Valentine's day is coming soon, and chocolate has a fantastic way of saying, "I love you!" This sweetheart of a cake is made with all-natural ingredients.
This is a remarkable recipe. It uses butter for a creamy fine crumb and buttermilk to add depth to the flavor of the chocolate. We use Wilton .75 inch high 8-inch layer pans for ease in the layering and enable a faster bake-time.
The easy buttercream recipe is enough to make any 8-inch four-layer cake, so keep the recipe handy for all your future baking adventures. Chilling the entire buttercream frosted cake in the freezer about 25 minutes before topping with the lightly warm chocolate ganache will keep the buttercream from melting and give the dramatic layers of frosting.
Rich Chocolate Layer Cake
2 ½ cups (12 1/2 ounces) Panhandle Milling Kamut® All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup hot water
½ cup (1 ½ ounce) Cocoa Powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Easy Buttercream Frosting
2 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 cups confectioners’ sugar (16 ounces)
Pinch table salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
12 oz. dark chocolate chips
6 oz. heavy whipping cream
For the cake
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (8-inch) 2-inch round cake pans OR 4 8-inches by .75 inch rounds with baking spray with flour.
Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk hot water, cocoa, and vanilla until smooth; set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, buttermilk, and cocoa mixture until blended. Mix 2 minutes.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs attached, about 25 minutes for two layers or 15 minutes for four layer pans.
Let cakes cool completely in pans, about 1 hour. (Cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen up to 6 months.)
In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.
Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
Frost between each layer and stack the cake. Frost the outside of the cake with buttercream until even and smooth. Freeze the cake for 25-30 minutes.
In a microwave-safe 6 cup bowl, combine the chocolate and cream. Cook on high for about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
Cool 5 minutes (ganache should be less than 100 degrees before drizzling over the buttercream.)
Drizzle the top of the buttercream with chocolate ganache as desired. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. Chill the cake immediately to set the ganache.