Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
3 layers of moist, dark-as-night chocolate "midnight "cake layers filled and frosted with a glossy, creamy and super-dark fudge frosting.
For the Midnight Cake Layers:
- 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar (regular granulated sugar will work as well)
- 1 cup 120 g "black" unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Guittard Noir)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee
- 3/4 cup 180 ml vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
For the Dark Fudge Frosting:
- 2 1/4 cups 510 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups 180 g confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup 90 g premium dark (preferably black) cocoa powder (I used Guittard Noir)
- 1/2 cup 120 ml hot water
- 1/2 cup 120 ml sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
- Generous pinch of salt
- 10 ounces 290 g premium dark (but not extra dark) chocolate, chopped or chips, melted (I used Callebaut Callets)
- Handful of your favourite sprinkles (check out Birthday Party Sprinkle Medley)
- You will also need:
- 6 " pastry comb (I used this one)
- 1 large pastry bag (disposable or reusable)
- Large plain round pastry tip (I use Ateco #809)
For the Midnight Cake Layers:
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
- Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 630 grams.
- Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
For the Dark Fudge Frosting:
- In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Reduce to speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
Assembly of the Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake:
- Put your first layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and wiggle the layers into place, if necessary. Refrigerate the cake until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place on a turntable, if using. Frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator again and cover with a thick, even layer of frosting. With the cake on the turntable, hold a pastry comb against the side of the cake with one hand and rotate the turntable once all the way around, in a fluid motion. (If you aren't pleased with the way it looks, you can apply more frosting and repeat.)
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the remaining frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" around the top perimeter of the cake by holding the bag, tip-down, directly above the spot you want the poof, squeeze the bag gently for about 2 seconds and then release and lift up and away. Repeat all of the way around the top of the cake.
- Adorn the bottom perimeter of the cake with your favourite sprinkles, if desired (but it's always desired, no?). I find it easiest to literally toss the sprinkles onto the cake, and they will stick. Check out Birthday Party, Bright Skies, or Flight of the Unicorn for some medley inspiration!
- The cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 3 days. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
- As I mentioned above, for the black cocoa powder, I used Guittard Noir Cocoa Powder (I have this big tub because I go through it so fast), but you can also find Black Cocoa Powder on Amazon. You probably remember that I usually use a very dark (but not black) cocoa powder (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) for all of my chocolate baked goods, which also works very well, tastes amazing, and is quite dark in itself. The black cocoa powder just adds more of a midnight black effect, which I love. And, of course, the taste is also incredibly deep, dark and wonderful. And really, sometimes change is fun! :)
- I use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans for all of my cake layers, most often the 8-inch x 2-inch round pans.
- You certainly don't need to use a pastry comb to create this cake, but if you do, I recommend the taller version that Wilton offers. The cakes we make these days always tend to be on the tall side, so it really comes in handy when you want a tidy looking texture on the cake.
- For the poofs on top of the cake, remember that the key is very soft frosting and an extra large round plain tip (I used Ateco #809). And, as always, if you make a mistake or aren't totally pleased (who us?) with your poofs, you can simply remove it and do it again.