Dark Chocolate Layer Cake for Two

There is something about chocolate baked goods that makes them very difficult to photograph.  I have never been able to crack the secret to being able to do this successfully, but then again I am not the best at photographing anything anyways!

I think I am far too impatient. I could probably spend hours setting up shots and things, planning them, etc.  But me . . .  impatient.  I just want to photograph them so that we can eat them. 

I have a very narrow window of opportunity when the daylight is in my favour and it differs  all year round, changing with the seasons. I am usually just getting it sorted and then it changes and I have to fiddle with it all over again.

I have never really promised my readers the best food photographs anyways, I don’t know why I stress over them as much as I do.  I have only ever promised you great recipes that work and that are delicious.

I think I deliver on that most of the time. Anything else is down purely to individual tastes and preferences.  One man’s meat being another man’s poison and all that.

For instance Todd loves chocolate candy but hates chocolate bakes.  I very rarely bake anything chocolate because I know only I am going to be eating it and I don’t need to be . . . this cake is the perfect size for such an occasion.  Because it only feeds two.

I adapted the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, Complete Cooking for Two.  So you know this recipe is good. Its been triple tested, and tested again.

The cake layers are rich and very chocolatey.  I did cut the icing in half. I decided it was enough to just frost the top and the middle, and I added a layer of cherry jam in the middle . . .

An homage to my mother who always filled her cakes with jam  . . .  a cake is not a proper cake to me without jam in the middle  . . . even chocolate cake.

Cherry jam because  . . .  chocolate and cherries are the quintessential combination.  A marriage of moreishly good flavours . . .

This cake is moist and delicious . . .  soft light brown sugar and sour cream make sure of that  . . .

 Two kinds of chocolate, a dark baking chocolate with a high cocoa content and unsweetened cocoa powder . . . and just a hint of coffee powder, which we all know intensifies the flavour of chocolate!

It may not be the prettiest crayon in the box, but from where I am sitting, this cake gets Five stars all round.  If you like chocolate cake. You are going to love this.

Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

Yield: 2


A frosted dark chocolate layer cake built just for two, filled with cherry jam and adorned with  with a rich vanilla buttercream.


  • 45g dark chocolate with a high cocoa count (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 3 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder (not chocolate drink mix)
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 120ml boiling water (1/2 cup)
  • 60g sour cream (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 70g plain flour (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
  • 1 large free range egg at room temperature

For the frosting and filling:

  • dark cherry jam
  • 1 TBS heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 8 TBS butter softened
  • 130g confectioners sugar (1 cup) sifted


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter two six inch layer cake tins. Line the bottoms with baking paper. Dust lightly with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. Chop the chocolate and put into a small bowl along with the cocoa powder and coffee powder.  Add the boiling water. Set aside to melt the chocolate and then whisk together until smooth.
  3. Sift together the flour, soda and baking powder.
  4. Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy with an electric whisk.  Beat in the egg.
  5. Whisk the vanilla and sour cream into the chocolate mixture.  Add the chocolate mixture to the creamed mixture alternating with the flour mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Divide the batter between the two layer cake tins.  Smooth the tops.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.  Leave the tins to rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes before tipping out to cool completely and peeling off the paper.
  7. Put all ingredients for the icing into a bowl and beat with an elecric whisk until light and fluffy.
  8. Place one cake layer on a cake plate.  Cover with half of the icing. Spoon over some cherry jam to cover. Place the top cake layer on top of the jam.  Spread the remaining frosting on the top of the cake.
  9. Cut into wedges to serve.
Did you make this recipe?

Todd makes me laugh.  He sits there eating a huge piece of this cake, saying “You know I don’t like chocolate.”  But he still eats it and seems to enjoy it. Men!  If I didn’t like something there is no way I would be eating it!  Nobody forced him.  😕  Happy Saturday. 

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Author: alexbyu

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