chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting
for the cake:
  • room temp butter for greasing the pans
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed good quality hot coffee - Don't be turned off by the coffee in the recipe, you honestly don't taste it at all. The coffee enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder, resulting in a more chocolaty cake, not a coffee-flavored one.
cream cheese frosting:
  • approximately 3-4 cups unsifted confectioners sugar - this is to taste - You will then sift the confectioners sugar so there are no lumps in the frosting.
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (1 pound), at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Let's start out by making the chocolate cake.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (I have 2 oven's so I preheat both).
  3. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
  4. Tip: I trace the pans on the parchment paper to get the correct size, and then cut out the circles and place them on the bottom of the buttered pans.
  5. Butter and flour the pans. Tip: I use cocoa powder instead of flour when making this cake. It totally works and you're not left with any white flour on your cake.
In a large bowl whisk the following ingredients together until combined:
  1. 1¾ cups flour
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. ¾ cup cocoa powder
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small bowl combine the following:
  1. 1 cup buttermilk - make sure the buttermilk is well shaken
  2. ½ cup vegetable oil
  3. 2 room temp eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. With either a hand held mixer or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  6. Your batter will be pretty thick at this point.
  7. Now it's time to add that freshly brewed coffee.
  8. I always use a good strong coffee like Peets. I don't know if that's what makes the cake taste so rich, but I'm sure it has some part to play in it.
  9. With the mixer still on low, add the 1 cup coffee and mix until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter will be much thinner with the coffee added to it.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Make sure you make them even.
  11. Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. I have 2 ovens so my cakes are done at exactly 35 minutes. If you have one oven, place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and bake the cakes next to each other on the same rack. This will ensure even baking.
  12. Baking tip: It's hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test. Press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it's done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.
  13. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  14. After those cakes are completely cooled, it's time to make the frosting.
  15. Pour 3-4 cups unsifted confectioners sugar into a sifter and sift the sugar into a large bowl and set aside. Sifting the sugar helps to ensure you don't have lumpy frosting.
  16. Put your softened butter and cream cheese into a bowl and get your handy dandy mixer out. Beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until well blended.
  17. Add the 2 teaspoons of vanilla and then slowly add the confectioner's sugar to taste. Pour in at least a cup or two and then taste it.
  18. If you add to much confectioner's sugar it will be really sweet and you won't really get that cream cheese flavor. Just keep adding and tasting it till it reaches a flavor you like. You want it to be sweet, but not too sweet. I usually taste it and have my kids taste it as well. They are pretty accurate when it comes to the finished product!
  19. Put one cake layer on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a frosting knife or spatula, spread the top with frosting.
  20. Then spread some frosting on the side.
  21. Once you spread the frosting on the top of the first (bottom) layer, its time to place the 2nd layer on top.
  22. I like to the place the top part of the 2nd layer (rounded part) upside down so that the flat side (bottom side) is up. It makes the cake look taller and prettier because you have the natural flat top.
  23. Now, frost away, making sure to spread the frosting around evenly on all sides and to get a nice fluffy layer on top.
  24. Tip: Warm your frosting knife/spatula under hot water then dry. This will help get sides of your cake smooth.
Recipe by Marin Mama Cooks at