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Chocolate Espresso Cranberry Christmas Cake

Recipe from Baker by Nature

Makes a 9” round cake.

Espresso Chocolate Cake


1-1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1-1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar

2-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1-3/4 Cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

3 Large Eggs

2 Large Egg Yolks

1 Cup Whole Milk

2/3 Cup Full-Fat Sour Cream

¾ Cup Vegetable Oil

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2-21/2 Teaspoons DeLallo Espresso Powder

1-1/2 Cups Freshly Boiled Water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut out three 9-inch segments of parchment paper to line three cake pans with.

Spray each pan generously – sides and bottom – with nonstick cooking spray.

Put parchment paper cut-outs in the bottom of each pan and spray again.

Set pans aside.

In a large bowl, combine both sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract and mix until completely combined.

Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, mix until evenly combined.

In another bowl, combine the espresso powder and hot water. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 seconds, then whisk until the two ingredients are evenly combined.

Fold the expresso mixture into the cake batter, until evenly combined. The batter will be quite thin.

Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans.

Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 27 to 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove cakes and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Cranberry Filling


2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cranberry Juice

3 Cups Cranberries

¾ Cup Water

1 Cup Granulated Sugar’1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1-1/2 Tablespoons Orange Juice

1-1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract


In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cranberry juice, and whisk well until completely combined. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and cook until the sugar has dissolved about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until the cranberries soften and some have begun to burst, about 5 more minutes.

Pour in the cornstarch slurry, and mix well to combine.

Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 4 to 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice and vanilla extract.

Scrape contents into a bowl and cool completely before using.

Mascarpone Frosting


1-1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter

8 Ounces Mascarpone Cheese

5 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Whole Milk


In a large bowl, beat the butter and mascarpone cheese on medium speed, until smooth and creamy, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating each addition well before adding the next. Once all the sugar has been added, beat in the salt, vanilla, and milk.

Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. If the frosting appears too stiff to spread, add more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until the desired texture is achieved.

Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary


  • 1-1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

  • ½ Cup Water

  • 1-1/2 Cups Cranberries

  • 8 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary


In a medium saucepan, combine ½ cup of the granulated sugar and the water.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Add in the cranberries and bring mixture back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries and transfer them to a wire cooling rack.

Add the rosemary into the sugar syrup and cook for 1 minute, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to the wire cooling rack.

Allow cranberries and rosemary to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, or until still lightly tacked to the touch.

Add the remaining granulated sugar to a wide, shallow bowl. Add a few cranberries at a time, and roll them in the sugar until they are completely coated on all sides. Transfer the cranberries back to the wire rack. Repeat with all the cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

Leave to dry at room temperature for 2 hours before using.



Using a long serrated knife, carefully trim the raised top of each cake, making each one even. Level surface.

Carefully transfer 1 layer to a large plate or cake stand.

Spread an even layer of frosting on top, aiming for it to be ¼” in thickness. Then top with half of the cranberry filling.

Top with another cake layer, and repeat, adding the same amount of frosting and cranberry filling.

Top with the final cake layer, then use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Aim for ¼” thickness of frosting on top, then, spread whatever is left around the edges. Edges will not be totally covered with frosting.

Decorate the cake with sugared cranberries and rosemary.

Allow cake to set at room temperature for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Download recipe here

Chocolate Espresso Cranberry Christmas Cake
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