I Tried 6 Famous Chocolate Cakes and the Winner Will Be the Birthday Cake Recipe I Use Forever

I Tried 6 Famous Chocolate Cakes and the Winner Will Be the Birthday Cake Recipe I Use Forever


2. The Most Labor-Intensive: Claire Saffitz’s Chocolate Layer Cake

Overall rating: 7/10
Get the recipe: Claire Saffitz’s Chocolate Layer Cake

This recipe is a bit of a project, involving many steps and lots of dishes. You’ll make three cake layers in 8-inch pans. To make the batter, first mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer; next, combine cocoa powder and hot cocoa in a bowl, then whisk in crème fraiche and vanilla; in a separate bowl, you’ll then whisk whole eggs and egg yolks; finally, you’ll incorporate oil and half of the crème fraiche mixture into the dry ingredients, and then blend in the eggs and remaining crème fraiche mixture. 

You’ll bake the cake layers and then embark on the frosting, which involves heating milk and sugar in a saucepan, whisking an egg-sugar-cocoa mixture in a bowl, tempering the eggy mixture with the warm milk, heating the custard till thick, and pouring it over chocolate to melt it. 

Then you’ll beat the pudding, adding a boatload of butter a little at a time to finish the frosting. The cake layers domed a bit, so you have to level them by slicing some away with a long serrated knife before assembling the cake. 

The finished dessert is tall, tasty, and very moist. The flavor is super intense and bittersweet — especially in the frosting (which doesn’t use any powdered sugar), but for me the cake was too rich to enjoy more than a few bites at one time (let alone an entire 3-tiered slice). And compared to the other recipes in this showdown, the extra bit of labor involved just didn’t feel worth it. 


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