What Is Coffee Bean Cake?

A. Leverkuhn

Coffee bean cake is cake made with the essence of the coffee bean. This type of cake includes the strong taste of the coffee bean as part of its flavor profile. Regular coffee drinkers will most likely instantly recognize the taste of coffee in the cake. These types of desserts appeal to those who enjoy the taste of coffee, or those who like the addition of strong flavors and caffeine to sweet foods.

Coffee beans are used to make coffee bean cake.
Coffee beans are used to make coffee bean cake.

It’s important to distinguish coffee bean cake from a very common type of dessert in some cultures that is simply called, "coffee cake." Coffee cake is a cake that is made to be served along with coffee. This simple type of cake typically tastes much like other types of breakfast cakes, with flavor elements like cinnamon or frosting included. By contrast, the coffee bean cake is a cake that actually incorporates instant coffee or ground beans that give the dessert a distinct bittersweet flavor.

Some coffee bean cakes also use cocoa for flavoring.
Some coffee bean cakes also use cocoa for flavoring.

Many coffee bean cakes are made with instant coffee powder. This powder goes into the mix, along with regular cake ingredients like eggs, sugar, flour, and butter. For some more sophisticated types of coffee bean cake, cooks may actually grind the powder from whole coffee beans, which, according to experts, tends to give the cake a richer, more authentic taste and aroma. Other flavor ingredients like vanilla extract may also be used.

To make this sort of dessert, cooks will usually combine all of the traditional cake ingredients along with the coffee powder in a bowl. Alternately, a liquid coffee flavoring might be used, but in most cases, the coffee powder or ground coffee bean ingredient provides part of the texture for the cake. One challenge is adding butter, which needs to be carefully heated in order to obtain the right texture for mixing with the other ingredients.

Different types of coffee bean cakes may include a chocolate or cocoa component to complement the coffee bean taste, which is not inherently a sweet taste, and may be perceived by some audiences as too bitter. Some popular types of coffee bean cake include mocha cake and cappuccino cake, named after different coffee drinks. These dishes will also differ in presentation and technique.

In addition to the common cake ingredients that go into most coffee bean cakes, specific recipes will include additional items. Some recipes will call for cream cheese or other items to enhance the texture of the cake. Others will include various garnishes. A common one is whipped cream on top of the cake. Cooks may also use coffee bean candies for this type of cake, or other toppings like chocolate shavings. The cook may also decide between using caffeinated or decaf coffee in the recipe.

Vanilla extract, which is made from vanilla beans, can be used to flavor coffee bean cake.
Vanilla extract, which is made from vanilla beans, can be used to flavor coffee bean cake.

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Discussion Comments


Those who want coffee in their cake but not the bitterness should also use sweet cocoa or chocolate in the recipe. Chocolate and coffee make a great pair and chocolate downplays the bitterness of coffee nicely.


@SteamLouis-- How much instant coffee did you use exactly. I like a coffee bean cake that has a strong flavor of coffee, so I use three tablespoons of instant coffee. Those who want a milder coffee flavor should use less.

I love coffee, so it's not a problem for me. I even put instant coffee in the frosting, so as slice of coffee bean cake is no less than a cup of fresh coffee for me. I think this is the best afternoon snack. There is no way one can fall asleep after this cake! And sometimes that's exactly what I need, especially during a difficult and long work day.


If anyone is planning on making coffee bean cake for the first time, I highly recommend going with a tried and true recipe and follow it to the T.

I made coffee bean cake last week for the first time. I didn't have a recipe so I used my regular cake recipe and incorporated instant coffee into the mix. But I put way too much, and so the cake turned out bitter. I couldn't eat it.

I think the sugar and instant coffee ratio is very important for this cake. If the ratio is not right, the cake doesn't turn out good. So this is not a cake that ought to be experimented with. Next time, I'm going to follow a recipe.

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