• Chocolate Layer Cake With Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Guest Feature: Chocolate Layer Cake With Coffee Buttercream & Chocolate Ganache

It was the summer of ‘72, the year of Bell Bottom jeans and “American Pie.” My parents were young 20-somethings, just married, and renting their first one-bedroom apartment in California. Dad was a Naval Officer and Mom, a teacher. They were at the beginning of their journey as newly-weds, living on a budget, scant on space, but rich in love.

A few months after tying the knot, my parents attended a dinner party where the host served chocolate Krazy Cake for dessert. Krazy Cake, also called War Cake gets its name from a unique Vegan batter that excludes eggs, milk, and butter. Instead the recipe calls for vinegar, water, and oil, which were less expensive ingredients during wartime. When combined with cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, the unique mixture creates a rich dark chocolate flavor and pound cake-like texture.  And the finished product is “krazy” delicious. After the party, my mom took the recipe home and re-made it for my Dad, adding her own creative spin.

Navy life sent my parents, siblings, and me, all over the globe from California to Rhode Island, Hawaii to Maryland, New York to Idaho, Virginia to South Carolina, to Florida, and so on. Somewhere along the travels, the Krazy Cake recipe disappeared…lost and buried in the boxes.

A few months ago, my Aunt was going through an old recipe box that belonged to my Granny Auds. At the bottom of the stack of papers in hand-written cursive was the recipe for “Kathleen[’s]… Krazy Cake.” My Aunt copied it and sent it to me just in time for Dad’s birthday. To recreate the cake with a modern twist, we paired the Krazy Cake recipe from 1972 with the Momofuku Milk Bar assembly method. Make and Taste Owner, Nicole recently introduced me to this style of cake, which was a fun way to modernize an old classic. We also added a splash of coffee to the batter to enhance the chocolate flavor. Forty-five years later, the Krazy cake was just as impressive as the original, good enough to outshine all the trendy new chocolate cake recipes on the market.

Krazy Cake, much like my parents’ devotion to one another, transcends time. Both my parents and the recipe have traveled to different homes through wars and change, while always maintaining the same simple formula for success: a touch of sugar to balance the salt, a splash of water to support the oil, and a dash of vanilla to mellow out the tartness of the vinegar. It’s a perfect marriage of ingredients. Mom and Dad have since upgraded from that little California apartment to a house with more space. To manage their occasional clash of opinions, along with the oil and water, they keep a pantry full of patience with a lifetime’s worth of love. It’s a recipe they have handed down to us…strong enough to guide us through the next forty-five years.

Chocolate Layer Cake With Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Photos by: Leigh

Chocolate Layer Cake With Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Photos by: Leigh

Chocolate Layer Cake With Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Photos by: Leigh

Products Used

6″ Cake Ring


Offset Spatula

Baking Sheet

Stand Mixer

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Chocolate Layer Cake With Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Yields: 8-10


  • 3 Cups - Flour
  • 2 Cups - Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon - Salt
  • 2 Teaspoon - Baking Soda
  • 8 Tablespoons - Cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons - Vinegar
  • 2 Cups - Water
  • 1 Teaspoon - Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Teaspoons Canola Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon - Instant Coffee
  • 1/4 Cup - Milk
  • 1/4 Teaspoon - Clear Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon - Instant Coffee granules
  • 1/2 Cup - Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup - Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 1/2 Cups - Powdered Sugar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon - Fine Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon - Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons- Clear Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Sticks (3/4 Cup) Unsalted Butter (at room temp)
  • 2 Ounces (1/4 Cup) Cream Cheese (at room temp)
  • 3 Tablespoons - Brewed, cooled coffee
  • Dark Chocolate Shavings


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. Krazy Cake:
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together vinegar, water, vanilla, and oil, and instant coffee. Stir well
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and whisk until combined
  6. Pour onto lined cookie sheet, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean
  7. Remove from oven, and allow to cool completely on the cookie sheet, about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  8. Cake Soak:
  9. Stir the coffee granules into the milk and vanilla until dissolved
  10. With a toothpick, poke holes in each round of baked/cooled Krazy cake
  11. Drizzle the liquid onto cake or brush it on as you assemble each round
  12. Chocolate Ganache:
  13. Place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of hot water
  14. Pour cream and chocolate chips into bowl and stir occasionally as the chocolate melts into the cream
  15. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature
  16. Assembly of the cake, inspired by the Milk Bar cake assembly method:
  17. Line a 6-inch cake pan with a sheet of acetate
  18. Turn the cake out onto a flat, clean surface
  19. Using a 6-inch cake ring, cut out 3-4 rounds of cake
  20. Place one round in the cake pan to form the bottom layer
  21. Drizzle the cake soak mixture on top and watch it sink into the toothpick holes
  22. Spoon on a layer of ganache
  23. Spoon on a layer of frosting, on top of the ganache
  24. Add the second round of cake and repeat the steps above until you reach the final layer, add frosting
  25. Cover well with plastic wrap
  26. Freeze for at least 3 hours to set
  27. Remove from freezer and pop cake out of the cake pan. Then peel acetate off of the cake
  28. Cover cake well and thaw in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving
  29. Garnish with shaved chocolate just before serving

Additional Info

****Additional note: The original cake was baked in two traditional 8-inch cake pans for 30-35 minutes. You can also bake in a traditional Bundt pan for 30-35 minutes. **Note: Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days

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