Coffee Basil Layer Cake

Easy Coffee Basil Layer Cake
This is the perfect dessert for any coffee lovers out there. The Coffee Basil Layer Cake is perfectly moist and light.

So as we all know, Father’s Day is coming up and I’ve got a Coffee Basil Layer Cake that will knock your socks off. Generally speaking, I’ve never been great at gift-giving on Father’s Day. My dad and grandpa are incredibly hard to shop for, so I’ve found that baked goods are always the best option (and really, when are they not?). Last year I went with my Kahlua Chocolate Crinkle Cookies but this year I’ve got my Coffee Basil Layer Cake. This is one of my easy, shortcut recipes that uses pre-made cake mix. You know how much I love a good shortcut recipe, because who has the time to bake from scratch every time? I’m a food blogger and even I don’t have that kind of time! We all get a little busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a delicious dessert every now and then.

A few weeks ago, The Fiancé and I took a long walk to Black Dog Gelato, a small-batch gelato shop in our neighborhood, to get some fun ice cream. I tried the Coffee Basil gelato and fell absolutely in love with the flavor combination. As I was eating my ice cream, I was thinking of all the ways I could recreate this amazing flavor pairing in a recipe. This Coffee Basil Layer Cake was the perfect reincarnation of that lovely gelato flavor. The way that the basil complements the floral notes of coffee in this cake will absolutely blow your mind. And if the dad(s) in your life love coffee as much as my dad and grandpa, then they will absolutely love this cake. It’s moist, packed with flavor, and cuts beautifully. What more could you possibly want in a cake? Nothing, that’s what.

This recipe uses boxed cake mix, but feel free to use your own yellow cake recipe as a substitution. Either way, the cake will taste amazing and you’ll be hailed as a master cake baker. Okay, maybe that last bit isn’t 100% guaranteed, but you will definitely get tons of compliments.


Serves 1 9-inch cake, 8-9 people

Coffee Basil Layer Cake

25 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hr, 15 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


    Coffee Basil Cakes
  • 1 box White Cake Mix
  • 3 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Instant Coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Basil, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
  • Coffee Basil Buttercream
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon Iodized Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 4 tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Instant Coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Basil, finely chopped


    Coffee Basil Cakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and move the wire rack to the middle of the oven.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the unsalted butter, milk, instant coffee, basil, and vanilla bean paste. Heat the saucepan over a low heat until the butter is melted, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  3. Place a strainer over a medium bowl and strain the milk mixture into the bowl. Set it aside and cool it to room temperature.
  4. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cake mix, eggs, greek yogurt, and milk mixture. Mix at low-medium speed until the ingredients are fully combined and the batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  5. Grease a two 9" cake pans and split the batter in half between each pan.
  6. Lift each pan a few inches above a hard surface (counter or tabletop) and drop. Repeat the step 2-3 times for each pan to release air bubbles in the batter.
  7. Bake each layer for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan for 20-30 minutes on a wire rack.
  9. Run the dull edge of a butter knife around the edges of the cake to loosen. Turn out the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Set aside.
  10. Coffee Basil Buttercream and Assembly
  11. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and the basil to a food processor and pulse until the basil is in small, fine pieces. Set aside.
  12. Add the heavy cream and instant coffee to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30-45 seconds. Stir the cream mixture until the coffee dissolves. Set aside.
  13. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at low-medium speed for a few minutes.
  14. Add the basil powdered sugar to your butter mixture one cup at a time and mix on low until fully incorporated. Scraped down the sides as needed.
  15. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla bean paste, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the coffee cream mixture and beat for 3 minutes.
  16. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add another cup of powdered sugar (without basil). If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add the remaining coffee cream mixture 1 tablespoons at a time.
  17. Slather the frosting over the top of one cake and spread evenly. Place the other cake layer on top of the frosted layer and frost the exterior of the layered cake.

This is the perfect dessert for any coffee lovers out there. The Coffee Basil Layer Cake is perfectly moist and light.
This is the perfect dessert for any coffee lovers out there. The Coffee Basil Layer Cake is perfectly moist and light.

My thoughts prayers go out to the victims and families that were affected by the shooting in Orlando last week. I’ve been watching news clips and reading articles about the victims who were lost in the shooting and my heart breaks every time. What’s even more heartbreaking, is watching people on the news and social media use this incident to further hate-based agendas. When a tragedy like this strikes it is our responsibility, as the ones left behind, to react with love, compassion, and thoughtful discussionand nothing less.