Classic Chocolate Cake


It is no secret that I love chocolate. And as such, I kind of expect everyone around me to love chocolate as well, which may be an overgeneralization of sorts. However, since I am the one doing the baking in the family, I decided that I have the authority to decide what kind of cakes and baked goods I make for special occasions.
Hence, when I chanced upon the recipe for a classic chocolate cake on one of my favourite sources of recipes, Annie’s Eats, I immediately saved the recipe for future use. And my sister’s birthday party last month seemed to be the right opportunity to put this recipe to the test!
What I liked about the recipe was that it was easy to follow without overly difficult or complicated steps, and I also had most of the ingredients. What really caught my eye was the fact that the recipe called for sour cream both in the batter of the cake, as well as in the chocolate ganache frosting. I typically put sour cream in my banana quickbreads and cakes, and was eager to see if it would have the same moistening effect in this instant.
Classic Chocolate Layer Cake
Recipe from Annie’s Eats 
Yield: about 16 servings
For the cake:
1¼ cups (6¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pans
2 tsp. instant espresso or coffee powder  (I left this out as my family doesn’t drink coffee)
1 cup boiling water
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups (12¼ oz.) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
For the frosting: 
9.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sour cream
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Butter the edges of 2 9-inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, shaking out the excess.  Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
 In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, espresso powder, and boiling water.  Whisk until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.
 When cooled down a bit, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Gradually blend in the sugar and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes more.  Blend in the eggs one at a time.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk to blend.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream mixture, beating each addition just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake the cake layers for about 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans during halfway through to ensure even baking.
Transfer the baked cake layers to a wire rack and let cool in the pans at least 30 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.
To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Spread an even layer of the frosting over the top of the cake.  Top with the second cake layer.  Frost the top and sides of the cake using a thin crumb coat at first.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.  (While the crumb coat sets, you may want to leave the mixer on low speed with the remaining frosting so that the melted chocolate doesn’t set.  Once the crumb cake is set, frost the top and sides of the cake again using an offset spatula or spoon for a soft, billowy appearance.  Slice and serve.
The cake was well received by all who tried it, although there was a slightly ugly crack in the middle as the cake failed to separate from the springform pan completely. The ganache was smooth and silky, and the amounts of ingredients specified in the recipe will yield more than enough frosting, thus allowing us to use some of the leftover ganache to make fun truffle balls. In answer to my previous question regarding the addition of sour cream into the recipe, the result was a moist and flavourful cake that was pleasing and delicious at the same time! Even though the cake was overwhelmingly chocolatey, it was devoured even by the people who are not chocolate fanatics like myself! So do try out this recipe if you are looking for a relatively simple yet delicious chocolate cake to try out.
This entry was posted in Cake, Dessert, Quick/Easy, Recipe (Baking/Cooking), Snack, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Classic Chocolate Cake

  1. Chocolate is the BEST! Looks wonderful!!

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