Mocha Layer Cake (Sour Cream Cake with Mocha Filling)

The early 1900’s were the heyday of decadent layer cakes with wonderful fillings, so when I recently needed to make a birthday cake, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a hundred-year-old cake recipe. Then I had the hard (but fun) job of deciding which old recipe to make. Should I make a white cake with a rich caramel filling?  . . .or a chocolate cake with a whipped cream filling?  . . .  or a white cake with a chocolate filling?  . . . or a cake with a fruit filling? , . . or . . . ?

I finally selected a delightful recipe for Mocha Layer Cake. This really is a recipe for a Sour Cream Cake with a delightful Mocha Filling; and, as I interpreted it, a White Frosting to top everything off.

The Sour Cream Cake not as airy as many modern cakes, but it had a wonderful flavor and consistency, and was tender and rich. The hints of coffee and chocolate in the Mocha Filling were nuanced and mild  in the assembled cake.

Here’s the original recipes:

Source: Tried and True Cook Book Published by the The Willing Workers, The Minneapolis [MN] Incarnation Parish (1910)
Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here are the recipes updated for modern cooks:

Mocha Layer Cake (Sour Cream Cake with Mocha Filling

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Sour Cream Cake

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans; line with waxed paper or parchment paper, then grease again and lightly flour. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the cake pans, dividing evenly between the two pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.

Mocha Filling

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons strong coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon melted butter

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.; beat until smooth.

White Frosting

3 cups confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2+ tablespoons cream

Combine all ingredients; Beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Slowly add more cream if too thick. (I used a total of about 4 tablespoons of cream.)

To assemble cake:

Put one cake layer upside down (so that the top surface is flat) on serving plate; spread with the Mocha Filling. Top with the second cake layer, right side up. Ice cake with white frosting.

23 thoughts on “Mocha Layer Cake (Sour Cream Cake with Mocha Filling)

  1. This sounds like a wonderful cake — easy, too. I may give it a try with a different filling. I happen to have a bucket of figs I picked yesterday, and there’s no way I can eat them all out of hand (even though I’m more than willing to try). It sounds to me like a fig filling would work well here. What do you think?

    1. It did. This recipe made a perfect birthday cake – though I was very stingy with the candles because I wanted to have a piece with no candle holes for the picture. 🙂

  2. Wow does this sound amazing! Sour cream makes for the moistest cakes! I was so glad you showed the modern cooks way…lol I was wondering if pulverized sugar was powdered sugar. Then I saw confectioner’s sugar in the frosting and knew it couldn’t be..hahaha

    1. There are so many different names for the sugar that is used to make icing – powdered sugar, confectioner’s sugar, icing sugar, etc. For some odd reason, my mother used to call confectioner’s sugar, “10X sugar”.

    1. I think this is the first time that I’ve ever used sour cream in a cake – and I totally agree with you. I love using sour cream in cakes. This cake turned out wonderfully.

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