Ina Garten Called 1 Recipe the ‘Most Fabulous Chocolate Cake’ She’s Ever Made and It’s a Fan Favorite

Ina Garten has a lot of delicious dessert recipes but she has high praise for one of her cakes, calling it “the most fabulous chocolate cake that I’ve ever made.” Find out how to make the Barefoot Contessa star’s decadent cake recipe that includes a secret ingredient that elevates the dessert.

Ina Garten stands behind a bar and pours alcohol from a cocktail shaker into a martini glass on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers'
Ina Garten | Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ina Garten makes a decadent double-chocolate layer cake

When Garten’s recipe for her double-chocolate layer cake appeared in Food & Wine in 2007, she called it “the most fabulous chocolate cake that I’ve ever made.” Garten explained why the cake is such a hit. “It’s so easy and so moist and light,” she told the magazine. “There’s buttermilk and a cup of coffee in the batter! The frosting is just buttercream and a little coffee.”

When she demonstrated how to make the cake, also known as her famous Beatty’s chocolate cake recipe, on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, she shared the origins of the dessert.

She was making the cake for her friends’ anniversary party and explained how the recipe would be well-known to her friend Michael Grimm, since it came from his grandmother.

“The pressure’s on,” she explained. “It has to be good because Michael knows exactly what it is. He actually served this cake to me once at dinner and I just begged him for the recipe.”

“I didn’t have to beg very hard,” she added.

The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star’s chocolate cake recipe has a secret ingredient

Garten started by sifting flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in the mixer bowl. “So the method of the cake is to sift all the dry ingredients together and then I’m going to slowly mix the wet ingredients into it.”

She then combined the wet ingredients, beginning with shaking buttermilk before adding it to a measuring cup along with vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Garten added the wet ingredients to the dry mixture while the mixer ran at low speed.

“And then, I have a secret ingredient,” Garten teased. “Or I should say Michael’s grandmother had a secret ingredient.” She added a cup of hot brewed coffee to the mixture. “And I always think coffee is really important for chocolate,” the Barefoot Contessa star noted. “It makes it taste really chocolatey — and that’s exactly what this does.”

She poured the cake batter into two 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper, butter, and flour and baked them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Ina Garten topped the cake with an easy chocolate frosting

Garten topped the cake with what she called “the easiest most delicious buttercream you’ve ever seen.”

The Barefoot Contessa star made the frosting by chopping semi-sweet chocolate and melting it in a bowl set over simmering water. She added butter to a mixer and beat it before adding an egg yolk, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and instant coffee granules she mixed with hot water. Garten whipped the ingredients together before adding the chocolate.

Garten shared that the chocolate must be cooled before adding it to the mixer. “You don’t want to pour hot chocolate into butter, otherwise the whole thing will melt,” she advised.

The Barefoot Contessa star shared her technique for icing a cake, placing frosting between the layers then topping the cake with icing and gently spreading it down the sides. Rather than making the sides perfectly smooth, she ran her offset spatula up and down to make a bit of a swirl pattern and repeated the swirling on the top.

“The good news about an old-fashioned cake is it’s supposed to be a little messy,” she assured.

Garten’s chocolate cake has earned rave reviews — the full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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