Miette’s Double Chocolate Cake

makes two 6-inch cakes

Made with both melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder, this chocolate cake is rich, complex, and bittersweet—a perfect match for sweet frostings, which is how you’ll find it paired in our Tomboy Cake, Bittersweet Ganache Cake, and Old-Fashioned Cake. As with the other base cakes, this recipe yields two 6-inch cakes, so you can have one on hand in your freezer to decorate anytime. This cake is infallibly moist. Part of the reason for its fine-crumb texture is that we strain the batter through a sieve to remove any lumps before pouring it into the pans. Straining out the lumps rather than trying to stir them into the batter prevents overmixing and leads to a dense cake. We also sift the cocoa before dusting the pans, a technique that will give the exterior finish of your cakes a lovely smooth patina. For the Old-Fashioned Cake, we bake this cake in a contour pan, a special design with a beveled edge around the bottom that yields an elegant cake with an almost seamless form. Contour pans come in standard sizes, including 6-inch, and are easily found online.

ingredients
1½ CUPS (7½ OUNCES) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
1¼ CUPS (4½ OUNCES) NATURAL UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER (SEE NOTE)
1½ TEASPOONS BAKING SODA
½ TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
¾  TEASPOON KOSHER SALT
2 OUNCES 70 PERCENT CACAO CHOCOLATE, COARSELY CHOPPED
1 CUP BOILING WATER
1 CUP BUTTERMILK
½ TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
2 LARGE EGGS, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
½ CUP VEGETABLE OIL
2¼ CUPS (16 OUNCES) SUGAR

preparation
1. Liberally butter two 6-by-3-inch regular or contour cake pans and dust with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

4. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.

6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds longer.

7. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.

8. Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand, lifting and folding in from the bottom center. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing.

9. Pour the batter through a medium-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl to remove any lumps. Press against the solids in the sieve with a rubber spatula to push through as much batter as possible, then discard the lumps. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

10. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. When the cakes are cooled enough to handle the pans but still a tad warm to the touch, carefully run an offset spatula around the edges of the pans to loosen them, then invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the pans. (Note: If you are making the Old-Fashioned Cake and therefore using a contour pan, just invert the pans and drop them sharply onto the racks; they should fall out cleanly. Using an offset spatula in a contour pan will mar the edges of the cake.) Let cool for about 20 minutes longer. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate to ensure that the interiors are completely cooled before decorating, at least 1 hour or for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer up to 2 months.

Note
We use natural cocoa powder not Dutch-processed, as the Dutch-processed cocoa has been treated with an alkalizing agent that heightens the color but gives it a milder flavor. For this recipe, it is important to use natural product such as Scharffen Berger to attain a deep, dark chocolate flavor.

Recipe courtesy of Chronicle Books

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