Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

1 9-inch cake

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.


  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 ¾ cups sugar

  • 1 cup crème fraîche (8 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 9 large eggs

  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70 percent cacao), melted and cooled

  • Tangy Chocolate Frosting


  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.)

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

  10. 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.

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