- 1 cup Valrhona cocoa, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup strong coffee, boiling
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Ultimate Chocolate Frosting (http://www.marthastewart.com/263621/ultimate-chocolate-frosting)
- Place rack in middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment, and dust with cocoa powder; tap out excess. Sift cocoa; whisk in boiling coffee and milk. Let cool. Sift together cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour in the cooled cocoa mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 4 cups in each pan). Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Carefully run a small offset spatula around the edge of the cakes to loosen them from the pan. Remove cakes from pans, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- To assemble, using a serrated knife, level the top surface of each cake layer. Place four strips of parchment paper around the perimeter of the cake stand. Spread with 3/4 cup of frosting. Top with the remaining layer, bottom side up. Using a swirling motion, cover the outside of cake with