¾ cup Hershey’s Special dark chocolate cocoa powder, sifted
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup Hershey’s Special dark chocolate cocoa powder, sifted
8 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Kahlua or Baileys
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
For the ganache
6 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 to 3 tablespoons Kahlua or Baileys
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans with Crisco and dust with cocoa powder to help easily release the cake after it is baked.
Combine the Kahlua and sour cream in a cup, stir until the sour cream is mixed into the liquor and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder. I usually sift my cocoa powder with a sieve instead of my actual sifter. Add the baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Combine the melted butter in a large mixing bowl with oil and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, ensure that each egg is well beaten before adding the next one. Add the vanilla extract together with the last egg.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and the Kahlua mixture. First, pour in half of the dry ingredients and beat for 30 seconds before adding half of the Kahlua mixture. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and remaining liquid mixture. Use a spatula to ensure the batter at the bottom of the bowl is well mixed.
Pour the batter in the greased & coated pans, dividing as evenly as possible. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, gently run a knife around the edge of the pan to help release the cake from the pans.
Tort the top of the cake but using a serrated knife to cut the dome off the cake. You want a nice flat surface on top.
For the frosting: Please note this is a large batch and requires a large bowl. You might consider making this in two batches
In a small glass, combine the hot water and espresso powder and whisk until the espresso powder is dissolved. Set this aside.
Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until the butter looks light in color.
Sift the cocoa powder into a mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on slow speed and beat it until the cocoa power is mixed into butter, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into butter. Continuing adding powdered sugar, one to two cups at a time, followed by 1 tablespoons of Kahlua and 1 tablespoons of the brewed espresso and beat on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
Add the last cup of powdered sugar along with a pinch of salt and remaining Kahlua and beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
You will need to judge the consistency of your frosting. You want it light and fluffy and not too stiff. If the frosting seems to thin, you can still add an additional cup of powered sugar.
For the ganache: In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the brewed espresso. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is melted.
Remove from the microwave and add 1 tablespoon of Kahlua at a time, stirring until well mixed. Use your judgment to test how thin the ganache needs to be in order to nicely drizzle down the sides of your cake. You can slowly add additional Kahlua, just drops at a time as needed.
To assemble the cake: Place a dollop of frosting on the bottom of the cake plate and place the bottom layer of cake on top. The frosting will help prevent the cake from sliding.
In order to create even layers, I use a piping bag fitted with an open round tip, or simply cut off the end of the piping bag. I also highly suggest to use a lazy Suzan to rotate the cake as you work.
Fill the first layer of frosting by using your piping bag and pipe from the outside edge into the center. Gently spread the frosting with an offset spatula to fill in the gaps.
Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat the above instructions to fill the layer of frosting. For the top layer of cake, place it inverted, so the bottom of the cake is actually the top, creating a nice and smooth top edge.
Proceed to add your crumb coat by adding a cup of frosting to the top of the cake and gently spread out to the edges and down the sides. Use the leftover frosting in your piping bags to fill in the cracks between the layers.
Using an offset spatula or icing smoother, the wipe away excess frosting, leaving you just enough to coat the outside of the cake. Do not mix your crumb coating frosting back into your icing if it has cake debris in it. Refrigerate the cake for 15-20 minutes to allow the crumb coat to harden.
First, add about ½ cup of frosting to the top of the cake and create a nice, smooth top. Use your Viva paper towel and fondant smoother to create a flat even surface.
Put remaining frosting in a 18-inch piping bag fitted with a Wilton #789 icing tip. Pipe the outside edge of the cake working from the bottom to the top. Use your icing smoother or large offset spatula to smooth edges and remove excess frosting. Again, use your Viva paper towels and the icing smoother to help smooth out the edges of the cake.
To drizzle the ganache, use a piping bag and squeeze the ganache near the edges of the cake and if needed, use the flat edge of your offset spatula and push it gently over the sides. Repeat these steps until you are satisfied with the dripped edges. Pour the remaining ganache in the middle of your cake and gently flood out to the edges with the offset spatula. All the ganache to set until slightly firmed.
Once the cake is completely smooth, put remaining frosting into a large piping bag fitted with an Ateco Tip 846 (closed star tip). Pipe the boarders on the edges of the cake and garnish with sprinkles.