I finally got around to changing the name of this recipe from Halloween Chocolate Cake to Classic Chocolate Layer Cake. I’d originally made it for a Halloween party so that’s what I called it, but this cake is good for any holiday or any day, really. In addition to changing the name, I added the gram amounts of the ingredients used, so hopefully that will be helpful.
Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe Notes
The cake works best with natural cocoa powder rather than Dutch. Regular Hershey’s cocoa powder works great, but Scharffen Berger is even better. Also, I made this one in two 9 inch pans. It’s not a super tall cake, but it’s not exactly stubby. In fact, it’s just about the right size for surrounding with Kit Kats and filling with M&Ms if you’re in the mood for one of those Kit Kat cakes.
Classic Chocolate Layer Cake works as a sheet cake. To make it as a 9×13 inch cake, follow the recipe as written but bake in a 9×13 inch pan for about 50 minutes at 300.
Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (56 grams)
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee (230 grams)
- 2 cups sugar (400 grams)
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (210 grams)
- 1 cup (best to weight, but scant cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutched) (84 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk (230 grams)
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (114 grams)
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (56 grams)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (28 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (240 grams)
- 2/3 cup sour cream at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease two 9×2 inch round pans and line bottoms with parchment. Grease again and dust with flour.
- Combine chocolate with hot coffee and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly while you prepare other ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs for 2-3 minutes or until light and lemon-colored. With mixer going, very gradually add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla, then stir in the melted chocolate mixture.
- Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat on low to medium speed until blended — don’t overbeat.
- Use a heavy duty scraper as you mix and be sure to scrape bottom of the bowl.
- Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven at 300 until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. For 9 inch pans, this should be about 50 minutes.
- Set the pans on a wire rack and let layers cool completely in the pan.
- Loosen edges with a knife and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and let cool completely.
- To make the frosting, melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
- Transfer melted chocolate to a large bowl and whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla, followed by 1 cup of the sugar and half the sour cream. Whisk in remaining 1 cup sugar, then gradually whisk in enough of remaining sour cream to form spreadable frosting (I used it all).