Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Caramel Sauce

 A rich and decadent Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Caramel Sauce is finished with crumbled Bahlsen Waffeletten wafers.

I was grateful to have this Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Caramel to bake this week. For this first time in forever, my daughter does not live in the same town I do and her birthday is this coming Sunday, September 14th.

September is actually the No 1 birthday month and the single most popular date for birthdays all year is September 16th which is when Bahlsen Waffeletten, a European cookie company, celebrates their 125th year.

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Lauren and I just missed it by two days so I think it’s fair that I co-celebrate with Bahlsen Waffeletten and make this cake also in honor of Lauren. If you know what a year she had, there is huge cause for celebration!

Bahlsen Waffeletten decided to have a birthday cake recipe contest, “Let the Good Times Roll,’ and I was invited  to participate along with 15 other bloggers. The winner will be announced September 16th although I think we’re already winners as each blogger was sent a beautiful Tiffany cake plate just for participating.

Still, winning would mean a 3-day workshop of our choice at one of the legendary Le Cordon Bleu’s “Bleu Ribbon Kitchen” US locations and I know I could use a break from routine and what a fun break that would be!

Why  “Let the Good Times Roll?”  Because Waffeletten cookies are multiple layers of thin, crunchy wafers rolled into a cylinder and then dipped into either Milk or Dark European chocolate. We were each sent a package of the Dark and Milk Chocolate dipped cookies and encouraged to keep it easy, be creative and use the cookies in any way we wanted.

Inside, outside or upside down…that was all left to us! The one thing that had me mulling a bit too much? Make it easy. What? That would be, well, too easy! I thought about it and had lots of ideas but all of them required cutting layers or using a piping tip or making meringues and while none were difficult techniques the truth is they were not going to be easy if time was an issue.

Bahlsen Waffeletten Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Drizzle

So I took OFF the thinking cap and started to deconstruct. Forget about piping, think about a drizzle. Forget about cutting layers; how about one single layer? And that was the exercise I needed. Really what is easier or prettier than a single layer Bundt cake? I started to hunt for my Bundt…and found four!

I forgot I had four so that was fun and my idea started to feel even more perfect when I remember that the word Bundt has German leanings even if made by an American manufacturer. Credited with creating the Bundt pan in 1950; H. David Dahlquist, the founder of Minneapolis-based Nordic Ware, said he did so at the request of Rose Joshua and Fannie Schanfield, members of the Minneapolis chapter of Hadassah, a Jewish women’s service organization.

According to an article in the Fall 2005 issue of Generations, the newsletter of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, Fannie remembers a Hadassah luncheon when Rose lamented the quality of light and fluffy American-style cakes, and longed for the rich, dense cakes of her European childhood.

These, however, required a special type of of pan—one with a hole in the center that allowed heat to penetrate heavy cake batter from all sides. With this type of form, a heavier batter could be baked without leaving under-baked dough in the center. Sounded perfect for my Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Caramel!

Bahlsen Waffeletten Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Drizzle

However there is a citation for the ‘bundt form’ as early as the 1903 edition of the famous Milwaukee Settlement Cookbook, 6 decades prior to Dahlquist filing for a trademark. The Settlement Cookbook, first published in 1901 in Milwaukee to raise funds for the Settlement House for immigrants, is considered to be the most successful fund-raising cookbook in American history.

It is still in print; the 1976 edition was named to the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. The bottom line for me was I thought it perfect to use these cookies made in Germany with a cake known to have a history stemming from the German Kugelhopf pan in this photo. My pan was not quite the same but it was similar enough; add to everything else that I’m part German and the deed was done…or at least the pan was decided on!

The cake was almost easier. Because the cake was going to have the cookies as part of the ingredients I decided to flip flop a mocha idea and instead of a chocolate cake with some coffee components I decided to make an espresso cake with chocolate components. With a form as decorative as this one I couldn’t actually see using the whole cookies for decoration so I decided to implement them in some way and as it turns out, two ways.


Half are crushed and added to some brown sugar and coffee liqueur and dropped into the cake batter; you can see that tunnel in the cake above. Just a nice little surprise bite. The rest? Easy as pie (part of our requirements remember?). I made the most amazing espresso and coffee liqueur caramel sauce and after drizzling it over the cake I just covered it with the other half of the crumbs.

Coffee and Kahlua Caramel Sauce

A bit of crunch and some bites of chocolate combined with that sauce and a real coffee flavored cake and the results were divine. And easy. And pretty. Which equals almost perfect in my book. What made it a true win-win? I have SO many willing tasters as neighbors; asking for another slice to take home is always a surefire key that something was successful.

Bahlsen Waffeletten Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Drizzle

Now if the judges could just be three little boys I know I would be the winner but barring that; I still am. I love the cake plate and I love the boys who came down to help me eat some slices. I’m off to deliver some more to my neighbor Sam and his family; it’s nice to have these young strapping men near me; they can still eat these calories with abandon and I get joy from sharing with them.

And well, OK, maybe a slice or two is squirreled away for me…and Lauren (I’ll keep a slice in the freezer for you honey for when you come  home!). SOON please?

