Dark Chocolate Cake

IMG_9724Chocolate cake, one of our culture’s go-to desserts for celebrations, or the cake that sits waiting for the family to come home to from a long day hike, is deservedly legendary. Moist layers of chocolaty crumb, layered and topped with creamy icing make it decadent and yet simple, while a thin sliver satisfies, a big slice is a worthy treat.IMG_9732

This is a great recipe that can be used for a three layer over-the-top fancy cake, or just a simple sheet cake to serve with a bit of ice cream and some sauce. It is incredibly versatile, and will work with many desserts that require a cake base.

Makes two 9” layers or one 9” x 13” cake or one 11” x 17” x 1” jelly roll cake


2 c sifted cake flour (by weight preferred ~ 8 oz or 225 grams)

1 t salt

1 t baking powder

2 t baking soda

¾ c cocoa powder

2 c sugar

1 c buttermilk (or 1 c milk less a tablespoon + 1 T lemon juice)

1 c canola oil

1 c hot coffee

2 eggs

1 t vanilla

Mocha Icing Recipe follows.


Preheat the oven to 325°

Prepare two 9” round pans by greasing lightly and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.IMG_9683

Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer.IMG_9680

Whisk thoroughly.

Add in the liquids in the order given, beating constantly on medium low.IMG_9685

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat until completely incorporated.

Add in the eggs & vanilla, and beat for a full 3 minutes.IMG_9686

IMG_9688Pour even amounts into the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula.IMG_9690

Bake for 35 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 30 minutes.IMG_9691

Invert to racks, and remove parchment.

When completely cooled, place the base layer topside down on a flat plate.

Spoon on some of the icing, and spread evenly to the edge with an offset spatula.IMG_9712

IMG_9713Place the other layer topside up, aligning perfectly with the base layer.IMG_9715

Working around the sides, put some icing on using a spatula and smooth it somewhat, adding more as you work around the cake, being sure to have good coverage, and that there’s enough to meet with the original layer of icing.IMG_9716

When the side is covered, take the offset spatula and smooth the icing all the way round.IMG_9717

Spoon more of the icing on to the top, again using the offset spatula to make the icing even.IMG_9718

At this point you can use the tip of the spatula to create whorls and peaks. This can also be done to the sides if you like.

Now’s the time to add a scattering of decoration, such as dried rose petals, gold leaf, crushed toasted nuts etc.IMG_9720

IMG_9721IMG_9728IMG_9729If doing ahead, cover well with a cake dome, and refrigerate if not serving within 6 hours.

Remove from the fridge 2 hours before serving.

Slice and serve. IMG_9734

Amounts for other sizes of cakes:

1 Layer                      3 Layer                     

1 c cake flour             3 c cake flour

½ t salt                       1½ t salt

½ t baking powder   1½ t baking powder

1 t baking soda          1 T baking soda

6 T cocoa                    1 c + 2 T cocoa

1 c sugar                    3 c sugar

½ c buttermilk          1½ c buttermilk

½ c canola oil             1½ c canola oil

½ c hot coffee                        1½ c hot coffee

1 egg                           3 eggs

½ t vanilla                  1½ t vanilla

Mocha Icing

¾ c butter

4½ c icing sugar

6 T milk

1 ½ t vanilla

1 t instant espresso

½ c good quality cocoa

Cream the butter.

Add in 1 c of icing sugar, and mix.

Mix in 2 T of milk, vanilla & espresso powder.

Beat thoroughly until smooth.

Gently mix in the cocoa, creaming well after adding.

Mix in 1 c sugar, creaming well after addition, then the following, creaming well after each addition: 2 T milk, 1 c sugar, 2 T milk, 1 c sugar.

Use the final ½ cup of sugar as needed to get the right spreading consistency.

Use immediately.

Click here for printable version.






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