Mocha Layer Cake with Mocha-Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Cake:
2 C white sugar
1/2 C butter (unsalted, as always and forever)
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 buttermilk
1/4 t salt
2 C flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 C cocoa
1 C very strong espresso, boiling hot

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smoothish. Sift together the dry ingredients and then slowly alternate adding in the milk and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, beating on slow until just incorporated. Next slowly add in the espresso, beating slowly and then increasing speed (so it doesn’t splash all over the kitchen – this is bad). Now the sugar should be totally dissolved and you ought to have a batter that is approximately the same consistency as pancake batter, without the lumps of course.

Pour into 2 8 or 9″ round prepared (buttered and floured) cake pans. Bake at 350F or 175 C for 30 min.

Once they’re well cooled, I like to cut these in half so I have 4 cake rounds, and then alternate the icing and then finely chopped semisweet chocolate and nuts (pecans, almonds, and/or hazelnuts) between the layers. I then garnish the top of the cake with more nuts and chocolate curls.

Icing:

I don’t really follow a recipe for this (or anything except baking for that matter), so you’ll have to just do it by taste/texture. You want the icing to be stiff, but not overly so that it won’t spread on the cake. But make sure you don’t over mix it or the butter will melt and the sugar will start to dissolve. If it starts to get too soft, put it in the fridge for at least half an hour right away.

1/2 lb unsalted butter (dear lord don’t use salted; salted butter in icing makes baby jesus cry)
1 lb (ish) icing sugar
cocoa powder
vanilla extract
cream
instant coffee/espresso powder (you may substitute caro/pero for a similar taste)

I like my icing very chocolatey and and coffee-y (mocha-y I guess), and maybe just a little less sweet, so I add more cocoa and coffee flavouring and less of the sugar than another might for the same texture. I also add a pinch of salt if it needs it.

I cream the butter and 3/4 of the sugar together quite quickly, and then add in vanilla, cocoa and coffee to taste, and the cream to texture, adding in more sugar as it needs it.

This is by far my favourite chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever found. I got it from my mum and have been using it for years.

To make this regular (non mocha) cake, replace the coffee with boiling water in the cake, and just omit the coffee in the icing.

You’ll need lots and lots of ice cold milk with this cake.

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