Today is the birthday of the two men in my life. One is the man I love and the other is the man I love to hate.....my husband and my trainer. I'll let you decide which one is which! So I made them cake because I wanted to be nice to one of them and I wanted the other one to be nice to me!! It worked in the first case.....not so much in the second. Dude's brutal!
I don't make a lot of cakes around here because I'm not a great icer (?). Oh sure, it's probably going to taste good, but it won't be pretty. My talents lie somewhere other than in making baked goods pretty. When I find out where that is, exactly, I'll let you know.
Growing up in my house, chocolate cake was eaten in a bowl with milk poured over it. I thought that was how everyone ate chocolate cake and I'll never forget the first time hubs discovered this. He thought it was the most disgusting thing he'd ever seen until I talked him into trying it. HA! Won't eat it any other way now! So, as amazing as this cake was on it's own, (the icing is undoubtedly the best I've ever had) it ended up in a bowl with milk poured on it. Delish.
Here's the recipe:
Cocoa Layer Cake
Bon Appetit, February 2011
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 cup lukewarm water, divided
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used sour cream because that's what I had)
1 1/2 cups cake flour (spooned into cups to measure, then leveled)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten to blend
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 9-inch cake pans with 1 1/2 inch high sides
Cake: Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter three 9-inch cake pans with 1 1/2 inch high sides. Line with parchment paper rounds, butter parchment. Whisk cocoa and 1/2 cup warm water in small bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 1/2 cup water in another small bowl. Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and butter in large bowl until pale yellow and fluffy (mixture will appear granular) about 5 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add beaten eggs, then beat until smooth and fluffy, about 15 seconds. Add cocoa mixture, beat to blend. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter among pans (about 1 3/4 cups each).
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, reversing pans halfway through baking, about 18 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks.
Frosting: Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon (scant) salt. Gradually stire in cream. Stir until mixture is very hot and just begins to simmer at edges. Reduce heat to low; stir 1 minute to let flavors blend. Transfer to medium bowl; stir in vanilla (frosting will resemble chocolate sauce). Chill until just thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Let stand at room temperature.
Run knife around cake sides. Carefully invert 1 cake onto plate (cake is very tender); peel off parchment. Spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Invert second cake onto palm of hand. Position cake 2 inches above frosted cake layer. Carefully slide cake onto first cake layer. Peel off parchment. Spread cake with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; let stand at room temperature.