1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

3 cups light brown sugar, packed

4 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/3 cups sour cream

1 1/2 cups hot coffee

1. Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

2. Beat butter until smooth; add sugar and eggs mixing until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Add 1 1/2 cups flour and 2/3 cup sour cream. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream.  Slowly mix in coffee.  

3. Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 350°F until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Let cool in the pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.


1 pound butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

12 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter until soft. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at the time, mix until smooth. Add the chocolate and vanilla, mixing well.