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Rich chocolate cake with chocolate Swiss buttercream.
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350ºF and prepare three 10″ cake pans by buttering, flouring and lining the bottom of them with parchment paper
1. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a very large bowl. Put the sifted ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer (or keep them in the very large bowl) and stir well to combine. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl or pitcher, whisk together the milk, oil, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stop the mixer, scrape down to the bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, then turn the mixer up to medium and mix for 2 minutes.
3. Turn the mixer back down to low and slowly pour in the coffee. Stop the mixer and scrape down to the bottom of the bowl and finish the stirring by hand.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
5. Then remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
This frosting has two components that will be prepared separately (Chocolate Ganache and Swiss Meringue Buttercream) then mixed together.
For the ganache
1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream over medium heat until just before it boils. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla, coffee and salt then set aside to cool until it is cool but still soft. Don’t let it harden completely or you will not be able to whip it into the frosting.
For the Swiss Buttercream:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water—double boiler style), mix to combine the egg whites and sugar. Then set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch, 5-7 minutes.
2. Then remove from heat and use the whisk attachment of your mixer to beat the egg white mixture until stiff glossy peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment and reduce the speed to low and add the salt, then add butter a few tablespoons at a time and beat the frosting until smooth. During this step it is very likely that the frosting will “break” and you will think you messed up. Good news! You didn’t! Mine breaks sometimes too. All you have to do is turn up the speed on your mixer for a few seconds and the frosting comes back together. Continue until all of the butter is incorporated then add in the vanilla.
To make the Chocolate Swiss Buttercream:
1. Whip the room temperature ganache into the meringue buttercream until no lumps remain. The finished buttercream will be glossy, smooth and fluffy.
To assemble the cake:
Peel the parchment paper from the cake layers and trim the cakes so the tops are flat. Place one layer onto a serving platter or pedestal and spread about 1 1/2 cup of the frosting onto the cake in an even layer. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat by frosting that layer in the same manner. Finish by placing the last layer on top, trimmed side down so the top of the cake will be nice and flat and crumb free. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting (crumbcoat) and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Pull the cake out of the fridge and add a second, heavier coat of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with cacao nibs and chocolate sprinkles.
Serve at room temperature. Store any extra frosting in an airtight container in the freezer where it will keep for a few weeks.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!