporated and the icing is glossy.
  3. Set aside and let cool.  Stir occasionally.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa powder together in a bowl.
  4. Mix the sugar, water, coconut oil, and vinegar in a large bowl.  If you are using solid coconut oil, stir until it melts into the mixture.
  5. Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl and stir until combined.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.  Check at the 30-minute mark.  The cake is ready when it pulls away from the edges of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, with a few crumbs.  Do not over-bake the cake, it is supposed to be fudgy.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.


  1. Pour the slightly runny yet thick icing onto the cake.  Use a spatula to spread the icing along the edges.
  2. Decorate the cake with a sprinkling of edible rose petals and chopped pistachios, or the option of your choice.
  3. Wait 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing into the cake.


Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

The cake can be frozen as well without the icing.  Once the cake has cooled completely, wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum foil.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To thaw the cake, unwrap it and set it on a cake platter at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.

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