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dark brown sugar chocolate cake

Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake

Scratch Chocolate Cake made with 2 cups of dark brown sugar.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cake With Brown Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Author Anna
Cost 5


  • 2 cups all purpose flour (260 grams) 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 (114 grams)
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar (420 grams)
  • 1 cup hot coffee or boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (114 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream (42 grams)
  • 3/4 cup 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
  • 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.


If you like a lot of frosting, you may want to make 1 1/2 times the recipe. However, if you make the recipe as is and are conservative with the middle layer of frosting, you should have enough.  If you'd rather use the original Ganache Frosting, here's the recipe.
Ganache Frosting
  • 1 lb bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup very strong coffee
Chop chocolate in a food processor until you get pea size lumps. Put it in a heat safe owl. Place chocolate in a heat safe bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, corn syrup, and coffee. Heat over medium, stirring often until steaming.
Pour over the chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted.
Let cool slightly, then place in refrigerator and stir every 15 minutes until spreadable. This could take up to 2 hours.
Use about ¼ of the frosting between the layers. Then spread ½ of what is left on the sides and the rest on the top.