Pans - Grease and line 3 x 7-inch round or 2 x 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder – and set aside.
Melt chocolate in a microwave or double boiler and set aside to cool. Pro tip - it is important to ensure the chocolate is cooled before you add it to the batter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time making sure each is well incorporated. Followed by the vanilla extract.
Next, add the flour mixer along with the sour cream and buttermilk in three batches. Then add the melted chocolate and combine well. Finally, add the chocolate chips and combine well. Pro tip - make sure the chocolate is cooled otherwise it can seize when added to a cold batter.
Divide batter equally between the prepared baking pans.Pro tip - I like to use cake strips to ensure my layer cakes bake flat.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean.
Cool in the baking pan for 5 minutes. Invert and cool on a wire rack completely before you decoratePro tip - it is very important that the cakes are completely cooled before frosting. Otherwise, the frosting will melt on the warm cakes.
Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer.Pro tip - make sure the bowl is grease-free otherwise the egg whites will not whip
Using a whisk, place the bowl over a double boiler and constantly whip until all the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are fairly warm (about 160 F).Pro tip - you don't need a thermometer, as long as all the sugar has completely melted your eggs are ready to use
Take the bowl off the heat and whip the egg whites until you have a thick meringue with stiff peaks.Pro tip - it is best to start whipping eggs at medium speed then increase speed as you go for the best meringue
Let the mixer continue to whip on medium-low until the mixer bowl feels cool to touch. Then gradually add butter, one cube at a time, with the mixer at medium speed.Pro tip - it is VERY important that the meringue is cooled completely before you add the butter otherwise you will have a soupy mess.
Once all the butter is added, whip on medium-high for 2 minutes. Lastly, add the vanilla. Combine well until everything is well combined.
Finally, add the vanilla extract and melted cooled chocolate. Combine until you have a smooth frosting. Pro tip - it is very important that the chocolate is not warm otherwise it will seize when added to the chilled frosting.
Microwave - Chop the chocolate into smaller similar size pieces so it melts easily. Pour the whipping cream over the chocolate. Heat in the microwave for a minute or more until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Double boiler - Alternatively, you can heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Then, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes. Combine with a spatula until it is smooth.
Add the butter and vanilla extract. Combine well. Cover the ganache with plastic wrap making sure to cover the surface of the chocolate to prevent any skin from forming.
Leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours or on the counter for 4 hours until it’s about peanut butter consistency.Pro tip- in summer you may need to place the ganache in the fridge to set. If it gets hard, place it in the microwave for no more than 10 seconds until you have a spreadable consistency.
Prepare simple syrup - cool completely before using.Pro tip- Simple syrup is just sugar water that has been boiled and cooled. Used to keep cake layers moist.
Using a bread knife or cake leveler cut the domes off the cake layers. Brush each layer with the cooled simple syrupPro tip - if you baked two layers you can split each layer horizontally to make four layers
Then top the second cake layer on top followed by more buttercream and the last layer. Continue until you have stacked all four layers.
Place the cake in the fridge to chill for 10 to 15 minutes.Pro tip - Chilling the cake at this point will ensure the layers don't move when you frost the outside. Though, if you leave the cake uncovered in the fridge for too long it can dry out. So, 10 minutes is all you need.
Next, spread the ganache around and on top of the cake. Using a paddle motion when spreading will help smooth the ganache better. Pro tip - A straight-edge spatula for the top, an offset spatula, and a bench scraper for the sides work better.
Create a rustic finish look by simply holding the tip of the spatula horizontally against the side of the cake and rotating the cake at the same time. Do the same on the top of the cake.
You can pipe any remaining frosting as a border or on the top of the cake. I preferred to leave it like this.
Make sure to use room temperature ingredients. Firm butter will make a lumpy batter and chilled eggs will curdle the batter.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy means the sugar will be melted into the butter and the color of the butter will become pale.
Always add eggs one at a time to prevent the batter from curdling. If it does curdle just add a tablespoon of flour and continue with the recipe.
Whip the sour cream and buttermilk before adding to the batter as this prevents lumps in the batter.
To ensure you have even layers you can measure the batter using a weighing scale. I like to weigh the empty pans first then make sure they are both the same weight with batter.
Bake the cakes on the center rack and do not open the oven door for the first 25 minutes of baking.
When baked cool cakes for 5 minutes in the pan then cool completely on the cooling rack. The cakes must be cooled completely before frosting otherwise the frosting will melt.
The cake will stay fresh for up to two days at cool room temperature, longer if kept in the fridge. It can be frozen for a month or more.
Freezing instructions - Freeze the cake on a tray for an hour or two then wrap well in plastic wrap, followed by a parchment paper and then aluminum foil. The parchment and aluminum will prevent freezer burns and odor from other foods into the cake. Thaw wrapped in the fridge for 24 hours so the condensation will stay on the papers, not the cake.
Other pan suggestions - If you don’t want to make a layer cake like this,
You can pour this batter into a 9 x 13 pan to make a classic chocolate sheet cake.
Pour the batter into a well-greased and dusted 9 cup bundt pan for a chocolate fudge bundt cake’.
This recipe can also be baked into 26 beautiful chocolate cupcakes
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you