This tender cake boasts swirls of vanilla and chocolate sponge, all surrounded by the silkiest chocolate buttercream.
For The Cake
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/4 cup Scharffen Berger 100% Cacao Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 3 tablespoons hot tap water
For The Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons Scharffen Berger 100% Cacao Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
For The Cake
Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour three 6" cake pans. To guarantee the cake won't stick, line the bottom of the greased cake pans with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.
In a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes. Drizzle the oil into the bowl on medium-low speed. Once incorporated, turn the mixer back to medium speed for another 2 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, briefly mixing batter on medium speed until smooth, scraping the bowl after each egg addition. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Using two bowls, put 1/2 cup all-purpose flour into each bowl. Followed by 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into each bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Separate half of the wet batter into a large bowl and set aside. Starting with the vanilla cake and using the remaining batter left in the mixer, add 1/2 cup buttermilk into a glass measuring cup. Using the dry ingredients from one of the bowls set aside, add 1/3 of flour into the mixing bowl on low speed. Immediately follow with 1/2 of the buttermilk, followed by another 1/3 of the flour and the second 1/2 of the buttermilk. Finish with the remaining flour mixture. The mixer should be kept on low speed, so the flour and liquid don't splash out of the bowl.
Scrape the bowl, making sure any dry ingredients trapped at the bottom are brought to the top and briefly mix one more time. Set vanilla cake batter aside.
Next, make the chocolate cake batter. Into a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons hottest tap water. Once whisked add 1/2 cup buttermilk. Using the second dry ingredients bowl, add 1/3 of flour into the mixing bowl on low speed. Immediately follow with 1/2 of the chocolate buttermilk, followed by another 1/3 of the flour and the second 1/2 of the chocolate buttermilk. Finish with the remaining flour mixture. The mixer should be kept on low speed, so the flour and liquid don't splash out of the bowl. Scrape the bowl, making sure any dry ingredients trapped at the bottom are brought to the top and briefly mix one more time. Set vanilla cake batter aside.
Using a large spoon, dollop one scoop of vanilla into each of the prepared cake pans. Follow with a large dollop of chocolate until all the vanilla and chocolate batter has been distributed between the pans. Using a long skewer, gently swirl the batter together to give a marble effect. Don't overdo it here, as you want there to be definite vanilla and chocolate swirls.
Place pans into oven. Start assessing your cakes at 25 minutes, but they could take up to 30 minutes or longer to bake, depending on your oven's temperature. When a toothpick inserted comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool pans for 10 minutes, before running a knife around the edge of the pan, and turning out the cake. Place cake on wire rack to finish cooling. Once cake is cooled, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This step is optional, but makes icing the cake easier.
For The Chocolate Cream Icing
With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until there are no lumps, and the consistency is smooth.
Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder to the bowl, 1 cup at a time, mixing first on low speed to prevent splashing, then turning the mixer to medium-low speed until it's incorporated. Repeat process with remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar. Briefly mix one more time to complete the icing. For a fluffier icing, the whisk attachment can be used.
To Decorate The Cake
Place one layer of cake on a clean turn table or cake board with a small dollop of icing underneath. This works as a glue, helping prevent the cake layers from sliding around while icing. Place a dollop of icing on top of the first cake layer, and spread evenly with a small offset spatula or knife. Place the second cake layer on top of icing and repeat process. Once the third and final layer has been set, place another dollop of icing onto the top of the cake, smoothing evenly, letting excess icing drop to the side of the cake.
With the rest of the icing, using an offset spatula, put an even layer of icing around the entire cake, with a back and forth motion.
Using a bench scraper (also known as cake smoother) with your dominant hand, hold it steady against the cake, but slightly angled toward the cake, to aid in smoothing, and slowly move the turn table with the other hand, while not moving the scraper, and keeping it as straight and steady as possible. As excess icing builds on the scraper, place it back into the mixing bowl, and continue smoothing the cake with a clean scraper. This cake is intended to be semi-naked, so as you scrape the excess icing off the cake, bits of the cake underneath will be exposed. See blog pictures for reference.
While smoothing the sides, a lip of icing will form around the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, gently sweep away the lip with a motion toward the center of the cake. Rotate the cake, and sweep until the lip has been removed, and top of the cake is smooth. Any leftover icing can be used to decorate the cake with swirls. Chunks of Scharffen Berger chocolate, as pictured, are the perfect finishing touch. Store cake in the refrigerator until 2 hours before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Therosewifebakes.