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Double Chocolate Layer Cake


The internet's favorite chocolate cake...

The internet's favorite chocolate cake...

I can’t resist providing a lot of photos for this recipe since it was fairly time-consuming and complicated… After searching the internet for “best chocolate cake” and finding a recipe on Epicurious that 91% of reviewers would bake again (out of 1,324 reviews!) I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Granted, I had tried the cake at a friends birthday party (as baked by her former professional baker mom) and I thought I was up to the challenge. Hopefully it will taste amazing, but for now I just want to look at it…

For cake layers:
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting:
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Cake Prep

Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Final Chocolate Cake

Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).

Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.


Pear-Almond Upside-Down Cake

Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Pear-Almond Upside-Down Cake

Pear-Almond Upside-Down Cake

A beautiful and easy to make (though it doesn’t look it!) cake that combines pears and a slightly sweet almond cake (can’t help but eat the batter, it tastes so good). It’s fun to make since you have to crush the almonds to put them in the batter. This time, to try a fancier version, I spread honey along the edges of the pan and stuck sliced almonds along the sides — it’s in the oven right now, we’ll see if they end up being a nice decoration to the side of the cake or if they just fall off…

PS Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” is a wonderful cookbook, not just for vegetarians! It was everything in it you could possibly want to make from breads to casseroles to smoothies.

The Pears

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large Comice or Bartlett pears {buy them a few days beforehand so they are ripe}

The Almond Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract {I like to add a teeny bit more}

3 eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup blanched almonds, finely ground

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat the butter with the brown sugar in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until the sugar is melted and smooth, then remove the pan from the heat. Peel, halve and core the pears. Set one of the halves aside and cut the other three lengthwise into slices about 1/4 inch thick, angling your knife around the pears so that all the slices are the same thickness. Overlap the slices in the sugared pan {she says to use the same pan as the one you melted the sugar in, but I transfer to a baking/pie pan}, going around the outside. Slice the remaining half crosswise and fan it into the center. {These instructions as in the book are wrong, I just followed them and found that instead of doing the smaller, inner circle with the half pear last you should do it FIRST so when you pop the cake out of the pan it appears on the top}.

2. For the cake, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and almond extract. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Stir in the nuts, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Spoon the batter over the fruit and smooth it out with an offset spatula {what’s that??}.

3. Bake in the center of the oven until the cake is golden and springy when pressed with a fingertip, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then set a cake plate on top of the pan, grasp both the plate and the pan tightly, and turn it over. Carefully ease the pan off the cake. If any fruits have stuck to the pan, simply pry them off and return them to the cake.

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