If you asked one hundred people what kind of cake they want for their birthday, 75% will say “chocolate” – or some variation of that. Chocolate fudge, chocolate mint, chocolate peanut butter. Chocolate. You can never have too many chocolate cake recipes in your repertoire, right? Consequently, I’m always looking for a good one!
This one has quickly risen to the top of my list! It is everything that chocolate cake should be, with a deep, rich chocolate flavor and a moist, tender crumb, not to mention velvety swirls of intensely chocolate buttercream. I can’t take credit for it because it’s Ina Garten’s recipe – but I knew I had to share it with you!
There’s coffee in the batter and espresso in the frosting – which just intensifies the chocolate flavor and makes it impossible to resist having just one more slice.
And this recipe makes plenty of icing for a two layer-cake, so you can either be extra generous when your icing the layers, or be a little selfish and reserve some as a reward — just for you — to indulge when no-one is looking. I won’t tell.
This particular cake was destined for a birthday party (not at my house) — and I thought it would be rude to follow it to the party and set up a photo shoot in the middle of the celebration. So, unfortunately, I only have pictures of the cake as a whole and no slices so you can see the moist, tender crumb. You’re just going to have to trust me on that!
Emily helped me decorate – and though I’m not a pastry chef by any stretch, I was pleased with the end result. She picked dinosaur sprinkles and went to town with them. I don’t blame her — what’s a birthday without sprinkles… and chocolate?
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee
- For Chocolate Icing
- 2 sticks butter
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in two teaspoons hot tap water
- Sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two 9-inch pans with vegetable spray. Cut two rounds of parchment to fit easily into the bottom of the pans. Line the pans with the parchment paper and spray again with vegetable spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together until well combined.
- In a small bowl, or two cup measuring cup, add the buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.
- With your mixer on low-medium speed, slowly add the liquids to the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the coffee, scraping the bottoms and sides to make sure everything is well combined.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool to room temperature.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Add the chocolate to a small bowl and microwave in 15-20 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate has melted and is glossy and smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and airy. Beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and the espresso concentrate and beat until well combined.
- Remove one of the cakes from the pan and place upside down on a cake platter. Add about 3/4 cup of icing to the center of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the surface of the cake. Top with the second tier (upside down again) and add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Scatter your favorite sprinkles or other cake decorations if desired.