As Audrey Hepburn once said in an interview, “Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” This is exactly the type of cake Audrey might adore!
As chocolate cakes go, this is a Very Good One. The cake itself is light and springy in texture, but is saturated in flavor, made using a melange of dark coffee, dark cocoa, and buttermilk. But let's be honest: it's really the frosting that makes it shine. First, the cake is topped with a thick ganache made with 85% cacao chocolate, butter, and cream, which are whipped together to a creamy, luxuriant consistency. Once spread all over top and sides of the cake, the whole thing is drizzled with white then dark chocolate for a contrasting, pretty finish.
By the way, this reminds me that I had a robust conversation about milk with cake on my facebook page the other day. So, my family thinks I'm nuts because I simply MUST have milk with a slice of cake; I think it's totally natural. What do you think? Weigh in on the comments here or on the facebook post!
Meantime, here's the recipe :-)
Dark chocolate layer cake
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes plus cooling times
For the cake
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup strong, brewed black coffee
- ½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the fudge frosting
- 3 bars (3.5 ounces each) 85% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
For the topping
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) white chocolate, melted
- 4 squares 85% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate, melted
Position a rack in the middle position of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round baking pans, and line the bottoms of the pans with rounds of parchment paper.
Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into the bowl of a stand mixer. Don’t use the electric mixer function yet, though.
In a separate large bowl, briefly mix together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla extract, just to break up the eggs and combine. Pour this wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Using a paddle attachment, mix the ingredients until totally combined and lump-free, 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Pause to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out mostly clean.
Once the pans are out of the oven, immediately run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the pans, to loosen the edges. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes, then invert on to wire racks to cool completely.
Make the frosting. Place the chopped chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, butter, vanilla, and salt. Heat on medium-low until the mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat, and pour over the chocolate. Stir until combined. The mixture will be smooth, but rather liquid. Let it sit at room temperature until it has become slightly firm to the touch, like the texture of softened butter. Vigorously mix for a few moments (either by hand or using an electric mixer) to re-mix in case the butter has separated at all, and to ensure a nice spreading consistency.
Assemble your cake: place one cake layer on a platter, and spread about ¼ of the frosting mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the surface. Stack the second layer on top, and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before proceeding, so that the frosting can slightly firm before the next step.
Melt the white chocolate, either in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle it on top of the cake, letting it drip over the sides a little bit.
Melt the dark chocolate, either in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle on top of the white chocolate in an artistic, irregular pattern.
Let the chocolate set before serving. To cut this cake, run a knife under hot water, dry thoroughly, and then slice. This will ensure that the chocolate topping slices cleanly.
Store this cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.