If I had to pick just one chocolate cake from my entire repertoire of cakes to eat and serve this would be the one. This Quintessential Chocolate Cake is so versatile and all-encompassing that you could serve it to anyone for any occasion. Need a great chocolate cake for your nephew’s birthday? This is it. Need a refined cake for your cousin’s wedding? This is the one too. This cake is rich and moist and fudgy but also light and delicate. It seems contradictory but try it and you will see what I mean. The beauty of this cake is its fine texture and moist, tender crumb paired with full chocolate flavor.
For the Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup scalding hot coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Frosting
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup stick butter, melted
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/3 cup cream, or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Ganache Filling
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of three 8- to 9-inch round cake pans with a round of parchment paper. Then generously coat the parchment paper and the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a mixer bowl beat together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until they are incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and beat for two minutes. Once well combined, pour in the hot coffee and mix well to combine.
Divide batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting
In the microwave, heat the cream until it is hot to the touch, then stir in the instant coffee. To quickly cool the cream, place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Mix the melted butter, vanilla and cocoa powder with an electric mixer until well combined. Alternate, adding the cooled coffee-cream and powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
For the Ganache
Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl.
Add the cream and butter into a small saucepan and heat it until it comes to a simmer. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for one minute to soften the chocolate. After a minute, whisk the chocolate and cream together until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
Once cakes are cool, remove cake domes from top with a large serrated knife. Place the first layer of cake on a cake plate. Spread about 1/2 of the ganache on top in an even layer.
Add a second layer of cake and add the remaining ganache on top in an even layer.
Add the final layer of cake on top and frost the outside of the cake with the frosting.
Place the last bit of the frosting in a piping bag to “fancy-up” the edges, if you want!