Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Milk Chocolate Frosting

For best results in texture and flavor, this recipe needs natural (nonalkalized) cocoa, such as Hershey’s, Nestlé, or Ghirardelli® rather than Dutch-processed (alkalized) cocoa.

Reprinted from the book Fine Cooking Chocolate. Copyright © 2013 by Taunton Press. Published by Taunton Press.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Milk Chocolate Frosting

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    3 cups sifted unbleached cake flour 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 3 large eggs at room temperature
    5/8 teaspoon salt, divided 24 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into matchstick-size pieces
    2 1/2 ounces unsifted unsweetened natural (nonalkalized) cocoa 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    1/2 cup cold plain yogurt (regular or low fat) 4 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
    4 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 18 tablespoons heavy cream
    12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature


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    • 1

      Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with kitchen parchment (see the sidebar on p. 75) and lightly grease the sides. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt (1/2 teaspoon). Sift together three times and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, pour 1 cup boiling water over the cocoa and stir to blend. Refrigerate to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally to speed cooling. Stir in 3/4 cup cold water, the yogurt, and the vanilla extract (1 tablespoon). If necessary, refrigerate again to cool to room temperature before continuing.

    • 2

      In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light in color and texture, 6 to 7 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer. If you’re using a heavy-duty mixer, use the paddle attachment at medium speed (the whisk attachment will aerate the batter too much). The butter and sugar mixture will remain somewhat granular; this is fine. Whisk the eggs briefly and dribble them slowly into the butter mixture, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping as needed to scrape down the bowl and beaters.

    • 3

      Stop the mixer and spoon one-third of the flour mixture into the mixing bowl. Beat on low speed, scraping the bowl at least once, just until all traces of flour are incorporated. Stop the mixer and pour in half of the cocoa mixture. Beat on low to medium speed, scraping the bowl at least once, just until the mixture is blended. Stop mixing and spoon half of the remaining flour into the bowl. Beat as before. Stop mixing to add the remaining cocoa mixture and beat as before. Add the last of the flour mixture and beat it in. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans, spreading the batter to level it.

    • 4

      Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cake just begins to shrink from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool on a rack for about 5 minutes. Invert the pans to unmold. Peel off the parchment liners and turn the layers right side up on the rack. Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

    • 5

      Put the chocolate, butter, espresso powder, and salt (scant 1/8 teaspoon) in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate mixture. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract (1 1/2 teaspoons). Refrigerate until the mixture is cold and feels quite firm when you touch it, at least 2 hours. When you’re ready to frost the cake, beat the frosting with a hand-held electric mixer (it will seem a bit firm to beat at first), until the frosting lightens in color, has a spreadable but not-too-stiff consistency, and holds a nice shape. Frost the cake immediately using about 2/3 cup between each layer and the rest for the top and sides.

    nutritional information

    3 g
    34 g
    Saturated Fat:
    21 g
    77 g
    7 g
    270 mg
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