How to Make an Espresso Swirl Cake

Hands up how many people love coffee? Now hands up if you also love cake? Now imagine if you could make a dessert that combines your two favourite things. Heaven right?

Introducing the Espresso Swirl cake – a fun marble effect cake with a lovely hint of coffee. It’s really easy to make and doesn’t require any obscure ingredients.

Below you will find the full recipe followed by a few serving suggestions to give you some inspiration for your next dessert!

Recipe: Espresso Swirl Cake

This recipe makes approximately sixteen servings. If you don’t work in grams, you can find the conversions to pounds here

What You Will Need

You will need the following ingredients to make the Espresso Swirl cake:

For the Cake:
  • 175g softened unsalted butter (and a little extra for greasing your cake tin)
  • 175g golden castor sugar
  • 175g sifted self-raising flour
  • 3 medium sized eggs
  • 1tbsp coffee liqueur (Tia Maria or Kahlua will work well)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 strong shot of espresso. A single shot brewed with your best espresso machine will be fine.
For the Icing:
  • 175g sifted golden icing sugar
  • 1 shot of normal strength espresso
  • A handful of coffee beans covered in dark chocolate to decorate (these are optional but a real treat!)
How to Make the Espresso Swirl Cake

Follow the simple steps below to make your Espresso Swirl cake:

For the Cake:
  1. Mix the butter and sugar together. Mix them well until the mixture is pale and fluffy. 
  2. Add one of the eggs and beat thoroughly. Repeat this until all three of the eggs are added.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and fold the mixture until it is all mixed together and not lumpy.
  4. Add the coffee liqueur and fold in.
  5. Remove half of the mixture and in another bowl, add the espresso shot and fold gently through the mixture. 
  6. Rub the butter for greasing on the bottom and sides of a 900g baking tin and line it with a greaseproof liner.
  7. Spoon a good sized portion of one of the mixtures into one end of the cake tin, then at the other end, add a spoonful of the other mixture. Repeat until the tin is full, alternating the ends.
  8. Get a skewer and swirl it around in the mixture to create a marble effect.
  9. Place the cake into a pre-heated oven on gas mark 5 (190 degrees or 170 degrees on a fan assisted oven). Cook for 45-50 minutes. Check that a skewer insert into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Turn out of the cake tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.


For the Icing:
  1. Once the cake is cool, mix the icing sugar and espresso shot together in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle the mixture over the cake
  3. Add the dark chocolate covered coffee beans at regular intervals

Serving Suggestions

Although the cake will taste great just as it is, to really make a fantastic dessert, here are a few ideas of what to serve up alongside it!
  • A generous scoop of chocolate flavoured ice cream will make a beautiful mocha inspired dessert
  • A dollop of cream finished with caramel sauce will give a caramel latte vibe to your cake
  • Crumble the cake into a chocolate flavoured jelly, add a layer of vanilla custard and top with double cream and chocolate chips for a unique take on a classic trifle
  • Slice the cake in half lengthwise and fill it with buttercream with added orange zest for a zingy alternative.


Whichever way you choose to serve your Espresso Swirl cake, it’s sure to be a big hit. Enjoy!

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