Food. Love. Mom Life. Travel

Ebinger’s Yellow Layer Cake with Mocha Frosting and Hard Chocolate

Yesterday the world lost an incredibly amazing woman, my Nanny. And, this post is dedicated to her.

If my Nanny could tell us what she wanted today she would tell us to dress in our fanciest clothes, eat the best meal we could and use our finest china to do so, dance, sing, laugh. She lived everyday like that. She savored every moment in life, big or small. She had celebrations just because. Sparklers weren’t just for the 4th of July, presents and cake weren’t just for Birthdays, fancy clothes or elegant delicious meals weren’t just for special occasions and dreams weren’t just for sleeping.

People that knew her, even if it were for a brief time, lives were touched and those that didn’t know her will never understand the special person they were missing out on.

Thinking back, a great deal of my childhood memories and fond moments were spent with my Nanny and Grandpa. She taught me lessons I have carried on with me my whole life. She showed me in her own uniqueness and quirkiness that it’s ok to be different. In fact you should be different. Be yourself. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks as long as you are true to yourself. Confidence is everything and she had more confidence in one hand then most people can muster up in a whole lifetime. She showed me to stand up for myself, speak my mind, ask questions and never stop learning. She showed me there was a world beyond what I knew in my Dix Hills bedroom. Plays to see, countries to explore, music to play, paint to create masterpieces with, food to be enjoyed and magical places to escape to if need be. She taught me that it doesn’t matter if you win and that it’s more important to be able to lose. She showed me that women should and can be independent and strong. She taught me to stop and appreciate little moments in life, to unbuckle my seatbelt in the back of the car while driving over the 59th street bridge and take a look out the back window at Manhattan twinkling at night. Lick the cake batter off the whisk, ride the glass elevators of the Marriott Marque, have tea at the Plaza because thats what Eloise did, talk in different accents because its funny, collect things that make me happy, play dress up no matter my age. She was my biggest fan and cheerleader. She taught me what unconditional love is.

I celebrate the life of an amazing woman, my Nanny, my friend.

If you’re from New York (especially Brooklyn) you know the name Ebinger’s. Even if, like me, you were born long after the iconic bakery closed it’s doors, you know there is nothing like an Ebinger’s cake. Bakeries all over NY have been trying to recreate some of Ebinger’s classic desserts like their Black Out Cake and their Yellow Layer Cake with Hard Chocolate. This was my grandparents most favorite cake and made an appearance more ofte than not. If you ask my Grandfather today he will still tell you it’s the only cake worth getting. For most Brooklynites Ebinger’s wasn’t just cakes, it was a way of life.
When I heard the news that my Nanny had passed, I took to the kitchen to clear my mind and gather my emotions. I decided to try and recreate my Grandmother’s favorite dessert in honor of her. Though I know nothing is ever as good as the original, my version of Ebinger’s Yellow Cake with Mocha Frosting and Hard Chocolate tastes just as good, if not better than all those recreations I have tried over the years.
If you grew up an Ebingerist or have lived with stories of  the famous bakery from parents and grandparents or if you just want to try a reallllly awesome cake, give this a try.
For Cake (from Joy of Baking)

6 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

For Mocha Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground dark coffee

1 tablespoon milk

For Hard Chocolate:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces dark chocolate chips

For Garnish:

1 candied cherry


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9-inch x 1 1/2 inch cake pans and set aside.
In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla extract, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients.
Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk and mix on low speed with an electric mixer until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg.
Divide cake batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface (Pans will be about half full).
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.
Cool completely.

While cake is cooling make mocha frosting by combining powdered sugar, ground coffee and cocoa powder in a small bowl, set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip butter until fluffy.
Add vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar mixture a little at a time.
Once all the powdered sugar has been added, add in milk and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides as needed.

Once cake has cooled cut each cake in half. There will be and extra layer, use for something else.
On a piece plate covered in parchment paper, place one layer of cake and top with some of the mocha frosting.
Top with another layer of cake and top with some more mocha frosting.
Top with last layer of cake and using the rest of the frosting, frost entire layer cake with a thin layer of mocha frosting.
Place cake in fridge to cool for at least an hour.

