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“Old-fashioned, moist, with a fabulous brown sugar-cocoa frosting. From Bon Appetit.”
2hrs 18mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Position 1 rack in top 1/3 and 1 rack in bottom 1/3 of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter three 9" cake pans with 1 1/2" sides. Line with parchment paper rounds and butter parchment.
  2. Whisk cocoa and 1/2 cup warm water in small bowl. Whisk butter and 1/2 cup water in second small bowl.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoons salt into medium bowl.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and butter in large bowl until pale yellow and fluffly (will appear granular), about 5 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add beaten eggs, then beat until smooth and fluffly, about 15 seconds. Add cocoa mixture; beat to blend. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter amoung pans (about 1 3/4 cups each).
  5. Bake cakes until tester comes out clean, reversing pans halfway through baking, about 18 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks.
  6. Frosting: Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, cocoa, expresso powder, and 1/2 tsp (scant) salt. Gradually stir in cream. Stir until mixturer is very hot and just begins to simmer at edges. Reduce heat to low; stir 1 minute to let flavors blend. Transfer to medium bowl; stir in vanilla (will resemble chocolate sauce). Chill until just thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Let stand at room temperature.
  7. Run knife around cake sides. Carefully iinvert 1 cake onto plate (cakes will be very tender); peel off parchment. Spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Invert second cake onto palm of hand. Position cake 2 inches above frosted cake layer. Carefully slide cake onto first cake layer. Peel off parchment. Spread cake with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting on sides and top of cake.
  8. Can be made one day ahead. Cover with cake dome' let stand at room temperature.

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