A few weeks before my grandmother’s birthday, I went searching for a great chocolate cake recipe. Since she is the person I inherited my sweet tooth from. I thought it only fitting that I find the most fantastic chocolate cake I could for her. This recipe was originally called Double Chocolate Layer Cake because of the addition of chocolate frosting. I used butter cream frosting and put a layer of fluffy white cream in the middle that I took from my devil dog cake recipe that my Pa loved so much. It was the perfect balance of chocolate, creamy, buttery goodness.
When Gram arrived at my house for her party, my Mom quizzed her to see if she remembered who I was. At Christmas time she knew me and remembered my name. Fast-forward to last week and now my name escapes her. My Mom said to her:
Mom: (pointing to me): Who’s that Mom?
Gram: (smiling): I can’t recall.
Mom: She’s your granddaughter Mom.
Gram: Is she?
Mom: Yes Mom, her name starts with an L.
Gram: (after thinking for a minute): Lena??
Lena?? Well….um….kinda close I guess. She had a friend named Lena a long time ago, maybe that’s where the name came from?? Who knows?? A minimum of eight times she asked “Who made this cake?” Lisa did, everyone would say. Three minutes later the same question. After the 7th or 8th time, my sister-in-law finally yelled “Lena made it Gram” and she looked right at me and told me it was delicious.
It was a good day for her. She constantly giggles like Betty Rubble. That makes me feel good cause it tells me that wherever she is in her little world, it’s a happy place and if I know my Gram, it’s filled with all things sweet and delicious. We should all be so lucky.
This was the perfect birthday cake. It cooked up high to make a very impressive presentation. I’m glad I used a lighter frosting for the middle. It broke up the chocolate layers and was the perfect fluffy center.
Chocolate Layer Cake
Gourmet, March 1999
3 ounces fine quality semisweet chocolate
1 ½ cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups well shaken buttermilk
¾ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 300. Grease two 10x2 round cake pans. Line bottom with rounds of parchment or wax paper and grease paper as well.
Finely chop the chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot coffee over it. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and the salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat the eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a stand mixer or 5 minutes with a hand held mixer). Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating until well combined. Add the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
Divide the batter between the pans and bake in the middle of the oven until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Start testing after an hour.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove the paper and cool completely. Cake layers may be make 1 day ahead and kept well wrapped in plastic at room temperature.
She looks like she wants to kick my ass in this picture.