Cappuccino cake

Cappuccino cake

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(151 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins


Cuts into 12 slices

If you've offered to bake a treat for a stall or your local coffee morning then this cake stall classic is just the thing

Nutrition and extra info

  • sponges only

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal559
  • fat39g
  • saturates23g
  • carbs48g
  • sugars29g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.72g
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  • 250g pack butter, softened



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 250g light soft brown sugar plus 2-3 tbsp
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 50g walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (a food processor is easiest), optional



    Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

  • 200ml very strong coffee (made fresh or with instant), cooled

For the frosting

  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • cocoa powder or drinking chocolate to decorate


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. Beat butter and sugar together with electric beaters until pale and creamy. Add the fl our and eggs in one go and keep beating until evenly mixed. Fold in the walnuts (if using) and half of the coffee. Spoon the mix into the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until golden and well risen.

  2. Leave the cakes in their tins for 5 mins before turning onto a wire rack. Sweeten the remaining coffee with the extra sugar and sprinkle 4 tbsp over the sponges. Leave to cool completely.

  3. While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Tip the mascarpone into a large bowl and beat in the sugar and remaining coffee until smooth and creamy. Use about half of the frosting to sandwich the sponges together then, using a palette or cutlery knife, spread the rest of the frosting over the top of the cake. Decorate with a dusting of cocoa powder or drinking chocolate. If you’re making this cake to eat at home, it will keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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Comments, questions and tips

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28th Feb, 2020
I'm glad I read the comments before making this. The sponge turned out fine, but the frosting was a nightmare. I used the correct amount of marscapone, but it went totally liquid. I used an electric whisk, which might have been the culprit. I tried to thicken it using some icing sugar, but this failed. Was going to freeze it to turn it into ice-cream at least when I remembered a trick involving lemon juice. About a tablespoon did the trick and it thickened up nicely.
9th Feb, 2020
I'm a fairly inexperienced cake maker, and can see why this has so many great reviews. It was simple from start to finish, and came out lovely. I used a pretty strong espresso from my coffee machine and it brought out a lovely rich flavour in both the cake and the cream. Strongly recommend this and I'll be making it again for sure!
Mary Huang's picture
Mary Huang
27th Jul, 2019
I used an electric mixer for about 2 minutes after adding the flour and eggs and it turned out nice and fluffy. Great recipe!
24th Feb, 2019
Delicious cake. I made it a day ahead for my Mum’s 60th birthday celebration. I pretty much followed the recipe. I just made the following tweaks; using 200ml coffee made form a V60 filter using about 15g coffee- I would say this could have been stronger but we were also sharing with family (kids) so am happy it wasn’t! I would ensure the butter is super soft before creaming and not to worry if the mixture is seeming pretty stiff prior to adding the coffee as this sorts it right out. I added sieved flour in a bit at a time along with some of the egg. This seemed to help keep it lighter. I may use a dairy free spread next time instead of butter to keep it lighter too. I added 6tbsp sugar to the coffee (after I had put the first 100ml coffee into the cake batter) instead of 3-4 as the cheese frosting wasn’t at all sweet otherwise. It was just right in the end. Really yummy cake. Dusting with cocoa and decorated with walnuts on top to look good worked well too. Great with the blended walnuts in the cake too. Yum.
Lynne Harrison's picture
Lynne Harrison
22nd Nov, 2018
I totally disagree with the comments that this cake is dense and stodgy - it is not! I follow the recipe exactly and it works every time (I use 2 heaped tablespoons of instant coffee to which I add 200ml of hot water). However, it does not need 4 tbsps of the leftover coffee, mixed with 2-3 tbsps of sugar to be drizzled on after cooking - a tablespoon of the mixture on each half of the cake is enough, as too much DOES make it appear stodgy. Also make sure your coffee is cold before mixing in the mascarpone to fill/top with, or else it will curdle and go runny! I also add some hazelnuts on top of the cake to give it a nicer appearance, but its a hit with my friends every time!
31st Mar, 2018
I came third in the School Easter Bake Off competition with this :-) Found this a bit like the Bake Off technical challenge. 200ml strong coffee but no measurement of how strong to make it so I read the reviews. Started with one saying how bland the cake was to others that recommended 4 tbs to one which said 6 tbs and gave a positively glowing testimony so went with that one. Other tips I gleaned from the reviews...definitely do not throw this all in a mixer, go the old fashioned way and cream your butter (TIP: My mum taught me to use Stork margarine in place of butter as it makes your sponges light and so moist) and then add an egg and a tbs of sieved flour to stop it curdling. Do this with each egg you add then sift and fold in your flour with a metal spoon. I added a teaspoon of baking powder too at this point. I used extra sugar in the mascarpone because the coffee had made it so strong, like eating espresso. To the lady whose mascarpone had to be thrown away because it was so sloppy I wonder if you used two tubs or one?because you need 500g and one tub was only 250g...mine was not runny at all. I left probably a few mls of coffee out because I could tell when it was the right consistency. The feedback I got back was it was delicious, light and airy and like a mousse. I was nervous about putting this cake into the competition as I had not made it before and obviously couldn't taste it and I was worried that 6tbs of coffee was a bit much. Being a school I couldn't add the walnuts, but the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive and to win a bottle of vodka for my trouble was great.
29th Mar, 2018
Awful! I never usually have problems with baking, or good food recipes for that matter, but this was inedible, far too stodgy and dense. Wouldn't recommend.
2nd Nov, 2017
Followed recipe exactly but Didn’t enjoy this recipe. The cake itself is very dense and there isn’t enough of a coffee flavor. The icing is too bland. Not great.
27th Oct, 2017
Terrible recipe! I really don't understand the rest of the comments praising it. I followed the recipe to the T; the cake was stodgy, dense and tasted of egg, (4 eggs are two much I would use 3 if I tried this again). I wish I had followed my instincts and not thrown the eggs and flour in together as suggested. The mascarpone, where do I start?! Sooo runny! Nothing I could do could save it, I had to chuck it all out. V.happy I was just making this for fun and not an event. Looking at most of the comments it looks like most bakers have changed parts of the recipe while making the cake. I wish I'd seen the comment made in the tips section as I think that would have solved a lot of the cakes problems.
Baker-Elfriede's picture
1st Sep, 2017
Brilliant recipe! Very easy to follow with a lovely coffee flavour ( I made mine with strong instant coffee ). I used the traditional approach of blending sugar and butter, adding the eggs and coffee and folding the flour in and agree that it makes a much lighter sponge. I also suggest gently toasting the walnuts in a baking tray in the oven for a few minutes, it really improves the flavour and makes for a softer nut texture, I've used non-toasted nuts before and find they are harder and can get stuck in your teeth. Made for a party and went down a treat, definitely going to make again as soon as I find a decent excuse!