When cake is almost cooled prepare the hard chocolate by melting butter and chocolate in a double broiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

When cake is done chilling, remove from refrigerator and very carefully pour melted chocolate over top, making sure to cover the sides as well, using an offset spatula.
Place cake back in refrigerator to chill until chocolate is hard, about 1 hour.
Place a single candied cherry in center.

36 thoughts on “Ebinger’s Yellow Layer Cake with Mocha Frosting and Hard Chocolate”

  • My sweet Beth, what a beautiful post and wonderful tribute to an amazing woman! Thank you for sharing. Sending all my love to you, E and your whole family. Wishing you all peace and comfort. xo

  • So sorry to hear about the loss of your Grandmother,she looks and sounds like a wonderful person.And what a lovely cake you made to her tribute.

  • Oh no Beth… I’m terribly sorry to hear the loss of your grandma. You have such a wonderful memory of her and she’ll be smiling reading your post today. Being far away from home, this kind of news is very hard to take. As my grandparents are getting old, I constantly worry if I have enough time to meet them when I go back. Hope you find some comfort, despite physically far away from your family members. Thinking of you!

  • I am sorry for your loss, but what a lovely tribute. I pinned it so I won’t forget about it, and hopefully that will bring you plenty of much deserved traffic. 🙂

  • You were lucky to have someone so wonderful like your Nanny…Really sorry on your lost Beth.. and you did beautiful work with this layer cake to honor her. Big hug 🙂

  • Beth,

    I saw your post on Pinterest and followed you over here. This is my stepfather-in-law’s favorite cake EVER. He loves it so much, it’s like the cake is part of the family. (I know Ebinger’s no longer exists, but they get a very similar cake from some place in Great Neck.) So when I saw this post, I immediately forwarded the link to him and my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law. Maybe we will make it for him for his 85th birthday, which is coming up.

    Thank you — and so sorry for your loss.


  • Beth, your grandmother sounded like such a special woman and it is so incredible that you had such a close relationship with her! I love hearing stories about her, and about your time together. Also, having tasted this cake I can tell you that it’s perfect, and that your nanny would agree. She’d be so proud of you, for so many reasons. All my love. xo

  • This was such a lovely post and I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your grandmother sounds like such a wonderful person and this keep seems a perfect way to celebrate her life.

  • Your nanny sounds like an amazing woman…I can see her spirit living on in you. Thank you for sharing…and thank you for all the support. It means more to me than you know. Hugs and love from Austin.

  • what a lovely way to honor your grandma. the cake looks beautiful and sounds delicious. i have heard of ebinger’s because of their blackout cake. great post!

  • Sorry for your loss, but I’m sure you can find solace in knowing she’s in a better place. And what better way to remember your Nanny… food is my favorite family heirloom.

    all the best

  • I made this tonight for my husbands birthday. It was very good and everyone loved it! I will keep this recipe for future use. One thing that really made it special was the dark chocolate over the mocha chocolate icing. The flavors work well together. It was something special for my husbands 35th birthday! Thank you for this special recipe.

  • Your nanny sounds like a wonderful woman and your tribute to her is beautifully written. I came across your site while looking for a recipe for yellow cake with hard chocolate frosting – it’s been my favorite since I was a kid, and Ebinger’s in Bensonhurst was always one of my favorite bakeries. It was a sad day when they closed. I can still taste their wonderful pumpkin pie. Every pumpkin pie I have ever eaten since is compared to Ebinger’s and I although I’ve had some that were excellent, I don’t think I’ll ever taste one that’s 100% up to the ones that I remember. I loved their brownies too. They were kind of plain-looking, no frosting, and nothing fancy about them, but they were wonderful. Thanks for posting the recipe, my wife and I love to bake and, and with Thanksgiving coming up we plan to try it soon. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  • Loved Ebinger’s Chocolate Layer Cake as a kid growing up in Bay Ridge. I asked for it every year for my birthday cake. Every once in a while for years I googled looking for a recipe. Going to try this one and if it tastes as good as it looks, I will be one happy little kid putting a piece in the freezer to eat the next morning!

    Your Nanny sounds like a wonderful lady and she knew a good piece of cake when she had one. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Dean Link- your post was a mirror of my “Ebinger’s” Bakery cakes growing up in Bay Ridge also. Been searching forever for this recipe. I’ll remember what you said about finely grounding the coffee, when I try it. PS- Dunkin just came out with a “caramel latte” donut with chocolate icing and there it was- that Ebinger’s Mocha Cream filling inside!

