An amazingly moist rich chocolate cake with light-as-air chocolate frosting. This is the ultimate chocolate layer cake.
I consider my birthday to be my personal New Year and celebrate accordingly. No overcrowded soirees and schwanky duds for this chicken; I prefer good company, introspection, bubbles, and my du jour favorite foods. This year, I had a hankering for Cuban sandwiches and chocolate cake. Cubans are pretty straight-forward (except that I used chicken … I just cannot help myself with the experimenting… it was okay; pork’s better). Cake, on the other hand … cake takes thought. Given that I’ve grown up with the queens of chocolate cakedom (Nonnie and Mom), this couldn’t be any ordinary cake… it had to exceed expectations. I was having a needs-expectations-exceeded birthday so the pressure was real. Birthday drama is my jam. Even made up cake drama.
I don’t generally choose recipes that scream “World’s Best!” and I especially don’t call mine “world’s best” because best is such a subjective term when it comes to, well, just about everything, and especially food. However, I can without reservation say that this is the chocolate cake of my [current] wildest confectionery dreams. (I can never be pegged down when it comes to my food proclivities … they can change on a dime and without rhyme or reason. If this admission is not giving you much confidence in this cake’s deliciousness then please, by all means, ignore my ranting! You must make this cake and swan dive your lips into it with abandon; it is that good … digression over).
This dream of a cake is a combination of the most delicious intensely chocolate cake from Add A Pinch and an ethereally decadent (sounds like an oxymoron but trust me on the description!) frosting from Love & Olive Oil.
Having had no idea I would be inspired, nay compelled, by my chocolate-love to post this cake, I’ve got no step-by-step pictures to share. Then again, if you aren’t enticed by the I-may-lick-my-screen close-up below to get right to baking, I can’t imagine more photos would help. That being said, and because I care, please know the links to the original recipes above have many pics and I’ve provided the written recipes below as I made the cake.
If you find yourself making this cake and are within a day’s drive, I’ll be over with the bubbles to celebrate. If you don’t want to share … totally understand … just let me know how it turns out. Happy Baking!
[My} World’s Best Chocolate Cake
CAKE (from AddAPinch.com)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup milk buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350º F. Make sure racks are in the center of the oven. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering and lightly flouring or, as I did, buttering the whole pan and lining the bottom with parchment.
Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, stir flour mixture until combined well.
Bring the water to a boil
Mix milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl and add to flour mixture and mix on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined. It will be thin.
Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the chocolate cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then gently slide a knife around the edges and remove from the pan, peel off the parchment (if you used it) and cool completely on a rack.
FROSTING (from LoveandOliveOil.com)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/4 cups dark or Dutch processed cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup full fat sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
10 ounces dark chocolate (60-70%), melted and cooled to lukewarm
After the cake is completely cool, make the frosting.
To prepare frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add sour cream, hot water, vanilla and salt and mix on low speed until the liquid is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. It may look slightly curdled at this point, but don’t worry. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, another 2-3 minutes. Add lukewarm chocolate and mix until smooth and glossy.
At this point you have about 30 minutes at cool room temperature (longer in the summer) to work with the frosting before it begins to harden (this frosting doesn’t do particularly well when made ahead of time).
To assemble, level your cake layers first if necessary (if there is any sort of domed top, you want to trim that off with a serrated knife). Place one layer, bottom side up, on a cake stand or serving platter (on a piece of parchment if you will need to move it). Spread about 1 cup of frosting in an even layer, then place second layer on top, flat side up, pressing gently to adhere.
Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream using an offset spatula. This “crumb coat” will seal in the cake crumbs and make the final layer of frosting easier. My final coat was applied with a large star tip in a swirled pattern.
Serve immediately or cover with a cake dome. It will stay nice for a day. After that, refrigerate until serving. Do not leave the frosted cake in direct sunlight. It’s not pretty.