It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I am the person in charge of birthday baking at my office. We’re a small company, and after I learned that sub-par grocery store cakes were the standard for employee birthdays, I hijacked the responsibility. Nobody has complained so far. Quite the opposite, in fact.
This cake has kind of made me famous. Well, as famous as you can be in a company of less than 20 people. This is the cake that everyone gets excited about. They hyperventilate a little, or gasp, or hug me, and I can watch their eyes grow large, like I just told a kid that tomorrow is surprise Christmas. I am not exaggerating, this cake really is that good.
It is tender, rich, and so very moist. It is also just loaded with chocolatey flavour, but without being too sweet or overwhelming. The last time I brought this cake in we all ate our first few bites in blissful silence (which is a feat at my office). Half the people there say they don’t even like chocolate cake before asking me to pretty please bake this cake for their birthday as well.
After that laundry list of fantastic attributes, you’d be hard pressed to think this cake could be improved upon. But it can. You see, it is easy. No softened butter, no whipping, no beating. You basically just stir everything together and bake. Then, after removing from the pan and chilling, you level the layers off with a knife, which means you, the brilliant cake master, get a tub of tasty cake scraps to hoarde all to yourself. It’s the cake equivalent of the first pancake off the griddle. Brilliant.
Now, because this cake is so rich I don’t frost the entire thing anymore. It’s just unbearable, even for my sweet tooth. So, instead, I frost in between and on top, and leave it open down the sides to avoid diabetic comas. I frosted the most recent cake with dulce de leche, and that was fantastic.
Sadly, this recipe is not mine, but I’m not really sure who it belongs to. I think I may have originally found it on Smitten Kitchen, but I haven’t been able to find it there since. Hmm. If you know, fill me in, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due!
The Best Chocolate Cake You Will Ever Have
2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups (500g) white sugar
¾ cup (64g)cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda (USA / Canada)
1 tsp table salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil
1 cup full-fat sour cream
1 ½ cups strong coffee
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
2 cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter three 8″ (20cm) round cake pans, line the bottom of each one with parchment, and butter the parchment as well.
Before you start, weigh the bowl you’ll be using and note the weight. Sift the dry ingredients together. Whisk in the oil and sour cream, and then the coffee. Add the vinegar and vanilla, and then the eggs. Stir until blended, mixing 1 cup of the chocolate chips as well. Weigh the finished bowl of batter, subtract the original bowl weight, and divide the resulting number by 3. Using the scale, divide the batter between the 3 cake pans. Sprinkle each layer with 1/3 cup (57g) chocolate chips.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out almost clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 20 minutes on wire racks. Run a knife around each layer, and then invert both layers onto wire racks and peel off the parchment. Once the layers are cool, pop them in the freezer for 1 hour or so until they’re nice and firm. Remove the layers from the freezer and level them off with a long, serrated knife before placing them back in the freezer. Eat the scraps—they’re utterly delicious.
Frost between the layers with a delicious frosting of your choice!