Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
For the Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 ½ cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
250g softened unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour two 8-inch cakes pans and set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee and mix just until combined.
Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Place the egg whites and sugar in an extremely clean heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water and whisk with a hand whisk until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is warm to the touch, if you rub some of the mixture between your fingers it should be smooth and you shouldn’t be able to feel any graininess, this will take about five minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and attach it to your stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until it forms a thick, glossy, bright white meringue and is completely cool, the bottom of the bowl should feel cool to the touch, this will take about 10 minutes.
Once the meringue is cold, switch the mixer to a low speed and begin to add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, make sure that each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next; the meringue will deflate a little and may begin to look curdled. This is normal, just keep adding the butter gradually and whipping away and it will come back together. If, once all the butter has been added, your mixture is runny, the butter may have been too soft or the meringue still warm, just put the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes or so then carry on whipping.
Once the buttercream is completely smooth and silky and all the butter has been incorporated, whisk in the vanilla extract. Keep cool in the fridge till ready to use
Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish. Spread on about ½ to ¾ cup of the buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake.
Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
*For the ombre effect; divide the buttercream into three bowls. Color to of the bowls with varying shades of pink. Starting from the bottom, spread the darkest color frost. Then spread the lighter pink above it. Cover the top layer with the white frosting. With a cake scraper, smooth the sides.