FREE counter and Web statistics from

Friday, February 18, 2011


What's better than delicious chocolate cake?

A bigger chocolate cake! (Duh.)

So, here's the genesis of this post: Bon Appetit's Cocoa Layer Cake. A couple weeks ago, Kaytie said she wanted some cake, and since I suffer from a bona fide sugar addiction, I was happy to oblige her craving.

We'd just gotten our February Bon Appetit, and the cake on page 90 looked delicious. I followed the recipe, almost. And it was great. BUT, it was only about 3 inches tall. And because I'm a red-blooded American, I believe that bigger is better.

So, I doubled the recipe, moved some espresso powder around, and added some nuts. This is the best chocolate cake ever, and it looks like a cake that you could buy at a fancy bakery. Guaranteed to impress.

Chocolate Cake

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups warm water, divided
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
scant 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 eggs, room temp & beaten slightly
1 cup toasted pecan pieces/chips

Note: You need 3 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides.

Position your oven racks so one is in the top third of your oven and the other is in the bottom third. Preheat the oven to 350.

Cut parchment paper rounds that fit into your cake pans. Butter (or spray with Pam) the pans. Press the parchment paper rounds into the pans, and grease the paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour. (Tilt the pan, dump a pinch or two of flour on the side, and rotate the pan so the flour lightly covers the inside of the walls of the pan.) This will give the batter something to grab, and your cakes will rise evenly, instead of rising more in the middle.

Whisk the cocoa and espresso powder into 1 cup of water in a small bowl.

Whisk buttermilk and 1 cup of water together in another small bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and both sugars in a large bowl for about 5 minutes.

With the mixer running, add the eggs, and beat about 15-30 seconds, until smooth.

Add the cocoa mixture. Beat to blend.

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture and beating to blend with each addition.

Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. (About 3 1/4 cups each)

Bake cakes about 20 minutes, reversing the pans about halfway through. The cakes will be done when a tester (or toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes (in pans) completely on racks.


10 Tbs unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt.

Gradually stir in the cream. Keep stirring until the mixture just begins to simmer at the edges.

Reduce heat to low, and stir for about a minute.

Dump the mixture in a medium bowl, and stir in the vanilla.

Stick the icing in the fridge, and let it cool for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Then, let it stand at room temperature.

Now, it's time to assemble the cake. To get the cakes out of the pan, run a knife around the sides of the cake. Carefully, invert one cake onto a plate. (Please note, these cakes are fragile and very moist, almost sticky. Handle with care.) Peel off the paper, and spread about 1/2 cup of icing on top. Invert the second cake onto your palm, and carefully slide it onto the first layer. Peel off the parchment, and spread about 1/2 cup of icing on that layer. Repeat with the third layer. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake.

And finally, it's time for fun. To get the nuts on the cake, I literally threw small handfuls of pecans at it. And they stick. (This is the dogs' favorite step, because some nuts inevitably end up on the floor, which means the dogs get to eat them.)

No comments:

Post a Comment