The Best Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

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My go to chocolate cake recipe is actually a modification of my favorite vanilla cake recipe! It’s delicious, moist, and best of all, it keeps its shape! The layers bake with smooth sides that are perfect for stacking and frosting. Another perk is that it can be made in one bowl! That’s right, ONE BOWL!!! The recipe is adapted from Kara’s Couture Cakes, and can be found below:

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 tsp instant espresso, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer on low (with a paddle), until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla, espresso, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

To accelerate the cooling process, I like to pop my cake layers in the freezer once I’ve removed them from the cake pans.

Below is a cross section shot of this cake recipe! You can see how moist it is, and also how well the layers hold their shape when stacked!! This peppermint mocha cake is from I live stream I did with Food Network back in December.

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12 thoughts on “The Best Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

  1. I can not have dairy so the buttermilk is out for me, do you think that soy milk for the replacement would work with this recipe.

    • It will change the texture of the cake slightly, but it should still turn out great! Since this recipe only uses baking powder instead of baking soda, you can swap out the buttermilk for whatever milk works best for you (the acid in the buttermilk isn’t essential to the chemistry of the batter)! Hope that helps 🙂

    • The texture will turn out the same, but I really enjoy the depth the bit of esspresso gives the cake!! It’s only for flavor, so if you omit it the cake will still turn out fine!

  2. Have you tried this recipe with Dutch processed cocoa? With the baking powder it should work…and I prefer the chocolate flavor with the Dutch…just wondering if you had tried it.

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