Chocolate Coffee Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

You must make this cake.    I made this for the catering on Saturday night, and managed to rapidly steal a sliver before it was promptly devoured by a pack of hyenas…..sorry, my lovely lovely clients!

I was so in love…..the chocolate, and the coffee buttercream, and the chocolate!  I have been dreaming of it ever since.  I am not really fond of buttercream, but this recipe is light as air.  See, I have this other book (remember, I am revisiting all my cookbooks) called Baked Explorations.  Initially I was drawn to it because of its beautiful vintage feel, and its gorgeous pictures.  I hadn’t actually made anything from this book until this weekend.

See, my friend Sonia, whose birthday party I catered, has a penchant for our gorgeous looking American layer cakes.  Which, you cannot find here in Barcelona anywhere.  So, I decided that I would tackle one of the glorious cakes in the book.  I thought this one would be good for Spaniards, since they aren’t very used to buttercream frosting.  And it was better than I could ever imagine.  It’s a very grown up, sophisticated cake.  Make it.  Make it.  You know you want to!!!!!

Courtesy of Baked Explorations Cookbook:

Chocolate Coffee Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Yeild:  One 8 inch, 3 layer cake


For the chocolate cake:

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (Valrhona)

2/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temp

1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the coffee buttercream

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 table spoons coffee extract or very strong unsweetened espresso

For the Chocolate Glaze:

8 oz good quality (60-72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 tbsp light corn syrup


10-12 chocolate covered espresso beans

Make the classic chocolate cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 F, (175 C).  Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.  Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.

In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 1/4 cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl.  Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 – 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture.  Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.  Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry.  Divide the batter among the prepared pans.  Use an offset spatula to level the batter.  Bake the cakes for 35 – 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for about 35 – 40 minutes.  Turn the cakes out onto a rack and let them cool completely.  Remove the parchment.

Make the buttercream:

In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.  Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on high-speed until cool (about 7 – 9 minutes).  Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium – high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about another 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and coffee extracts and continue mixing until combined.  If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency.  If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

To assemble the cake:

Place one cake on a serving platter.  Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1/4 cups of the frosting on top.  Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer.  Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up.  (This is known as crumb coating and will help to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.)  Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.  Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm up.

Make the chocolate glaze:

Place the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler.  Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir the glaze to release excess heat.

Glaze the cake:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place your cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet.  Slowly pour about 3/4 cups of the glaze over the cake.  Using a small offset spatula, smooth it out to the edges.  Place the cake in the refrigerator to set the glaze.  Remove from the fridge, and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake.  It should run down the edges in thick streams.  Chill the entire cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the glaze is set, then transfer to a cake plate.  Serve at room temperature.  The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake server, at room temperature for up to three days.

From my kitchen to yours,


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