Coffee Layer Cake Recipe with Coffee Honeycomb Crunch Topping

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There’s nothing like a delicious layer cake to celebrate a special occasion. This Coffee Layer Cake Recipe is perfect to make for coffee lovers, and the coffee honeycomb crunch topping takes it to the next level. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, or just want something special to enjoy with your afternoon coffee, this cake is sure to impress!

A slice of coffee cake on a white plate, in front of the whole cake with a slice cut from it. Text overlay says"Coffee Crunch Layer Cake". Similar photos of the recipe from various angles are used throughout with different text overlays unless otherwise described.

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Coffee Layer Cake Recipe

The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions, to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps and timings involved.

Is there anything that coffee can’t do?

It’s a morning pick-me-up, an afternoon energizer, and makes amazing desserts!

This coffee layer cake recipe is the perfect way to show off coffee’s versatility.

The light and fluffy cake is layered and covered with coffee frosting, and swirls of the frosting sit on top.

But that’s not all! Coffee-flavor honeycomb crunch pieces cover the sides of the cake, with rich chocolate ganache falling in drips around the cake. Delicious!

Coffee lovers will adore this decadent dessert!

Recipe for Coffee Crunch Layer Cake for Coffee Mornings

Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe

While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been linked to Amazon or other stores if available online. Staple ingredients such as oil, salt, sugar, etc., aren’t always included here as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen. The complete list of ALL ingredients with measurements is found on the recipe card.

Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, that you can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, liters, etc.,).

Coffee Layer Cake with Coffee Honeycomb Crunch

More Recipes Using Coffee

One of the hero ingredients in this dish is coffee, so here are some more recipes using the same:

More Layer Cake Recipes

Looking for more layered cakes to make? Check these recipes out next:

Coffee Cake with Coffee-Flavored Honeycomb

Coffee Layer Cake Recipe Tips

  • To check the doneness of the cakes, insert a toothpick into the center of the cakes and it will come out clean when they are cooked through. If there is still wet cake batter on the toothpick then cook for a few more minutes and test again.
  • Make sure the cakes have cooled completely (on a wire rack) before decorating.
  • When the cakes have cooled, you will need to level off the tops so that they are flat. You can use a cake leveler which is a really handy tool to get a nice even cut. Or you can use a sharp knife and a steady hand.
  • Do NOT throw away the excess cake though! You can use it to make cake pops! Simply crumble up the cake and mix it with some frosting and roll it into balls. Insert a lollipop stick and dip it into melted chocolate or candy melts. Leave to set, and enjoy!

Cake Frosting Tips

  • You can make the frosting with an electric handheld or standing mixture. Or the old-fashioned way with a wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease!
  • When making the frosting you want the end result to be creamy, smooth, and hold a stiff peak. You may have to adjust the amount of powdered sugar and cream slightly to achieve the consistency you need.
  • Add a dab of frosting onto the center of the cake board before placing the first cake layer. This helps to keep the cake in place.
  • Use a spatula to spread the frosting between the cake layers, then scrape any excess around the sides of the cake to create a crumb coat. Chill the cake before continuing.
  • To prevent the frosting from getting onto your cake board or cake stand, a tip I learned from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) is to slip squares of parchment paper just under the cake all the way around. Once the cake is frosted you pull the paper away and you get a nice clean edge.
  • Use a cake smoother/scraper to get a nice even finish on the frosting around the sides and top of the cake.
  • Use a cake turntable and scraper for professional-looking frosting results. Take your time to slather on the frosting, and use the scraper (or spatula/palette knife) to smooth it out, removing any excess back to the bowl. Using a cake turntable can make frosting a cake easier, but it is not a necessary piece of kit – unless you plan on making a lot of cakes!
  • If you’re just starting out with cake decorating, I recommend purchasing an inexpensive cake decorating kit which will have everything you need to get started. As your skills improve you can invest in better equipment.
  • Do not overfill the piping bag with frosting, and make sure you squeeze the frosting down the bag to expel any air bubbles.
  • If you are not confident with your swirl piping skills you can practice on some parchment paper first and scoop the frosting back into the bag to use on top of the cake.
  • How many swirls do you need on top of the cake? Well, that’s up to you and how many servings you want to get! You could serve 6 or 8 huge slices of cake – so a swirl on each slice, or up to 16 for a 9-inch cake. Or you could do a continuous line of frosting around the cake edge and sprinkle the chocolate and walnut mixture on top.

