Chocolate Cake layers
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 ¼ 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 buttermilk (about 1 ½ ; buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 t vanilla extract
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 buttermilk, 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 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Black Chocolate Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
4-6 Tablespoons milk
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
5-6 large drops black gel food color (I use black pretty frequently, especially around Halloween, so I bought this large bottle from Americolor!)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla, black gel color, and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- squeeze bottle or piping bag for the cake drip
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- 1 sprinkle mix/bottle of your choice! (I used the 4-oz ‘Witchful Thinking’ from Sweetapolita; you could use whatever seasonal mix you’d like!)
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. (I added a few sprinkles in between the cake layers, but this is optional!)
Add your next cake layer on top, and 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 like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
This is a great time to make and color your ganache drip(s)!
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. Add gel food coloring and stir until color is even.
(If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).
When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those, I've just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.
Slowly drizzle ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Cover the top of the cake with ganache – I textured mine a bit with a small offset spatula before it was set. Return cake to the fridge or freezer to set the drips.
Coat a finger or two with a bit of shortening, and add sprinkles to about 3-4” of your drips down the side of the cake. (The shortening helps the sprinkles stick to your finger well enough to transfer to the cake, but will come off once you touch the drip!) Sprinkle more in a v-shaped pattern away from the drips, and set your open bottle of sprinkles at the base of the ‘V’!
And you’re done! Cut in and enjoy!
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!