Alina Asad's picture
Alina Asad
24th Feb, 2018
I was wondering if anyone made this in a loaf tin. Looking for a highly rated recipe for a coffee loaf
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Feb, 2018
Thanks for your question. The proportions of this cake and frosting are designed for a 20cm round cake. However, you could experiment with a loaf tin, adjusting the cooking time (it will take longer if all the mixture is in one tin.) Alternatively try one of our loaf cake recipes from the following collection:
leahwhite's picture
18th Jan, 2016
This cake can out stodgy. .. and tips on why that may have been? Is this meant to be a light fluffy cake like a Victoria sponge... or a denser cake
Dhakshi Gamage's picture
Dhakshi Gamage
24th Jan, 2020
If you make it like a traditional cake (i.e., cream the butter and sugar first, then beat in the eggs one at a time, etc), it will turn out like a sponge cake. I also add 1/2 tsp baking powder along with the self raising flour to help it rise better. If you just beat everything together like the recipe suggests, it probably wouldn't work. See the tips if you want to see my modifications for this recipe.
5th Aug, 2014
This has been been my eldest daughters requested birthday cake for the last 3 years ! She wants it again this year but has asked for cupcakes, how long will I need to bake this recipe I cupcake form ? Many thanks x
19th Oct, 2013
Looks amazing, couple of questions though: 1: Unsalted or salted butter? 2: How much is 200ml of coffee in grams? (i'm using instant, not fresh) 3: Lastly, how much tablespoons of instant coffee shall I add into the frosting? I need some answers before Tuesday please. Would mean a lot, thank you!
Dhakshi Gamage's picture
Dhakshi Gamage
24th Jan, 2020
I've made this cake successfully 3 times now, but with modifications based on feedback in other reviews. To make 1 cake, I use: 125g butter or margarine, beaten 125g soft brown sugar + 1.5 tbsp 2 eggs 100ml coffee (cooled) using 2.5-3 heaped tbsps of instant coffee 150g self raising flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 40g walnuts, finely chopped For the icing 1 small tub of mascarpone (about 225g, or less) Approx 1/3 cup sifted icing sugar (or to taste) 1 tbsp kahlua 1/2 tsp vanilla essence A dusting of cocoa powder and choc coated coffee beans to decorate Method 1) Beat the butter and sugar well until pale and creamy. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Finally, add half the coffee and beat well again. 2) Sift together the flour and baking powder. Then fold into the batter with a metal spoon in two batches along with the walnuts. 3) Spoon the mixture into a round tin and bake for 25-30 mins at 180C or 160C fan bake. 4) Once the cake is baked and taken out of the tin, I sweeten the remaining coffee and sprinkle about 2 tbsps onto the bottom of the cake before flipping it over again and leaving to cool completely. 5) For the frosting, I just add the mascarpone, remaining coffee, vanilla and kahlua, and beat in the icing sugar in small batches. I usually refrigerate it for a bit before I ice the cake.
Soozy Coo's picture
Soozy Coo
19th Sep, 2019
Lovely light fluffy cake. For those whose mascarpone was runny, I found out the hard way, you cannot whisk it, you just mix with a fork and it will stay thick. Delicious.
28th Jan, 2019
Made this with gluten free self-raising flour - a supermarket own brand mix which already included xantham gum. Used a more traditional method: creamed the butter and sugar, then gradually added the beaten eggs, beating well between additions. Added the flour in 3 lots mixing well each time. Used coffee leftover from the morning's cafetiere. The end result was marvellously light and fluffy! Brilliant texture, not stodgy or dense, and the marscapone topping matched really well. I could have gone for an even stronger coffee flavour in the cake, perhaps using super-strong instant coffee as other commenters suggested. Maybe even some more chocolate than just the dusting on top. Maybe some 70% dark chocolate chips in the cake itself would be a good addition. So I give this recipe 4 stars because I had to make adjustments to the method.
4th Dec, 2016
I've made this cake 3 times now, it's a lovely light cake. You don't need 500g mascaphone, 250g will do or its too much. I used cooking margerine not butter, result is just as good. You don't need 200g of coffee, only use 100g or your mixure will be too runny. I've also used full fat soft cheese if you can't get mascaphone - result is the same. Happy Baking A McGill
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