Espresso Loaf Cake

Espresso loaf cake is perfect for the holiday season!

Like many recipes, I fell in love with this cake from a photo on Instagram. I was instantly smitten with the texture and beautiful topping, and the idea of a cake that pairs perfectly with my morning coffee is my kind of cake. Enter this beauty, a loaf cake that’s just as delicious at breakfast as it is on a wintry afternoon.

Espresso Loaf Cake

Drizzled with espresso-vanilla glaze and topped with toasted pecans and jeweled cranberries, this espresso loaf cake is perfect for the holiday season.

Espresso Loaf Cake

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Espresso Loaf Cake

Espresso Loaf Cake

  • Author: Laura Kasavan
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 65 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf, 12 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
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Drizzled with espresso-vanilla glaze and topped with toasted pecans and jeweled cranberries, this espresso loaf cake is perfect for the holiday season.



  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp instant espresso (recommended: Starbucks VIA)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Glaze and Topping

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat butter, sugar, and instant espresso in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture (begin and end with flour mixture). Fold in toasted pecans and dried cranberries.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pan sharply to reduce air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, until cake is golden, springs back to the touch, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; carefully remove cake from pan and cool completely.
  6. For the glaze, whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, salt, espresso, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cake and top with toasted pecans and dried cranberries. Let glaze set before serving.


Inspired by Bon Appetit

Keywords: Espresso, Loaf Cake, Cake

Espresso Loaf Cake

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  1. For the espresso poundcake, are you suggesting that the two’ teaspoons of espresso would be in the form of the ground beans, or actually brewed espresso?

    1. Hi Bonnie, I used two teaspoons of instant espresso powder in the cake – I recommend Starbucks VIA. It’s dark and concentrated instant coffee, not just finely ground beans.

  2. Love this loaf! I live for coffee, so when it is included in baking, I’m all over it. That topping is fabulous 🙂

  3. Love the decadence of this recipe! Using espresso in a cake is the perfect way to add some depth and interest to a more standard recipe!

  4. I was daydreaming about making a gingerbread loaf this weekend…. until I saw this fabulous Espresso Loaf! Might make both before I dig into the annual cookie baking extravaganza!

  5. I’m always in awe of your photos Laura, but these today are just GORGEOUS! I just want to grab a slice right off my screen!! This sounds absolutely delicious and will be on my baking list very soon! Thanks for sharing!