Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

This recipe is foolproof. The results are delicious every single time, no matter what type of chocolate I use or how long I over-bake it. I’ve probably made this cake over 15 times for parties and just for fun (it’s always a good idea to have chocolate cake around the house), and I always serve it cold — storing the cake in the fridge tends to make it taste better, for some reason. The recipe — “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” — comes from Ina Garten’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home, but it’s also available online here.

I literally would not change anything in this recipe. It’s perfect. The cake is really easy to put together, and even if you’re not looking to make a full chocolate cake, both the cake and buttercream frosting components are stand-outs on their own. Adding coffee to both the batter and frosting is genius and truly highlights the flavor of the chocolate. It is, of course, fantastic on it’s own, but fresh raspberries and a splash of green are a really nice touch if you feel like decorating this cake.

Cake Ingredients:

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream (see next recipe)

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper (This is important — I usually trace the outline of the pan on the parchment paper and cut it out. It seems tedious, but you’ll be glad you took the time later.), then butter and flour the pans.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  4. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.


Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Buttercream Directions: 
  1. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
  3. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake. (Make sure the cake is cooled COMPLETELY before you apply the frosting, or else it will melt and be a huge mess. I have done this on more than one occasion.)
— Halie

3 thoughts on “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

  1. Josh

    It looks good, but the best chocolate cake wants to be made without any flour and with proper chocolate rather than cocoa powder!

  2. Pingback: Iced Lemon Yogurt Cake « Textbooks and Tea Cakes

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