Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pans
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¼ cups hot water
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
Tip: Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee (espresso powder)
1 teaspoon boiling water
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, such as Tia Maria
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups milk (preferably whole milk)
1/3 cup Whipping (heavy) cream
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces bittersweet or, dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Chocolate covered espresso beans.
- Preheat oven to 325o degrees F. Prepare three 8 inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water. Stir until smooth. Let cool, then add the sour cream and vanilla; stir until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the granulated sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 5 minutes to add all of the sugar, then add the brown sugar, taking an additional 3 to 4 minutes, beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugars, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
- With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the cocoa mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and cocoa mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- In a small bowl, stir together the instant espresso coffee and boiling water. Let cool, then add the coffee liqueur and vanilla; stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium size heavy saucepan; add sugar and flour; whisk together to mix. Add the milk and whipping cream and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil; boil and whisk for another minute. Remove from pan from the heat.
- Transfer the hot sugar mixture to a large bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture at high speed, about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is cool. Tip: Touch the mixture and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
- Reduce the mixer to medium speed and add the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. While adding the butter, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. The Buttercream may look curdled after the butter is added, but it will become smooth as you continue to beat it. Add the cooled espresso mixture and continue beating until the Buttercream is thick and smooth, about another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place one of the layers on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread about 1 cup of the Buttercream on top. Repeat with the second layer. Place the last cake layer on top. Cover the sides and top of the cake with the remaining Buttercream. Spread the Buttercream as smooth as possible over the top and sides.
- Refrigerate the cake at least 30 minutes to firm the Buttercream before glazing.
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, combine chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. Heat and stir until melted and combined.
Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the hot water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a pitcher, or liquid measuring cup with a pouring spout and let chocolate glaze cool for 10 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit longer than 10 minutes because it will thicken and become difficult to pour over the cake.
- Slowly pour the glaze over the cake. Cover the top of the cake entirely, letting some of the glaze drizzle down the sides, allowing the Buttercream to show through the drizzles around the side of the cake.
- Tip: If the glaze doesn’t flow easily it means it has cooled and thickened too much. Either slightly reheat the glaze in a saucepan over low heat, or add an extra one or two tablespoons of corn Syrup.
- Place chocolate covered espresso beans on top of cake.
- Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set and the Buttercream is firm, 30 to 60 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers.
Source: Lewis, Matt and Renato Poliafito, Baked Explorations, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, 2010__________________________________________________