This is definitely the best chocolate cake ever. That’s why we made it for my birthday this weekend. Mama gets her wish!
There are other fantastic cakes out there (like Grammie’s amazing angel food cake with cocoa whipped cream icing — yum!), but I really think this is the best double-chocolate layer cake I have ever found (and revised). I do try other recipes every so often, but I always come back to this one. The cake is really moist and tender, not heavy or dense (as often happens with cakes from scratch). I attribute the terrific texture to the wonders of cake flour. The frosting is so incredibly amazing, silky and dense and rich — I think the use of an entire pound of chocolate really helps here.
We’ve made this cake for multiple occasions, but the most notable is probably Rosie’s baptism. We shared some quite excellent sheet cakes with family and friends at our church, but then had a small get together with the godparents and gobbled up this chocolate cake. It stood up to the momentous occasion!
Speaking of standing up, Lucy held up well under interrogation about this cake, don’t you think? — recipe after 0’56” video —
Fudgy Chocolate Layer Cake
2 c sugar
1½ c cake flour
¾ t baking soda
½ t salt
1 c cold brewed coffee
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
½ c canola oil
½ c sour cream (plain whole-milk yogurt works, too)
1½ t vanilla
16 oz semisweet chocolate chips (I stand by Nestle’s)
1¼ c whipping cream
½ c butter (I use salted), cut into pats
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla
for cake. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cut out parchment paper to line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans; spray pans with cooking spray, place parchment down, spray again. Whisk sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to blend.
Bring the coffee to a simmer in a heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat, then add chocolate. Put the lid on for about one minute, then remove lid and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool slightly.
In another large bowl, whisk canola oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla to blend. Add chocolate mixture and whisk until blended well. Add 1/3 of this chocolatey-eggy mixture to the dry ingredient and whisk again. Whisk in the rest of the chocolatey-eggy goo in two more additions, mixing well each time.
Divide the batter equally between the two pans. (If you are totally obsessed with the “equally” part, you can weigh the pans on a kitchen scale after filling to make sure they are the same.) Gently tap each filled pan on top of the counter to burst any air pockets.
Bake cakes until tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, turn out onto a rack, peel off the parchment, and carefully flip them over again. Cool completely.
(If, at this point, you are totally exhausted, you can wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap, pop them into a ziploc bag, and freeze them. This way you can make the frosting tomorrow and your cakes will still be nice and fresh. They defrost in about an hour or two.)
for frosting. Pour chocolate chips into a large bowl and set aside. Bring cream, butter, and sugar to a simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Pour the hot buttery cream all over the chocolate chips, then cover the bowl with a plate or similar. Wait five minutes, then whisk it until smooth, then add vanilla and whisk again. Cool until thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours. (You can put it in the fridge for part of this time, but check it every 5-10 minutes — if it gets too hard to spread, it’s hard to go back.)
Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Spread 1/3 of frosting over cake. Top with second layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. You can refrigerate the cake if you want to eat it the next day, but bring it to room temperature before eating. We’ve also just stored it at room temperature (in the winter) and it has fared quite well for up to three days.
Serves 12 — or a family of four for a whole weekend!