I am a big fan of coming up with ways to use leftovers. It makes no sense to me to have odds and ends of this and that hanging about, taking up cupboard/fridge/freezer space that could otherwise be filled with something new and exciting.

On this particular occasion I’m not sure that it really counts as a ‘leftover’; but there was the tail-end of a bottle of Tia Maria in the booze cabinet which was simply monopolising space that could otherwise have been occupied with a nice bottle of gin. I also had some eggs that were nearing the end of their useful life, so I took the obvious next step and decided to make a chocolate and Tia Maria cake.

Now I am quite a fan of coffee, chocolate and cake, so it’s not a massive leap to the conclusion that I might like a boozy coffee and chocolate cake. Shockingly enough, I rather liked it, although my family of gannets ate most of it, meaning I only got two tiny slices!

Chocolate and Tia Maria Cake

This cake is a The Usual Saucepans original recipe and made a two-layer 20cm cake. For this recipe I weighed out the ingredients according to the weight of my eggs (they were a variety of sizes), so the rest of the ingredients are in ratios rather than weights. If you want to go with actual numbers, I would suggest an egg is about 50g.

Chocolate and Tia Maria (coffee) Cake


The Cake:
3 Eggs
Self Raising Flour (3 eggs’ worth)
Dark Brown Sugar (1 egg’s worth)
Caster Sugar (2 eggs’ worth)
Butter (3 eggs’ worth)
25 ml Tia Maria
25 ml Strong Espresso
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

The Icing:
200g Icing Sugar (sifted)
60g Butter
50ml Tia Maria
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon of milk
Dark Chocolate covered Coffee Beans (to Decorate)


Preheat oven to 180°C and line two 20cm cake tins.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl (with an electric whisk, if you’re as lazy as me), then sift in the flour and the cocoa powder.
 Mix until everything is combined, then whisk in the eggs.

Add in the Tia Maria and Espresso and mix until light and ‘fluffy’. Add a little milk if it looks a little dry.

Transfer into the cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Remove and allow to cool.

Make the buttercream carefully (to avoid icing sugar eruptions) by mixing the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder. Once these are roughly combined, add in the Tia Maria and mix in well. Add the milk in a little at a time until the icing is ready to spread on the cake.

Spread liberally between the layers and on the top.

Once the icing has set, slice and serve.