This is a recipe from Bon Appetit for Chocolate Cake. What sets this cake apart is the method of preparation. When I read the directions I really wanted to give it a try, I have a simple chocolate cake recipe that I have been using for years and it’s fantastic, it’s a very old recipe from Hershey’s and it’s right on their can of unsweetened cocoa. I love it and have never deviated or tried another recipe, it’s that good.
The method of preparation is the brainchild of the great Rose Levy Beranbaum, she is amazing and I have several of her cookbooks but missed this and it took Claire Saffitz from Bon Appetit to bring it to life. I will let her explain why this method is so genius.
Contrary to the traditional method of creaming the butter and sugar before adding eggs and wet and dry ingredients, reverse creaming does pretty much the opposite. The dry ingredients and sugar are mixed with the fat (oil and butter) plus some of the wet ingredients (eggs + buttermilk + melted chocolate + coffee). The fat coats the dry ingredients and inhibits gluten formation, which would normally result in a tough cake, while the addition of some moisture simultaneously develops just enough gluten to give the cake structure. It’s hard to overmix with this method, giving you a tender crumb. Because there’s less air in the batter due to no creaming, the layers bake evenly and stack up without the need to level or trim. It’s the perfect method for building a layer cake.
Bon Appetit by Claire Saffitz adapted from a recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2½ cups (packed) light brown sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter two 9″-diameter cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
- Heat chocolate, coffee, and ⅔ cup cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water (water should not touch bottom of bowl), stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Let cool, then whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla into chocolate mixture.
- Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix salt, baking powder, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl just to combine. Add brown sugar, oil, ½ cup butter, and ½ cup reserved chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until flour is evenly distributed and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chocolate mixture in 2 additions, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed and beating until smooth after each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
- Bake cake until top is firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Transfer cake pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Tomorrow I will frost and taste the cake but have to to say so far I am not in love with it, it took longer to bake than the directions, now that could be my wonky oven that I had repaired to tide me over until I get my new stove. So that could have been a factor but the cake feels drier than my go to Hershey’s cake, I tend to like layer and cupcakes that use oil rather than butter, I find the crumb is perfect, they are light and moist. This cake feels more like a brownie that is a bit overdone. I also like that the Hershey’s recipe is one bowl, super fast and easy. This was not difficult but had steps that I normally don’t have to do. It is possible I did something wrong or it was my oven so I cannot say with certainty that there is a flaw in the recipe.
The proof will be in the tasting so stay tuned because tomorrow I will frost and try the cake.
Full disclosure: I got distracted and forgot to add the vanilla.