At NYC’s Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, Umber Ahmad and Shelly Acuna Barbera make one of the most perfect chocolate cakes ever: It’s rich, moist and not too sweet, with a deeply chocolaty whipped ganache frosting.
- Nonstick baking spray
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Crispy chocolate pearls, for topping
- Step 1
Make the cake Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Step 2
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with the instant coffee, then whisk in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Stir in the brown sugar and buttermilk until no lumps remain. Let cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla.
- Step 3
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium-high speed until lightened, about 1 minute. Beat in the granulated sugar in 3 additions, beating well after each one, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients and the cocoa mixture in 3 alternating additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl as necessary, until just combined.
- Step 4
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then invert the cake and remove the parchment. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- Step 5
Meanwhile, make the frosting Put the chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool until barely warm, 45 minutes. In the stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the ganache at medium-high speed until light and spreadable, about 2 minutes.
- Step 6
Spread the ganache frosting over the top of the cake, top with pearls (if using) and serve.