The Ultimate Chocolate Cake
This beauty has everything you want in a perfect chocolate cake—a simple, stir-together batter infused with velvety melted chocolate; a no-fail cream cheese–based frosting, and plenty of it; and a stress-free decorating method you can nail no matter your skill level. A scant cup of freshly brewed coffee intensifies the rich flavor of the chocolate cake, thanks to the coffee’s pleasantly bitter notes—use the best-quality chocolate and coffee for the biggest flavor payoff. Love to get ahead? You’ve got two solid options with this recipe. First, make the frosting and bake the layers the day before, then cover/wrap both tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. You could also prepare the cake and decorate as directed a day ahead, then cover with a cake dome and refrigerate until ready to serve.