Over the years I have developed my own recipe for decadent chocolate layer cake by combining four or five different recipes. I’ve found that it is perfect for birthdays and special occasions, because it’s fairly easy to make, but is quite a stunner. For those who love dark, bitter, very rich chocolate desserts, this is a winner. I made it this weekend for Kris’s 36th birthday and we were rolling around the apartment in chocolate comas.
A versatile recipe, you could make this as a 2-layer cake, double the recipe for a 4-layer cake, or bake it as a sheet cake for a very easy option. One year I even baked and frosted as a sheet cake and topped with a walrus I fashioned out of frozen frosting. Why a walrus? I am not sure, but the birthday girl seemed to like him and his dripping chocolate tusks very much. This cake has always been a crowd pleaser, though I do warn all of those out there living under a tight budget (proudly raising my hand): all of the chocolate the frosting calls for makes this babe of a cake a bit of a splurge. However, I can say that the richness helps make this girl go further: most people finds themselves able to finish only a small piece. So go ahead and flirt with this chocolate Goddess, you’ll be calling her up whenever you need a hot date on your arm.
Chocolate Sour Cream Layer Cake
for the cake:
- 1 cup flour
- 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 10 Tbsp unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream (room temp)
for the frosting:
- 1 and 1/4 lbs dark chocolate
- 10 oz semisweet chocolate
- 3 cups sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 8-inch diameter cake pans (again, this can be flexible. You can make this as a 2-layer cake, double it for a 4-layer cake, or bake it as a sheet cake in an 8×10 rectangular pan). Sift first 5 ingredients into smaller bowl. Beat the butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add dry ingredients and alternately with sour cream in two additions each, beating until just blended. Divide evenly between the two prepared pans and bake until cakes begin to shrink from side of the pan, about 25 minutes. Cook cakes in pans on racks about 5 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and let cool completely before frosting.
When ready to frost the cakes, slowly melt chocolate on the stove either in a double boiler or a thick-bottomed sauce pan. If simply using a saucepan, be sure to melt on low heat and stir often so as not to burn the chocolate. When melted to a perfectly smooth consistency, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and sour cream. You may want to add a few tablespoons of sugar to taste, however, I like this cake to be very bitter and dark (I drink my coffee black, what can I say?), so I leave it as is. Let cool to room temperature.
Place first layer of cake on plate or cake stand and frost to desired thickness, about 1/4 or 1/2 inch thick. Add second layer of cake and finish frosting.
This cake is best served at room temperature or only slight cooler as the frosting gets really really hard in the refrigerator. However, because of the sour cream, this cake should be refrigerated if you are saving it for another day. If refrigerated, I recommend removing the cake an hour or two before eating to give it enough time to come to room temp.