Double layer chocolate cake


After swearing I’ll never make a cake that requires frosting again, I forgot about that oath 2 months later.  I picked a cake recipe that required frosting because it sounded delicious.  I am already senile and I’m not yet 40!  I suck at frosting cakes.  Last time I had a white frosting to cover a peanut butter chocolate cake, and by the time I was done with the frosting, the white frosting was mixed with brown cake crumbs and looked like total crap.  I know the cake still tasted good, but come on, nobody likes to look at an ugly cake!

Anyway, this chocolate cake was for a little brunch gathering.  It’s a two-layer sponge cake with a chocolate ganache frosting between the two layers and on the outside of the cake.  The frosting turned out alright, because I poured it on while it was still gooey so I didn’t have to really do a perfect spreading job.  Phew!

I made the cake layers the night before, and it only took a few minutes to make the ganache frosting the next morning.  I cut back the sugar and coffee, and increased the buttermilk from the original recipe on Epicurious.  The cake was very chocolate-y and moist, and not so sweet to make my teeth ache.  Joshua and Cliff both gave it the two-thumbs up.

Here’s my version:

For cake layers

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting

  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (I used agave syrup)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter


  • two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans


Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).

Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.




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