re-fashioned – chocolate chocolate crunch cake

re-fashioned – chocolate chocolate crunch cake

Last week, I mentioned my envy for other’s heirloom recipes, and the desserts of Americana I didn’t know growing up in Asia.

You rarely find great cakes in U.S. diners, and bakeries have moved on and came up with modern versions of those classics. The recipes that grandma followed have not disappeared, in fact, a lot of people still make them at home because they grew up with them. They are different from modern recipes.

This Chocolate Chocolate Crunch Cake is based on my search for the ultimate old-fashioned chocolate cake—but one that is re-imagined to improve the taste, yet maintain the moist tender crumbs of the original. Many old chocolate cake recipes only call for cocoa powder in the batter, and the same goes for the frosting.

The objective was to bake a cake made with real chocolate in both the batter and frosting. The result is a rich crumb texture paired with a super creamy frosting using a pound of chocolate. This cake might not follow the simple guidelines of the traditional recipe, but the results amp up the chocolate—and provide a crunchy surprise between the layers.


Chocolate Chocolate Crunch Cake


Chocolate Cake
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces/1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft (not soften, this is crucial to the success of the cake)
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) cake flour
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1-3/4 cups (12-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
Chocolate Chocolate Frosting
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (about 2-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream (cold)
  • Chocolate Cake layers
  • Chocolatey Chocolate Frosting
  • 3 cups Chocolate pearls


Chocolate Cake

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350℉. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with softened butter; dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Set aside.

2. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan with one inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, about 1 minute. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl, set aside. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining 1-1/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2-3 minutes.

4. Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, about 1 minute, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add soft butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. With mixer running at low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture (in 2 additions), beginning and ending with dry ingredients, and beating in each addition until barely combined. Stir by hand with rubber spatula to finish mixing batter, scraping bottom and sides of bowl, to ensure that batter is homogenous. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans; smooth batter to edges of pans with rubber spatula.

5. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25-28 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, about one hour.

Chocolate Chocolate Frosting

1. Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over saucepan with one inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt in small saucepan heat mixture over medium heat, stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

2. Add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream a clean bowl of standing mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.

3. Place mixer bowl over ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes (about 70℉). Place bowl on standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth.


1. With serrated knife, cut each cake layer horizontally into two even layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread a generous 1/2 cup frosting evenly across top of cake with spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of chocolate pearls on top. Repeat with cake layers, frosting and chocolate pearls until you top cake with the 4th cake layer. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Serve.