Chocolate cake is one of those desserts that feels very nostalgic to me. On my quest to find the best chocolate cake ever, I constantly evaluated whether the recipes I tested could be stored and marked as “tried and true.” In order to be such, the recipe had to yield a chocolate cake that I could, without reservation, share with my family, friends, readers, and future generations. It needed to be a recipe that could be made for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or to simply lift even the most sullen of moods. I should have known Ina Garten would have the perfect chocolate cake recipe. This chocolate cake is simply the best chocolate you will ever eat. Indulgently rich, moist, and chocolate-y, you will absolutely need to ensure that you have a few friends or family to share this cake with or else you WILL eat it all!
This chocolate cake is so moist that it will literally fall apart if you don’t carefully handle the finished product. I mean, once the cake is all frosted and ready to be eaten, by all means, have your way with it. In the meanwhile, however, make sure that you thoroughly grease and flour your cake pans (in addition to lining them with parchment paper) to ensure they flip out of their pans with ease. These are so delicate that, if you have the extra time, I suggest just letting the cakes completely cool in their pans for a few hours so that you can just flip them out directly onto your serving plate (rather than using a cooling rack). If you do use a cooling rack, make sure you grease it very well so that you don’t have trouble lifting the cakes off the rack and onto your plate. You can use any frosting you want, but with rich cakes like these, I love using a simple, whipped cream frosting. It’s just as light and airy as the cake, making it equally delightful. To add a little flair, I simply sprinkled mini chocolate chips along the edges. For a birthday party, you could dye your frosting and do colorful sprinkles. The possibilities are endless. The most important thing is that the actual cake tastes good, which is really an understatement for this beauty.
for the cake
- 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
- 2 c sugar
- 3/4 c good cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 c buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c freshly brewed warm coffee, not hot
for the whipped cream frosting
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans very well, and line the bottoms of each pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in your mixer's bowl until everything is combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until mixed well. Pour in the coffee and give it a stir. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until smooth.
- Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a greased cooling rack to cool completely. Or, if you have time, allow the cakes to completely cool in their pans (approx. few hours) and flip out them directly onto your serving plate to make things more hassle-free (the cakes are very delicate and sticky so it’s just easier to flip them out of the pans onto the serving platter rather than flipping them onto the cooling rack where they can stick).
- Once the cakes have cooled, create the frosting. Whisk the cream on high speed for approximately 1 to 2 minutes, until they’ve started to form soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Spread frosting onto the first layer of cake before placing the second layer on top and frosting all around the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips for some extra flair.