cocoa cinnamon cake





there’s this little coffee shop here in durham called cocoa cinnamon. they have the whole industrial chic / exposed brick / gluten-free pastries thing going on. word on the street is sarah mclachlan said it had the ‘best coffee on tour’ during her DPAC show.

though they have spice cake and chocolate cake, they don’t have a chocolate cake with cinnamon frostingwhich they totally should!

i added cinnamon teddy grahams and red hots to the filling. you could add hot tamales or apple jacks or cocoa nibs. make this caaaake.


cake (adapted from alexandra cooks)

  • 1 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

frosting (adapted from tastes of lizzy)

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream or milk


  • cinnamon teddy grahams
  • red hots, or other cinnamon candies

preheat oven to 300º. grease a half sheet pan and line with parchment paper. mix the chocolate with the hot coffee and set aside (don’t stir). whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. in a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. add the oils, buttermilk, and vanilla. stir the chocolate-coffee mixture and add it to the wet ingredients. add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for twenty seconds. pour into the pan until the batter almost reaches the rim. bake for about fifteen minutes – just keep an eye out and check it with toothpicks until they come out with a few moist crumbs attached. let cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack and let cool for at least an hour (or stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes).

to make the soak, whisk together the milk and cinnamon. alternatively, you could steep some cinnamon sticks with milk in a saucepan, but this works just fine.

for the frosting, beat butter in a stand mixer until smooth and lightened in color. add the vanilla and the cinnamon. add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. stream in the cream and continue to beat.

to assemble, use a 6-inch cake ring to cut out rounds from the cake – cut out one whole circle, and make the rest semi-circles. you can push together scraps later to make them whole. cut out a 6-inch circle of cardboard. place your cake ring on top of it. line the inside with a 5×20 inch strip of acetate. place one semi-circle into the ring and add enough scraps to make a complete circle. drizzle on a little bit of the soak (not too much, or it will be soggy). use a bent spoon or an offset spatula to spread  a quarter of the frosting on top, and sprinkle on some teddy grahams and red hots. smooth again so that the grahams and candies are mixed into the frosting. repeat the process two more times: cake, soak, frosting, mix-ins, smooth. add your last layer of cake to the top, and don’t soak it. smooth on the remaining frosting. i used the teddy grahams to create a border, but you could decorate with candies, fancy piping, or a dusting of cocoa powder! freeze the cake for at least 12 hours before removing the ring and acetate. serve cold or at room temperature, with coffee or an iced mocha.

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