Don't be fooled by how normal this cake appears. It's moist, chocolatey, and decadent. Generally, I don't like chocolate cakes because there's usually too much other stuff going on in them that gets in the way of the chocolate, but this... this takes the cake. (Get it? Haha! I kill myself). This is not a child's cake, nor is it something for someone seeking the hypersweetened chocolate cakes of their youth. Everything about this recipe plays to chocolate's strong points and brings out all the depth, richness, and complexities in chocolate that most recipes unwittingly destroy. It's not too sweet, it's slightly spiced, and oh, whatever genius out there figured out what coffee and cinnamon can do to a chocolate cake deserves a really big hug, because it's just awe-inspiring.
I've made this before and followed the recipe, but yesterday I was making it for a crowd who wouldn't appreciate (or even remotely like) the ganache frosting called for, so I used swiss buttercream instead. They loved it, but I thought it just got in the way of the chocolate. The pictures here show the buttercream version, but please, do the ganache. Also, if you want to substitute a different jam for the filling, feel free, but I promise you that nothing will reach perfection like raspberry.
I wish I could tell you where I found this recipe, but I have no idea... chances are it's from a fellow food blogger. If you're out there, and you read this, please let me know so I can give credit where it's due. This recipe makes a ton of batter (it filled my standard-size KitchenAid to the brim and made for a very tedious mixing process), so you may want to either scale it down or make it in 2 smaller batches. Also, if you're one of those weirdos like me and my husband who use their coffee maker strictly for hot water and don't want to contaminate it with coffee flavor, a venti black coffee from your local coffee shop is the exact amount needed.
5 1/3 cups cake flour
5 1/3 cups sugar
2 2/3 cups unsweetened (NOT Dutch process) cocoa powder
6 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 1/3 sticks (20 2/3 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups buttermilk
5 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
2 2/3 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (for filling)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour cake pans for baking.
2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until just moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes).
3. Whisk the eggs and coffee together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, beating only until blended after each addition and making sure to scrape sides of bowl. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes (for 9" cakes), or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 20 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack. Cool completely before filling and frosting.
5. Fill with jam and frost with ganache
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, broken up
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups heavy cream, heated slightly
1/2 cup brandy or Cognac
1. Place the chocolate and butter in a double boiler and stir to blend as they melt.
2. When completely melted, remove from the heat and whisk in first the cream and then the brandy. Be sure to scrape down the bowl well and mix thoroughly. Mixture will thicken to a loose frosting consistency as it cools.