Let me begin by saying, I have not always been a lover of cake. Pies? Always. Fruit tarts? Definitely! But regular, plain, birthday cake? Eh. However, for my birthday this year, I decided that it was time to find a cake recipe I loved. This is it!
The secret ingredients to this chocolate cake are; chocolate pudding and buttermilk. My mom, the smart woman that she is, has sworn by using pudding in cakes for years. And she is right, it makes all the difference!
What makes this cake EXTRA special (aside from its secret ingredients, of course) is that it is a four-layer cake. I mean, look at that! Who wouldn’t want a slice of this rich chocolate cake wedged between layers of chocolate butter cream?! No one, that’s who!
This cake is everything birthday-cake should be, luscious, rich and satisfying.
Oh, and trust me when I say, this cake will get you a standing ovation. It’s THAT good.
- I. Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 packet of instant chocolate pudding
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- II. Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp (DON'T melt in the microwave!)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4 TBS. heavy Cream
- ¼ cocoa powder (Again, I used Ghiradelli)
- 3¼ cups powdered sugar
- III. Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 TBS. unsalted butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- IV. Toasted Coconut
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- X. Chocolate Ganache
- 1 bag (8 oz) Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate Cake
- Pre-Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans (I used two spring-form pans). Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, pudding, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Once ready, remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before carefully placing onto wire racks. Cool completely.
- Buttercream: In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes. Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and SLOWLY add to the butter. Add vanilla and heavy cream and mix until well combined. To frost, I sliced each cake in half to form a four-layer cake. Then, using a frosting spatula, frosted each layer cut-side-down then frosted the outside of the entire cake.
- Caramel: To make the caramel sauce, first add the sugar to a small sauce-pan over a medium-high heat, stirring continuously. Be sure to keep an eye on the sugar as it will melt quickly. Once all the clumps have melted and the sugar looks like a syrup, stop stirring and allow to sit over the heat. Once the mixture turns a dark amber color (but before it starts smoking), remove from the heat and immediately add the butter, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Don't worry if your caramel is looking scary at this point. It just needs stirring! Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Toasted Coconut: To make the toasted coconut, pre-heat the oven to "Broil". Again, make sure to keep a close eye on the oven because the coconut can go from a beautiful toasted brown, to burnt in seconds. It should only take a few minutes before its ready!
- Ganache: For the chocolate ganache, I simply brought a small pot with about ½ cup of water over a medium-heat to a boil. Once heated, using a heat-proof bowl that can fit on top, add 1 bag of dark chocolate pieces to the bowl. Allow to melt, stirring consistently, until there are a few pieces of unmelted chocolate left. Then, remove from the heat and stir until all of the chocolate has melted.
- To decorate, simply combine all of the components as you see fit!