Photo and Recipe by: cakemerchant
Yield: One 3 layer
For the Cake
2 cups (250 grams)
2 1/2 cups (500
grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cups (90
grams) Dutch process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking
1 teaspoon kosher
1 cup (240 ml)
vegetable or canola oil
1 cup (226 grams)
full fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups (360
distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, at
For the Speculoos Swiss Meringue
4 oz (120 grams)
4 oz (113 grams)
1/4 tsp kosher
3 sticks (12
ounces/339 grams)unsalted butter, cut into 2 inch chunks and at room
1 teaspoon pure
1/2 cup (128
grams) Speculoos Spread
For the Dark
1/4 cup (45 grams)
+ 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup (90 ml) +
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 cups (3
sticks/341 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (63 g)
pinch of salt
1 pound (454 g)
good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
sprinkles for garnish
For the Cake
Preheat the oven
to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Grease and line 3
8-inch cake pans and line them with parchment paper.
In a large bowl,
whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well
Add the oil and sour
cream and whisk until blended.
Add the water in
1/2 cup at a time and whisk until combined.
Whisk in vinegar
and vanilla to blend.
Add the eggs and
whisk until combined.
Scrape down the
sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are well
Divide the batter
equally among the 3 prepared pans (I used a kitchen scale to do this).
Bake for 30-35
minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out
almost clean (it's ok if a few crumbs stick to it, but should not look shiny).
Let the pans cool
on wire racks for about 20 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the racks to
finish cooling completely.
For the Speculoos
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Combine the egg
whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer).
Place the bowl
over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water, nor should
the water be at a rolling boil. It's the steam that's going to heat the egg
whites, since we don't want scrambled eggs.
Heat the egg white
mixture until it reaches 145-150 degrees fahrenheit, whisking frequently so as
not to get scrambled eggs.
Remove the bowl
from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium high using the whisk
attachment of your stand mixer.
Whip the egg
whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool
to the touch (this will usually take several minutes).
Turn the mixer
down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all
If the mixture
looks curdled at this point, this is normal. Just keep whipping for a few more
minutes until it comes together. If the mixture looks soupy, you can add a few
cubes of chilled butter, or stick the whole bowl in the refrigerator for about
15 minutes and then continue beating.
buttercream has become smooth, and the vanilla and Speculoos Spread and beat
For the Dark
Combine the cocoa
and boiling water and stir until the cocoa has dissolved.
With an electric
mixer, beat the butter on medium high until pale and creamy.
Add the powdered
sugar and salt and beat on low until just combined.
Turn the mixer up
to medium high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the melted
chocolate and beat on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the
bowl as necessary.
Beat in the cocoa
mixture until thoroughly combined.
To Assemble the
Place one layer of
the cake on an 8-inch cake board.
With an offset
spatula, spread half of the speculoos filling on top of the first layer.
process with the second layer, spreading the remainder of the filling on top.
Place the 3rd
layer on top.
Place the cake on
a turntable, and apply a thin layer of the chocolate frosting on the sides and
the top of the cake to lock in the crumbs.
Let the frosting
set up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
remainder of the frosting to the sides and top of the cake and garnish with
Serve at room
-Chocolate recipe adapted from Sky High: Irresistible
-Swiss meringue buttercream adapted from BraveTart
-Dark chocolate frosting adapted from Sweetapolita
-Wipe down all of your kitchen tools with vinegar before
making meringue. Any grease residue will cause it to flop.
-I’ve used liquid egg whites for the Swiss buttercream without
-This cake holds up well against refrigeration and will not
dry out if kept in an airtight container (i.e a cake saver) for 2-3 days, but
be sure to bring it back to room temperature before serving.
-A kitchen scale is an invaluable tool if you bake cakes
regularly. Accuracy is important when measuring ingredients, and can mean the
difference between a delicious or a dry cake.
-Cake strips help you cakes stay flat when baking, making
for even layers. I like these, since they have velcro and fit almost any size
I use a turntable and both a large and small offset spatula
to help make the frosting smooth and even.