For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
For the Coffee Soak:
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Mascarpone Filling:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
For the Dusting:
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
While the cakes are baking, prepare the coffee soak by mixing the cooled brewed coffee, coffee liqueur (if using), and granulated sugar. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to create the filling.
Once the cakes are done, allow them to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then remove them from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, brush the tops of each cake layer with the coffee soak.
Place one cake layer on a serving platter, top with half of the mascarpone filling, and repeat with the second layer and the remaining filling.
Dust the top of the cake with unsweetened cocoa powder and instant espresso powder, if desired.
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Baking Time: 25-30 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Yield: 1 layer cake (8-10 servings)