This cake is so decadent – dark chocolate layers topped with luscious white chocolate frosting.  And the contrast in colors is so dramatic when you cut into it!  It also freezes beautifully, which is actually what I’m going to do since I’ll be pressed for time the day of the 3rd (having fun!).

For the cake:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
1 cup whole milk
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Shaved dark chocolate, for topping

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch-round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.

Combine the butter, milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Transfer to a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture, then stir in the flour mixture in two additions until just combined (it’s OK if there are a few small lumps).

Divide the batter between the prepared pans; tap the pans against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth; let cool.

Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the melted white chocolate until combined. Then gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in the vanilla. (If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill about 15 minutes.)

Place one cake layer on a platter and spread with one-third of the frosting.

Top with the second cake layer; cover the whole cake with the remaining frosting. Top with shaved white and dark chocolate.

Et voila!  Happy Birthday to my brother!!!

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