Italian Cake's


layer cake recipe

This traditional layer cake is moist and dark.

It is adapted from a hand-written family recipe from the 1940s.

Makes 8 to 12 servings


½ cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1-1/3 cups (325 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups (325 mL) buttermilk
½ cup (125 mL) strong coffee
1½ tsp (7 mL) pure vanilla
2/3 cup (150 mL) unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt

½ cup (125 mL) butter, softened
3 cups (750 mL) icing sugar, divided
2/3 cup (150 mL) unsweetened cocoa, sifted
½ cup (125 mL) cold strong coffee
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla essence


1. To make cake, preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. Grease and line bottoms of two 9-inch (23-cm) cake pans with parchment or waxed paper. Thoroughly cream butter with granulated sugar in a large bowl until lightened and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time; continue beating until fluffy. In a large measuring cup stir buttermilk with coffee and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift cocoa into flour; thoroughly stir in baking powder, soda and salt.

3. Alternately stir in a third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk combination into the butter mixture, repeating and ending with final third of flour mixture. Stir until most lumps are gone. Turn batter into prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into layer centre comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes; then turn cakes out onto rack to complete cooling. Remove and discard paper lining.

4. To make icing, cream butter with 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa, coffee and vanilla until well blended. Beat in remaining icing sugar until icing is smooth. Place one cake layer on serving piece rounded-side down. Spread flat surface with about a third of the icing. Top with remaining layer, flat-side down. Frost top and sides with remaining icing. Lightly covered, cake keeps well for 2 days in a cool spot (do not refrigerate).

Tip: For a sheet cake, grease and flour a 9 X 13-inch (3-L) baking dish or pan. If planning on turning cake out of pan to ice, line pan with parchment or waxed paper. Spread batter evenly in dish; bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack, or cool 10 minutes and turn cake out; ice when completely cool.


layer cake recipe



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