This is my favourite chocolate cake recipe straight from my new cookbook ‘Chocolate’. The sponge is a one-bowl wonder that’s rich and moist. It’s sandwiched together with a chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream of dreams!
If you’re still reading this after looking at that picture and haven’t already scrolled down to the recipe, then well done, you! This is my most requested chocolate cake. It’s undergone a few changes since the first time I made it with a Milo twist a few years ago. And it got a bit grown-up too with a slathering of the smoothest chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream of your life.
My new cookbook ‘Chocolate’
This recipe is straight from my brand new cookbook, Chocolate which has been in the top 6 bestselling cookbooks on Loot.co.za since it launched just 3 weeks ago! Yay! The cookbook was art directed and styled by me and photographed by my insanely talented friend, Hein van Tonder. If you haven’t already checked out his blog, Heinstirred, then you’re missing out! But back to this incredible cake!
Katelyn’s Chocolate Cake
This chocolate cake is one of my favourites mainly because it is so easy. We all love a one-bowl wonder and this is one of mine. But obviously, I have one or two secrets to making it really special.
1) Use sugar with flavour! I used my favourite Natura Sugars Soft Brown Sugar which has a lovely fudgy flavour because it’s unrefined. The sugar is also lovely and moist so really stops the cake being dry.
2) Add some espresso. Did you know coffee actually enhances the flavour of chocolate and makes chocolate recipes taste more chocolatey? Jip, it’s a thing!
The Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I went for convenience in the sponge because I’d rather spend time on the frosting. Making the Swiss Meringue buttercream really takes this cake to another level. Again, I used a sugar loaded with flavour to balance the sweetness – the Natura Sugars Golden Caster Sugar has a subtle caramel flavour that works so well and it is super fine so dissolves easily leaving a velvety smooth buttercream!
- 400g (500ml) Natura Sugars Soft Brown Sugar
- 270g (450ml) cake flour
- 80g (200ml) cocoa powder
- 15ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
- 15ml (1 tbsp) bicarbonate of soda
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk or amasi
- 15ml (1 tbsp) vanilla extract or essence
- 250ml (1 cup) hot espresso
- 70g (70ml) smooth peanut butter
- 125g (125ml) salted butter or margarine, melted
- CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
- Egg whites from 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 225g (280ml) Natura Sugars Golden Caster Sugar
- 125g quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped (you can double this amount if you want it seriously chocolatey!)
- 10ml (2 tsp) vegetable or canola oil
- 500g (500ml) unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature (see note)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C for fan-forced). Prepare 3 springform cake tins (22 cm each).
- Mix all the dry ingredients together. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla, and add to the dry ingredients. Combine the coffee, peanut butter and butter, and add to the mixture. Mix well. Divide between the three cake tins and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting and allowing to cool completely. Level off the tops of the cake with a sharp knife.
- To make the buttercream, fill the bottom of a saucepan with water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl that fits over the saucepan and stir gently with a whisk (don’t whisk to aerate the mixture). Keep stirring until the mixture reaches 60°C on a sugar thermometer or until the egg whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the hot mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip the mixture on high until light and fluffy. Continue whipping for a good 10 minutes or until the meringue is cool to the touch. In the meantime, melt the chocolate and oil together until smooth and set aside to cool.
- Slowly add the butter, one block at a time, to the buttercream until it is thick, glossy and velvety. Check the temperature of the melted chocolate and oil – it should be cool to the touch – then whip it into the buttercream. Store the buttercream at room temperature until ready to use. Assemble the cake by layering the buttercream and sponge layers alternately, then frost the outside of the cake, scraping any excess off with a palette knife, to reveal the sponge layers. Serve drizzled with melted dark chocolate, if desired.
- TIP: Never make buttercream using salted butter or margarine as the salt content is too high and the buttercream will be inedible.