For the icing:
- 275ml double cream
- 250g granulated sugar
- 130g 99% unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 100g unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cake:
- 450g granulated sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 85g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 275ml milk
- 135ml canola oil/another oil with no flavour
- 275ml boiling water
- Start with the icing. Combine the cream and sugar in a large saucepan. Put over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once it starts to properly bubble, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 6 minutes. It foams up a lot. Take off the heat and leave to cool for one minute then add the butter and chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth then transfer to another bowl and stir in the vanilla. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Butter, line and flour two 8″ cake tins (not ones with removable bases, the batter is too liquid).
- Place the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attached. Stir on the lowest setting until a uniform brown colour.
- Add the beaten eggs, milk and canola oil then turn the mixer up to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Boil the kettle while it beats then turn off and pour in the water. Mix it on low until smooth – it is very soupy.
- Divide between the two tins – I think mine were 650g each. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer can be removed from the centre cleanly (mine took 40). Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes in the tins then turn out and remove the paper.
- By the time the cakes are totally cool, the icing should be thick enough to ice – it should hold its own weight.
- Place one of the cakes onto a serving plate lined with paper strips. Spoon some of the icing into the middle and spread it out. Add the top layer then spoon about half the rest of the icing onto the top. Drag down and over the sides and smooth over. Add the rest as you need it, working fairly quickly. Use a palette knife dipped in a jug of hot water then dried with a towel to get a shiny finish. Watch out as you move it – the layers can slide a little until it sets up.
- Add any decorations, final flourishes and candles then slice and enjoy.
makes one 3-layer 8″ cake
- 1 3/4 cups (350 gr) sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 7.5 oz (213 gr) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 12 Tbspn unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
- In a saucepan, bring the sugar and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer the cream and sugar for six minutes. Be careful not to let the saucepan overflow.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter until they have completely melted.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Let the frosting cool completely, whisking every now and then during cooling. (You can do this step in the refrigerator to speed up the process) Once completely cool at room temperature, the frosting will be spreadable.
- 3 cups (600 gr) sugar
- scant 3 cups (425 gr) AP flour
- 1 cup + 2 Tbspn (135 gr) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tspn salt
- 2 1/4 tspn baking powder
- 2 1/4 tspn baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup hot coffee
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease, flour, and line the bottoms of three 8″ round cake pans. If desired, wrap the cake pans with bake-even strips.
- In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix. Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
- Pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on medium low until smooth. The batter will be soupy.
- Divide the batter between the cake pans.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Level the cakes (this is easier if they’ve sat in the freezer for at least one hour beforehand).
- Stack the cakes, spreading a layer of frosting in between each cake layer. Frost the outside of the cake–for a smoother finish, use a hot knife.
Note: this recipe also works for a 3-layer 9″ cake, with slightly shorter layers.