I LOVE chocolate,  AND  I also LOVE coffee.  You can omit the coffee if you prefer.  I use decaf coffee in the cake since it is usually eaten at night.  You can make this cake up to 2 days ahead of time and frost it the day you serve it.  Next time I make it, I will slice each layer in half for 4 layers, use the chocolate buttercream for interior layers, and make a darker chocolate ganache for the outer frosting.

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1  3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups (75 grams) good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup very strong freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans
Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
Mix on low speed until combined

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry
With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out moist and clean
Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake round
With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting
Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake

Place cake in refrigerator

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

8 oz.  good bittersweet chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (150 grams)  sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Break up chocolate into pieces and place in heat proof bowl
Microwave on high in 30 second increments until chocolate is halfway melted
Whisk until just melted and no lumps remain
Transfer to a new bowl (cooler), and set aside until cooled to room temperature

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes
Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes
Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy
Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water
On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended – don’t whip!
Spread immediately on the cooled cake
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa



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