Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, Holiday

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

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.

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

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.

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

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.

OmbreChocolateCake_MexicanChocolateFrosting-5-2

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

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!

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

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!).

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

(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

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Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Serving Size: 10 TO 12

Ingredients

Frosting/Spice Mixture: 

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • Salt
  • 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

Cake batter: 

  • 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 

Chocolate layers: 

  • 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

Directions

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! 
Serving: 10g
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Ombre Chocolate Cake with Mexican Chocolate Frosting

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64 Comments

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  • Reply Khola May 28, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Hey so I want to make this for my kid’s birthday can I make the Buttercream without the spices?

  • Reply Nadja Vielot October 21, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I decided to make this for bae after we discussed our favorite chocolate/vanilla cake combinations and decided that vanilla/vanilla and chocolate/chocolate were the best. Perfect fit, and like all of your recipes, it’s a huge win!! I didn’t find it to be labor-intensive so much as dish-intensive, and your girl doesn’t have a dishwasher 🙁

    The one part I found fiddly was making the three different frostings in three different bowls. I think you can just gradually add more chocolate and spice to the mixer, removing the light and medium portions as you go. Also, adding melted chocolate to the frosting makes it much softer than the vanilla, so I thinned it out with a little more milk so they were all the same consistency.

    Despite not splurging on SharfenBerger (I don’t have sponsors, yet!) the flavors were great and every layer was moist and delicious. You slay!

  • Reply Aubrey September 1, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    I really want to make this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday next weekend, but as a new college grad and a first time independent-out-of-my-parent’s-house-girl, I no longer have access to my mother’s Kitchenaid stand mixer. Do you think this recipe can be completed with just a hand mixer? Or would you recommend against that? Thanks! (also this is my favorite cooking/food blog, thanks for the amazing content and cute doggo photos!)

  • Reply Denise August 28, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    This looks SO good. I’m wondering if I want to make this into an 8″ 4 layer cake, how much should i scale up the recipe? Thanks!!

  • Reply Jensen Payne June 29, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    How much salt?? It just says to add salt for the frosting!

  • Reply Emily April 13, 2018 at 3:59 am

    I just made this recipe last night. It took several hours (and lots of dishes) but turned out really well! I’ll definitely be making it again (and think it’ll be much faster the second time).

  • Reply Elise Miller March 1, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    i made this cake today and am so pleased with how it turned out. it looks so beautiful inside & out and the frosting has the PERFECT amount of kick! normally, chocolate cakes are too rich for me, but this was great. it’s going to be my new go to!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme March 1, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      AMAZING NEWS!!! This cake is definitely sort of labor-intensive so that’s so wonderful that it worked out! YAYYY!!

      • Reply Elise Miller March 1, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        oh yes it did! i was in charge of desserts for an event and had to make WAY too many cakes today (starting at like 4 am lol) and this one was my favorite to make because of the pretty color gradient!

  • Reply Alicia January 25, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Hello from ohio! Your cake is amazingly beautiful! I am definatrly going to give it a try, Baking is my passion as well. I am wondering if yoi have worked with the bitterwerrt bars from scharffenberger and how they worked out for you.

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