Recipe from The Brown Betty Cookbook by Linda Hinton Brown, Norrinda Brown Hayat (Wiley, 2012)My mom, unlike me, loves chocolate. And before we opened the bakery, we would search far and wide for the most chocolaty cake we could find for her birthday every year. I have flown cake from California, driven cake from Brooklyn, and ordered cake from South Carolins - all in an attempt to satisfy my mom’s chocolate sweet tooth. Truth be told, she was never quite impressed. Naturally, achieving a true chocolate lover’s dream cake was high on my mom’s list of priorities when we were forming the menu, and we think this dark chocolate cake, with chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache, came out even better than we had dreamed.
Serves: 20 people
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray with flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 3/4 cups superfine sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon regular salt
- 3 sticks (11/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 recipe Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)
- 1 recipe Ganache (recipe follows)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and 1 cup boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, mix one-fourth of the cocoa mixture with the eggs, egg yolks, buttermilk, and vanilla until blended.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until blended. Add the butter and remaining three-fourths of the cocoa mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are moist, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 1 minute. Gradually add the egg mixture and mix until blended.
5. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.
6. To assemble and frost the cakes, place 1 cake layer, bottom-side up, on a cake plate. Use an offset spatula to spread 1 cup of the buttercream on top. Add the second cake layer, bottom-side down, and spread 1 cup of the buttercream on top. Top with the third cake layer, bottom-side up. Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Then spread the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
Makes: 3 cups
Active time: 12 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 3 ounces Philadelphia® cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 31/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and vanilla together on low speed until smooth. Increase the mixer speed to high. Add the butter and beat until incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 1 minute.
2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the cocoa powder and corn syrup. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until the buttercream achieves a spreadable consistency. Set aside until ready to use.
Makes: 2 cups
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons cognac or your favorite liqueur
1. In a bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, stir the chocolate until smooth and melted. Alternatively, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate on high in 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and corn syrup and cook, stirring occasionally, just to the point of boiling. Remove from the heat.
3. Pour the cream mixture into the melted chocolate, stirring until blended. Stir in the cognac. Let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. The ganache will thicken as it cools.