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Serves : 8 to 10

This is a real old-fashioned American chocolate layer cake. It's very moist, very chocolatey, a snap to make and best baked the day before serving. Marcia Kiesel acquired the recipe from her friend Joyce Cole, who got it from her mother.

In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: Longtime F&W Test Kitchen Supervisor Marcia Kiesel was credited for this very moist, very chocolaty, easy-to-make layer cake, but the recipe originated with a waitress at the Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, New York, who got it from her mother. The secret is unsweetened chocolate in the batter, which lends the cake a rich, deep chocolate flavor. The thick, creamy frosting hits just the right balance, but Kiesel says, “the original was served right out of the pan, no frosting at all, and that’s my favorite way to eat it.”

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Step 2    

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into a large bowl. Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled. Stir in the vanilla.

Step 3    

Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

Step 4    

Set one cake, right-side up, on a serving platter. Using a metal spatula, spread one-third of the Chocolate Frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

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