Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday!
It's hard to imagine that on the heels of a major dessert holiday I was actually craving chocolate cake..but it's true! Plus I felt I needed a break from cookie baking and since we were hit with a snow storm yesterday, I can only shovel snow just so long before I feel the need to get back in the kitchen.
I wanted to find a really good chocolate cake and I searched til I came across this one from Gourmet from March 1999. It received lots of great reviews, and that made it my winning choice. Plus I wanted a cake that incorporated two ingredients that I felt made a great chocolate cake and those ingredients are buttermilk and coffee.
Now, as you can tell from the photo..I only made this into a single layer cake, even though it's called double layer. Just wanted to clear that up! When I make a recipe for the first time I sometimes make half the recipe..just in case it doesn't turn out as well as it should. But this one will definitely be doubled next time. It's that good!
I had to use what I had in the house for the semisweet chocolate that was melted with the hot coffee, so I used just chocolate chips. But, luckily, I had Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa and that "saved" it.
It's a dense yet moist cake with a great chocolatey flavor. And the chocolate ganache icing..oh yes! Nothing like a great chocolate ganache to top a great chocolate cake!

First chop the chocolate, then melt it in hot coffee. Stir it til it is completely melted. Then set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk (or sift) the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs til thick and slightly lemon colored, about 3 minutes if using a standing mixer or about 5 minutes with a hand held mixer.
Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate.

Then add the flour/sugar mixture and beat on medium til just combined well.

Pour batter into your prepared pans and bake in the middle of your oven one hour to one hour 10 minutes, or til tester comes out clean. The oven temperature is low at 300 so don't worry about the length of time this cake takes to bake..it needs that much time!

I rapped mine on the counter a few times to get some of the air bubbles out of it before putting in the oven.

To make the ganache, boil the heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup, stirring til the sugar dissolves. Then remove it from the heat and add the chocolate.

Once that is nice and smooth, add the butter pieces.
Continue to whisk til it's smooth.

I put the ganache on the cooled cake right away because I only had a single layer and it was going on the top only, plus I wanted it to drip down the sides a bit.
But for a double layer, chill the ganache for a stiffer, more spreadable consistency.
Double Chocolate Layer Cake ( from Gourmet March 1999)

This recipe makes a 2 layer cake but I found that you really need your 10" cake pans to have 2" high sides because the cake rises quite a bit and will spill over while baking if your pans aren't high enough. I found this out the hard way! (Or you can use 3 cake pans, filling each only barely halfway up and shortening the baking time, making it a three layer cake.)

3 oz. fine quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder ( not Dutch process)
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well shaken buttermilk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
Ganache Icing:
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 300. Grease 2 or 3 ten inch cake pans, then line with waxed paper and grease the waxed paper.
1. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl, combine it with the hot coffee. Let it stand til melted and smooth. Set aside.
2. Into a large bowl, sift sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In mixing bowl, beat eggs til thick and slightly lemon colored, about 3 minutes with standing mixer or about 5 minutes with hand held mixer.
4. Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating til well combined.
5. Add sugar/ flour mixture and beat on medium speed til just combined well.
6. Pour batter among pans and bake in middle of oven for one hour to one hour, 10 minutes, or til tester comes out clean.
7. Let cake cool in pans completely, then run a knife along sides to loosen and layer with icing.
1. Bring heavy cream, syrup and sugar to boil in heavy saucepan stirring til sugar dissolves.
2. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, whisking til melted.
3. Cut butter into small pieces and whisk into chocolate mixture.
4. Transfer mixture to bowl and chill til a spreadable consistency.


  1. Looks moist and rich....lovely! It's always a good time for chocolate. ;)

  2. Susan, this cake looks great, but I wanted to tell you that Anna got the Christmas light tour name a little screwed up. Our newspaper, The Morning Call, has a columnist, Bill White, who puts together several Light Tours, based on people submissions. They are published in the paper and shown on RCN cable TV. For probably a dozen years he's raised money for Second Harvest by taking bids from people to drive with him. Last year he raised $14,000. They also get a box of my cookies. Here's an example of the tour route. http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/holidays/billwhite/all-xmas-tour-story-2010-1,0,3758706.story

  3. Louise,
    Thanks for letting me know. It sounds like a wonderful tour.

  4. I totaly understand the cookie baking break! This cake looks devine! I also wanted to tell you my Lebkuchen got a very high rating from my worst critic. My Dad ,whom is from Germany said "these are better than any you can buy!"Thank You for a year of sharing great recipes! Happy New Year!!!Tina from Pa.

  5. Tina, Thanks so much for letting me know about your Lebkuchen! I'm so glad they turned out well.
    Happy New Year to you also!
    Looking forward to another baking and sharing year!



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