Mocha Spice Cake

You will need to make this recipe 3 1/2 times to make our Chocolate Petal Cake. Bake it in 6-, 10-, and 14-inch-diameter round contoured cake pans. For even layers, bake each layer separately.

  • Yield: Makes 9 cups of batter

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2001

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
  • Batter amounts and approximate baking times: 6-inch layer, 3 1/2 cups, 75 minutes; 10-inch layer, 10 cups, 1 hour and 50 minutes; 14-inch layer, 18 cups, 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Directions

  1. Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter pans, line bottoms with parchment circles, and butter again. Dust pans and liners with cocoa powder, and tap out excess; set aside.

  2. In bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter on medium until light. Add brown sugar and eggs; beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, cocoa, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, baking soda, and salt; mix well.

  3. With mixer on low, add a third of flour; mix just until combined. Add half of sour cream; mix. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream, ending with flour. Pour coffee into batter; mix until smooth.

  4. Pour batter into pans. Bake, rotating 90 degrees halfway through baking, until sides start to pull away from pan and a few crumbs remain on a cake tester that has been inserted in center and removed (batter amounts and baking times follow). Let cool slightly in pans on wire rack. Trim tops level with tops of pans. Set precut corresponding foam boards on top of each tier; invert cakes, and unmold. The contoured top sides will now be facing up. Return cakes, on boards, to rack; let cool completely. Wrap each cake layer with plastic wrap; chill overnight.

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