Decadence! This dense chocolate layer cake includes dried cranberries, cranberry jam and a little strong coffee for added flavor.
Butter two 9-inch round baking pans. Add about 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to one pan. Tilt and roll the pan to evenly distribute cocoa powder; shake out excess cocoa into second baking pan. Repeat to coat bottom and side of second pan with cocoa powder from the pans. Set the prepared baking pans aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together cake flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each.
In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and coffee. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Fold in cranberries or cherries. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.
Cool cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from the pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting. (If you like, wrap unfrosted cake layers individually in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for up to 2 days before using. Double-wrap if layers are to be frozen for later use.)
To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate. With a thin metal spatula, spread jelly or jam on cake to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with a layer (about 1/3 cup) of So-Chocolate Buttercream (see Recipe Center). Place second cake layer on top of first layer. Frost top and sides with So-Chocolate Buttercream. Chill in refrigerator to firm the buttercream.
Mix 1-1/2 cups milk with 1/2 cup dairy sour cream and use in place of 1-3/4 cups buttermilk.