  • Made it first time and it was close, but my coffee was not ground nearly fine enough. Perhaps a bit strong on coffee flavor too, so will cut back the amount. Cake was good, but a bit dry at altitude. Dark chocolate icing was spot on perfect. Birthday coming, so trying it again.

    • Did you try it again?

      I was wondering the same, that i should ground the coffe grinds really fine cause i don’t remember feeling coffee grinds in the creme.

      Did it taste good after you cut back on the coffee? How much needs to be cut back?

      I can’t wait to bake this cake but right now I have to wait.

      Thanks, Susan

  • What a beautiful tribute…I remember as a young girl standing in line with my mom and smelling the greatest smells I will never forget! The Butter Horn cake, with its flaky layers…then their famous black out cake, with its delectable, dark chocolate cake, and frosting, so yummy, and then of course the yellow cake with the mocha frosting, to die for… I remember the woman behind the counter, (which I had to stand on my toes to see, lol), packing up the boxes of cake, tying them up with that famous red and white string! Oh how this brings back memories and I want to thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe with us.. I made this cake 2 times already, and it was delicious, and it really takes me back to my childhood… 🙂

  • Dear Beth,
    Your grandmother’s cakes are legendary.
    My sincerest condolences that she has passed on.

    Know that her legacy will live on all around the country.
    My mother used to visit her bakery in Brooklyn when she was just a child. She has the fondest memories of your Grandma’s cakes.
    Now an adult myself, I am replicating her cakes in my home for my mother, as we celebrate her birthday by recreating memories.

    Thank you for sharing this and other recipes. The best way I believe we can honor someone like your Nanny is to continue with her traditions and recipes.

    Many blessings to you and yours.

    Amanda in NC (a New York native)

  • First, I would like to say I am sorry for loss such a wonderful soul.

    Secondly, This cake haunts me! Ebinger’s Hard Icing Cake is the best cake I’ve ever had, bar none, and I *love* cake. One day I plan to try you recipe, even though I am not a baker. But for the possibility of tasting that 🙂 c cake again, when I grieved it was gone forever, I will try to bake.

    I pray this recipe is really close to Ebinger’s Hard Icing Cake.

    Thank you,

    • I feel the same, this cake has haunted me too. For all these decades it’s been gone I always consider it the best cake bar none as well! I used to scour Bensonhurst stores looking for it. I didn’t knpw about the bakery. Those days Ebinger’s hard icing cake was delivered along with Entemann’s.

      Have you tried the recipe, is it close?

      From one Susan to another 😉

  • I also have fond memories of this cake. My grandmother used to bring it us from Ebingers. I cannot wait to try I baking it.
    Thank you for the post

  • I know it is a little late but I am sorry for your loss I remember as a child growing up in Brooklyn NY enjoying the best layer hard icing cake from Ebinger. I just googled the recipe and was lucky to come upon your site. I will try to make it and I will email you the results I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing.

  • I remember when I was told I could not buy Ebingers Hard Icing Cake anymore. I was so upset. In my opinion it’s the best cake I have *ever* had. And I am a cake fiend. I love the hard icing better than any other icing, absolutely but it was the creme inside the cake that always got me drooling when I thought about it.

    And the when I found out ithe creme was called mocha flavor I was surprised. Becaise I’ve tried mocha flavor in other things and never enjoyed it. But it must be something special about Ebinger’s recipe.

    I really hope this will taste like Ebinger’s. I have bever been able to stop looking for cakes like their Hard Icing Cake for decades.

    Sounds like you were very blessed to have such a woman in your life. And we are all blessed for this recipe bc there isn’t any other recipes for this cake that I’ve seen.

    The picture you have looks just like Ebinger’s cake. My dreams of this cake, which have been for decades since they went out of business, will be answered if it tastes like Ebingers. So thank you for posting!!!! I will try this recipe first chance I get!

    I am very surprised coffee grounds make up the creme. I wonder if I was unable to sit still back in the day after eating this cake bc I sure never stopped at one slice. That would be impossible for me!! 😄😄

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