Monash Cook-Off #6: Classic Mocha Cake

Written by: Christie Kitlam Wong

Featuring: Kok Xue Lin

Baking comes easily for some but while for others, not so. Well, based on the picture below we all know which category Xue Lin falls into. One surprising fact is that while she has magic hands when it comes to sweets, she doesn’t consume as much as she makes 

Mocha is typically a blend of chocolate and coffee, and mocha cake is the same thing in cake form. The tastes usually are varying balances of bittersweet, with some taking the coffee flavour to new dimensions by adding kahlua (coffee flavoured liqueur). Even though it’s found in your everyday bakeries and cafes, Xue Lin has her own take on the cake (heh) below.


To start, what would you call this cake? 

“It’s mocha cake with chocolate mocha cream and walnut crumb filling.” 


Wow, that sounds heavenly! What inspired you to make this cake, any interesting backstory to it?

“It’s actually a birthday cake I made for my best friend for her 21st birthday. Since i couldn’t celebrate it with her due to this quarantine, I thought it’d be great to make it up to her with a homemade birthday cake. (laughs) I love baking for other people.” 

That is very sweet of you and I’m sure she loved it. I can see that you enjoy giving your treats out to other people, rather than keeping them to yourself.

“Yes! Sweets make everyone happy and it’s like a win-win situation for me because baking is my healing space and the fact that what I bake can make someone else happy is like a big bonus. My friend was the one who encouraged me to join this competition since I was already baking, so I took the leap of faith and joined. “

I’m very glad you listened to her then, that cake looks fantastic. Now,let me in on your secrets as to how I can make that masterpiece of yours in my own kitchen as well?

“It’s a genoise cake which means it’s more of a sponge-like cake. I actually found the recipe on Youtube but I have it written down here. So to make the mocha sponge cake, you need to make the coffee mixture first by adding butter, hot milk and coffee powder together. Then you’ll need to sift the cake flour a couple of times to ensure the texture of the cake is fine. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and make meringue by adding sugar in three batches into the whites, beating them until they reach a ‘soft but not too stiff peak’ stage. Next, add the yolks and beat them until they’re all incorporated. Following that, sift the cake flour and fold it in gently with a spatula. When that’s done, add some of the batter into the coffee mixture prepared earlier and mix that too. Then we pour that mixture into the cake batter and mix everything gently to prevent too much air from being removed.Lastly, pour the batter into a 6 inch cake mould and bake at 160 degrees for 35 minutes.” 

Whew! That sounds like a lot of work just to make the cake! Tell me about the toppings.

“Well, there are three components to that. First would be the mocha syrup. You basically just mix water, sugar, cocoa powder and coffee together. For the mocha cream frosting, just boil the heavy cream and melt the chocolate and coffee powder into the cream. Make sure to let the mixture cool sufficiently. Lastly, the crumbs are just a handful of toasted walnuts and crushed McVities biscuits. Very simple. “

For someone talented like you, of course it is! Have you been baking for a long time or is it just something that came to you during this lockdown?

“Actually, I have been baking here and there since I was 15. Nothing serious back then, it was all over the place like random spurts of inspiration. Now I’m slowly getting more serious about it.” 

It seems like you have a lot of passion when it comes to baking! Last question, what do you plan to do with the money that you’ve won? 

“Well, I’d like to buy more baking tools.”

That seems like a sensible thing to me. Here’s the ingredient list below if you’d like to try your hand at making Xue Lin’s cake:- 

For the mocha cake:

  1. 150g eggs (separated)
  2. 100g sugar
  3. 35g milk
  4. 5g instant coffee powder
  5. 26g unsalted butter
  6. 100g cake flour

For the mocha syrup to keep the cake moist:

  1. 50g water
  2. 25g sugar
  3. 6g cocoa powder
  4. 5g instant coffee powder

For the mocha cream frosting:

(Heat in pot)

  1. 64g heavy cream
  2. 4g instant coffee powder
  3. 30-40g dark chocolate
  4. (Whipped in separate bowl)
  5. 250g heavy cream
  6. 35g sugar

For the Walnut crumb filling:

  1. A handful of toasted walnuts
  2. 3 – 4 pieces of crushed Mcvites biscuits 

-ther recipe, see you next week!

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