I am currently decorating the cake for Sonia's birthday, and will post pictures of the final product later today!
3 sticks unsalter butter (1.5 cups) room temp, plus more for pans
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey's), sifted
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup sour cream
3 cups flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350. Prep your 2 8x2 or 9x2 cake pans by buttering bottom, layering with a circular piece of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper, dust with some cocoa powder (not part of the 3/4 cup) and tap out the excess.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool. In another medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
3. With your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4mins in stand mixer and longer with a hand held. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to mix well between eggs. Beat in vanilla. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl often to ensure it's all mixed.
4. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture and beginning and ending with the flour (ie. 1/2 flour, then all cocoa, then other 1/2 flour). Beat just until combined, scraping sides of bowl.
5. Divide batter between the two pans, if using 8x2 pans you will have a little extra left over. Smooth with a spatula and cook for 40-50mins, or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remember that the two racks in the oven cook at different speeds. After cooking, transfer pans to cooling rack and cool in pans 15mins. Then invert cake onto a plate, remove parchment paper, and re-invert back onto the cooling rack. Let cool completely, with the top sides up!
Mint Chocolate Ganache Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghiardelli)
1/8 cup light corn syrup
3/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
1/8 tsp salt
1. Pour cream into a saucepan and bring it to a full boil on medium-high heat on the stove, then turn off heat. Add chocolate then swirl to completely cover the cream. Whisk together. Add the corn syrup, peppermint extract, and salt and whisk. Transfer to a clean stand mixer bowl. Let it cool completely (about 45 mins), stirring frequently.
Assemble your cake!!!
1. Level your cake tops by inserting a long, sharp knife into the cake, then slowly turn to level the cake tops (these sides will form the middle portion of the cake). Place the bottom half layer onto your cardboard base (which should be wider than your cake, I use 10" ones).
This is a stepwise picture of how to level a cake!
2. Attach the bowl with cooled mint ganache to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until ganache holds soft peaks, about 5-7 mins. Spread the bottom 1/2 with 1-1.5 cups of the whipped ganache. Top with the other layer. Refrigerate for 30 mins, or until ganache has just begun to set. I had some ganache left over, which can be stored in an airtight container for a week in the refrigerator, make sure you re-whip before using.
When layering a cake, make sure you place the bottom layer on your cardboard with the doilie attached (put some corn syrup between the two so they will stick together).
Top with any icing you wish. I love buttercream icing so much that I topped with vanilla buttercream icing, and decorated with vanilla buttercream icing.
Happy Baking!! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONIA!!