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Chocolate Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Heidi Shenk "cuisine" "food" "recipe"

When I was in high school, I used to bake desserts for the coffee shop in my hometown called The Electric Brew. I would spend the day at school and the afternoons and early evenings baking. In that time, I baked hundreds of cookies, muffins, cakes, quick breads, brownies, and other assorted things. And I got pretty good at it. I had a lot of experience going into it all considering that my mom is a baker and owns the best European-style break bakery in the area (I'm not being biased!) called Rachel's Bread.

I asked Andrew last week if there was anything in particular that he wanted to eat for dinner this week, and his response was just, "Desserts. You make the best desserts." So on a quest to come through for him, and with the excitement of getting back to what I'm truly the best at in the kitchen, I scoured the web for a new recipe to try. And what I found was the most delectable chocolate cake I think I've ever had. Mind you, it may be incredibly rich and take a bit of time to make, but in the end, I guarantee it is all worth it!

Ingredients for the Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
Ingredients for the Frosting
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, melted and cooled (I used a little under 2 Lindt milk chocolate bars)
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Directions for the Cake

Pre-heat the oven to 350. In a stand-up mixer, cream sugars and butter until nice and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Incorporate chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately. Pour the batter into 2 greased, round cake pans and bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes and finally invert the cakes onto a wire rack.

Directions for the Frosting

Begin heating the milk until hot, but not boiling in a small quart-sized saucepan. In a bowl, combine egg yolks, flour, and 1/3 cup confectioners sugar along with a pinch of salt. Pour milk into egg mixture and whisk continually.  Put mixture back into the sauce pan and bring it to a low boil while continually whisking. Reduce the heat and continue whisking until the mixture becomes a thick custard. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool for 45 minutes to an hour.

Once cooled, add vanilla and remaining amount of confectioners sugar and mix well. Beat in softened butter until smooth and creamy. Finally, pour in melted chocolate and beat the frosting until nice and airy.

Directions for Assembling the Cake

Using a serrated knife, cut each cake into two horizontal layers. Use about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of frosting between each layer and then use the remaining frosting for the top and sides of the cake.

The cake turned out very light, moist, and fluffy, yet extremely rich. We enjoyed a piece of cake along with some of our homemade mint liqueur. This is most definitely not your every day cake and would be perfect for a special occasion or surprise.

Needless to say, this must be the best chocolate cake that I've made to date, and would highly recommend trying it! Do you have any special dessert recipes that you'd like to share? I would love to try them!

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