Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven racks in the upper
and lower third of the oven.
Lightly butter and flour (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray), and line
the bottoms of three - 8 x 2 inch deep (20 x 5 cm) round baking pans with
parchment or wax paper, .
In a heatproof
bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chopped chocolate. Remove from
heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a separate
bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a small bowl,
combine the coffee (or water) and buttermilk.
In the bowl of
your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and
creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (about three
to five minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each
addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to
combine. Then add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Add the
coffee/ buttermilk mixture and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and
ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are mixed
batter evenly among the three prepared pans and smooth the
tops. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly
pressed. (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through baking to ensure
even baking.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15
minutes. Butter or lightly spray with a non stick vegetable spray a wire rack before
inverting the cakes onto the rack to prevent the cakes from sticking. Cool the
cakes completely before frosting.
Coconut Pecan Frosting:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the pecans on a baking
sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.
Remove from oven, cool, and then chop fairly fine.
In a medium
saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat,
stirring constantly, and when the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove
from heat (about 5 minutes). Stir in the chopped pecans, coconut, and vanilla extract. Let cool
until spreadable (about 30-60 minutes).
To Assemble: Place
one layer of cake (top facing down), on your serving plate, and cover with one third of the frosting.
Place the second layer of cake, onto the first
cake layer and frost with another one-third of the frosting. Then add the third
cake layer and frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting (sides
of cake are left bare). The finished cake can be stored at room temperature
for a 2-3 days or it can be refrigerated. Serves 14 - 16 people.
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