Alright kids, this one is a bit of a doozie. Have no fear, you can do it! As I mentioned on Wednesday when I showed you those adorable balloon cake toppers, it was a friends birthday and I had to get crazy with what I was making.
My boss at work told me she has been meaning to try Ina Gartens Chocolate Cake, so I thought I'd give it a go, but put my own spin on it a bit. Ina does two layers of cake, with an amazing chocolate buttercream, but I went WILD and made FOUR LAYERS of cake, and I added cherry into the mix. IT WAS A CROWD PLEASER FOR SURE. If you have an important event, a special celebration, or just feel like treating your friends to a super moist and FANTASTICAL cake, this one is a winner.
The recipe yields Two- 8inch layers, I went through the process twice instead of doubling because not all cake recipes double well. If you want to make a two layer cake (I don't blame you), you will likely have some extra fillings, so make sure to be generous. If you are up for the challenge and going for FOUR LAYERS, do the cake recipe twice and you'll have JUST ENOUGH filling to get through. I made some ROOKIE-FREAKIN-MISTAKES when I was making this cake, which I will of course mention in the directions so you don't make the same stupid mistakes I did!
Ok, lets get going! Download your FREE Recipe Card for this cake HERE.
FOR THE BATTER /
1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
¾ cups good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 / Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Set aside. (ROOKIE-FREAKIN-MISTAKE No.1: When Ina Garten tells you to butter the pans, do it, I forgot on my first batch and it made it hard to pop the cakes out. Also, but parchment paper BEFORE you begin! I didn't read the recipe thoroughly before and had to run around like a mad woman to get parchment paper.)
2 / Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. To fully combine, mix the dry ingredients with an electric mixer low speed.
3 / In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
4 / With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
5 / Add the coffee to the mixture and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
6 / Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
7 / Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. (ROOKIE-FREAKIN-MISTAKE No.2: When Ina Garten tells you to allow the cakes to cool for 30 mintes before removing them from the pans and onto the cooling rack , JUST LISTEN. Here's the dealio- I only have 2 cake pans, and didn't FEEL LIKE waiting- welp! The cakes STUCK TO THE COOLING RACK because they were warm when laid them there. Wait the FULL 30 minutes.)
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CHERRY BUTTERCREAM /
6 oz semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 cup high quality cherry preserves
1 / Chop the chocolate and melt, either in the microwave or by placing it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
2 / Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3 / Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
4 / Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
5 / Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tsp hot tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended.
6 / Stir in the cherry preserve. Set aside.
ADDITIONAL NEEDS /
2 cans cherry pie filling
Whipped cream (you can use your favorite store bought or recipe or follow my simple recipe that we used for our Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes below)
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM /
3 cups heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 / In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
ASSEMBLY / Cooled Cakes / Chocolate Cherry Buttercream / Whipped Cream / Cherry Pie Filling
1 / After the cakes are completely cooled, level all of the layers (so they stack well). (ROOKIE-FREAKIN-MISTAKE No3 : Anytime you are making a layer cake, it is SO IMPORTANT to level your cakes. As cakes cook, they dome, which is all good and great and fantastic, but when you are stacking them, it throws the weight off, and causes the cakes to slide. You can see in my final cake pics that its not perfect, because I didn't level a SINGLE cake, so they were slippin' & slidin' everywhere! ALSO you should have dowels (I used sturdy paper straws because I OF COURSE didn't plan ahead and get dowels) to push through the cake to prevent slippage!.
2 / Place 1 layer on a plate and cover the top of the cake with the chocolate cherry buttercream (set aside a bit of the prepared butter cream if you wish to ice the exterior of the cake after assembly).
3 / Place the next cake layer on top.
If you are making a FOUR layer cake:
Spoon the whipped cream and cherry filling on this later, and top with another cake layer.
Spread more chocolate cherry buttercream and top with your final layer of cake, then follow the directions below.
If you are making a TWO layer cake:
Using a rubber spatula (or a butter knife if you think you can, I did!), coat the exterior of the cake with the chocolate cherry buttercream. (You do not have to do the top of the cake, as you will be covering it with whipped cream and cherry!)
Spoon the whipped cream on the top of that layer and spread to the edge.
Spoon the cherry filling on top of the whipped cream and carefully push small sections of the preserve towards to edge and allow to fall.
Doesn't matter if you want a two or four layer cake, look at this baby above. You don't even need to coat the exterior with buttercream (if you level and stack well) its GORGEOUS!
Pop in your balloon cake toppers we made earlier this week, and you have a perfect celebration cake. This is by far on of my faves. I mean, c'mon, CHOCOLATE & CHERRY & WHIPPED CREAM, it would be extremely difficult for this NOT to be good. Thanks Ina Garten for the excellent cake recipe, I was terrified to make 4 LAYERS OF CAKE without using a pros recipe!