When it comes to all-American desserts, this towering chocolate cake takes, well, the cake. For best effect, set the whole cake on the table, and slice it in front of your guests.

Martha Stewart Living, February 2005


Recipe Summary

Makes one 9-inch cake


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut three 9-inch rounds of parchment paper to line the bottoms of three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Coat pans with cooking spray. Line with parchment rounds; coat parchment with cooking spray. Flour pans, tapping out excess; set aside.

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl; set aside.

  • Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in creme fraiche and vanilla. Add flour mixture and eggs in alternating additions; mix well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until batter is smooth.

  • Reduce speed to low. Pour in melted chocolate in a slow, steady stream; mix until combined. Remove bowl from mixer; scrape down sides (batter will be thick). Stir by hand until well combined.

  • Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out with moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes.

  • Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 30 minutes. Unmold cakes; peel off parchment. Let cakes cool completely.

  • Trim tops of cakes with a long serrated knife to make the surfaces level. Using a ruler to measure halfway up sides of 1 cake, insert toothpicks around cake?s middle at 3-inch intervals to mark 2 equal layers. Rest serrated knife on the toothpicks; halve cake horizontally using a sawing motion. Carefully slide top cake half onto a cardboard cake round or a plate. Repeat with remaining 2 cakes.

  • Put 1 bottom cake half on a cake plate. Using a small offset spatula, spread 3/4 cup frosting on top. Carefully set top cake half back in place. Spread 3/4 cup frosting on top. Repeat, stacking remaining 4 cake halves on top and spreading 3/4 cup frosting between each. (Do not frost top of last layer.)

  • Spread top and sides of cake with 2 cups frosting in a thin smooth layer. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

  • Spread remaining frosting over top and sides; apply with the offset spatula using an S motion to create a textured appearance.

Cook's Notes

Cake can be refrigerated, under a cake dome, up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.