April’s recipient of the Birthday Celebration Dessert requested a really good chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I’ve had some decent chocolate cakes, but I wanted to find an exceptional chocolate cake. Something that would become my new go-to chocolate sponge recipe. Bonus would be a new go-to chocolate frosting recipe.
I did a lot of research! I experimented with all kinds of additions, like espresso powder and extracts. I researched the difference between cocoa powders. I learned how to properly temper chocolate and bloom cocoa before mixing. In all honesty, it all got to be a little overwhelming!
So imagine my delight when I found it – my new favorite chocolate cake AND my new favorite chocolate frosting – from the same brilliant food scientist/baker!
The number one reason I love this cake: the crumb is sublime! It is simultaneously light and moist, without being at all gummy. (I really *hate* gummy cake texture!) This recipe uses oil as opposed to butter, which lends itself to a lighter, moister texture, since oil is a liquid at room temperature. Conversely, the frosting is a whipped ganache as opposed to a buttercream or oil-based frosting. The fluffy consistency comes solely from whipping smooth and creamy chocolate ganache with beaters.
The flavor profile is punctuated by two secret ingredients. The first is sour cream, added to both the cake and the frosting. This adds even more moisture to the cake, as well as a tartness to the taste. Finally, the batter contains a full cup of freshly brewed dark roast coffee that adds not only even more moisture, but a deep, rich mocha flavor.
These two recipes will be my go-to from now on, whenever I need a chocolate sponge or frosting. Enormous thanks to Christina at Scientifically Sweet for her incredible recipe, as well as helping me understand what I like and dislike about chocolate cake and why!
My New Favorite Chocolate Cake
(Original recipe: Scientifically Sweet)
1-3/4 cup (250g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (56g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (120ml) neutral oil
3/4 cup (180ml) sour cream
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) freshly brewed coffee
1 semi-sweet chocolate bar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and line the base with parchment paper.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add both sugars and salt and whisk to blend well, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar.
Combine eggs, oil, sour cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to blend well. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium-low until blended. It will be thick and somewhat dry. Add the hot coffee gradually in two stages to minimize clumps forming and beat until evenly combined and the batter smooth.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30-33 minutes until cakes spring back when pressed gently and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.
NOTE: These cakes will keep overnight on your counter, wrapped tightly in cling film and placed inside a zip-top baggie.
My New Favorite Chocolate Frosting
(Original recipe: Scientifically Sweet)
7 oz (200g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or coarsely chopped from a bar)
1/2 cup (120ml) whipping cream
2 TBSP (30ml) honey
2 TBSP (12g) cocoa powder
1/3 C (80ml) sour cream
Combine chocolate, cream and honey in a saucepan over low heat and stir until completely melted, smooth and glossy. Pour it into a bowl and whisk in cocoa powder. Add sour cream and whisk it through. Let cool for 15 minutes, then beat on low with electric beaters until fluffy and lightened in color. Spread over cooled cake layers immediately as it will thicken to a fudge consistency as it cools.
BONUS: Chocolate Curls
1 bar of your favorite chocolate (I prefer Guittard)
1 veggie peeler
Pull your veggie peeler along the edge of your chocolate bar to create chocolate curls. Sprinkle them on the top and/or sides of your cake to decorate.
This cake stays moist and fudgy for up to one week at room temperature.