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Chocolate-Flecked Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

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It's our new go-to special-occasion cake: a tall, tender beauty that's sophisticated yet easy to make. What saves the lush milk chocolate frosting from being cloying is the addition of tangy sour cream.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12

Photography: chris court

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2013

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk plus 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (61 to 70 percent cacao), finely chopped
  • Milk Chocolate Frosting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment. Butter paper, and flour pans. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

  2. Beat together butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in yolk and eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in chocolate.

  3. Divide batter between pans, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes, remove pans and parchment, and let cool completely, right side up, on wire racks.

  4. Cut each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place 1 bottom layer on a platter or cake stand, and spread evenly with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with a second layer and another 3/4 cup frosting. Place third layer on top, and spread with another 3/4 cup frosting. Place fourth layer on top. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting (about 2 3/4 cups), smoothing top and sides. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 2 days; if refrigerated, let cake come to room temperature before serving.

Cook's Notes

This chocolate-flecked creation with milk chocolate frosting is a great party cake. Enriched with shards of bittersweet chocolate and a luxurious frosting, it makes for a dramatic presentation and can be assembled two days ahead of time.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS112632895
    27 AUG, 2015
    I doubled the recipe for this cake as I needed to make a rectangular cake for a birthday (making it into a soccer field). Turned out pretty well although I had to bake it longer given the large batter. I was a bit concerned the center would be slightly under-baked but it seemed alright. The center did flop a little though :( Will just add extra frosting there to even it out before layering on fondant. 9 year olds shouldn't notice! More like chocolate chip cake but very tasty!
    Reply
  • SquirrellyCakes
    16 JUN, 2015
    I use the cake recipe often and love it. Half my family loves the frosting/filling and half find it too rich. Personally I love both. Super moist, easy to make to perfection. Sometimes I even make the cake eliminating the coarse salt and just using 1/2 to 1 teaspoon regular salt. I have made it using 1/3 of frosting recipe as filling and used a different chocolate icing recipe too. Recipe is definitely not for those counting calories.
    Reply
  • shano19
    10 JAN, 2015
    I love to bake and MS can do no wrong (with recipes at least) in my book. I have no idea why this recipe doesn't have 5 stars. My niece loves chocolate- she would be happy with a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, though the rest of my family doesn't love chocolate as much. This is a perfect compromise between chocolate lovers and non-chocolate fans. This cake is fantastic, and the icing is delightful. 2nd time, made cupcakes (20-25 mins). Chocolate perfection!!
    Reply
  • ddidier
    10 AUG, 2014
    this cake has a fantastic texture, the taste is a little different yet super delicious! i took it to a family event and everybody loved it! we didn't use all the frosting and it was still pretty rich and tasty! (for the chocolate i used a mircoplane and shaved medium sized pieces in, worked great) I would recommend this for a luscious buttery/ chocolaty cake!
    Reply
  • ADalton4
    10 JUL, 2014
    I made this cake. It has too much salt in the batter and not enough sugar. The frosting is incredible!
    Reply
  • ryepye
    21 APR, 2014
    I made this cake in slightly shallow three 8" pans. This cake has too much salt in the recipe. I also made the frosting with semi-sweet and it worked well.
    Reply
  • bubbledee22
    16 MAR, 2014
    Made this for my brothers birthday party. It was a hit. I did make some changes though. Based on some reviews stating the cake wasn't sweet a enough, I added 1/2 cup of brown sugar, ( including the 1 cup of white sugar)I used salted butter, 1 tsp coarse salt, semisweet baking chocolate for the inside, softassilk cake flour, and mostly plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream. For the frosting. I whipped my own butter from heavy cream, but added a bit more sugar and an oz more of semisweet chocolate
    Reply
  • Sweet tooth
    27 FEB, 2014
    This was easy to make and very good, even better the next day!! Made it for a Birthday party everybody loved it :)
    Reply
  • LuckyHowseWife
    26 JUL, 2013
    My 9 year old daughter felt like making a cake today (hottest day of summer...) and found this recipe and made it for us all. Well, what a lovely surprise, it was worth heating up the main floor of the house and I will definitely use it again. She was short on sour cream so used mostly yogurt and used chocolate wafers (whole)in place of flaked chocolate, stating she didn't think she should chop the chocolate herself! She used her own icing recipe (pink buttercream of course). Moist & delicious.
    Reply
  • HRF22
    29 APR, 2013
    SPECTACULAR CAKE! I don't know what the reviewer below is talking about. The cake was moist and beautifully flavoured. It is a special cake and well worth the price. The icing is to die for! Decadent, divine and not too sweet. I used the entire amount as it shows thickly applied in the photo. Don't skimp. The cake cut beautifully, with perfect slices the stood upright. I used Lindt Excellence Extra Creamy chocolate for the icing and Lindt Excellence 70% for the cake. Small slices suffice.
    Reply