Some tricks to making moist chocolate cake include using buttermilk, substituting brown sugar for all or part of the white, and incorporating vegetable oil. This recipe calls for all three of those things. It uses buttermilk and coffee for the liquid, has a mixture of butter and oil, and calls for 2 full cups of dark brown sugar. It’s definitely a moist cake and my family seemed to like the deep, rich flavor. Since it uses more brown sugar than most recipes, I’m calling this one Dark Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake.
The original version, which calls for a ganache type frosting, is from Rick Bayless. If you want to see the original, Michelle posted it on her blog. I frosted this one with my usual favorite chocolate buttercream and just for fun, used the filling from a recipe called Ding Dong Cake. Compared to other cakes this one was moist and surprisingly not that sweet despite all the sugar. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite chocolate cake of all time, but it was a good one and the family commented on it more than usual.
Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour 9 oz, plus more for pan
- 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt Rick used 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup hot coffee or boiling water
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick 4 oz unsalted unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
- 3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar plus more as needed
- 4-6 tablespoons half & half or a mixture of whole milk and cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch or two of salt — if using salted butter omit
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x2 inch round cake pans.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, melted butter and brown sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg is added. Beat in the vanilla.
- By hand or using lowest speed of the mixer, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Stir until fully blended.
- Pour the hot coffee over the batter and stir until blended.
- Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn from pans and cool.
- Frosting: Mix together the softened butter, sour cream and confectioners' sugar until blended, then add the cocoa powder and stir until it because a messy mass. Gradually add the half and half (or milk and cream), stirring until blended, then beat in the vanilla. Beat, scraping bowl often, until mixture is smooth and creamy.