PIN IT! ‘Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Caramel’

Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Sauce Finished with Bahlsen Waffeletten wafers on a Tiffany cake plate.
Espresso Cake with Espresso Chocolate Sauce Finished with Bahlsen Waffeletten wafers.

Bahlsen Waffeletten Espresso Cake

A rich espresso chocolate cake topped with espresso chocolate caramel sauce and Bahlsen Waffeletten Wafers.
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Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Cakes, Cupcakes & Cheesecake
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 684 kcal


For the Cake

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 3 tsps of dried espresso divided (2 Tbsps in flour mix, 2 tsps added to vanilla which will go into the cake and 1 tsp for the filling)
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sour cream

For the Filling

  • 2 ½ Tablespoons coffee liqueur
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped Bahlsen Waffeletten Cookies. Milk Chocolate, dark chocolate, or a combination.

For the Caramel

  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons Coffee Liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Espresso
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt

For the Garnish

  • ½ – ¾ cup coarsely chopped Bahlsen Waffeletten Cookies. Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or a combination of both.


To Make the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heavily butter and then flour Bundt pan.
  • Beat the butter and sugar with a mixer at low speed for 5 minutes or until creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time until completely incorporated; about 2 minutes per egg.
  • Combine the vanilla with 2 tsps of the dried espresso; add to the mixing bowl and beat until incorporated.
  • Combine the dry ingredients and 2 Tbsp of the dried espresso and whisk until mixed well. Add half to the mixture in the mixing bowl and beat for 30 seconds.
  • Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated well.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

To Make the Filling

  • Combine the coffee liqueur, espresso, brown sugar and chopped Bahlsen Waffeletten Cookies. Set aside.
  • Pour 3/4 of the batter into the cake pan. Top with the brown sugar cookie mixture and then put the remaining batter on top and mix slightly with a wooden or metal skewer.
  • Bake for 40-60 minutes (wide variety of pans available mean a wide temperature range. Bake until the cake feels sturdy and only crumbs come out when tested with a toothpick.

To Make the Caramel Sauce

  • While the cake is baking make the caramel. Mix together all of the ingredients and bring to a boil on medium heat. Turn to simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes until sauce thickens. Take off heat and allow to cool down.
  • When the cake tests done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan.
  • Drizzle a little bit of sauce around the center of the plate to help the cake stay in place.
  • Then drizzle the cake with sauce and immediately garnish with crushed Bahlsen Waffeletten Cookies. No fussing with this; it’s pretty as a mess!
  • Serve with additional caramel sauce on the side.


Nutrition Facts
Bahlsen Waffeletten Espresso Cake
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword cake, espresso
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  1. As far as I’m concerned, you win in all four categories of judging. This is a phenomenal looking cake and I wish you all the best in the contest. That Tiffany cake plate is a gorgeous gift too!
    Happy early birthday to Lauren! Wishing her a wonderful year full of good health and much happiness.

  2. This is a winning recipe in my eyes! Thank you for the bundt history. I think it is fabulous that you baked these delicious German cookies into the batter as well as decorated with them. Happy birthday Lauren. I hope your baby girl visits you soon!

  3. Directions are a little confusing. Under ingredients for the cake you listed “2 Tbsps plus 4 tsps of dried espresso, divided (2 Tbsps in flour mix, 2 tsps added to vanilla which will go into the cake and t tsps for the filling)” For the cake, you wrote “Combine the coffee liqueur with 2 tsps of the dried espresso; add to the mixing bowl and beat until incorporated.” There is no liqueur listed in the cake ingredients. Did you mean the vanilla? Also, where do the other 2 tsps of espresso go?
    Under the Caramel ingredients, you list: Brown sugar, Vanilla, Coffee Liqueur, Dried Espresso, and but no amounts.
    I really want to make this cake for my girls’ night. Thanks in advance.

    1. I noticed that I had left a space for amounts and forgot to fill them in but that was early Monday Judy…did you print it then? If you’ll go check again, I’ve fixed that and cleared up the espresso additions. Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Wow, Barb–You really knocked this one out of the park! Happy Birthday to Lauren (yay!) and to the wafery cookie people. You absolutely have my vote! =)

  5. I love this cake and would definitely want it for my birthday! I love the shape but more than that I love the flavors and the “tunnel” of filling and oh my the coffee caramel? Beautiful and beautiful deco and you should definitely win!!

  6. I don’t need to see the other entries in this contest. YOU WIN! And I would like to be a winner to by eating a slice of this cake! Goodness gracious I wish I was still your nearby neighbor! This is torture just looking at your goodies. I need to eat them too!!!

    1. Well thank you Pat! I felt like a winner just because my neighbors loved it…that’s always been my biggest challenge. 🙂

    1. Aw thanks Wendy…I wouldn’t mind but mostly I loved making a special cake in honor of my girl. This is a big year; last year was just a tiny bit less joyful. Just a bit. 🙂

  7. Well this looks like a winner to me! Best of luck. One in 15 odds are pretty darn good and this delicious looking cake closes them even more.

    1. They sent us such a beautiful cake plate that winning was not the be all and end all…thankfully; you know full well how that goes!

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