Chocolate Cake Tips + Variations
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder is made from roasted ground cocoa beans. There are different types of cocoa powder, and they will each react differently when baked in a recipe.
- If a recipe doesnt specify a type, assume they are referring to natural unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Natural vs. Dutch processed: They have different levels of acidity so use the type listed in the recipe. However, if you are in a pinch you can substitute one for the other just be aware that the results may vary.
- Dutch processed cocoa will cause the cake to be a little less sweet and have a darker chocolate color than unsweetened cocoa.
Variations: A beautifully frosted chocolate cake is as pretty as can be all on its own. You can leave it undecorated or add decorations that fit the occasion. Here are just a few ideas:
- sprinkles and birthday candles
- beautiful berries
How To Make Chocolate Cake From Scratch
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together 2 cups all-purpose flour, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 ½ cup granulated sugar and whisk. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk ½ cup vegetable oil and 2 large eggs.
Add 1 cup buttermilk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and whisk again.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ones. Whisk until combined. Pour in 1 cup hot coffee and whisk again. The batter should be thin.
Divide the batter evenly between 2 pre-greased cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
When done, take the cakes out of the oven and let cool off for 5-10 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool off completely.
Favorite Recipes Using Espresso Powder
Once I discovered the power of a little espresso powder to enhance the flavor of chocolate baked goods without leaving a bitter, coffee aftertaste, I never looked back! Ive included a list of some of my favorite recipes using it for you below. These are all a great way to get started using this in your baking!
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Single Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe
Todays new recipe comes to you by popular demand! In the past month, Ive received countless emails and instagram messages asking for scaled down, small batch recipes. The most popular request by far being for a small and easy chocolate cake. And as an avid chocolate lover with a small household, I get it.
So heres my go-to chocolate cake recipe. Its the kind of chocolate cake thats special enough to bake for celebrations. But humble enough to be whipped up on a weeknight! The month my mom passed away I made this cake more times than I can count. Between the moist chocolate crumbs and intensely fudge chocolate frosting, its was just what I needed. Comfort food, in cake form.
How To Make From Scratch Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
In a separate bowl add the eggs, whole milk, oil, and vanilla.
Add the bowl containing the eggs, whole milk, oil, and vanilla to the bowl holding the dry ingredients.
Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients together until fully incorporated.
Beat for 3 minutes on medium.
Slowly add the boiling water starting with a small amount then pour in the remaining boiling water. The batter may be a little runny that is ok.
Pour batter into a 9Ã13 pan or 2 8 inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes if using a baking dish.
Remove from the oven allowing to cool for 10 minutes.
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How To Make Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Add 18 ounces chocolate chips in a bowl.
Pour 1 Â½ cup heavy cream in a sauce pan and heat up until starts to simmer. Then pour it over the chocolate chips.
Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let it cool off completely, then refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
When ready, whip the ganache with a stand or a hand mixer until stiff peaks, but dont overmix.
How To Make Chocolate Cake
One of the nicest things about this chocolate cake recipe is how easy it is. Unlike traditional sponge cakes, which rely on whipped egg whites for a light and fluffy texture, this easy recipe uses baking powder and baking soda to raise the batter.
- Prep Oven & Cake Pans: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, and dust them with flour. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper for easy removal.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Pour in the boiling water and mix until smooth. The batter will seem a little runny.
- Bake: Pour the chocolate cake batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the center of each cake round is set.
- Allow to cool before frosting.
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How To Make Easy Chocolate Cake From Scratch:
Before you start, go ahead and preheat the and grease the 9×13 baking pan.
First, use a saucepan and add the butter, cocoa powder and water. Stir everything together and keep stirring until the mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat and set aside for later.
Second, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Once everything is well combined, add the chocolate mixture and beat well.
Next, add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together.
Finally, pour the cake batter into the pan and bake. I like to use a toothpick inserted into the middle to make sure it is done.
Make sure to let the cake cool completely before you ice it.
