My new and improved Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe uses chocolate in ways you've only dreamt of — and it's topped with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache!
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and butter two 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) round cake pans. Once buttered, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, butter the parchment, and then flour the pans.
In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, and hot coffee. Stir and let cool to room temperature.
Once cool, thoroughly whisk in oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a handheld mixer, cream butter, and sugar together for a few minutes.
Add the chocolate mixture and blend until very well combined.
Finally, add your dry ingredients in two or three increments, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with each addition. Stop just as soon as the batter is evenly and thoroughly mixed, but take care not to overmix.
Divide batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake is baking, make the ganache: place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
In a pan over medium heat, warm the cream until the edges just start to simmer.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the cream sit in the bowl without stirring for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, place a wire whisk in the center of the bowl and with small circles start to slowly stir the cream and the chocolate together.
Once you see the ganache start to come together in the center, start widening your circle to incorporate the rest of the cream and chocolate.
At this point, the ganache will be very thin. It will thicken as it cools. You can speed up the cooling by placing it in the refrigerator, making sure to stir it every 10 minutes.
Once the ganache has cooled and reached the consistency of thick custard, it is ready to whip.
Place the ganache in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a handheld whisk), add the softened butter and whisk on high for about one minute, until light and fluffy. Take care not to overwhip the ganache or it will taste grainy.
Once the cakes are cool and the ganache is whipped, you are ready to frost!
Split each cake layer in half to create 4 layers.
Place a spoon of ganache on your cake serving plate and place your first layer on top of that.
Slide a few pieces of parchment or foil just under the edges to keep the plate clean.
Stack your cake layers with about a ½ cup of ganache spread between each layer.
Once your layers are stacked, you are ready for a crumb coat: frost the top and sides of the cake with a very thin layer of ganache and place in the refrigerator to firm up.
Once cold and firm to the touch, you can lay your thick, decorative layer of frosting on the cake without worrying about loose crumbs ruining your design – have fun!
When you are done frosting, carefully pull out the parchment or foil from under the cake and touch up the bottom if needed.
Cakes can easily dry out in the refrigerator so unless it is very warm, this cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days. For longer storage, freeze the cake in an airtight container for up to two months. To defrost, leave at room temperature in the covered container for a few hours. Extra ganache can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen in an airtight container for up to two months.