The Best-Ever Coffee & Chocolate Cake:
butter and flour, for pans
1 3/4 cups + 3 1/2 Tbsp sifted cake flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour - but it is better with cake flour)
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (shaken)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 extra large egg + 2 extra large egg yolks (all at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup hot, fresh coffee
Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 8" or 9" round cake pans, line the bottom of pans with parchment rounds, butter the parchment, and flour the inside of the pan (bottoms & sides).
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, oil, eggs & yolks, and vanilla until combined. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed. Continue to mix on low and slowly add the coffee, scraping the bowl with a spatula to ensure thorough blending.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake 30-35 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pans for about 30 minutes, then completely on wire racks. When cakes are completely cool, I cut them both in half to make the four layers of the cake. (I use a cake slicer/leveler because I have one, but a big knife and a steady hand work just as well. :) )
9 oz semisweet chocolate
3 sticks butter (at room temperature)
2 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler (or pyrex bowl placed over a shallow pot of simmering water - make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), then set aside.
Beat butter in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (around 3 minutes). Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat another 3 minutes. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, and mix until smooth.
Dissolve the coffee powder in about 2 tsp of the hottest tap water possible. Add the coffee mixture and melted chocolate to the butter mixture and blend until smooth. Use immediately.
To frost the cake, try this:
Place a small amount of frosting on the middle center of your serving dish and spread around (to hold the cake in place). Take the top half of one cake and place it rounded- (top) side down in the center of your serving dish. Frost the top (now the exposed, cut side of the cake). Next, layer the bottom half of that cake on top, cut side down (putting that cake back together, but upside down). Frost the (now) top of that cake. Next, layer the bottom half of the second cake, right side up (so the exposed, cut-side is now the top of your cake), and frost. Finally, finish with the top half of the second cake (the rounded side). Frost the top and sides of the cake. Basically, you'll end up with two cakes, the bottom one upside-down, the top one right-side up, with frosting in the middle of both cakes and between both.
This recipe also makes great cupcakes - but I'd suggest using 2 extra large eggs for the cake, instead of 1 egg and 2 egg yolks. Also, foil liners work best, since this cake is fairly moist, and paper liners won't hold up well for long. (If you follow this frosting recipe, there will probably be quite a bit extra for cupcakes, since this recipe is increased 50% from the original to make enough for a 4-layer cake. You can decrease the frosting recipe by 50%, or you can just have a lot of frosting to work with (and eat)).
Keep the cake (or cupcakes) refrigerated. But the frosting will harden in the fridge, so if you want softer frosting, remove from the fridge about 30-60 minutes before eating. Return left-overs to the fridge. (The frosting is also very good cold and hardened, though.)
As promised, the original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/beattys-chocolate-cake-recipe/index.html
Serves: a lot. This makes a pretty massive cake (probably at least 12 generous servings). Enjoy!