Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and lightly dust with some cocoa powder. (see notes)
In a medium-size bowl, sift cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Beat the softened butter (see note) in large bowl until smooth using an electric mixer. When it’s smooth, add in the brown sugar. Beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg addition, then mix in the vanilla extract.
Add in about a third of the flour mixture, beat just until blended, then add the buttermilk and beat until blended. Repeat until the flour and buttermilk are used and blended into the batter.
Divide the cake batter in half between the two cake prepared pans. Smooth it out, if needed.
Place the cake pans into the oven. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake pans from the oven and place them on cooling racks for at least 10 to 20 minutes.
Use a dull knife to loosen the cake from the pan, by running it around the edge of the pan. Turn cake layers out onto cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.
The Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Cream butter in a mixer on medium speed.
Stop the mixer and sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl with the butter.
Carefully, turn the mixer on to the lowest speed setting, until the powdered sugar and cocoa are mixed into the butter.
Slowly, increase mixer speed to medium. Add vanilla extract, salt, and milk. Beat for 3 minutes. (see notes about consistency)
Frost The Chocolate Cake, Serve and Storage
Using a butter knife or offset spatula, frost the cake with the chocolate buttercream frosting.
Garnish with Ghirardelli Baking Chips, optional.
Serve immediately or store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.
Cake Flour: You do not have to have cake flour on hand to make this cake. To make your own do the following equation: 1 cup all-purpose flour - 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch = cake flour. This is what I used and it worked out beautifully!Cocoa Powder Instead of Flour: Consider dusting your cake pan with cocoa powder. There won’t be any white film on your chocolate cake and it also gives you a little more chocolate flavor! Click HERE to learn a very important baking secret!Softening Butter: If you forget to soften the butter beforehand, click HERE to learn a very important baking secret!Frosting Consistency: If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.Recipes adapted from The Ultimate Chocolate Cake Recipe ~ thedish.plated.com and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting ~ savorysweetlife.com
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