5(0) Shades of Grey Chocolate Cake



“Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.”

So I haven’t read the books or seen the movie – but – the movie did come out this week, and I needed an excuse to make a quick little chocolate cake – with 5 – not 50 (can you imagine how long that would take?!) shades of grey frosting!

I was worried about using coffee in the cake but I had been hearing for a while that this makes for a super moist dark chocolate cake – and you can’t even taste the coffee. The rumors are true! So moist and scrumptious! Yum!


Chocolate Cake

1 ½ cups flour

1 ¾ cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾  cup of hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts to wet ingredients, mixing in between. Mixture will be thick. Add the coffee now, which will thin out the batter. Pour batter into prepared cake pans for baking. I made a mini (4 inch) cake with three layers each. The batter was enough for two mini 3-layer cakes. Do not fill the pan up past halfway because it rises a good amount. Mini cakes bake in 16-18 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. My cakes baked in 18 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting

For the frosting, I used my normal buttercream frosting recipe, but replaced the milk with heavy cream for a stronger piping consistency.

1 cup butter

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

7 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp clear vanilla extract

6 Tbsp heavy cream


Divide frosting into 6 parts. Use one part to layer frosting in between cake layers and then crumb coat the whole cake and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

Of the remaining parts, keep one white, and use black food coloring to color the next four with different shades of grey. Use a 1M Wilton tip with a piping bag and white frosting to pipe shells all around the bottom layer. Then go the first light grey for the next circle above the white, all the way up to the darkest grey – getting an ombre effect. To pipe, squeeze a round shell and then pull to the side. Start the next shell on top of the edge of the one before to make sure you cover the whole cake.

For the top of the cake, combine the leftover frosting in one piping bag and use Wilton 1B from the inside out to pipe a cool ombre grey rose.


Hope this week is a piece of cake!



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