Artisanal little luxuries, with big impact

We believe an object can elevate both beholder and maker. In a world of mass-produced goods, we offer artisan-made home and apparel crafted in fair-trade environments from around the globe. We strive to live fully, slow down to enjoy life’s little luxuries, and choose everyday to create a world connecting maker, owner and earth.

June 11, 2020 3 min read

25 April, 12:00

Fair Trade Baking: Olivia Lam's Mocha Chocolate Cake Recipe

Published by Jessie, Co-Founder, Pokoloko

Ever wonder where your ingredients come from and how they were made? We've teamed up with our friend and Ottawa-based home baker expert Olivia Lam to explore how to sweeten your menu while operating in a fair trade supply chain.

Olivia dreamed up this delicious Mocha Chocolate Cake recipe that makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake. She used chocolate from Hummingbird, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Almonte, Ontario, and coffee from Cloudforest, a direct-trade and ecological coffee roaster based in Hull, Quebec. Cloudforest sources beans from the magical region of Intag, Ecuador, a remote, mountainous, semi-tropical climate perfect for growing beans. Olivia also used Pokoloko hand towels in her kitchen throughout the process, for function and style. Take a look at her delicious, ethical recipe below. 

Ingredients for Cake

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 

¾ cup unsweetened Cocoa powder

1 ½ cup granulated sugar 

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt 

½ cup canola or vegetable oil 

2 large eggs at room temperature

¾ cup sour cream at room temperature

½ cup buttermilk at room temperature (or ½ Tbsp. lemon juice and regular milk to fill ½ cup)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup freshly brewed Cloudforest coffee (or coffee of choice)


Ingredients for Mocha Buttercream

1 lb unsalted butter at room temperature

1.5 – 2 cups of icing sugar (taste test for sweetness and adjust as needed)

1 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder

1 Tbsp instant espresso powder

1 Tbsp pure Vanilla extract


Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache

½ cup finely chopped Hummingbird Un-tempered baking chocolate 

¼ cup heavy cream 



Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 8-inch (8 x 3 inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes release easily from the pan. You can also use 9 x 3 inch cake pans. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the oil, eggs, and sour cream together on medium speed until combined. Add the buttermilk (or substitute) and vanilla and combine until blended. 

Add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, add the freshly brewed coffee and mix until the batter I completely blended. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until a cake tester or tooth pick comes out clean. 

Remove cakes from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then remove and cool on a wire rack. 


Mocha Buttercream 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter until smooth with a paddle attachment.

While the butter is mixing, sift the icing sugar, salt, cocoa and espresso powder in a separate bowl. 

Slowly mix the sugar mixture into the butter. Add in the vanilla extract and keep mixing. When everything is well mixed, your buttercream is ready to go.


Chocolate Ganache 

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it reaches a simmer. 

Place the chopped chocolate into a glass bowl. When the cream is ready, pour over chocolate and slowly mix until you get a creamy consistency. Allow to cool before layering on top of cake.


Assembling the Cake

  1. On a revolving cake stand, place one layer of your chocolate cake. Using a spreading spatula, add a 1cm layer of mocha buttercream and spread it evenly over the cake layer. 
  2. Place the second cake layer on top of the buttercream layer. Spread another layer of buttercream evenly across the surface of the second cake layer. 
  3. Fill in the gap between the cake layers with buttercream. Using the buttercream, spread it over the sides of the cake. You can smooth it out with a spreading spatula or a decorating comb/icing smoother.
  4. Smooth a layer of chocolate ganache over the top of your cake. Option to have ganache drips down the side of your cake. 
  5. Finally, if you have leftover buttercream, use a piping bag and tip to decorate the top of your cake with dollops of buttercream. I have created swirls around the rim of the cake. 
  6. Enjoy your cake straight away or store in an air tight container for 3-4 days.

How did your cake turn out? We'd love to see yours! Snap some pics and post with #pokoliving and @pokolokoltd to be featured on Poko's social! Happy fair trade baking and enjoy! XO