Chocolate Cake and a Contraption

Today, I present to you the four C’s…and I don’t mean to disappoint you but this has nothing to do with diamonds.  I have a cake, it’s chocolate with another key ingredient, coffee, and I used one of the best contraptions I’ve seen in a long time.

First, the cake.  I’ve made this twice over the last week.  I had two separate gatherings planned six days apart and I wanted to make everything from scratch.  My friends didn’t expect this, of course, but I wanted to offer my best and because of this, there was no time to be a maverick with an untested recipe.  This cake doesn’t disappoint anyway.  In fact, it has quickly become one of my go-to desserts over the last year.  It’s easy to make, it’s incredibly moist and it has chocolate and coffee.  Need I say more?

If you haven’t yet tasted a chocolate cake that contains coffee, I would urge you to try this.  This isn’t like an espresso brownie where you would expect a dominant coffee flavor in each bite.  Instead, the coffee adds a layer of complexity to the finished product by heightening the chocolate experience.  Trust me when I say “try this”.  I’m still blown away every time I make this cake because it always turns out as promised and I can’t take any credit for it.  Contrary to my habit of always tweaking savory recipes, I follow this exactly.  It’s perfect just the way it is.

Double-Chocolate Layer Cake

Recipe by Ina Garten


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350º.  Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper.  Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed.  In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla.  Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated (the batter will look really thin and watery but it’s okay).

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.  If you use a convection oven like I do, my cakes usually cook in about 25 minutes.  Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.  Peel off the parchment paper.

To make the frosting, Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or by using your microwave.  If using the latter, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate has melted.  Stir until completely melted then set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl.  At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute.  In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 teaspoons of hot water.  Slowly beat the coffee and the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.

Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up.  Evenly spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge.  Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up.  Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

The frosted cake can be refrigerated for 2 days.  Let stand 1 hour before serving.

Now check out this video.  Have you seen anything like it?  I was desperate to find Christmas gifts last year and I came across this in one of my magazines.  Sure, it was attractive, but I was dubious about it actually working as a cake server.  Furthermore, I don’t really like to clutter my limited drawer space with single-use gadgets and I wouldn’t encourage my friends to do the same.  When I saw this video, however, I was intrigued and ordered two (one to give away and one for me) and promptly forgot about it until last week.

This is a cake server from Magisso.  But just so you know, my new status as a food blogger would automatically preclude me from being used by a company to promote their product.  I found this on my own and I’m sharing it with you because I’m quite happy with it.  As can be seen in the video, this gadget actually makes serving cake an easy, one-handed task.  This gadget has rightfully earned a permanent spot in my baking drawer.


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  1. Ok. Just stumbled that cake. Because…hello. It is gorgeous. Absolutely GORGEOUS!

  2. I just made a chocolate (overload) cake too with espresso in it, but i should try out this cake recipe. The Hershey’s one (with espresso/coffee added) is my go-to, but I’ll try this out. I love the frosting recipe. I think the addition of egg yolk is quite interesting.

    I looked at the cake-serving tool. It is quite cool.

  3. I adore that cake and would recognize it anywhere:) I saw the pic on tastespotting and was like, “AH! That’s Ina’s chocolate cake!” I just made it myself a couple weeks ago. It’s amazing and so easy.

  4. what a beautiful cake…it looks so rich and so moist….I can almost taste it…..sigh….I wish I could taste it

  5. This is one of my favorite chocolate layer cake recipes too. It doesn’t get much better than this!

  6. When I first saw the picture of your cake I immediately thought “Is that the cake from Ina Garten?” I have been wanting to try this cake for years! I don’t care anymore, I want, NO NEED to just go ahead and make this freakin cake!

  7. Gosh, this looks like pure decadence. Got any left over for me?
    *kisses* HH

  8. I love Ina’s chocolate cake recipe; tried it couple times and was always a crowd pleaser! Your cake looks deliciously moist and decadent! Well done! And thanks for introducing my new fav. kitchen gadget! I’ve got to have this NOW!!

  9. I saw Ina Garten make this cake on the Barefoot Contessa and added it to my list of cake recipes to make. I’ve made it twice thus far and it is absolutely delicious. I wasn’t a chocolate cake fan before because most are usually too dry but this one is very moist. I love the coffee added to the cake and the icing. It’s definitely a keeper.

  10. Looks HEAVENLY! I am craving chocolate. BIGTIME.

  11. Oooh, that cake looks just perfect. Simple and rich. I’m bookmarking this for the next time I need to show up somewhere with an impressive cake.

    The link I clicked said the stainless steel cake server was $49.95. I’m too cheap. The colored versions come out at the end of April, but I’m not sure if I’m even up for $19.95 when I could use my crappy plastic server for free. I guess I’m saying I’m sad that Ikea doesn’t sell this for $1.95.

    Cake server rant aside, this is one beautiful chocolate cake. Glad I found you. Oh, via Tastespotting, if you were wondering.

    • Jen, thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, the cake server is a little pricey–I would have loved to find it for much less. You won’t be sorry with this cake.

      • I just looked through the rest of your blog and was delighted to find you are relatively new. I’m glad I caught you at the beginning so I haven’t missed much! I’m adding you to my feed.

  12. I’m reeling about the cake server. When there are only two slices left, are there arguments over who gets the last piece of cake that is equally curved on both sides?

  13. I’ve made this cake and it is delicious! This is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes.

  14. I just love this recipe and i make it quite often.
    But it is actually Ina Garten’s recipe.

    • Hi, Linda. Isn’t the cake wonderful? It’s my favorite. I wouldn’t even dare take credit for this cake and attribute it to Ina Garten prominently in the recipe section. Several of the first commenters of this post also recognized it as hers–obviously, there are quite a lot of us who are big fans of Ina’s cake! 🙂


  1. […] recipes as favorites since starting my blog two years ago.  Permission to select two?  My go-to chocolate cake is Ina Garten’s recipe and it receives rave reviews each time I serve it.  The cake is ultra-moist with pumped-up […]

  2. […] This is our favorite chocolate cake; it’s indulgent, goes all out.  This time, I wanted a cake that we could enjoy more frequently without feeling guilty.  One that’s no-frills, easy to prepare but tasty and satisfying.  When I came across a chocolate beet cake in a cookbook that features healthier ingredients, I couldn’t wait to try it.  But while it replaced white flour and sugar, there was still butter and eggs–and a lot of both.  We love desserts using traditional ingredients but I can’t feed my husband too much egg and dairy or I’d have our doctor to answer to.  He’s predisposed to high cholesterol so the cake was a no-go.  The beet element piqued my interest, though. […]

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