I've recently changed 'favorite chocolate cake' recipes - I borrowed, doubled, and slightly modified one from Nick at @thescranline, and it's *amazing.* Of note...you'll need either a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams OR - you can use this fancy ‘grams to cups converter’. Or just use the conversions I ballparked for you. You’re welcome.
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 c)
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
350ml milk (about 1 ½ ; I used a 2c pyrex liquid measuring cup with mL marks on the back)
2 t vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Grease 3 8-inch pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible.
Next, add milk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 700g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. If you insert a skewer or toothpick and it comes out with wet batter, bake for another few minutes at a time until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely – set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Meanwhile, make your frosting!
Magnolia Bakery’s Buttercream Vanilla Icing
I used the same frosting recipe that was used on their wedding cake – Magnolia Bakery’s Buttercream Vanilla Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 cups confectioners' sugar
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Reserve and add later – 1 c cocoa powder + additional 2-4 T milk
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the icing is thick enough to spread. (Leftover icing freezes well for up to two months.)
Chocolate Buttercream Filling:
To make the cake filling, remove 1 c of frosting and add 1 cup of cocoa powder and enough milk to make the consistency spreadable again.
Chocolate ganache - optional
This is an extra layer you can add in if you'd like -
12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. Refrigerate until set enough to spread.
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- small / large piping bag & small / large tips
- few small flowers/leaves if desired
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth – I didn’t spend a ton of time getting it super smooth; there’s no point if you're going to texture it! With a small icing spatula, drag the tip around the outer edge of the cake, working your way up a layer at a time. Top with leaves and flowers if you’d like – I kept the cake in the fridge to make sure the texturing on the outside of the cake stayed in place.
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!