Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

It's my blogiversary!

Five years I've been at this blogging thing.....it's really hard to believe.

I know I don't have the most beautiful pictures, the most frequent postings, or the snazzy features of the popular food bloggers, but I enjoy my blog and the few minutes I carve out each week to post about one of the new recipes I made and actually got a chance to photograph.  And I appreciate each and every one of you who stop by and check things out, leave sweet comments, and maybe even give one of my recipes a try.  Truly I do.

So this cake wasn't really for my blogiversary.....it was actually a belated birthday cake for my sister Sarah, who lives in Tennessee and is visiting this week with her precious girls.  Her birthday was last week and so I thought it fitting to have a little family celebration, complete with a dark chocolate cake.
I was going to go all fancy and add a raspberry mousse filling.....but I just ran out of time for the extra shopping that would have required.

But Sarah didn't mind.  This cake is incredibly rich and decadent, with the frosting/filling reminding me of a truffle.  Creamy, intense, and so delicious.  Even the chocoholics among us had to stop with small pieces and savor each bite slowly.  Oh, except for Miranda (17 months), who couldn't shovel it down fast enough.  And then move on to mooch off someone else who still had some on their plate.  Girl after my own heart, that one.  

So here's to many more birthdays for my sister, and to many more years of blogging for me!

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted slightly from Annie's Eats

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pans
2 tsp. instant espresso or coffee powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature (I used salted)
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

10 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a full package of Ghiradelli 60%)
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
2/3 cup sour cream
2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream or milk (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter the edges of two 9" round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, shaking out the excess.  Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, coffee powder, and boiling water.  Whisk until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.  When cooled down a bit, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth.  Gradually blend in the sugar and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk to blend.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the chocolate mixture, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake the cake layers for about 23- 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack in the pans for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.  In the bowl of  a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  If frosting is too thick, add cream or milk to get the proper spreading consistency.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Spread an even layer of the frosting over the top of the cake.  Top with the second cake layer.  Frost the top and sides.  You can do a crumb coat and then refrigerate for 30 minutes before doing the final coat if you want, but I didn't find it necessary.  The cake wasn't crumby at all.  Use an offset spatula or spoon to get a soft, billowy appearance if desired.

Note: I stored this cake at room temperature and it was fine.....but you might choose to refrigerate it.  I would recommend letting it come to room temperature before serving it, though. 


  1. Great cake -- and happy anniversary!

  2. yummy and rich chocolate cake, your sister is very lucky.

  3. Lovely chocolate cake. Good for any occasion or even no occasion cause I certainly would not need a reason to eat this. Yum


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