Food & Drink

Chocolate Heaven Cake from The Back in the Day Bakery

Cheryl Day and Griffith Day are the purveyors of the immensely popular Back in the Day Bakery and for more than a decade they have been serving decadent homespun desserts and delicious rustic breads. To celebrate the bakery’s tenth anniversary, they wrote The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, which includes this delightful Chocolate Heaven Cake!

From Cheryl Day and Griffith Day:
This cake was the first thing Cheryl learned to bake with her grandmother. It was, and still is, the best cake either of us have ever tasted. The Scharffen Berger chocolate we use at the bakery puts a new spin on a nostalgic cake, and a hint of strong coffee adds another flavor dimension. Topped with a decadent buttercream frosting, this cake is everything you want a chocolate cake to be. When we got married (in the bakery, of course!), we chose it as our wedding cake.

Chocolate Heaven Cake from Back in the Day Bakery

Photograph © 2012 by Squire Fox

Chocolate Heaven Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Print Recipe
Serves: 10 to 12


  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 9 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups hot freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Buttercream (get the recipe here)



Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment and butter it as well. Lightly dust the pans with flour, tapping the pans on the counter to shake out the excess.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Let the mixer run on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes to aerate the flour.


Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour in the hot coffee and vanilla. Let stand for about 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth.


In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs and oil together until thick, satiny, and light in color. Whisk in the sour cream, being careful not to overmix; leave some visible streaks of white. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate–sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing on medium speed until well blended.


Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed.


Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans firmly on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the batter.


Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the center of a cake springs back a little when touched and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. The cakes will be a deep, dark chocolate brown with slight cracks on top. Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.


To assemble the cake: Level the tops of two of the cake layers with a serrated knife so they’re flat. Place one layer cut side down on a flat serving plate (you can keep the edges of the plate clean by sliding strips of parchment under the cake while you frost it). Using an offset spatula, spread the top with a big dollop of frosting. Place the second cake layer cut side down and spread the top with another big dollop of frosting. Place the final layer on top, right side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting, making big luscious swirls with the spatula. The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
Nationally recognized and locally adored for its decadent homespun desserts and delicious rustic breads, Back in the Day Bakery is a Savannah landmark. As Paula Deen says in her foreword, Cheryl Day and Griffith Day “bake decadent treats, but they also bake wonderful memories that stay with you forever.”

For more recipes like this one, make sure to check out The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook!

GET THE BOOK: Amazon | B&N | | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

And look out for the next cookbook from Cheryl Day and Griffith Day from Artisan Books in March 2015.