I made this cake for my son’s 1st birthday party, and it’s decadent and rich and delicious and amazing. The cake was served and eaten so quickly (before I could get any good pictures!) so I made it again for a birthday. Success!
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My cooking method: loosely follow recipes, find the easiest way to do things (I’m a lazy cook!), and use what I already have in the kitchen. Subbing ingredients is totally a go for me. So, relax and have fun!
CAKE Ingredient List
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup cane sugar (the original called for brown sugar, but that is super hard to find in France!)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 bar of dark chocolate, chopped (I prefer chunkier pieces, but chop as small as you want. Chocolate chips would also work.)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup strong hot coffee (I used Nespresso Ristretto, but any coffee will do)
I used to use the ground coffee + hot water method for the cake, but using a cup of hot coffee instead works really well! I definitely think the cake isn’t as dry, plus you get a little kick of coffee. YUM!
Mix all the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chunks!) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (minus the coffee!) in the other. I used to just mix everything in one bowl, but then I’d end up with little pockets of flour that didn’t mix in. Not fun. Stir well!
Now combine the bowls, mixing the dry and wet ingredients. Once they’re mixed, slowly add the hot coffee, stirring at the same time. Let this sit for a little while to cool down, in the fridge if you have room, or on the counter. After it’s cooled down, THEN add the chocolate chunks. If you do this too soon, the chocolate will just melt and you’ll miss that chocolate chunk texture. (for sure the chocolate chunks will melt a little while it’s baking, but that’s different!) The batter will become pretty liquidy, and that’s totally normal.
Separate your cake batter into two pans for baking. Bake on 350F (180C) for 20-25 minutes. When you stick in a toothpick and it comes out clean, it’s done! Let the cakes cool before frosting. I normally put them both on one plate, with a piece of wax paper between them. Cover it all in foil and leave in the fridge for a few hours. Bonus points if you’re organized enough to bake the day before and can leave the cake in the fridge overnight!
FROSTING Ingredient List
- 1.5 cups of Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4-4.5 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk (optional)
- chocolate chips (optional)
Mix all ingredients (minus the chocolate chips!) together in a large bowl. It’ll be easier if you have an electric mixer like this one, but I don’t, so I mix it by hand. If I can do it, you can too! Side note: most cream cheese frostings call for some butter, but I prefer to leave it out. You should mix until there are no more powdered sugar clumps. Add in some milk if you prefer a thinner frosting, but add in slowly, and only 1 teaspoon at a time. (I’m a fan of thicker frosting and don’t use milk.) If you’re really organized, this can also be made the night before and left in the fridge.
To actually frost the cake, put one of the cakes on the plate you’ll be serving it on. I really like using a cake stand just like this one, but any plate large enough to hold the cake will be fine! Side note: It’s nice to have a cake stand with a lid for easier transport. To spread the icing, you can use a knife, but I think it’s way easier to use something like this. Spread a little less than half of your frosting on the top and sides. Place the second cake on top and spread the rest of the frosting along the top and sides.
Your cake is done, delicious, and ready to eat! If you want, feel free to add something on top for decoration. I personally like using small chocolate chips. They’re cute, and you don’t have to frost the cake perfectly because the chips will cover any bumps.
Enjoy your cake! Let me know your favorite baking tricks and chocolate cake recipes in the comments!