I don’t know if you know this, but most times, my baking experiments are driven by a need to use up existing ingredients. For this chocolate layer cake, I really wanted to use up my expired buttermilk and the failure of a chocolate frosting I made for a salted caramel chocolate cupcake. In a stroke of genius, Tom suggested that I use the butter-heavy frosting to replace the butter in the cake. I added about a tablespoon of oil in addition to make up for the lower fat content. (The chocolate frosting was made of unsweetened chocolate, butter, and sugar. Unsweetened chocolate has about 50-55% of cocoa butter. Fat content in pure butter is higher than the fat content in chocolate and butter and sugar.)
I thought the cake was very good. It was moist and chocolatey. It’s a denser sort of cake, but I liked it. I think adding substituting chocolate frosting for butter upped the chocolate flavor and also made for a sweeter cake. The chocolate frosting was crap by itself, though. I think it’s because I used natural cocoa powder as opposed to Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder has been processed to neutralize the acids in it, and has a more delicate taste.
Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Cookie Madness
Makes half a 9-inch round cake
1/2 cup boiling hot water
3/8 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (I used 1/2 cup of the chocolate frosting recipe listed below and added 1 tbsp oil)
1 tsp vanilla
3/8 cup buttermilk (I used 1%)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or 325 F if using black cake pans.
2. Line a 9 inch round pan with parchment and grease the sides.
3. Combine water and cocoa in a bowl and stir until smooth. Reserve.
4. Mix together dry ingredients. Reserve.
5. In large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars.
6. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir buttermilk into cocoa mixture.
7. Add alternately with dry ingredients in 3 additions.
8. Pour into pans.
9. Bake 28-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out barely clean. Cool and frost.
I used a light-colored pan and mine took 30 minutes. I let my cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, and when I removed it, it was still warm but it stayed intact.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from 52 Cupcakes
Makes way too much. I halved the original recipe; I recommend halving it again.
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon boiling water
1 1/8 cups (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/8 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 pounds best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved.
With electric mixer on medium-high, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.
Frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month in an air tight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again.