This is an easy chocolate cake recipe that requires no creaming and is one of the most forgiving in technique and measuring. It’s chocolatey and so moist it borders on fudgey, but still light and crumbed enough in texture to constitute a cake.
In fact it’s so moist you can bake this cake 5 days beforehand and not worry about it drying it out. No lie. And that is the reason why this is my go-to chocolate cake for birthdays or celebrations.
It’s a perfect base that can easily be adapted for different flavors. For this version I used cassis, a black currant liqueur. I’m pretty sure most of the alcohol content is burned off while the strong berry flavor stays behind.
A few notes.
- The only adaptation to the original recipe I made was to sub the scotch for cassis.
- The cake can be made 5 days in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.
- The vanilla buttercream can be made 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. To bring frosting to room temperature for piping consistency, leave refrigerated frosting at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Time will depend on how shallow the storing container is – more surface area will bring the frosting to temperature faster.
- Straws, spoons and Washi tape for the bunting are from here.
Chocolate Cassis Cake
Cake adapted from Epicurious
Preparation: Spray two 8 inch cake pans with bake spray. Place parchment paper round on the bottom and spray and coat top of parchment. Dust pan with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess cocoa powder. Heat oven to 325 degrees F and place oven rack in the middle.
Chocolate Cassis Cake:
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
- 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup Cassis
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 10 egg whites
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 lbs butter (8 sticks), cut into pieces
- 1 ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
To make Chocolate Cassis Cake:
- Place coffee, cassis, butter, and remaining cocoa powder in a medium size saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted. Remove saucepan from heat, add sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Place flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine .In a separate bowl place eggs and vanilla lightly whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour egg and vanilla mixture into cooled chocolate mixture while continuously whisking with the other hand to evenly incorporate the two mixtures. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Divide batter in half and pour one half into one cake pan and other half into the other cake pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.Halve cake horizontally. For an easy trick to cutting cake layers click here.
To make Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.
- Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer)until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes (possibly longer). Add in vanilla and beat to combine.
- Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine.
- Ice cake as desired. To ice cake as seen in the picture use a Wilton tip 104 and pipe from bottom to top while holding the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to the side of the cake. Step-by-step tutorial to icing this style will posted on Saturday.