This Naked Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is the stuff chocolate cake dreams are made of.
Last Sunday we celebrated our oldest son’s birthday and he requested chocolate cake. That wasn’t a shocker because all the kids want something chocolate for their birthday and who am I to say no.
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Feeling rather rambunctious I decided to find a different recipe. For years, my go-to chocolate cake has been The Best Chocolate Cake Evah and I almost felt like I was cheating on that recipe by looking for another one. When I found this one I had both recipes out so that I could compare ingredients and amounts. This cake yielded more batter and it was thinner than my tried and true favorite. I was nervous to the point where I almost tossed it so I could run back to my familiar cake safety zone.
Had I done that we would have missed out on one of the best cakes we have ever had. I could use every superlative ever spoken and that wouldn’t be enough to describe this cake. Even though it’s not totally swathed in frosting it looks a little heavy. Partly because the top is loaded with extras, but the cake itself is very tender and light. Most of the time I used dark or onyx cocoa to intensify the chocolate flavor. For this beauty, I went with the standard unsweetened cocoa powder.
For the top and in between the layers of my Naked Buttermilk Chocolate Cake I used a Chocolate Buttercream frosting. Gabbi made the chocolate shards and for the first time, she did a pretty good job. To add to the chocolate shards on top I used caramel-filled milk chocolate and dark chocolate candies.
With naked cakes, the sides of the cake are exposed so it’s a good idea to brush them with simple syrup. It can be plain or flavored. Coffee and orange would pair well with the chocolate as would raspberry or hazelnut. Liqueurs work just as well.
When you’re stacking more than two layers a dowel is sometimes needed extra for stability. Without one there’s a chance that your layers may slide. Especially if there’s a lot of frosting or fillings between them. Way back in the day when I began cake decorating we used wooden dowel rods. Thankfully there are other options now. I was always afraid that wood would splinter. Plastic dowels are easy to use and easy to cut to size. The most economical dowels are Boba straws and they’re also easy to cut to size with scissors.
I found this recipe at Sparkle Living. The original cake included chocolate ganache between the layers but it’s omitted in the recipe I’m sharing here. Whether you make this cake with or without ganache I encourage you to bake it for the chocolate lovers in your life. Here’s the link for the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and I really hope you try this cake.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
1 TBS + 1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/3 cups canola oil
1 ½ cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups freshly brewed, strong, hot coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Shards and Candy (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare 3-8-inch cake pans for nonstick baking. Lining the bottom of the pans parchment paper will help with an easier release. After you sift the cocoa add it and the remaining dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix together on low until they are well combined. Keep the mixer on low and add eggs one at a time along with the oil and buttermilk, then slowly pour the hot coffee down the side of the bowl. Next, add the vanilla and mix until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin so don’t fret.
Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow the cakes to cool in pans at least 20 minutes.
While cakes are cooling prepare the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Once the cakes are cooled remove them from the pans and use a long serrated knife to even the top of the cakes, if necessary. Save the cake scraps to snack on or freeze them to make cake truffles at a later date.
Brush the sides of each layer with simple syrup or the liqueur of your choice. Place one cake layer flat side down on your cake plate and add a generous amount of the buttercream frosting. Repeat with another layer and then add the last layer on top. Now it’s time to dowel the cake. Whether you’re using a wooden/plastic dowel or a boba straw, there are two ways to do this. The first is to measure the height of the cake and then transfer that measurement to the dowel and cut off excess before inserting it back into the cake making sure it touches the cake plate. The other method is to insert the dowel into the cake and then gently pull the dowel up. It will have a few crumbs that cling to the sides and that’s where you will make your cut. Push dowel into the cake again making sure it touches the cake plate. Then frost the top tier and add chocolate shards and candy.
I really wanted to get a nice pretty cake slice photo but that just wasn’t happening. All of the chocolate and candy toppings were gone and there wasn’t much left to slice. Guess that means I’ll have to make it again!
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