Chocolate Dripping Tips

  • You can use a squeeze bottle, piping bag, or spoon to drip the chocolate around the cake.
  • Place the tip of the bottle (or piping bag) just above the top edge of the cake and gently squeeze the bottle to release the chocolate ganache. When you’ve added enough of a drip, release the pressure on the bottle, but leave a little bit to continue on and around the cake to your next drip, turning the cake around as you go. The more pressure you have the longer the drip will be. Test your dripping pressure technique on the side of a glass or cup first so that you feel confident.
  • If you only have a spoon to add the drips, carefully add chocolate to the top edge of the cake, and gently push it over so that it starts to drip down the sides.
  • This cake also has ganache covering the top of the cake too – fill in the area after you have done the drips and use a spatula to spread out evenly.
  • Using a cake turntable will make dripping chocolate onto the cake easier as you can turn the cake as you go around without having to break your flow.
  • If you don’t have a cake turntable, what about that lazy Susan you have in the back of the kitchen cupboard? That would work too!
  • Alternatively, place the cake onto a cake stand which will be easier to turn around than a cake board sat on the counter.
  • As with all things cake decorating, practice makes perfect!

How Do I Make A Coffee Layer Cake Recipe?

Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.

Coffee Crunch Layer Cake Recipe

Coffee Layer Cake with Coffee Crunch Topping

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes

This Coffee Layer Cake Recipe is perfect to make for coffee lovers, and the coffee honeycomb crunch topping takes it to the next level.


For the Coffee Crunch Honeycomb

  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup espresso
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1½ Tbsp baking soda

For the Cake

  • 1 box of French vanilla cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup whole milk*

For the Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 - 5 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Tbsp cold espresso

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • ½ cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet/plain)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream (double cream)


  1. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick baking spray and set it aside.
  2. To make the coffee crunch honeycomb, place the sugar, coffee, and corn syrup into a deep pan and attach a candy thermometer.
  3. Place the pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula for about 10
    minutes or until the mixture reaches 270°F/132°C (soft crack stage).
  4. Once the mixture in the pot reaches 270°F/132°C, increase the heat to high and constantly stir
    the mixture until it reaches 305°F/152°C (hard crack stage).
  5. Remove the pan from the stove and immediately and quickly stir in the baking soda. WARNING! The mixture will expand and rise in the pan but will decrease in size after a few seconds.
  6. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and leave it to cool for one hour.
  7. When cooled, break the coffee crunch honeycomb into pieces using a rolling pin or meat mallet. Set pieces aside while you make the cake.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Spray 2 (9-inch) cake pans with nonstick baking spray.
  9. Place the cake mix, eggs, butter, and milk into a mixing bowl and beat until combined and smooth.
  10. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Leave to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  12. To make the coffee frosting, use an electric standing or handheld mixer to beat the butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and cold espresso until it is creamy, fluffy, and can hold a peak.
  13. Scoop 1 cup of the coffee frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and set it aside.
  14. To build the cake, use a cake leveler to remove the dome from each cake layer (or use a large knife) to level the cakes.
  15. Smear a little frosting onto the center of a 10-inch cake board and place the first layer on top to hold it in place.

    First Layer of Coffee Cake on Board
  16. Scoop ¾ cup of frosting on top of the first layer and spread out evenly. Place the second cake layer on top.

    Second Layer of Cake Added
  17. Add a thin layer of frosting (using any of the frosting that has oozed out from placing the layers together) to create a crumb coat around the sides and top of the cake. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then use the remaining frosting to cover the cake completely. Place back in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

    Fully Frosted Layer Cake
  18. To make the chocolate ganache, place the chocolate chips into a bowl and set it aside.
  19. Place the cream into a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  20. Pour the warmed cream over the chocolate chips and allow to sit for a minute before whisking until smooth. Pour into the squeeze bottle. Set it aside.
  21. To decorate the cake, pipe a small amount of frosting onto coffee honeycomb crunch pieces and randomly place them around the sides of the cake.
  22. Using the squeeze bottle of chocolate ganache, go around the top edge of the cake and squeeze drips to drop down the sides of the cake.
  23. Pipe swirls of frosting around the top of the cake and drizzle some more chocolate ganache over each swirl.
  24. Place a piece of coffee crunch between each frosting swirl.
  25. Allow the ganache to set before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

    Coffee Crunch Layer Cake Recipe


*If you want to add more coffee flavor to the cake, switch ½ cup of milk with ½ cup of brewed coffee that has been left to go cold. You could replace all of the milk with coffee if you really want to ramp up the coffee taste.

Equipment List

  • Candy Thermometer
  • 2 (9-inch) Round Cake Pans
  • 1 (10-inch) Round Cake Boards
  • 1 Large Piping Bag with Large Star Tip - such as a Wilton #1M
  • Squeeze Bottle
  • Cake Leveler - or you could use a sharp knife
  • Wire Cooling Rack
  • Cake Turntable - optional
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1740Total Fat: 90gSaturated Fat: 55gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 313mgSodium: 2151mgCarbohydrates: 234gFiber: 2gSugar: 197gProtein: 10g

This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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Make It A Special Dinner!

You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?

Here are additional recipes to create a menu for a dinner party or special meal:

There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.

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