4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. strong coffee OR 5 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in 1 c. hot water
1/2 c. sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Lightly grease two 8-inch layer cake pans with oil or butter, or line them with parchment circles. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler placed over simmering water, then turn off the heat. Sift sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together into a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend hot coffee, sour cream, and vegetable oil with whisk. With the mixer on low speed, add the coffee mixture in a stream to the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 35 seconds. Stop mixer to scrape the bowl several times with spatula.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium-low speed after each addition until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl each time. Add chocolate and mix until batter is uniform in color, about 10 seconds. Divide batter evenly between pans and place on center rack in oven.
Bake until cake springs back to touch and tester comes out dry (do not wait for crust to form), 35-38 minutes. Cool layers in the pans on a rack.
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 T. unsalted butter
5 T. plus 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
6 T. hot water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Place all ingredients except vanilla in top of double boiler over simmering water and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and sugar dissolved, about 30 minutes. Mixture will be smooth and velvety. Pour fudge into small bowl, stir in vanilla and refrigerate until the mixture is thick and of spreading consistency, about 2 hours.
8 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
3/4 Cc plus 2 T. heavy (whipping) cream, chilled
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop mixer several times to scrape down sides of bowl. Transfer buttercream to medium-size mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, continue to beat on medium-high speed, until buttercream is white and fluffy, 15-20 minutes. Stop mixer to scrape bowl several times. (If you don’t have a paddle attachment, use whisk.)
Use buttercream within an hour, or it will need rewhipping. Spread all interior layers of cake with fudge filling and outside of cake with about 1 1/2 C. of buttercream. Shave 1 ounce dark chocolate over surface of cake with a fine grater, then use the knife method of shaving to make darker accents on the top of the cake.
Makes 12-16 servings.