My Great-Great-Grandfather Samuel Ransom Slayton, was a proud farmer with land in the fertile valley surrounding Prineville in central Oregon. Beginning in the late 1800s, each summer he traveled 150 miles west to Salem by wagon to compete at the Oregon State Fair in Salem. And that's where our story about the Oregon State Fair Chocolate Cake Contest begins.
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Cut-out parchment rounds to the inside size of the cake pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray with flour then add the parchment round and spray it.
Add the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a mixer bowl and whisk to combine. Mix in the brown sugar.
In a separate bowl stir together the buttermilk, oil, coffee, eggs, vanilla and Cointreau. Add to the dry mixture and blend on low speed until the batter is creamy and smooth.
Pour the cake batter into the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake pans and let them cool for 15 minutes on a baking rack. Turn the cakes out of the pans and let cool on the rack to room temperature.
In the mixer blend together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the butter, milk, vanilla and Cointreau and beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too thick, add a little more milk.
Spread a layer of frosting on top of one of the cake rounds. Add the next layer, and spread a layer of frosting on top and then spread frosting around the edges of the cake.
To store the cake, we use a covered container like Tupperware. Place the cake on the base and cover with the lid and seal. Store the cake at room temperature.
You can bake the cake layers a day ahead. Just cover with plastic wrap and place in a gallon bag and store on the counter. You can also freeze the cake layers and frost at a later time.