Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a couple months since my last post, but as one of my classmates put it, “grad school has no chill.” I just got back to a freezing cold Seattle after two weeks of basking in warm, sunny California weather. During my winter break, I had some fun baking projects with my sister, one of which was making two birthday cakes for one of my mom’s friends. We made a chocolate layer cake and a gingerbread bundt cake, and both were amazing! This is the first chocolate cake I’ve ever made that I actually thoroughly enjoyed. It was wonderfully moist, rich, and brimming with chocolate. I used the cake recipe from The Stay at Home Chef , but I made a few adjustments, including reducing the sugar and replacing the warm water with hot coffee, since I’ve been told time and time again that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. Despite the large amount of coffee, you can’t taste it, so if you’re not a coffee person (like me), don’t worry!
We also ran into the problem of not having enough 9 inch cake pans. Instead, we used 2 9-inch springform pans and one 9 inch tart pan. The tart pan was shallower and had a wavy edge, but I just made sure to grease and flour it, and the cake slid right out! I was worried about the wavy edges, but we just covered it with frosting 🙂 I tried to divide the batter equally between the three pans, but one of my springform pan layers turned out taller, so we just cut the top off. This also meant we got to taste-test, which made us even more excited for the final product. Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to get creative with your pans, as long as they have the same diameter!
For the frosting, I used a chocolate ganache recipe, waited for it to chill, then whipped it into oblivion, which yielded a wonderfully thick, chocolate-y ganache frosting. You can use whatever frosting you’d like, but this was just the one I chose. My sister whipped up some white buttercream icing for decoration, but you can decorate however you please! This cake was a huge hit at our family friend’s gathering, and I was incredibly pleased with how this cake turned out. Here’s the recipe for the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made!
The Best Chocolate Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-processed)
1 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups hot freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
16 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips (we used 4 oz chopped semisweet chocolate and 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour 3 9-inch round pans.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt, using a fork or whisk. Make sure to break up any large clumps of cocoa powder.
In the bowl of stand mixer or by hand in a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, coffee, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before inverting. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
This can be done in advance, since it takes a while for the ganache to cool.
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the heavy cream on high for 3-4 minutes, until bubbles start to form at the edges, but the cream is not boiling. Add the chocolate and stir continuously as the chocolate melts, until it become smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature (we left it for 2 hours), then whip with a stand mixer until it reaches a spreadable consistency. If it’s still dripping off the beaters, whip it some more until it doesn’t, since you don’t want your frosting running off the cake.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread the ganache frosting over the top, then add the second layer. Spread another layer of ganache frosting over the top of the second layer, then add the third layer. Spread the remainder of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake, then smooth it over. Decorate as you desire. Enjoy!