This past week I had an itch I could not scratch, a craving that could not be satisfied. No amount of cookies or sweet cereal was even coming close. Every once in a while I get mean cravings for a classic chocolate layer cake. No frills, no fancy fillings, just chocolate on chocolate. Truth be told, I have fond memories of supermarket chocolate cake- the garishly decorated ones with crisco-like frosting. I am not even embarrassed to admit that.
I used to love it and up until recently, really enjoyed the indulgence. However, I found this recipe which evokes the same sweet memories of soft sponge-like chocolate cake and decadent, rich frosting (but 100x better). Hands down, this is the cake recipe for me. It’s easy and relatively quick, especially if you bake the cakes the night before. This way, all you have to do is whip up the frosting and assemble the next day.
Chocolate Layer Cake
from Cook’s Country
Yield: 1- 9”cake, 2 layers
1 ½ cups (7 ½ oz) all- purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups boiling water
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup (1 ½ oz) Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups packed ( 10 ½ oz) light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 9-inch or three 8-inch round cake pans lined with parchment. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. In a second bowl, whisk boiling water, chocolate, coaoa, and espresso powder together until smooth.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with chocolate mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed. Give batter a final stir by hand.
Divide batter evenly between prepared prepared pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are prefect, just not wet), 15-20 minutes (for 8-inch pans) or 25- 30 minutes (for 9-inch pans), rotating halfway through baking.
Let cakes* cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discard parchment, and let cool completely on rack, about 2 hours.
from Cook’s Country
Yield: 4 cups enough for 1 two layer cake or 24 cupcakes
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of table salt
1 1/2 cups cocoa nibs
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds. On low speed, add sugar, 1 cup at a time and cocoa powder and mix to combine. Beat in melted chocolate and increase speed to high, beating until pale fluffy, about 1 minute.
Reduce speed to medium-low and add milk, vanilla, and salt. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, 30 more seconds.
*Cakes can be baked a day in advance. When cooled completely, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, trim the tops to achieve a flat surface and begin assembling and frosting the layers. To apply the cocoa nibs, hold the cake in one hand, tilt slightly and grab a nandful of nibs and press gently into the lower third of the bottom layer.