jayellebee's Blog

September 21, 2011

World’s Best Chocolate Cake

Filed under: Recipes — Joanne @ 1:17 pm
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     There are a few things you need to know about me.  First, I am an unrepentant chocolaholic.  Second, chocolate calls to me.  At random times throughout the day I hear, “Jo-annnnne.”  Cup your hands around your mouth and read that again, this time using a hollow, deep voice that sounds like it’s coming from your pantry.  “Jo-annnnne.”  That’s the sound of chocolate beckoning me.  Third, I like to cook but I especially enjoy baking. 

     Put all that information together and you’ll understand why I emailed Sara Perry, author of Deep Dark Chocolate: Decadent Recipes for the serious Chocolate Lover, asking  permission to share her “State Fair Chocolate Layer Cake” recipe with you.  Sara granted my request, suggesting I might want to offer my own amendments to her directions, but it’s hard to improve upon perfection! 

     My amazing, soon-to-be daughter-in-law shares my weakness for all things chocolate.  She gifted me this fabulous book, no doubt with absolute certainty I would cherish my new source of dietary pitfalls.  If you’d like your own copy, the volume was published by Chronicle Books in 2008 and the ISBN is 978-0-8118-6089-5. 

     Deep Dark Chocolate offers recipes for pies, tarts, cheesecake, puddings, custards, souffle, ice cream, sauces, fondues, candies, drinks, AND breakfast delights.  (We chocolate people KNOW the most important meal of the day should include chocolate!)  Photography by France Ruffenach accompanies every recipe and is enough to send you into a diabetic stupor.  Sara Perry’s directions are clear and concise, leaving nothing to chance.  And, the beginning of the book offers a wealth of chocolate-ology explaining the differences in various types of chocolate (unsweetened, dark, bittersweet, semisweet …), defining related terminology (cacao nibs, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter …), and presenting the correct way to store, chop, measure and melt chocolate.

     I wouldn’t mind if every cookbook were as detailed as Deep Dark Chocolate.  I’d even like them to go so far as to tell me things like:  where to stand in my kitchen while preparing the recipe, what time of the day/day of the week to prepare the recipe, and whether to stand on my left of right foot while cooking.  Don’t laugh.  I’m so literal, I would actually follow those types of instructions.  In fact, I feel guilty if I’m not following a recipe regardless of what I’m preparing.  A pot of tea?  I read the directions on the box.  Cold cereal?  I check the nutrition label for proper serving size.   A glass of water?  Okay, even I don’t need a recipe for water.  But, I do read the annual water quality report from the Nevada Irrigation District.  Does that count?

     Enough nonsense.  Let’s get to the State Fair Chocolate Layer Cake recipe.  Now, I don’t usually get all the ingredients out before I start cooking — much less measure them ahead — but in this instance, it really is a good idea.  And remember, everything should be at room temperature EXCEPT the coffee which should be hot.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of two 9″ round cake pans.  Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.


2 cups cake flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter + more for the pans

1-1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs                                            

4 oz premium dark chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tsp pure vanilla extract                 

1 cup sour cream                  

1 cup hot, strong coffee

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt until well blended.  Set aside.

With a stand or hand mixer set on medium speed, beat the 1/2 cup butter until creamy.  Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  On low speed, beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla.*  Alternately blend the dry ingredients and the sour cream in increments until all is combined, again scraping down the bowl as necessary.  With the mixer still on low speed, slowly pour in the coffee and beat until blended.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and spread evenly.  Gently rotate the pans to settle and level the batter.  Bake until the cakes are springy to the touch and a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 30 – 35 minutes.  Let the layers cool on a wire rack in their pans for at least 15 minutes.  Gently loosen the edges with a thin knife before inverting the layers onto the racks.  Let the cakes cool thoroughly, about 2 hours, before carefully peeling off the parchment to frost them.

*Note from Joanne:  Do not think you’ll be clever and mix the vanilla into the melted chocolate.  The chocolate immediately hardens!  Trust me, I learned this the hard way.  Beat in the melted chocolate.  Then beat in the vanilla.


3-2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 T premium unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

5 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

About 6 T milk or heavy (whipping) cream at room temperature or slightly warm

Sift the powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the butter.  WIth the mixer set on low speed, slowly add the melted chocolate and vanilla. *  Slowly add the milk and continue beating until the frosting reaches spreading consistency, 1 to 2 minutes.  Finish by increasing the speed to medium-high for 30 seconds.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:  Place a dollop of frosting in the middle of a cake stand.  Place 1 layer on the stand, top side up, and, using an offset spatula, spread 1 cup of frosting evenly over the top.  Place the remaining layer on top, bottom side up, and brush off any large, loose crumbs.  [Eat the crumbs, they’re too good to waste – Joanne]  Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to seal in the remaining crumbs.  Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour, leaving the remaining frosting at room temperature.  Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.  The cake can be frosted 1 day ahead and kept in a cake keeper at cool room temperature until ready to serve.


      This is not a cake to waste on the Cub Scouts fund-raiser or the neighborhood potluck picnic in the park.  No.  Save this moist, dense cake for indulging your dearest friends or your cherished family members.  Or, don’t tell anyone you baked it, hide in the closet, and eat until you can eat no more. 

     Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go, um, organize my closet.



  1. That sounds so good it’s worth almost worth a migraine . . .oh no. Now I’m starving. There goes the diet! Liz

    Comment by Liz — September 21, 2011 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  2. It sure looks bloody delicious!

    Comment by frugalfeeding — September 21, 2011 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  3. […] World’s Best Chocolate Cake (jayellebee.wordpress.com) Share this:DiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

    Pingback by Black Magic Cake | What's On the Stove? — September 25, 2011 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  4. YUMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Bee Hylinski - Author and Baseball Fan — October 2, 2011 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

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