Mocha Cakes

Here's the thing about Mocha Cakes. They are deceiving. When you tell someone that you are bringing Mocha Cakes, they picture some kind of Starbucks-inspired dessert. Not so. They have nothing to do with mocha, chocolate, or coffee...but I still refuse to call them anything but Mocha Cakes, because that's what Nan called them.

In scouring the internet, I only came up with one hit that seemed like "our" Maritime Mocha Cakes, courtesy of Cooking My Way Across Canada. There are several pictures of similar looking squares, but they call them "peanut cake bars"...admittedly, less deceiving that calling them Mocha Cakes, but I am not changing my ways now.

Maybe you recall when I've posted in the past about using Nan's recipes cards (like shortbread cookiesorange bread, and butterscotch squares). I can't even put into words how much I love using her recipes. I love her handwriting, I love the splatters on her favourites, and I love the memories that flood my mind when I take my first bite of the finished product.

I will provide you with my Nan's pound cake recipe, but I promise not to judge if you want to buy one. If you make Nan's recipe, don't forget to beat like hell, as instructed. (How awesome is that?!)

Doesn't Nan's pound cake just have the most perfect crust?

Now, Nan would use thinned vanilla icing. Since I already have some insecurities about the use of the word "mocha" for these squares, I use Nan's recipe for coffee icing. She used it exclusively on her coffee squares, but I don't think she'd mind me experimenting by using it on Mocha Cakes.

1 Pound Cake, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 Tblsp butter, melted
1 1/2 C icing sugar
3 Tblsp (+/-) hot coffee
3 C crushed peanuts (Nan would say unsalted peanuts, but I LOVE using salted!)

Combine melted butter, icing sugar, and coffee. Beat until smooth. You want the icing to be thin enough to drip, but not watery.

Roll cubes of cake into thin icing. Allow excess to drip off. Coat in peanuts and place on wax paper until set. Store in an airtight container. These also freeze well.

 Of course, I had to photograph them on her china...

I am linking this post with #ThisIsBliss ...a delicious recipes that bring back memories? Yeah, that's bliss.


  1. I see your blog has not been active for awhile, so you may not see this, but I was so happy to find this!!! I'm from NB (now living in the US), and my aunt used to always bring Mocha Cakes to family gatherings. I loved them!! She is gone now, and a few yrs ago, I decided to try to find a recipe. I finally found the one you mention, but that blog has been removed. I'm saving your recipe and definitely going to make them!
    Thanks so much!

    1. I tried to make them last luck with getting the icing on the pieces of cake...used a tooth pick...a fork...a deal. There has to be an easy way Aunt also made them all the time and they were soooo good.

    2. When we make them I freeze the pound cake before using. Cut it with an electric knife and use a fork to gently spear and dip into icing mix and cost. My problem is I can't seem to get the icing consistency the way my mom did - it goes clumpy. Does anyone have the "thinned vanilla icing" recipe she referred to - something non-coffee?

    3. 2 Tbsp Butter
      3 cups Icing Sugar
      2 tsp. Vanilla
      1/4 cup Milk

  2. Lemons are good. They many uses too. I want to try this for a cake. Thanks for the ingredients and instructions!

    Best Cheesecake

  3. These are the magic of my Christmas since I have been little. We always had them at Christmas time in Fredericton NB. I am making them for the first time for my family this year to surprise them.

  4. Thank you for posting this!My Nana was from Halifax N.S. She made these Mocha Cakes all the time. My sister and I made them as well as my Mom. The
    best!! She made Orange Pudding and Grapenut Pudding as well. Brings back memories