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 Chocolate Cake with Swiss Buttercream Recipe & Video

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Chocolate Cake, Dulce de Leche, and a vanilla flavored Swiss Buttercream Frosting. That is what this three layered cake is made of. It's delicious, it's decadent, and it's oh so pretty.

This is my "go to" Chocolate Cake. It's so easy to make, just mix all the ingredients together. Unsweetened cocoa powder is what gives this cake it's wonderful chocolate flavor. You can use natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (alkalized). Just remember that both the type and brand of unsweetened cocoa powder will affect both the taste and color of your chocolate cake. One of the reasons for the cake's soft and tender texture is that the fat is in liquid form (flavorless oil). The added benefit of using oil, instead of butter, is that it keeps the cake soft even when refrigerated. As far as the type of oil to use, good choices are vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, or even a light olive oil.

The cake layers are sandwiched together with Dulce de Leche and Swiss Buttercream Frosting, Dulce de Leche is a rich, sweet, and complex caramel flavored cream that is made by boiling cow's or goat's milk, mixed with sugar, until thick and golden colored. It's usually sold in cans, jars, or tubs in Latin markets and some grocery stores. Or you can make your own.

Finally, the Swiss Buttercream Frosting. You start this frosting by heating egg whites and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very hot. Then the egg whites are beaten until you have a thick and shiny meringue. Butter is then added which gives you a frosting that's silky smooth with a wonderfully creamy texture. It's easy to work with and holds up well. It also can be made and stored in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for a month. But after storing it does need to be rewhipped.

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Dulce de Leche

Chocolate Layer Cake

Simple Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Chocolate Genoise

Simple Vanilla Cake

Chocolate Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, three - 8 inch (20 cm) cake pans. Then line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coffee (or water), milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. (The batter will be quite thin.) Evenly divide the batter between the three pans (about 460 grams of batter in each pan) and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake just comes out clean (the cake will just be starting to come away from the sides of the pan).  

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from their pans and cool completely on a greased wire rack before frosting.

Swiss Buttercream FrostingIn a heatproof bowl (preferably stainless steel) whisk the egg whites with the sugar. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and, whisking or stirring constantly, heat the egg whites until the sugar has dissolved  and the mixture is hot (using a thermometer you want the temperature to reach 160 degrees F or 71 degrees C as this is the temperature that kills the risk of salmonella). Remove from heat and transfer the egg whites to your mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment (can use a hand mixer). Beat the whites, starting at low speed and increasing gradually to high speed, until the outside of the bowl has cooled and the mixture forms stiff peaks (this will take between 5 to 10 minutes). Add half the butter and beat until incorporated. Add the rest of the butter, salt, and vanilla extract and beat until the frosting is smooth and shiny. Place about half the frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1 cm) plain tip.

Place the Dulce de Leche in a small piping bag fitted with a small plain tip.

Assemble: Place one cake layer (top of the cake facing down) on a 6 inch (15 cm) cake board and then place on a cake turntable or your serving plate. Pipe a ring of frosting around the outside edge of the cake. Next, pipe concentric circles of the Dulce de Leche inside the ring of frosting. Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the Dulce de Leche and use an offset spatula or knife to smooth the frosting. Then place another cake layer (top of the cake facing down) on top of the first cake layer and repeat the process. Top with the final cake layer (top of the cake facing down). Cover the entire cake with a very thin layer of frosting and refrigerate the cake until the frosting is firm (about 30 - 60 minutes) (this is called a crumb coat). When the frosting is firm, remove from refrigerator and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves about 16 people.

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Chocolate Cake:

2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking soda

3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (240 ml) coffee or water, at room temperature

1 cup (240 ml) milk, at room temperature

1/2 cup (120 ml) corn, vegetable, safflower or canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

Swiss Buttercream Frosting:

3/4 cup (180 ml) (180 grams), at room temperature (6 large egg whites)

1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar

2 cups (450 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup (80 ml) Dulce de Leche

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