Chocolate 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.
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
1 t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325°
Prepare two 9” round pans by greasing lightly and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer.
Add in the liquids in the order given, beating constantly on medium low.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat until completely incorporated.
Add in the eggs & vanilla, and beat for a full 3 minutes.
Pour even amounts into the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula.
Bake for 35 minutes.
Let cool in pans for 30 minutes.
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.
Place the other layer topside up, aligning perfectly with the base layer.
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.
When the side is covered, take the offset spatula and smooth the icing all the way round.
Spoon more of the icing on to the top, again using the offset spatula to make the icing even.
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.
If doing ahead, cover well with a cake dome, and refrigerate if not serving within 6 hours.
Remove from the fridge 2 hours before serving.
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
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.
Click here for printable version.