1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot espresso
¼ cup chilled espresso
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons light brown sugar (you can use less sugar if you prefer less sweetness)
1 cup Zettie’s Almond Butter Crunch pieces (or any other toffee candy bars, crushed)
Prepare three 9” round baking pans – cut round circles of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pans. Lightly coat sides and bottom of 9” round baking pans with Crisco, then dust with flour, and shake out excess flour.
Prepare cake batter - In a mixing bowl, cream softened butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture, beating until blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt – whisk until blended. Add whisked dry ingredients to creamed batter mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Mixture will become very thick. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated into the creamed mixture, add 1-cup hot espresso to creamed mixture, in a steady stream, while batter is blending on low speed. Blend until mixture is smooth and creamy.
Evenly pour cake batter into the three 9” round cake pans. Gently shake pans to release air bubbles from batter before inserting pans into oven to bake.
Bake cakes at 350 degrees for 16 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean. When cakes are finished baking, remove them from the oven. Cool cakes in baking pans for about 10 minutes before removing cakes from pans. Place cakes on wire racks to cool completely.
Prepare topping – chill a metal mixing bowl, and beater attachments in the freezer. This process enables the heavy whipping cream to whip to its fullest. Once the bowl / attachments are thoroughly chilled, remove from freezer. Whip two cups heavy cream in chilled metal bowl, about 2 minutes on high speed, or until cream has reached “whipped cream” consistency. Do not over beat cream. Fold in brown sugar – a couple of tablespoons at a time. Topping mixture will not be smooth. Slowly fold in chilled espresso – you do not want to over mix whipped cream and espresso. The whipped topping will appear light brown in color, and you may be able to see un-dissolved flecks of brown sugar within the whipped topping.
Place pieces of Zettie’s Almond Butter Crunch toffee (or any other kind of toffee) within a plastic bag, and crush candy with a hard object, such as an ice cream scoop. The consistency should be that of candy crumbs.
Assemble cooled cake layers one at a time, alternating with a layer of cake, a layer of whipped topping, and sprinkled almond butter crunch between each layer.
The completed cake will consist of three layers of chocolate cake, delicious whipped espresso topping, complete with a candy crunch.
Cake should be refrigerated until ready to serve.