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Special-Occasion Chocolate Cake

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. + chilling Bake: 25 min. + cooling

Makes

16 servings

This cake won grand champion at the 2000 Alaska State Fair, and you will see why once you taste it. My decadent chocolate cake boasts a luscious ganache filling and fudge buttercream frosting. —Cindi DeClue, Anchorage, Alaska

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • GANACHE:
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • GARNISH:
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine cocoa and water; set aside to cool completely. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For ganache, place chocolate in a bowl. In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, bring cream and sugar to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk gently until smooth. Allow to cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency, stirring occasionally.
  4. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  5. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with second layer and 1 cup ganache; sprinkle with 1/2 cup almonds. Top with third layer; frost top and sides of cake. Warm ganache until pourable; pour over cake, allowing some to drape down the sides. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 736 calories, 39g fat (22g saturated fat), 125mg cholesterol, 454mg sodium, 86g carbohydrate (63g sugars, 3g fiber), 8g protein.