Now, it is time for my favorite part- the frosting! You can use any frosting you prefer but we love this homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting)
It is so rich and creamy. It goes so well with this chocolate cake and takes minutes to make.
Cut into squares and enjoy!
Allrecipes Community Tips And Praise
“Loved this cake,” raves Jinglebells. “It turned out so moist and rich. We all loved it. I am going to add more cocoa powder next time just because we all like chocolate so much. Easy to make and delicious.”
“I make this cake all the time and my family loves it,” says Kali Hintz. “They request it any time they get the chance to. Also, on top of that it is so easy to prepare and cook! The recipe is delicious, the cake is rich in flavor and also very moist. My number one choice of cake so far.”
“This was fantastic,” according to Hannah Culbertson. “I, like many other people, was a little scared after adding the water. But the cake was great! I actually made cupcakes, and it made 24 overflowing cupcakes. They tasted so good. Rich and fluffy all at the same time.”
Editorial contributions byCorey Willliams
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How To Store Unfrosted Cake Layers
To start, we need to cool off the layers completely. If you start wrapping it up while warm, it will release the condensation and will get soggy and will stick to the wrap.
After the layers are completely cooled off, you can wrap them tightly with a plastic wrap. Dont leave any areas uncovered as it will result in dried out cake. Here are 3 options to store it:
- On the counter top. Its absolutely safe to leave it on the counter and it will stay fresh for 3-4 days.
- Refrigerate. You can refrigerate the covered layers for one week.
- Freeze. If you want to freeze it, you will need to wrap it with foil after covering with plastic wrap. This way it wont get freezer-burnt. You can freeze it for up to a month. To thaw, just leave it in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours.
Easy Chocolate Cake Ingredients
No fancy ingredients here but some people ask me about substitutions.
This recipe calls for hot coffee which intensifies the flavor of the chocolate. It doesnt make the cake taste like coffee at all. If you dont want to use coffee, you can substitute a dark beer like Guinness or just hot water.
Im using Hersheys cocoa powder for this recipe because its a natural cocoa powder that is a little acidic. That acid reacts with the baking soda and actually tenderizes the gluten and makes the cake extra moist.
If you dont have Hersheys cocoa powder or want to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder like Cocoa Barry extra brut , then replace the baking soda with baking powder.
The oil in this recipe all makes the cake extra moist, if you want your cake to be even more moist, you can add an extra ounce of oil. Oil-based cakes always stay softer than butter-based cakes but they are a bit more delicate.
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Buttermilk Makes A Cake Super Moist
Buttermilk is so special because its chock full of incredible phospholipid emulsifiers. What does this mean for your cake?
The phospholipids allow the fats to disperse evenly within the batter and the fat doesnt separate from the water as it naturally would. This makes a smooth batter, and a evenly-soft, moist crumb.
Phospholipids also stabilize foams, meaning the air bubbles you create with baking soda stay suspended in the batter rather than floating up. That keeps your cake tender and fluffy as well.
Home bakers often substitute buttermilk with another dairy or milk plus lemon juice, but lets compare. Buttermilk is made up of up to 16% phospholipids by weight and milk is about 3.5%. So although a buttermilk substitute will provide the dairy and acid components, youll miss out on the magical phospholipids.
If you want a truly moist cake, dont substitute the buttermilk for something else.
What Makes Chocolate Cake Moist
This perfect combination of oil, milk and boiling water makes this recipe stand out without having to use melted chocolate. The fats in the oil, protein in milk and temperature of the water makes the chocolate flavour develop nicely while baking and providing the essentials for that moist crumb youre looking for.
Dont over-mix OR over-bake. This chocolate cake only needs about 30-35 minutes in the oven, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
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Possible Variations For Chocolate Cake
- Make it an olive oil chocolate cake. Ive made this recipe with regular olive oil in place of vegetable oil and its delicious!
- Finish it with a different frosting. Great options are buttercream frosting such as chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. Or try a .
- For a little crunch top the frosted cake with nuts such as chopped pecans, walnuts or sliced almonds.
