Monday, May 18, 2009

Incredible Chocolate Cake

This Incredible Chocolate Cake has been a go-to recipe for me since I discovered it in a cookbook called Glorious Chocolate, but I haven't baked it for several years. (The book appears to be out of print, but you can get it, used, on Amazon for far less than I paid!)

The cake is a tender chocolate layer cake, filled with chocolate ganache and raspberry preserves, then frosted with chocolate buttercream. It's not a fancy cake, but simply delicious.

Incredible Chocolate Cake


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Chocolate buttercream:

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

1 ounce semisweet chocolate

1 large egg white

1/4 cup granulated sugar

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened until shiny, cut into tablespoons

1 teaspoon dark rum

To assemble:

2 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves

Make the cake:

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and prejeat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and flour them. Tap out the excess flour.

2. In the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water, combine the chocolate, butter, water, and coffee powder. Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the sugar.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs and sour cream until well blended. In another small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. Using a whisk, stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate-sugar mixture alternately with the egg-sour cream mixture. Stir until the batter is smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake layers spring back when lightly touched in the center. Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake layer to loosen them, and turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Make the ganache:

6. In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream and butter. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.

7. In a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade, finely chop the chocolate. With the motor running, pour the hot cream mixture through the feed tube. Process for 20 seconds or until the ganache is smooth. Transfer to a metal mixing bowl and let stand until cool, stirring occasionally.

Make the buttercream:

8. In the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering water, melt the chocolates. Stir until smooth. Remove the top part of the double boiler from the bottom and cool for 5 to 10 minutes until tepid.

9. In the small bowl of a stand-up electric mixer, combine the egg white and sugar. Set the bowl over hot, not simmering, water. The water should touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk until white and creamy and the egg feels hot to the touch (110 degrees F). Rub a small amount between your thumb and forefinger to be sure the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the the bowl to the stand-up electric mixer. Beat the mixture at medium speed about 5 minutes or until it is cool and it has formed a thick meringue.

10. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until all the butter is incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and the rum. Continue beating for a few seconds, until the buttercream is thick and smooth.

Assemble the cake:

11. Put one cake layer onto a 9-inch cardboard cake circle or a serving plate. Spread the top with the raspberry preserves. Cover the preserves with the chocolate buttercream. Top with the second layer of cake.

12. If the ganache has not cooled to a spreadable consistency, put the bowl over another bowl of ice water. Gently stir until it starts to thicken, about 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the ice water. Do not let it get too thick.

13. Using a metal cake spatula, spread the ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Cover and refrigerate the cake until 20 minutes before serving time.

Notes: (a) I've been using a different (egg-free) chocolate buttercream. Even though the egg mixture is heated, I feel more comfortable using a buttercream that doesn't contain egg. I also omit the rum. (b) I just realized that the description says that the cake is sandwiched with ganache and frosted with buttercream, but the instructions reverse those. I can't remember which way it's supposed to be! My guess is that the instructions are correct. If I baked this today, I'd make both ganache and buttercream, and use the one that looks like more volume to frost the cake. (c) The coffee in the cake batter adds a depth to the cake flavor, but not really a coffee flavor. I'm sure you could omit it if you prefer. (d) I've made many adaptations to this recipe, such as melting the chocolate in the microwave and chopping chocolate by hand. It's not a recipe that requires all the equipment and bowls that the instructions suggest!


For more recipes and ideas, see Recipe Swap Monday, Homemaker Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Cake Week at Stop and Smell the Chocolates, and Sweet Thursday.


  1. Oh Melissa, that sounds so good. Who doesn't love chocolate??!! :)

  2. YUM!
    Wish I weren't on a diet...

  3. The very fact that there is coffee powder in it has me sold! :)

  4. Nothing says it is going to be okay like chocolate can.

  5. Oh my.. this sounds so good!!!

  6. Sounds Yummy! Anything with chocolate. TFS and playing along.

  7. Love chocolate! Thanks for sharing!

  8. OOoh sounds great! I was craving chocolate as we unpacked. Had to settle for making vanilla cupcakes. What a great sounding book!

  9. I couldnt even read your whole post otherwise I would have to bake it tonight, I love love love chocolate but I am currently trying to cut back on my sugar intake and i know if i baked this I would eat the whole thing (by myself) I might just have to put this one away for a special occasion. :)

  10. Chocolate and raspberries, oh my. yesterday someone "tweeted" that they were drinking a raspberry mocha from starbuck's... now this. I'm gonna have to go on a mission today!

  11. sounds so yummy thanks for the great recipe

  12. I had to come by when I saw chocolate. I'm glad I did. I think I will make this next week. :D YUM!

  13. Oh my goodness. I am sure that is an awesome recipe!

  14. Oh YUM!!! Aren't you supposed to make one for me if you link it up - hee,hee?? Love the chocolate raspberry combo. Thanks for sharing! :)

  15. yum!! chocolate and raspberry is delicious.

  16. This sounds wonderful, and it's perfect for my cake round-up. Thanks for submitting it!

  17. I don't usually make layer cakes but I was wondering what you think about making a square or rectangular cake and putting the raspberry preserves and then ganache on it and eliminating the frosting? I know I am taking away the richness of the cake but my family is not a frosting family....amazing! I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry.

    By the way, I love frosting.


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