Chocolate Cake with Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Hershey’s chocolate cake with mocha Swiss meringue buttercream is filled with an espresso almond butter ganache for a velvety & moist homemade cake that’s easy to make.

A single slice of chocolate cake on a small white dish. It's filled with a layer of creamy ganache and it's frosted with mocha swiss meringue buttercream. It's decorated with some chocolate sprinkles.

I graduated from the baking and pastry program at Johnson & Wales, so I’d like to think that I’m a pretty good baker.

Let’s put the emphasis on the word BAKER though because I almost failed my cake decorating class…. definitely NOT my forte. (I’m pretty sure my chef felt bad for my fondant and gum paste making skills).

So yeah, my cakes may not turn heads, but damnnit they taste good and that’s the most important part, right? 😉

Perfectly moist and velvety, this chocolate cake recipe is always my go-to because it’s one of the easiest from-scratch cake recipes you can find.

There’s no sifting, creaming, or using 5 different bowls.  It’s simple and quick, yet moist and delicious.

The original recipe is from Hershey’s, and it’s been my no-fail favorite, easiest chocolate cake recipe for years.

Why do you add boiling water to chocolate cake?

The boiling water is added to the batter at the end because it enhances the cocoa powder, giving the cake that rich delicious chocolate flavor.

This chocolate cake recipe also uses oil instead of butter keeping it super moist.

A white cake stand with a chocolate cake that's frosted and decorated with piped rosettes on each slice and sprinkled with chocolate jimmies. A slice has been cut out and it's in the background on a small white plate.

Let’s talk about this Swiss meringue buttercream frosting for a minute.

It may be a little more effort than regular buttercream that’s made with powdered sugar, but I’ll tell ya, this is one of my FAVORITE frosting recipes, and I am a frosting fanatic.

I was the girl in cake class that would eat spoonfuls of frosting, and am also the girl that request the piece of cake with the most frosting :).

For those of you that have never had Swiss meringue buttercream, it’s silky, smooth, not to sweet, and easy to frost with.

To make Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  1. Heat your sugar and egg whites to 160 degrees.  Place in stand mixer and whip until fluffy and stiff peaks form.
  2. Once cooled, gradually add small pieces of butter until fully incorporated.
  3. Add in vanilla, coffee and cooled melted chocolate.

A couple of tips for making the perfect Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • To make sure your egg whites are cooked to a high enough temperature, you’ll want to use a thermometer.  If they aren’t cooked to at least 160-165, your meringue won’t turn fluffy with stiff peaks.
  • Cut your butter into small chunks.  I like to cut mine in 1” pieces.  Also, don’t add your butter too quickly.  I like to add 2-3 pieces at a time, while keeping the mixer on high, and letting it incorporate until adding more.
  • If your buttercream looks curdled after all of your butter, DON’T PANIC.  This is totally fine.  Just keep mixing and it will eventually come together.  This could be because you added the butter too quickly or because your meringue wasn’t cool enough before adding the butter.

The swiss meringue buttercream recipe is from Liv for Cake who has an awesome post and tutorial for making perfect buttercream if you want to check it out!

A layer of chocolate cake with a spatula smearing mocha swiss meringue buttercream on top. It's fluffy and smooth.

This chocolate cake with mocha Swiss meringue buttercream is filled with a decadent espresso almond butter ganache.

Regular ganache is made by heating heavy cream just to boiling and pouring it over chocolate.  It’s stirred until smooth and cooled until thickened.

For this ganache filling, we’re adding almond butter and a shot of espresso.  The almond butter gives the ganache a creamier texture and the espresso emphasizes the chocolaty flavor. 

You really can’t go wrong with ganache.  It takes minutes to make and gives you a decadently smooth chocolaty filling.

If you’re not a fan of the espresso or almond butter, leave it plain or add a little peanut butter, raspberry puree or even wine like in my dark chocolate cupcakes with red wine ganache.

A frosted chocolate cake on a white cake stand with a piece being taken out to be served. It's got a light mocha swiss meringue buttercream on it and it's filled with ganache.

For an easy yet impressive cake recipe, this Hershey’s chocolate cake is a must.

You won’t be disappointed with the Swiss meringue buttercream because it’s absolutely divine.  I promise it’s totally worth the effort!!!

A single slice of chocolate cake on a small white dish. It's filled with a layer of creamy ganache and it's frosted with mocha swiss meringue buttercream. It's decorated with some chocolate sprinkles.
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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Hershey’s chocolate cake with mocha Swiss meringue buttercream is filled with an espresso almond butter ganache for a velvety smooth homemade cake that’s moist and easy to make.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolatecake, christmasdessert, dessert, ganache, hersheyscake, swissmeringuebuttercream
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 12
Author Wine a Little Cook A Lot


Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Boiling Water

Espresso Almond Butter Ganache

  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Almond Butter
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tbsp Espresso

Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 3 large Egg Whites
  • 1 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cups Unsalted Butter softened and cubed
  • 2-3 tbsp Strong Coffee cooled
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips melted and cooled


Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

  • Heat oven to 350°Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed in stand mixer or with hand mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Heat water in small saucepan until boiling and add to batter, stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

Espresso Almond Butter Ganache

  • Add chocolate chips and almond butter a medium heatproof bowl.
  • Heat heavy cream and espresso in small saucepan just until it starts to boil (carefully watch or the cream will overflow!).
  • Add to bowl with chocolate and let sit 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and let cool to room temp.

Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Place egg whites and sugar a heat proof bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Place bowl over a pot with 1-2″ of simmering water and stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch or reads 160 degrees on a thermometer,
  • Transfer to the bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled and no longer warm to the touch (about 5-10 min).
  • Gradually add cubed butter in batches and mix until smooth and incorporated. Buttercream should be smooth and fluffy.
  • Turn speed down to low and add melted chocolate and cooled coffee. Mix until evenly combined.


Buttercream can be made ahead and kept up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container, or up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Let it come to room temperature before using.

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