I had a dinner party a few months ago and I wanted to make a layer cake for practice. :) I googled and searched and found this recipe from Epicurious.com. I have heard that coffee in a chocolate cake recipe actually enhances the flavor of the chocolate. Even though I hate coffee (yes, I don't drink coffee!!) I decided to trust that and settled on this recipe! And was I glad!!! It's a pretty simple recipe. The first cake I made was a bit lopsided because I didn't really level the cakes well. But since then, by the third, I had gotten a turn table for easier frosting, an offset spatula, a serrated spatula and even baking strips from Wilton (more on that later). I had also stuck fresh raspberries between the layers, put chocolate curls on the sides...so it had turned out much prettier!! The cake is super moist, no coffee taste :) and pretty darn good (according to everybody..and me!) so here it is!
For cake layers:
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
For ganache frosting:
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
You will need two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans.
Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate (I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips. It works nicely because I don't have to chop the chocolate at all!) and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).
Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
These are the baking strips from Wilton that I bought from Michaels (with coupon!!) It works great! You just use a regular pin and wrap it around the pans and it eliminates the dome that rises in the middle! No wasted cake!!! I recommend!!
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Finely chop chocolate (or again, I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips!) In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved.
Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving. Look at my turntable! Not the prettiest (why green?? I don't know..ask WILTON!!) but so useful!!
And I stuck fresh raspberries in between the layers...mmm raspberries and chocolate!!