One of my New Year’s resolutions is to bake more cake! I don’t bake them as much as I want to! For the last couple of years, I’ve mostly been baking pies (because my dad keeps requesting them) and cookies (my boyfriend prefers cookies over everything else). So I feel confident baking those, but definitely not cake. I especially get nervous when I think about baking a cake for say, a friend’s birthday. I get dizzy thinking about all the things that can go wrong but, like all things if you want to get good at it, it usually just takes patience and practice. And so, I thought of baking chocolate cake first because I recently had a craving for chocolate.
Two of my co-workers at work have January birthdays, so I thought … perfect opportunity! Despite being insanely busy at work and foreseeing yet another late night of working, I was determined to bake. I rushed home from work after buying buttermilk and baked the cake and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap. I worked until late at night, going to bed at 1AM with the alarm set for 7AM. I figured two hours should be enough to make the frosting and put it on the cake, make a ganache drip, take a couple pictures, and clean the kitchen just in time just to leave at 9AM for work.
I was wrong.
It took me about fifteen minutes to really wake up from my daze after the alarm woke me up, and I forgot I also needed time to dress up and get ready for work. But, I love challenges and like the thrill of making things like this into a game of seeing if I can pull it off. It took me an hour and fifteen to frost the cake because halfway through I realized the recipe didn’t make enough frosting to do fun swirls on top of the cake so, I had to make half of another batch. By the time it was 8:30AM, I slightly panicked. In the next 30 minutes, I ran around the apartment multi-tasking: taking pictures of the cake, showering, dressing, cleaning like a crazy person, and boxing the cake up and finally dashing out the door. Did I make it on time to work? Barely! And was it worth it? Absolutely! 🙂
This cake comes from Ina Garten. Some people say it comes from Hershey. Either way, this cake is incredible. It’s super moist and chocolatey, and I was just really happy to hear that my co-workers loved it so much! My only changes to the recipe was reducing the amount of sugar in the cake, adding a ganache drip, and baking the cake into three 6-inch cakes instead of the two 8-inch cakes that the recipe calls for.
The recipe also calls for a cup of fresh, hot brewed coffee but I honestly just followed the directions on the back of my instant coffee powder packaging to make a cup of coffee and used that.
Makes one 6-inch triple layer cake. Adapted from Ina Garten.
- Butter for greasing pans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring pans
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil like canola oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature1
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 9 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tsp instant coffee powder
- 3 oz heavy cream
- 3 oz cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour three 6-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the flour mixture until well combined. In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Slowly beat in the wet mixture into the dry mixture until combined, then slowly beat in the hot coffee. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter equally among the three 6-inch cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely and remove the parchment paper.
- Once the cakes are cooled, make the ganache drip and chocolate frosting. For the ganache drip, put the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In a small pan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat just until boiling. Remove from heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then stir with a spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set aside.
- For the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until just melted. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Then beat in the vanilla and egg yolk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is creamy. In a small bowl, stir the coffee powder with 2 teaspoons of hot water until dissolved. Beat the coffee and cooled melted chocolate into the frosting until smooth and well combined. Use immediately.
- Set one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Gently trim off the tops of the cakes if they are uneven. Spread some frosting on top of the layer with a knife or icing spatula. Repeat with the second and third layers. Reserve some frosting to pipe swirls on top of the cake. With the remaining frosting, spread it evenly all around the sides of the cake. Smooth the sides and top.
- To get the ganache to drip, either use a spoon or pour the ganache into a squeeze bottle. If using a squeeze bottle, quickly squeeze the ganache along the outer rim of the top of the cake. If using a spoon, quickly pour the ganache along the outer rim of the top of the cake. The ganache will run down the sides of the cake. You may have leftover ganache.
- Transfer the reserved chocolate frosting into a piping bag fitted with your desired piping tip. Pipe swirls on top of the cake.
- Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to eat. Enjoy!
- 1 The original recipe calls for 2 extra-large eggs, but I found that large eggs substitute just fine.