Chocolate Layer Cake

From Cook's Country | December/January 2008

Why this recipe works:

“Blooming” the cocoa powder in boiling water and adding instant espresso powder to the batter produce deep chocolate flavor. Sour cream adds moisture and tang. This recipe is very versatile—change up frostings and fillings to produce all sorts of different cakes.

“Blooming” the cocoa powder in boiling water and adding instant espresso powder to the batter produce deep chocolate flavor. Sour cream adds moisture and tang. This recipe is very versatile—change up frostings and fillings to produce all sorts of different cakes.

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Serves 8 to 10

This Devil’s Food-style cake is packed with chocolate flavor. For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil, then measure out the desired amount.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch or three 8-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. In second bowl, whisk boiling water, chocolate, cocoa, and espresso powder together until smooth.

    2. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

    3. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with chocolate mixture in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Give batter final stir by hand.

    4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops with rubber spatula. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes (for 8-inch pans) or 25 to 30 minutes (for 9-inch pans), rotating pans halfway through baking.

    5. Let cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discarding parchment, and let cool completely on rack, about 2 hours.

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