I used the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry Died-and-Gone-to-Heaven Chocolate Cake. It resides in the very back of the book where no healthy recipe dares go. I topped it with salted caramel icing.
3 cups sugar
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
11/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz unsweetened chocolate squares, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans. Cut circles of parchment paper to fit bottom of pans and place in pans. Lightly grease paper. Set pans aside.
Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat eggs on high speed of electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until they have thickened slightly and are lemon coloured. Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix on low speed until well blended.
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until batter is smooth. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, peel off paper and cool completely before frosting.
Salted Caramel Icing
1/4 cup granulated sugar2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature*
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup powdered sugar
Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
*I would start with about half the butter and just continue to add until it has the right consistency. Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.
Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.