‘Tis the season for steaming cups of hot chocolate and holiday parties. These mini mocha layer cakes are dotted with toasted hazelnuts and topped off with vanilla buttercream for a holiday treat that’s hard to resist.
Whether you’re hosting holiday parties, having a progressive caroling dinner, or just trying to make a special dinner at home for the family, dessert and the holidays are one of those couplings that sustains all things. They belong together in every sense of the word. But dessert for Christmas is not just about peppermint and cinnamon and cranberries, and there’s more to it than the cookie tray.
These mocha-flavored cakes with their small size and mini layers are attractive and eye-catching, and they’re just right for serving right alongside that heaping pile of cookies or on a buffet table with other items or simply on a plate to be set before each guest at a seated dinner.
To cut the cakes into layers, simply run a piece of floss around the center of the cake, cross, and then pull it through. Repeat again on each half to cut the cake into fourths. When all the layers are cool, assembly is as easy as adding a dollop of frosting between the layers of cake. Plus, if you want to do shorter or taller cakes, simply assemble as desired.
Make them portable: Assemble inside a jar and let guests grab one to enjoy later.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (or palm sugar)
- 2 cups all-purpose or einkorn flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup coconut oil (in liquid form)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup hot coffee
- 3/4 cup toasted and crushed hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line 12 tall ramekins with parchment on the bottom and around the side. (You can also use a popover pan.)
In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, Dutch process cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and then add into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the hot coffee and stir in 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts.
Fill the ramekins 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the ramekins and allowing to cool completely.
While the cakes cool, mix together the butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the milk until a thick, smooth consistency is reached.
Using a piece of floss, cut each cake into 4 layers. Frost the individual layers with about 1 tablespoon frosting each to create a stack. Frost the top layer and sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Serve.
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|Shaina Olmanson is the freelance writer, photographer, and home cook behind Food for My Family. Cooking daily with and for her four kids and husband, Ole, drives her desire to inspire other families to do the same. Shaina is also the author of Desserts in Jars and contributes regularly to a variety of online sites and traditional print magazines.