Ultimate Chocolate Cake

In this recipe: Dark Cocoa Chili Almonds!




1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

¾ cup cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup canola oil

2 eggs, room temp.

1 cup brewed coffee



1. Preheat oven to 350° and line two 8” square or round pans with parchment paper.

2. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined using a paddle attachment.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, and eggs with a whisk or fork.

4. Slowly add this mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients on low speed until combined. Lastly, pour the cup of coffee into the mixture just until it’s combined. *Why coffee? It enhanced the flavor of chocolate!* Scrape the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are combined.

5. Pour the batter into the two lined pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for about an hour, then invert onto cooling racks to completely cool down.



6 ounces dark chocolate

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.

1 egg yolk, room temp.

1 cup confectioners sugar

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. instant coffee powder

2 tbsp. hot water



1. Chop the chocolate and place in a glass bowl then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. *Note – if water is boiling on high or touches the bowl it will burn the chocolate* Stir until it’s just melted and set aside to cool down.

2. With a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the yolk and continue to mix for 3 minutes. Lower the speed until low and slowly add the confectioners sugar until combined, then increase the speed to medium and mix  until smooth.

3. Scrape the bowl occasionally to make sure everything is incorporated. Dissolve the instant coffee in the water and add to bowl on low speed. Lastly, add the cooled chocolate and sea salt. *Why add sea salt? Sea salt will enhance the flavors and just slightly offset the sweetness*


Divide the frosting into two parts.



1. Once the cakes are cooled, remove the parchment paper and cut the first cake into 3 even pieces.

2. Place the first part on your platter and cover it with about ¼ of the divided frosting using an inverted spatula.

3. Repeat with the second and third layers, and then front the outside of the cake. It’s not meant to be perfect, so no need to make it completely smooth. In fact, we’re looking for a more rustic look, so the more imperfect, the better! Repeat with the second cake – this way you’ll have one for yourself and one for a friend, if you dare :D


Finally… the Lush Nuts come into play!  Place the whole almonds in which every pattern appeals to you – have fun! I decided to use them alongside the bottom of the cake for a subtle pattern. These will be a great contrast to the frosting and also give you a wonderful crunch.