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Velvet Underground Cake

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup strong coffee or 5 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature

Preheat oven to 345. Lightly grease two 8-in. layer cake pans with
oil or butter, or line them with parchment circles. Melt chocolate
in top of double boiler placed over simmering water, then turn off
the heat. Sift sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together into
a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, blend the hot coffee,
sour cream, and vegetable oil with whisk.

With the mixer on low speed, add the coffee mixture in a stream to
the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 35 seconds. Stop
mixer to scrape the bowl several times with spatula. Add eggs one
at a time and mix on medium-low speed after each addition until
smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl each time. Add chocolate
and mix until batter is uniform in color, about 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly between pans and place on center rack in
oven. Bake until cake springs back to touch and tester comes out
dry (do not wait for crust to form), 35 to 38 minutes. Cool layers
in the pans on a rack.

Fudge Filling

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 T. unsalted butter
5 T. plus 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
6 T. hot water
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients except vanilla in top of double boiler over
simmering water and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until
the chocolate is melted and sugar dissolved, about 30 minutes.
Mixture will be smooth and velvety. Pour fudge into small bowl,
stir in vanilla and refrigerate until the mixture is thick and of
spreading consistency, 2 hours.


8 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C. confectioner's sugar
3/4 C. plus 2 T. heavy (whipping) cream, chilled

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until light
and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop mixer several times to scrape
down sides of bowl. Transfer buttercream to medium-size mixing
bowl and, using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, continue
to beat on medium-high speed, until buttercream is white and fluffy,
15 to 20 minutes. Stop mixer to scrape bowl several times. (If
you don't have a paddle attachment, use whisk.) Use buttercream
within an hour or it will need rewhipping.

Spread all interior layers of cake with fudge filling and outside
of cake with about 1 1/2 C. of buttercream. Shave 1 oz. dark
chocolate over surface of cake with a fine grater, then use the
knife method of shaving to make darker accents on the top of the
cake. Makes 12 to 16 servings.


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