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  • 2 1/4 + 1/4 cups All-purpose flour

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup C&H® Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar Easy Baking Tub
  • 3 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3 cups, spooned and leveled C&H® Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt

    Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 cup dark chocolate

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

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Prep Time: 45 minutes / Cook Time: 35 minutes / Yields: One 3 layered, 6 inch cake
For the Cake

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease and line three 6-inch (15.24 cm) cake pans.

Step 2

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 ¼ cup flour, baking powder and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.

Step 3

In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter, oil, C&H® Granulated Sugar Easy Baking Tub and C&H® Light Brown Sugar together, on medium speed, until they’re light and fluffy. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. 

Step 4

Add in the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition for about 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix just until they’re combined.

Step 5

In five increments, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk into the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat the mixture on medium speed, just until the flour is fully incorporated, making sure to scrape all the flour off the edge of the bowl.

Step 6

Separate the batter in half, there should be about 5 ½ cups (45 oz) total. Add the reserved flour to one half and cocoa powder to the other half and mix just until combined. Place globs of both batters into the cake pans, distributing the batter evenly among all three. To create the marble effect, use a toothpick to swirl the batter back and forth a few times. 

Step 7

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake springs back when it’s poked. Remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Step 1

Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the color turns to a pale yellow.

Step 2

Add the salt and the C&H® Powdered Sugar to the butter and mix on low speed, just until combined. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for at least five minutes, until all of the C&H® Powdered Sugar is fully dissolved and the buttercream no longer feels gritty. Remember to scrape the bottom and edges of the bowl.

Step 3

Pour in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean paste and beat for another 2 minutes on medium-high speed. If the buttercream is too soft to frost, refrigerate it while you make the chocolate ganache.

For the Chocolate Ganache

Step 1

In a glass bowl, combine the dark chocolate with the heavy whipping cream. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove and mix. Microwave for 20 seconds, remove and mix. If there are still some tiny chocolate pieces that haven't melted, microwave for another 10 seconds. Mix until it's smooth and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Step 2

If the cakes are domed, trim the tops off to make them flat. Use 1/4 of the buttercream to frost the first layer and then use 1/4 of the chocolate ganache on top of the frosting. Repeat for the second layer. Place the third layer on top, smooth out any buttercream that squeezes out between the layers and refrigerate the cake until it's firm. 

Step 3

Remove the cake from the fridge. Place the rest of the buttercream on top of the cake and use an offset spatula to work its way down the sides. Use a cake scraper to smooth out the side and leave the rugged edge at the top of the cake as a border. Reheat the chocolate ganache for 10 seconds, mix it until it's smooth and pour on top of the cake, filling it to the frosting border. Top with chocolate shavings, coconut flakes, gold foil, blackberries and a dusting of powdered sugar (or whatever else you want).

Chef's Tip

If at any point, while assembling the cake, it doesn't feel sturdy, refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to let the buttercream and chocolate ganache set and then proceed with the rest of the cake.

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Recipe by

Bernice Baran Bakery


Bernice Baran is the founder and creator behind Baran Bakery. Growing up with a mom as a baker she has always loved to bake, so you can say sugar and butter run through her veins. She started the blog in 2017 as a creative outlet after college and has since grown to learn and appreciate the art of entertaining and food photography. She focuses mainly on sweets and baked goods with a little dash of life and something savory. On the blog, you'll find both different and decadent desserts and common comfort foods.