A chocolate cake worth repeating

Our Favorite Chocolate Cake

We make this cake for almost every staff birthday at Ragged Coast. There is also a version of it in Kate's cookbook, Desserted.

For the cake:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the ganache frosting:

16 ounces heavy cream

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

2 ounces soft butter

Spirit of choice (optional)


Grease by hand, or spray with vegetable oil, three 9” round cake pans. For best results, line the pans with parchment paper. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Combine the vegetable and olive oils with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment until combined and lightened in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until the sugar has dissolved. 

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately into the egg mixture. Beat well. 

In a heatproof measuring cup, stir together the boiling water and vanilla extract. With the beaters going, add the hot water to the cake batter in a slow, steady stream. Beat until fully incorporated. 

Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans and bake until the cake just begins to come away from the sides and is fully cooked in the middle, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes completely in the pans, and then release. 

While the cakes are cooling, make the ganache frosting. 

Heat the cream in a medium sauce pan until boiling. Place the chopped chocolate and soft butter in a heatproof bowl. When the cream boils, pour it all at once onto the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute or two. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and the frosting is emulsified. Add spirit (rum, Kahlua, whatever) to taste. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. 

When the cakes are completely cooled, place one layer on a large platter, top with a dollop of frosting, and spread the frosting to the edges. Repeat with the next two layers. When all the layers are assembled and filled, spread a very thin coat of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until frosting is set. Then remove from the refrigerator, and cover the cake with another layer of frosting. 

Serve the cake at room temperature. 12 generous servings.

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