chocolate flecked layer cake with milk chocolate frosting

From the moment I saw a photo of this cake in the February issue of Martha Stewart Living I knew I had to make it.  The combination of bittersweet chocolate chunks in the cake and sweet milk chocolate in the frosting spoke to me in a way that only chocolate can.

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The cake is a beautiful mixture of chopped up bittersweet chocolate and many of the usual cake batter suspects (flour, butter, eggs) along with sour cream which adds an unexpected tang and makes the cake extra moist.

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After folding the chocolate chunks into the batter you pour the results evenly in two cake pans that have been buttered and lined with parchment paper that has been buttered and lightly floured.

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It bakes into a beautiful golden cake with flecks of chocolate dotting it throughout.

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While the cakes cool you melt milk chocolate in a bowl over simmering water (I didn’t mess around in the chocolate department and used Milka chocolate bars.  The German I made the cake for was especially appreciative.)  After the chocolate has cooled slightly, mix it with softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, a pinch of salt, and more of that gloriously tangy sour cream.

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Though you only use two pans for this cake, it is actually a four-layer cake which means you have to divide the two cakes in half lengthwise with either a bread knife or I have also heard of people using non-flavored dental floss though have never tried it myself.  Frost between layers with the frosting and then around the outside of the cake as best you can.  NOTE: the frosting recipe easily makes enough for two layer cakes.  I put my leftover frosting in the freezer for use at a later date.

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It was a hit with all who sampled it and there were many Europeans in attendance who don’t like things too sweet so were pleased with the tangy/sweet/bittersweet thing going on within this majesty of a cake.  The pieces went in such a hurry I never managed to take a photo of one!  Such a problem to have.

Chocolate Flecked Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting (from http://www.marthastewart.com)

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk plus 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (61 to 70 percent cacao), finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment. Butter paper, and flour pans. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in yolk and eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in chocolate.

Divide batter between pans, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes, remove pans and parchment, and let cool completely, right side up, on wire racks.

Cut each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place 1 bottom layer on a platter or cake stand, and spread evenly with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with a second layer and another 3/4 cup frosting. Place third layer on top, and spread with another 3/4 cup frosting. Place fourth layer on top. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting (about 2 3/4 cups), smoothing top and sides. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 2 days; if refrigerated, let cake come to room temperature before serving.

Frosting:

  • 1 pound milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Let cool slightly. Beat together butter, sugar, and salt with a mixer until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in chocolate, then sour cream, and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Frosting should be spreadable. If too loose, refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.

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