CALLING ALL CHOCOLATE CAKE LOVERS! This one is definitely for you. Biting into this was a major “Matilda” moment for me and I dove into this bad boy just like my guy Bruce. “You can do it Brucey!” I certainly did it.
The actual cake has a cup of coffee in the recipe. You can also do this with with hot water, instead, but the coffee adds a depth of flavor that you really just can’t replicate any other way. The cake gets layered with chocolate ganache, then covered in a luxurious chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. JUST LOOK AT THOSE LAYERS.
If you’ve never had Swiss meringue buttercream, it’s so glorious. Essentially, you whip heated egg whites and sugar until you have a pillowy meringue, then add some softened butter and melted chocolate. It has the softest and silkiest mouth feel and is just perfectly sweet (unlike the overly sweet American buttercream).
This cake may feel like a labor of love – not because it’s difficult, but just takes a bit of time and TLC! That’s the layer cake life, ya know? If you do want to make this less fussy, just don’t split the cakes and do it as two thicker layers. It will be lovely all the same!
A few items of note:
- If you have a scale, weigh the batter in each pan so you have completely even cakes
- Let your ganache sit until it becomes a thicker, spreadable consistency. This will happen on its own at room temperature, but you can put it in the fridge to speed up the process
- This recipe makes about 1+ cups additional buttercream. You can use this for extra piping decorations, OR it stores in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for months
You’re going to love this one. I promise it’s even perfect for people who don’t love chocolate (like me). And if you’re looking for a stunner – this is it! Enjoy!
Chocolate Layer Cake
- Two 8-inch cake pans
- Stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachment
- Piping bag and tips (optional)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 240g
- 2 cups granulated sugar 400g
- ¾ cup cocoa powder 75g
- 1½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup vegetable oil 3 fl.oz
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted (113g)
- ¾ cup greek yogurt (full fat) room temperature (60g)
- ¼ cup whole milk room temperature (60 ml)
- 1 cup hot coffee or water 8 fl oz
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 10-12 oz bittersweet chocolate melted & cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and parchment line two 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks, oil, butter, greek yogurt, milk and vanilla until smooth, then add to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Next, add in about ⅓ of the hot coffee and quickly stir to temper the mixture. Add in the remaining coffee and mix until fully combined, careful not to over mix.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans, take off the parchment layer, and finish cooling on the racks. When cool, wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge. This will firm up your cake which will help when it’s time to frost and assemble!
- While your cake is in the fridge, put your chocolate in a bowl and set aside. If you are using a chocolate bar, give it a rough chop before putting into the bowl. Add the heavy cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer, then pour over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for about 30 seconds, then stir constantly from the center until the mixture is totally incorporated.
- Set aside to cool slightly, then transfer to the fridge while you prepare the buttercream. If the ganache is too hard prior to frosting, pop it into the microwave for about 5 seconds, then stir. Repeat the process until a spreadable consistency is reached.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- First, melt your chocolate (either in a double boiler or in the microwave – carefully) and set aside to cool.
- Add the egg whites and sugar to a bowl over a double boiler on medium high heat, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved and gets slightly foamy. If you want to be super accurate, you want it to reach about 150 degrees F. You can check that the sugar is dissolved by rubbing your fingers together. If you can still feel the sugar granules, keep whisking. This typically takes about 5 minutes.
- Transfer your egg and sugar mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the whites on medium speed for about a minute, then switch to medium high speed for 10-15 minutes until it’s cool to the touch (touch the outside of the bowl) and reaches stiff peaks. A large ball of meringue will form in the center of your whisk.
- Once you’ve reached stiff peaks, switch to the paddle attachment and on medium high speed, add 2 tablespoons of the softened butter until smooth. Continue this process 2 tablespoons at a time. It may look curdled, just keep mixing and it will come together. If after a few minutes it still looks curdled, your butter may be too soft. Put the whole mixing bowl in the fridge for about 15 minutes, then try whipping again. After all the butter is incorporated, add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until combined.
- Cut off the top mounded layer of the cake and discard (or save to make cake pops), then cut each cake evenly in half using a serrated knife. When you’re done, you’ll have 4 even disks of cake.
- Put a quarter sized dollop of ganache onto the base of your cake stand, plate, or whatever you plan to serve it on, then add your first cake layer. Cut 4 rectangular pieces of wax or parchment paper and slide it under the cake on all sides. You will remove these when you’re done icing the cake – this helps to keep a clean presentation surface.
- Add ½ cup of ganache on top of your first cake layer and spread evenly the whole way to the edges. Add the next cake layer, and repeat the steps. Once your top layer has been added, add another ½ cup of ganache and cover the top and sides of the cake evenly with a thin layer. You may need to add a bit more ganache to the sides to get full coverage. This is the crumb coat and will help to prevent any crumbs getting into the Swiss meringue buttercream.
- Transfer the cake to the fridge for 30 minutes so the ganache can harden up prior to adding the buttercream.
- Remove the cake from the fridge and add a large dollop of buttercream to the top of the cake. Working from the middle, gently push the buttercream to the edges, then down the sides of the cake and cover all layers. You will need to continue adding buttercream until it is completely covered and you can’t see any of the chocolate ganache through the layers.
- Use the excess ganache and buttercream to pipe decorative swirls, if you’d like. Store the cake at room temperature for 2 days. If you’d like it to last longer, you can store it in the fridge for up to a week. Be sure to allow your cake (or slice) to come to room temperature before enjoying.