I may have a new favorite cake. And I didn't even really get to eat it. I only got to try the scraps with some extra frosting and toffee, but OH MY GOSH it was soooo good! The cake layers themselves are my usual dark chocolate cake, the frosting is a deliciously creamy coffee buttercream, and then I added in pieces of homemade toffee. The flavors all just work together so well, and the crunch of the toffee adds in the perfect amount of texture. AND it's actually so easy to make, this was my first time making toffee and I was a little nervous but it turned out great!
Chocolate Cake Layers
Makes three nice thick 9" layers.
3 1/3 cups flour
3 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups black cocoa powder (regular cocoa powder is fine too)
1 1/2 tbs baking powder
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour three 9" round pans.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, mix wet ingredients.
4. Add liquid ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the three pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until center springs back when poked gently.
Coffee Buttercream Frosting
This made the perfect amount of frosting for my three-layer 9" semi-naked cake.
2 cups butter (room temperature)
5 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tbs finely ground coffee or instant coffee granules*
1 tbs vanilla
2 tbs heavy cream
*I like to use decaf because otherwise the people in my house convince themselves that the coffee keeps them awake.
1. Dissolve the coffee in the vanilla. If you are using finely ground coffee it won't dissolve all the way, that's fine, it will just give your frosting a little bit of texture like what you can see in the pictures of mine.
2. Beat the butter until soft. Add the confectioner's sugar one cup at a time, beating until combined after each cup.
3. Add the coffee and vanilla mixture and beat until combined. Add the heavy cream and beat until fluffy.
I ended up making two batches of toffee because I wanted to make sure I had enough for decorating the cake too, but I ended up having a quite a bit left over, so I think one batch would be enough.
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Sea salt flakes
1. Heat sugar, butter, and water in heavy saucepan, stirring constantly until it reaches 300 degrees on a thermometer.
2. Pour onto a un-greased cookie sheet and quickly spread with a spatula or back of your spoon.
3. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit until the chips have softened. Spread the chocolate evenly over the top.
4. Sprinkle with sea salt.
5. Let sit until hard. Putting it in the fridge can speed this up.
For actual assembly of this cake, it's pretty straight forward. I did cake, frosting, toffee, repeat. The one thing I would suggest is breaking the toffee you put inside the cake into pretty small pieces. The toffee is hard and you don't want to be trying to cut through giant toffee pieces when you slice the cake!