Buttermilk Blackout Cake

The sickness of 2013. It got me. It got me bad. And while I was busy being congested and having trouble breathing and battling epic migraines, I was definitely not cooking. I apologize for the unannounced hiatus, but I’m back. And boy do I have an amazing recipe for you to make up for it.

Buttermilk chocolate cake. I keep seeing recipes for buttermilk this and buttermilk that floating all over the internet, and while they have definitely piqued my interest, it wasn’t until the word “chocolate” was paired with it that I decided I had to finally do something about it.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

As a side note, I made this on Super Bowl Sunday and ate it for dessert not long after the halftime show, when the power went out in the stadium during the game. Because of this little coincidence, I have dubbed this cake “Blackout Cake”.

This recipe also has coffee added to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, which I was a little apprehensive about since I don’t like coffee, but I did as the recipe said and added a cup and a half of strong coffee. I couldn’t taste it at all. Not even when I licked the bowl clean after I put the cakes in the oven (not really, only kids do that right? Oh who am I kidding? I went to town on that bowl!).

I did have to bake the cakes for a bit longer than the recipe calls for – when I checked them at 30 minutes they were still very jiggly in the middle and when I tested them with a toothpick, it came out with raw batter on it. I just kept adding an additional 5-10 minutes to the time until the toothpick came out with moist crumbs like the recipe says.

You guys, this cake was SO GOOD. Very, very rich, but so good. It is definitely a keeper and I will probably make it for someone for their birthday because it needs to be shared, if only so it doesn’t stay in my house begging me to eat the entire thing. Next time I make it I won’t trim the cakes, though. That’s too much work, in my opinion, and I kind of like the old-fashioned look of a rounded cake top. If you’re going to do this, just place the bottom cake upside down on your cake stand so you’re frosting the bottom as the middle layer of the cake. Then place the top cake right side up on top of it. This way the two flat sides are together and your cake won’t be lopsided. The weight of the cake will flatten out the rounded “bottom” on its own. Another trick to keep a clean cake stand while decorating is to stick sheets of parchment or wax paper underneath the cake, then pull them out when you’re finished. Voila! Clean cake stand and beautifully decorated cake!

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Buttermilk Blackout Cake

Recipe from Portland Monthly via thepaperseed.com

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/3 cups canola oil (or any flavorless vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly-brewed, extra-strong coffee
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the ganache:

  • 24 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa in a large mixing bowl. Mix on low with an electric mixer to combine (I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer with the paddle attachment, but it might actually be easier to use a hand mixer once all of the ingredients are added. I used mine when I found lumps in the bottom of the batter and the Kitchen-Aid wasn’t getting rid of them). With the mixer still on low, add the oil, buttermilk and eggs one at a time. Pour hot coffee in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix until the batter is smooth. It will be a VERY thin batter. Divide into your prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes (adjust baking time if necessary by checking every 5-10 minutes until cakes are set). Let cool in pans at least 20 minutes.

Set a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and place the chocolate chips and whipping cream in the bowl to melt. Do not stir until chocolate has begun to melt and then stir with a whisk until smooth. Cool at room temperature.

Remove the cakes from the pans and place one cake on a serving platter. Trim the top of the cake with a serrated knife to create a flat surface. Put a glob (that’s my technical term) of ganache onto the cake and smooth to the edges using a palette knife or spatula (I don’t have such special equipment in my house, so I used a butter knife). Trim the top off the second cake and place the untrimmed side down on top of the ganache. Put another glob of ganache on top of the cake and smooth it around the sides, adding more ganache as needed to cover the cake. If you need to add a second layer of ganache, place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm the first layer of ganache, then add the second.

Makes one 9-inch layer cake.