Servings: 10 -12 Wet Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsweetened dutch cocoa 1/2 cup boiling water 1/2 cup canola oil 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 6 egg yolks, room temp (keep the whites!) note: you can put cold eggs in warm water 10 min to bring them to room temp Dry Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups cake flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp fine sea salt or 1/2 tsp table salt 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar Meringue Ingredients: 7 egg whites, at room temperature 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 325˚F with the rack in the bottom third of the oven. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cocoa and 1/2 cup boiling water. Add in the 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 2 tsp vanilla. Add 6 yolks and whisk until smooth.
In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together 1 3/4 cups cake flour and 2 tsp baking powder. Sprinkle in 1 tsp sea salt. Whisk in 1 1/4 cups brown sugar breaking up any clumps. Combine the chocolate batter with the sifted dry ingredients and mix just until smooth (don't overmix,... or else).
Add egg whites to the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes until frothy. Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat another 2 minutes on medium-high speed until whites have soft peaks. Turn the mixer up to high speed and add 1/2 cup sugar in a slow steady stream. Continue mixing on high speed another two minutes until your meringue has stiff shiny peaks.
Pour batter into your un-greased baking pan (I prefer using the springform pan) and bake in the bottom third of the oven at 325˚F for 55 min or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center come out clean. Remove cake to a wire rack and let cool to room temp before removing the cake from the pan or cutting into it.
Once cake is at room temp, slice it into three layers. Its a good idea to trace around the cake with a knife before slicing through; this ensures more even cake layers. Re-stack and cover the layers with plastic wrap until ready to frost so they don't dry out.