The Best Chocolate Birthday Cake



3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1-1/3 cups strong, brewed coffee, divided
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dark Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)


Melt chocolate in ⅓ cup coffee over very low heat, stirring constantly. When melted, set aside to cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla, blend in chocolate, and beat well. Combine and fork-mix dry ingredients, and add alternately with 1 cup coffee, mixing just enough to combine, by hand or on lowest mixer speed.

Pour batter into two well-buttered 9-inch cake pans lined with buttered waxed paper. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not remove cake too soon or it will fall. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove and cool on rack. (Layers are fragile; handle carefully.) Frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting.

Dark Chocolate Frosting*


3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup strong, brewed coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add butter and stir until blended. Pour into a mixing bowl. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and salt alternately with a few drops of coffee at a time, until frosting reaches the proper consistency. Beat in vanilla.

*Makes enough frosting for 2 layers.

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