Granny’s Chocolate Cake

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This cake recipe was adapted from the chef Larry Forgione, who served his grandmother’s cake recipe at his restaurant An American Place. The dessert proved so popular that every time he tried to take it off of the menu, he said his customers threatened to riot. It’s a perfect proportion of crumb to buttercream, ideal for birthdays or other celebrations where layer cake is required.


  • Butter and flour for preparing pans

  • 2 ½

    cups all-purpose flour

  • 1

    teaspoon baking soda

  • ½

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon salt

  • 1 ¼

    cups buttermilk

  • 1

    teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 11

    tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 ½

    cups sugar

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 4

    ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

  • Chocolate frosting (see recipe)


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper. Lightly butter the paper. Dust pans with flour, and shake out excess.
    2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla.
    3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, cream the butter. Slowly add the sugar, and continue beating until well blended and light colored. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk mixture in 2 or 3 additions, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared pans, and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.
    4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake layer comes out clean. Let cake layers cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto other racks and peel off the paper. Invert again, and let cool completely on the racks. Frost with chocolate frosting.
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