I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s November and Halloween is over, but sure enough Thanksgiving is on the way and Christmas will soon follow. Enjoy the holidays, everyone! And in the meantime, here’s a new chocolate cake recipe for you to try.
This one is adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, and they must have been working out of the same playbook as for Devil’s Food Cake when they developed it. Like the old Devil’s Food Cake, this one has 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, some water, and cocoa, but it doesn’t call for brown sugar and it employs only one flour rather than a combination of two. It also calls for a couple of egg yolks which add moisture to the crumb. The original recipe has a frosting that goes with it, but for this cake I used my old favorite. We really enjoyed this one and I’ll definitely make it again.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 3/4 cups 345 grams sugar
- 1 3/4 cups 245 gram all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 12 tablespoons 168 grams unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, at room temperature
Favorite Chocolate Frosting
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter softened
- 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar sift or aerate before using (about 9 oz)
- 3/4 cup natural style cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sour cream room temperature
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 to 6 tablespoons of heavy cream plus more as needed or use a combination of cream and whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 9x2 inch round cake pans.
- In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate, cocoa powder and water. Heat, stirring often, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
- Add 1/2 cup of the sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir until glossy. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla.
- In a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and yolks for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of sugar and beat on high for 2 minutes or until mixture is pale and fluffy.
- Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed (if using stand mixer, switch to paddle attachment) until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing for about 10 seconds after each addition. With the mixer on lowest speed (or by hand), alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture starting and ending with the flour mixture. The batter may look slightly curdled. Beat until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the batter between the cake pans, smoothing the top until even. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Remove the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out of the pans and let completely, at least 2 hours.
- Frosting: To make the frosting, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add 2 cups of the sugar and beat until well mixed, then add the cocoa powder and beat until mixed – it should look crumbly and pasty. Add the sour cream and salt and beat well, then gradually add the remaining sugar and cream, scraping sides of the bowl, until frosting starts looking smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust sugar and cream as needed.