This cake is so delicious, always a hit with friends and no one can tell that it’s a reduced sugar recipe. It’s one of the many fantastic recipes found in from America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks called Naturally Sweet. Sucanat is not found in many grocery stores and can be ordered online.
Download Reduced Sugar Chocolate Layer Cake and Creamy Chocolate Frosting recipe
¾ cup plus ⅓ cup Sucanat (6 ounces)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
⅔ cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1½ cups hot brewed coffee
1½ cups (8¼ ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 recipe Reduced-Sugar Creamy Chocolate Frosting (see below)
*BEFORE YOU BEGIN
If you use natural cocoa powder for this recipe, the cake will be lighter in appearance and have a milder chocolate flavor. This cake was made with Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Bar; other brands may contain different amounts of sugar. Do not skip grinding the Sucanat in step 1 or large air pockets will appear inside the cake and on the surface of the cake. If using dark colored cake pans, start checking the cakes for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier. You can learn more about Sucanat in this article. The flavor of Creamy Chocolate Frosting is terrific on this cake; however, a Vanilla Frosting will also work well.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pans. Working in 4 batches, grind Sucanat in spice grinder until fine and powdery, about 1 minute.
2. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl, add hot coffee, and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate mixture until completely cool, about 20 minutes. In separate bowl, whisk ground Sucanat, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together.
3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake until cakes are set and center is just firm to touch, 20 to 22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discard parchment, and let cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour. (Cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
5. Line edges of cake platter with 4 strips of parchment to keep platter clean and place dab of frosting in center to anchor cake. Place 1 cake layer on platter and spread 1 cup frosting evenly over top. Top with second cake layer, press lightly to adhere, then spread 1 cup frosting evenly over top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides of cake. To smooth frosting, run edge of offset spatula around cake sides and over top. Carefully remove parchment strips and serve.
Reduced-Sugar Creamy Chocolate Frosting
Makes 4 cups (TIME 50 minutes)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons Sucanat (4⅔ ounces)
4 large egg whites
⅛ teaspoon salt
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened
1. Microwave chocolate in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and let cool, about 10 minutes.
2. Combine Sucanat, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer and set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees, about 8 minutes.
3. Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip warmed Sucanat mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and has consistency of shaving cream, about 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.)
4. Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate mixture, and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until light, fluffy, and well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down whisk and bowl as needed. (Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. To refresh, microwave until just slightly softened, about 15 seconds, then whip on medium-high speed in stand mixer until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.)