If you are looking for a super moist, oh-so-chocolatey cake, this recipe lives up to the name “Best Ever Chocolate Cake”.
Last weekend, we celebrated my “baby boy’s” 23rd birthday! Woah…did those years go by quickly!! It seems like he was just becoming a teenager, starting high school and now he has graduated from college. Hard to believe! Anyways, let’s focus on cake before I get too nostalgic here!
From the time my son and daughter celebrated their first birthdays, it was important to me to bake them a homemade cake to mark their special day. Some were decorated with a theme (Winnie-the-Pooh, Little Mermaid, etc). Sometimes it was cupcakes, sometimes a sheet cake. Most often it was a layer cake. As for flavors, each year it was different. Carrot cake. Banana with Cream Cheese Frosting. Red Velvet. Yellow Butter Cake with Fudge Frosting and everything in between. But chocolate has always been a favorite. Although our family favorite for an “everyday type” of cake is 3-Hole Chocolate Cake, (which is typically made in a 9×13-inch pan), for this occasion, I was looking for a layer cake recipe.
This recipe, that I found awhile back in mom’s clipping collections, is similar to The Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Cake. It has become a family favorite. In fact, not long ago, my daughter made it to take to a friend’s birthday, and now all her friends have requested it for their birthdays as well! It’s THAT good! Hence, the name, “Best Ever Chocolate Cake”.
So let’s take a look at the ingredients. It is FILLED with cocoa. Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch processed. Most cocoa on your grocery store shelf is natural unsweetened. I am just putting it out there that there are different types of cocoa that do different jobs in a recipe, so you want to be sure you have the right kind.
Helping to bring out all that rich chocolate flavor is the secret ingredient….freshly brewed coffee. Now don’t worry if you aren’t a coffee fan, the cake won’t taste like coffee, it simply enhances the awesome chocolate flavor! Using a whole cup of coffee, along with a cup of buttermilk provides a lot of moisture, creating a SUPER moist and oh-so-tender cake texture.
Look at that deep, dark fudgy texture! Your house is going to smell SO good!
Now, don’t be intimidated about making a layer cake. This Best Ever Chocolate Cake is SO easy! The recipe lays it all out, step by step. Just follow the directions, measure carefully and wait for the compliments! I have included a simple chocolate buttercream or you can use your favorite. If you don’t have a birthday celebration in your near future, make one anyways, just because. You will be glad you did! Happy Baking!
Yields 8 servings
- -butter and flour for preparing pans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Chocolate Buttercream:
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
- 3 tablespoons milk or light cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, brush pans with a light coating of butter. Sprinkle flour evenly over greased pans; tap out excess flour. Or spray pans with nonstick baking spray; set pans aside.
- In medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder. baking soda and salt; set aside.
- In large bowl, combine buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix on low speed until blended.
- Keeping mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture; mix until blended.
- Continuing to mix on low, add the coffee. Mix just until combined, scraping bowl with rubber scraper as needed. Batter will be thin.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove pans from oven and allow to cool 15 minutes in pans. Remove cakes from pans by inverting onto cooling racks. Allow cakes to cool completely.
- Make Frosting: In large mixing bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa.
- Add butter and coffee and mix on low speed, until blended.
- Add 3 tablespoons milk or cream; beat on medium speed. Add additional milk as needed to create a smooth and creamy spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.
- Place one cake layer, flat side up, on flat serving platter or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread an even layer of frosting over top.
- Place second cake layer on top of frosting, rounded side up.
- To frost cake, place a large dollop of frosting in the center and spread it to the edges of the cake, using the back of spoon to create swirls or an offset spatula for a smoother look.
- Frost sides of cake using same method and spreading evenly to cover cake.
To make ahead: Bake cake layers. Cool completely as directed. Wrap layers tightly in foil and place in freezer bags. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. Allow cake to partially or completely thaw before frosting.