Chocolate cake and coffee buttercream come together in this cake worthy of any celebration. Topped with dark chocolate ganache, it’s a guaranteed show-stopper.
Every year as my husband’s birthday looms closer, I hand him a few of my cookbooks and tell him to pick out the cake he wants. I’ve had mixed success recreating his choices over the years— there was this incredible chocolate cola cake with toasted coconut and pecan icing, but there was also this failure of a chocolate peanut butter cake.
Thankfully, this year’s creation goes in the huge success column.
Steve chose this stunning chocolate coffee layer cake with chocolate ganache from Baked Explorations, one of my favorite baking cookbooks. I don’t know how I’d missed it before.
The cake is a simple and super moist chocolate sour cream cake. The coffee buttercream is a bit labor-intensive but well worth the effort— light, creamy and subtly scented with coffee. The ganache is the literal and proverbial icing on the cake, and it ties it all together beautifully and deliciously.
Heavy on the chocolate and light on the coffee, this cake will be loved by everyone, not just coffee lovers.
After dinner and a movie with my husband, we came home and sliced into the cake and oohed and ahhed through every bite. Birthday cake success!
A few notes about this recipe:
>> When making the cake, it’s very important that you sufficiently cream the butter and sugars together before proceeding. It affects both the rise and texture. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, check out my tutorial on The Creaming Method.
>> The buttercream recipe is a bit unusual at first glance, but it is actually a variation on Swiss or Italian Meringue Buttercream. Butter is whipped into a pseudo pastry cream, creating a frosting that is light and dreamlike.
>> The success of the buttercream is largely determined by the temperature of the butter. It should be at room temperature and soft enough that your finger will leave an imprint when pressed, but not so soft that your finger easily presses through it.
>> If the buttercream is liquidy after you’ve added all the butter, try chilling it in the fridge in 10 minute intervals to stiffen the butter. After 10 minutes, try beating it again. If necessary, chill for another 10 minutes.
>> To create the perfect drips of ganache down the sides, work with small amounts of ganache at a time. Use a small spoon to encourage it over the side in regular intervals (instead of just pouring a lot on and letting it drip down on its own).
>> For more tips and tricks on baking and icing a cake, see my tutorial on How to Build a Layer Cake.
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