Brian’s Powerhouse Chocolate Cake

This is the year you start baking. Well, maybe not but, this cake has an incredible “Wow!” factor and can easily be your go-to next time there’s a birthday or celebration. 

I know, most January content is about starting a diet or deciding that you will now fold all of your t-shirts like swans à la Marie Kwondo. The truth is that it’s easier to maintain than build from scratch, so maintain your joy of the holidays and consider this your official invitation to bake the most amazing, #$%-off cake you’ve ever had. This cake is from an amazing restaurant in Hood River. It has since closed down, sadly. The cake is not super sweet, which I really like. I also like the fact that it doesn’t require icing! The chocolate ganache is so easy to make that you might find yourself making the chocolate syrup from scratch just to have around!

First, assemble your tools. You’ll need three, nine-inch round baking pans. If you don’t have three, you’ll have to make the cake in batches. If you don’t have even one, just do what you can and then you’ll still follow the instructions except your cake will be differently shaped! Make sure your pans get coated with butter and then flour to ensure there’s no sticking. You could also decide to cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan, but I’ve usually found that the butter/flour combo works just fine. 

If your oven is a little temperamental or doesn’t cook evenly, you also might want to do this in batches. 

Preheat oven to 375° F

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 ¾ cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 ¼ cup hot water (helpful to have this in a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl) 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (place in a Pyrex measuring cup or a bowl) 
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream for filling 1 cup heavy whipping cream for the ganache
  • 1 cup chocolate chips for ganache 

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together then add eggs. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and blend. Add the vanilla to the buttermilk, stir, and then stir into the batter and mix. In a separate container, mix the hot water and the cocoa powder until well blended (it takes a minute, be patient). Once well blended, slowly add to the rest of the batter and blend thoroughly. 

You’re a good little chef so you’ve got your cake pans all prepared. The oven is hot and you’re one step closer to the most impressive and delicious chocolate cake of your life! The next step requires a bit of left brain/right brain. Split the batter evenly between the three pans. When you’ve done that, the cool trick is to actually spin the cake pan (as if you were spinning a top). This ensures that the batter is evenly distributed in the pan! Think centripetal force. See? You didn’t know you’d also become a scientist during this new foray into baking, but here we are.