[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

I love cake, but I have a serious aversion to bad cake. What do I mean by bad cake? Too-sweet cake. Too-dry cake. Boring cake. Uninspired cake. Cake that tastes like every other cake from cake mixes and bad grocery store bakeries.

Some people believe that any cake can be good, just for the sheer fact that it's cake. I'm not like that. For me, bad cake is the worst.

I'm always tinkering with recipes trying to make them more interesting. Sometimes that involves reducing the amount of sugar, changing up the type of fat used, or adding other ingredients that the average person might not think to put in a cake. This cake is a great example of that aesthetic.

I've dubbed this gorgeously rich, moist cake The Dark Knight, as it's a tall, glowering tower of chocolate intensity. A generous blast of dark roast coffee and a touch of milk makes for a gently bitter tone, while a smidge of cayenne adds mystique without turning up the heat. Packed with dates for extra tenderness, it's nearly impossible to ruin this cake unless you a) seriously over bake it, or b) overmix it. Be watchful when baking and mixing, and you're sure to have a masterpiece on your hands.

Get the Recipe

The Dark Knight Cake (Triple Chocolate Layer Cake) ยป

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.


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