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Cake on a Cake Stand with Buttercream Frosting

Mocha Buttercream + Peanut Butter Buttercream Variation

This mocha buttercream is made with whole eggs instead of just egg whites which gives it a lusciously smooth and creamy feel, almost like mousse. The coffee and bittersweet chocolate are a perfect match for all of the sugar in the whipped Italian meringue that is the base.
Course: Desserts


  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lb (2 cups, 4 sticks) unsalted butter softened

To Make it Mocha Buttercream

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate very finely chopped, melted over a double boiler and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp water

To Make it Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter. It should be a commercial brand like Skippy or Jif. NOT natural/fresh ground


  • In a small sauce pan fitted with a Candy Thermometer, bring the 1 1/4 cups sugar, water and cream of tartar to a boil over medium-high heat. If any of the sugar crystals get onto the side of the pan, be sure to wipe them down with a wet clean pastry brush. The sugar needs to cook until it hits 242° F on the thermometer. This takes several minutes.
  • While that is boiling, place the eggs, egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip on medium speed until they are thick, pale in color and hold a ribbon when the beater is lifted. 
  • Once the sugar syrup has reached its temperature of 242° F, slowly pour it into the bowl of whipped egg yolks while the beater is going on slow. Be sure to pour it along the bowl so that the hot syrup doesn't hit the beater and splatter! Allow the eggs and sugar mixture to beat on medium high speed until the eggs have cooled, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time. The buttercream will go through a stage that looks soupy and curdled, but continue to add all of the butter and it will come together. The finished buttercream will be smooth and silky.

Mocha Buttercream

  • Add a tablespoon of water to the espresso powder and dissolve. Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the buttercream.
  • Mix to combine and decorate your cake. The buttercream will freeze if you have any left, wrapped really well in plastic. Just allow it to come bake to room temperature and whisk it on low speed to smooth it out.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • Instead of using the coffee and melted chocolate, use 1 cup smooth peanut butter. It should be a commercial brand like Skippy or Jif, because they are emulsified and have the consistency that you want. Natural fresh ground peanut butter is awesome, but it is heavy and will make the buttercream too greasy and may even separate if you use too much.