Enough for 1 (3-layer) cake.

Note: You will need a candy thermometer to make this icing. From Laurie Pyle of Cocoa & Fig of Shakopee. She prefers to blend half of this recipe with half the American-style Mocha Buttercream Icing (printed with the cake recipe) because the combination makes a very smooth icing. If you plan to combine the two, then make half of each recipe (or you will end up with too much icing).

• 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

• 1/4 c. heavy cream

• 3 tbsp. instant espresso powder

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 5 egg whites

• 11/2 c. sugar, divided

• 1/4 c. cold water

• 2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, at room temperature


In a double boiler over gently simmering water, combine chocolate, cream, instant espresso powder and vanilla extract, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and instant espresso powder is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Place eggs whites in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip egg whites on low speed.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 11/4 cups sugar and water and stir gently to combine.

Place a candy thermometer in saucepan. When sugar mixture reaches about 225 degrees, increase speed on mixer to medium and whip egg whites until frothy.

Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar to egg whites and whip until whites form soft peaks. When sugar mixture reaches 245 degrees, remove thermometer and add syrup to egg whites in a slow, steady stream.

Increase speed to high and whip until meringue has cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.

When butter is incorporated, increase speed to high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until buttercream is light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add melted chocolate mixture until icing is smooth.