These 6-inch gifting cakes are topped with a swoop of silky frosting. The recipe (which makes three cakes) comes from Minneapolis blogger Sarah Kieffer's cookbook Baking for the Holidays.
Position an oven rack in the middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 6×2-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with wax paper or parchment paper.
For cakes: In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine eggs, sour cream, milk, oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, granulated and brown sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
With the mixer running on low, slowly add milk mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat until combined, 20 to 30 seconds. Slowly pour hot coffee into batter and mix until just combined. Using a silicone spatula, give the batter a couple of turns to make sure it is fully mixed.
Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out with the tiniest bit of crumb, 35 to 45 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack 30 minutes. Turn cakes out onto wire rack, remove parchment paper and cool completely. Once cool, cakes can be frosted or wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. Or place unfrosted cakes in freezer bags and freeze up to 3 months.
For frosting: Pour 1 inch of water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over pan of simmering water, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir constantly until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add corn syrup and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat on medium until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar. Beat on medium, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chocolate and mix on low until no streaks remain. Use a rubber scraper to mix the frosting a few more times, making sure it is completely combined.
Use a serrated knife to trim the domed tops off cakes. Divide frosting among the three cakes. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting over tops of cakes, leaving sides unfrosted. Decorate further as desired. Frosted cakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.
If you'd like to package these cakes in the pop-open gold box in this photo, find project instructions at midwestliving.com/cakebox.