I have made a few chocolate cakes on this blog, but this recipe for chocolate layer cake is simply one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s more of a devil’s food cake batter, rather than a chocolate cake batter, because I used oil instead of butter, and I added a cup of hot coffee to the batter, making it a super moist cake. Non-alkalized cocoa powder is usually used in devil’s food cakes, instead of Dutch processed, to give it a deep richer flavor, and I usually go with Valhrona cocoa powder for the most part, because I love its chocolaty taste.
The texture of the this cake is off-the-charts and it resembles one of those boxed based cakes, but without the chemical taste. The layers of spongy cake are fudgy all by themselves without the frosting, and layer-up nicely when you’re ready to start the buttercream. I made this cake only two layers because it’s so intense, so you don’t need it to be sky-high in order to really indulge on chocolate. It’s simple enough for home bakers to make, and that’s another thing that so darn appealing. It’s not complicated at all.
The frosting is American buttercream – just butter, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and cream. One tip is not to over whip it, because you don’t want excessive air bubbles. Just beat it low and slow, like most delicious frosting recipes. If you get overzealous and do have a few too many holes in your frosting, mix it by hand and press out the bubbles with a spatula as you stir, and they will disappear in no time. You may even get a good arm workout in the process, not a bad thing either, especially before enjoying a big chocolaty slice of cake.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.
- To make the cake – whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, mix oil, eggs, and vanilla for 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Add hot coffee and mix until combined. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean. Remove and let cool in pan for 30 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to cool completely. Cakes can be made 1-2 days ahead, wrapped and stored in refrigerator.
- To make buttercream – in a stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, and mix on medium-low until creamy. While mixer is running, add cream and vanilla. Mix until incorporated, about another minute.
- Place first layer of cake on stand or plate, and dollop with frosting, spread evenly. Top with second layer and top with remaining frosting and smooth out on top and over sides to cover. Decorate to your liking. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!