Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting
Oct 28, 2016, Updated Feb 23, 2019
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase.
Tomorrow we’re headed to a Netflix-themed Halloween party with my friend, Cassie, who works at the company. This entire week has been spent working and recipe testing and shooting. And in addition to that, I’ve been worrying if my costume is going to hit the mark. Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday and I usually stay home like an old person and eat candy.
I really wanted to bring Amelia and dress her up like Eleven but we all know that she would never, ever tolerate a blond wig on her head. And seeing her in a bloody dress might genuinely creep me out! Check my Insta-stories for all of my costume details this weekend—it should be fun(ish).
In other more chocolate-y news, I have this fine dessert for you today. I teamed up with the most delicious, decadent, luscious chocolate maker: ScharffenBerger to create my chocolate ombre dreams in form of a cake.
I’m not going to lie, creating and developing this recipe hurt my brain. There was a lot of math! What I didn’t want was anyone (including myself) to have to make four separate batches of cake batter and frosting. I wanted to create one of each and then mix in the different amount of chocolate to make them different. After a few tries—success!
The frosting is maybe my favorite thing in the entire world because it is cinnamon-y and a little spicy and tastes SO much like Mexican chocolate.
And surprisingly, the ombre frosting isn’t too difficult. You sort of just slap on the different colors and use a bench scraper to combine them!
I kept the topping super simple with a handful of ScharffenBerger cacao nibs and a sprinkling of pearl sugar.
Today is National Chocolate Day, so here’s to hoping you’re eating chocolate (and hopefully making this cake!).
(This post is sponsored by Scharffen-Berger Chocolate Maker! Scharffen Berger crafts the richest, most flavorful chocolate by sourcing the best cacao in the world, blending it in small batches, and gently processing it to maintain the subtle flavors in the beans. Be sure to check out their website, www.scharffenberger.com, where you can find a wide variety of baking chocolate as well as bars that need nothing more than a little unwrapping. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)
Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 6 ounces ScharffenBerger 62% semisweet chocolate chunks, melted
- 3/4 cups unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 5 large egg whites
- Scharffen-Berger unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon Scharffen-Berger cacao nibs, as garnish
- 1 tablespoon Swedish pearl sugar, as garnish
To make the frosting:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream or milk. Mix on low until combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide the frosting amongst three bowls (eyeballing this measurement is ok!).
- To the first bowl of frosting (this will be the darkest and most chocolate-y), add 5 tablespoons of melted chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Mix until smooth and until the chocolate is thoroughly combined.
- To the second bowl of frosting (this will be a medium color), add 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate and 3/4 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Mix until smooth and until the chocolate is thoroughly combined. If you have any extra spice mixture (you shouldn’t have too much), divide it amongst the two chocolate frostings and mix.
- The third bowl of frosting should be kept white. This will be the lightest and brightest that we’ll use toward the top of the cake.
To make the cake layers:
- To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Next, butter and flour 4 (six-inch) cake pans. If you don’t have 4 pans, don’t worry, we can do this in batches of two. Set them aside.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar and vanilla paste or extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. To a measuring cup, measure out the milk and whisk in the egg whites.
- To the stand-up mixer, add the flour and milk mixture, alternating between the two and ending with the milk. Beat until just mixed and combined, being sure not to over-mix!
- Divide the batter amongst four bowls (each will weigh 230 grams). To the first layer (the whitest and brightest), pour into the cake pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
- To the second layer: mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons ScharffenBerger cocoa powder, along with 2 teaspoons of milk. Transfer to the cake pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Transfer to the oven to bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- To the third layer: mix in 1 tablespoon ScharffenBerger cocoa powder, along with 1 1/2 tablespoons milk. Transfer to a prepared cake pan and smooth out the top.
- For the fourth layer (the most chocolate-y): mix in 3 tablespoons ScharffenBerger cocoa powder, along with 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon oil. Whisk until just smooth. Transfer to a prepared cake pan and smooth out the top. Bake the third and fourth layer for 17 to 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- To assemble the cake, add the darkest layer to the base of a cake board or cutting board. Top with a few tablespoons of the most chocolatey frosting, smoothing it out to the edges. Repeat with the following layers, using the two lighter frostings.
- To make the ombre effect on the cake, add a few tablespoons of the super chocolate-y frosting to bottom half of the sides of the cake. And then, add a few tablespoons of lighter chocolate-y frosting to the middle part of the cake. Add the whitest to the top. Using a bench scraper, spin the cake at a medium speed and smooth out the sides. This could also be done with a big off-set spatula.
- Smooth out the top and sprinkle with a handful of cacao nibs and a sprinkling of pearl sugar. Slice and eat!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.