Grandma’s Chocolate cake recipe

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But with the addition of brewed coffee, a great amount of dark cocoa, flaky sea salt, and ultra-rich chocolate bar frosting, the cake became next-level. It’s good ever so slightly warmed from the oven, after the first chill in the fridge, or even pulled out of the freezer in a cake emergency.

  • Yield: 10 Servings


  • Nonstick spray or softened butter for pan
  • 2 large pasture-raised eggs (100 g), at room temperature
  • Scant ¾ cup (150 g) organic granulated cane sugar
  • Scant ¾ cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (150 ml) organic olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) extra brut cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (75 ml) hot brewed coffee
  • Scant ½ cup (110 ml/115 g) organic buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 g) organic unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Chocolate Bar Frosting
  • 8 ounces (225 g) 64% semisweet chocolate wafers (Michel Cluizel preferred)
  • Generous 2½ ounces (75 g) milk chocolate wafers (Michel Cluizel preferred)
  • 1 cup + 5 tablespoons (2 sticks + 5 tablespoons/300 g) organic unsalted butter, firm but at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes, plus more for sprinkling
  • Crunchy chocolate pearls or sprinkles (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) convection. Line an 11-inch (30.5 cm) round springform pan with a parchment round, coated with nonstick spray or brushed with softened butter.
  2. Combine the eggs and granulated and brown sugars in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed for 5 minutes to foam. Slowly stream in the oil with the mixer running on high speed, to combine thoroughly.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and coffee. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add half of the cocoa mixture to the egg mixture. Whip to combine.
  4. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Mix to just combine. Add the remaining cocoa mixture, mix, and then add the remaining flour mixture.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter to evenly distribute. As this is an oil-based cake batter that is fairly liquid, this is the easiest way to spread the batter evenly.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through that time to ensure even baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven to cool completely before removing from the springform pan.
  8. To make the Frosting
  9. Place the semisweet and milk chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave or in a bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, and melt until warm but not too hot, about 1 minute in the microwave or 4 minutes on the stove. Stir together well to combine.
  10. Place the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on high speed for 4 minutes. Stream the melted chocolate into the butter while the mixer runs, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Paddle in the salt.
  11. To assemble, place the cake on a platter and split the cake round in half horizontally, using a long, serrated knife. Evenly spread 1½ cups (350 g) of the frosting on the bottom round of the cake. Carefully place the top round of the cake onto the frosted bottom layer. Place the remaining frosting on top of the cake and, using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. The frosting can be as smooth or as rustic as you would like. Sprinkle the top of the cake with more Maldon sea salt flakes and crunchy chocolate pearls or sprinkles, if desired.

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