I teased this recipe earlier in the week when I celebrated my 500th post on Monday! But now, here it is, the ultimate in chocolate cake technology. This is the Perfect Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake. I couldn’t improve it if I tried. That rich, luscious, ridiculous fudge frosting is insane. The crumb is light, but moist, and the perfect foil for all that fudge. I want to hollow this cake out and build a house inside it, I love it so much.
And where does it come from, you ask? It comes from no other than my friend and talented peer Tessa Huff (of Style Sweet CA) in her new book Layered (which she sent to me, just FYI). And I mean, damn, this is a beautiful book. It’s got this gorgeous laser or die cut edge, the end papers are patterned in a Wes Andersen-esque pattern of piped pink frosting, and each and every cake has at least one beautifully styled shot with it. Not only that but there are step-by-step guides for all sorts of techniques, and I personally would like to try a slice of each and every cake in this damn book. Slam that on my ‘when-I-win-the-lottery’ list, right next to ‘get-a-personal-trainer’.
Because I’m nothing if not a pain in the ass, I couldn’t leave well enough alone with this cake – mixing and matching a few of Tessa’s recipes; namely the chocolate cake from the London Fog Layer Cake (amazing) and the chocolate fudge frosting from the Classic Birthday Cake (looks perfect). And damn it all, if this isn’t the classic chocolate layer cake of my dreams. I don’t think it can be improved upon. If we’re talking straight up, chocolate on chocolate, fudgy frosting, cocoa cake layers, then this is the one for me I think.
I mean, we all know I’m partial to a Milo Cake (Milo Cake, I love you) but if I’m gonna cheat on that chocolate-malt perfection with anyone, please meet this cake. It’s incredibly satisfying to create something that completely lives up to your idea of it. So often things fall a little short, or left of centre. But when I look at that cake in front of Bruce Bogtrotter, or whatever Disney cartoon I’m watching where they’re slathering frosting on a cake, or some Nancy Myers fantasy pastry chef in an immaculate bakery sculpting a piece of chocolate-covered joy…this is that cake. It tastes exactly right. Tell me, am I the only one who dreams of tasting fantasy cakes? And would you bake this beast?
- 2½ cups (375g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (95g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stick (115g) butter, melted
- 2 cups (400g) caster sugar
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1½ cups (375ml) milk
- 1 cup (250ml) just boiled water
- 3 sticks (345g) butter, soft
- 5½ cups (690g) confectioner's sugar, sifted
- ½ cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup (60ml) sour cream
- 8oz (225g) semisweet chocolate (dark chocolate 70%), melted and cooled
- Optional: edible gold glitter
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Grease and line three 18cm/7in cake tins.
- Sift together the flour cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In a very large mixing bowl whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until everything comes together in a homogenous mix.
- Whisking constantly (you need a strong whisk) add the sifted flour mix in three batches, alternating with the milk. Scrape the bowl as needed, and finally, whisk in the hot water.
- Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until springing back when pressed and a skewer in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the fudge frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high and mix until for about 30 seconds - just to lighten the mix. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the chocolate and mix on low until smooth.
- To assemble the cake, trim the layers if they are domed, and then place the bottom layer (the ugliest or thickest one) onto a serving plate. Top with one third of the frosting, and spread it just shy of the edge (the other layers will squish it out to the edge). Repeat with the remaining layers and frosting, aiming for a swirly, messy look.
- Scatter the top with edible gold glitter, if desired.