- Make without icing a snack style cake. You can dust with powdered sugar.
- Serve with ice cream. Skip the ganache, serve warm with a side of vanilla ice cream, bananas or strawberries, chocolate or caramel sauce and optional nuts.
The Best Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe
Published by Lauren on
Looking for the most delicious homemade chocolate cake recipe? You are in luck! This homemade chocolate cake is chocolate cake perfection! This best chocolate cake recipe it is super easy to make and results in the perfect from scratch chocolate cake recipe every time.
Super easy, moist and best triple chocolate cake recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients! Loaded with cocoa powder and coffee. This is the ultimate one bowl cake and pairs perfectly with chocolate frosting.
If you have been looking for the perfect cake for your next party, I assure you that your search has come to an end! I have tried many recipes and always find myself coming back to my true and tested family recipe. The texture is perfectly soft and moist but not so soft that it falls apart. The chocolate flavor is very balanced. Its not too bitter and not too sweet and pairs well with many of these Frosting and Filling Recipes.
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How To Make Ahead And Store The Homemade Chocolate Cake:
Both the cake and the chocolate frosting can be made ahead. Allow the cakes to cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap and place each layer into a gallon zip-top freezer bag. Freeze the cake layers for up to one month.
To frost the cake, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator with wrapping intact. Then, frost the cake once it has completely thawed.
Store the cake at room temperature on the counter. I like to store under a cake dome to keep the cake fresh.
An Easy Classic Chocolate Sheet Cake
Well since the other version is a slow bake cake that bakes at 300 degrees and that can sometimes throw people off, not to mention it takes longer to bake, I decided to make a version that bakes at the usual 350. I wanted to be sure it was just as tasty though! Surprisingly, that wasnt as easy of a task as Id expected.
There was a fair amount of experimenting, but the big thing was decreasing some of the liquid so allow for a quicker baking cake. I played around with decreasing the milk, oil and water. They all have similar effects on the cake, but produce slightly different results. I primarily went back and forth on the oil and milk. I ended up with a little more milk than oil. Oil adds great moisture to the cake, but too much makes it a bit of a firmer cake. Reducing it a touch and leaving more milk makes it a little lighter and softer. The final result is perfect and so delicious!
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Other Frostings To Try
You cant go wrong with the way you want to frost your cake. Just figure out what taste, texture, and look you want, then apply a few tips and tricks and youll create a masterpiece!
- Types of frosting. There are many different kinds of frostings to choose from: buttercream, royal icing, ganache, icing or even a simple whipped cream.
- Frostings that pair well with chocolate. There are many frosting flavors that pair well with chocolate cake. You can add a sweet vanilla frosting, caramel frosting, or even peanut butter frosting. Bright flavors like lemon, orange, and berry are a perfect contrast that work well, too.
- Layers. Buttercream and custard are both great choices to spread between cake layers. Spread it in an even layer and leave about ¼ inch from the edge so there is room for it to spread when the next layer is added.
Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe
Cakes from scratch tend to have a preconceived notion that they are hard to make. This could not be further from the truth!
Im going to show you how to make a chocolate cake from scratch that is so easy! You will never buy a box mix again after you taste this chocolate flavor.
This cake is so moist and delicious and makes the best birthday cake. We make this for birthdays, holidays, special occasions and more! Sometimes, just because.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing is my favorite but you can certainly use whatever you prefer on this yummy cake. Just use a good homemade icing. Its worth it and easy too.
Once you see how easy this cake is, you might want to try this Easy Vanilla Cake Recipe.
You will need a 9×13 pan for this recipe. I love my Wilton and its never failed me.
Its worth it to make sure you have a good pan for this recipe and others. You can see the one I use here. Its perfect for so many different recipes.
If you want to make a layer cake, feel free to use two 9? round cake pans for this recipe instead of the 9×13 pan. These are the ones I use if you need a new set.
Also, I slice my rounds in half to create 4 rounds before frosting. I use this to level my cakes and to slice the rounds in half. Its so handy and makes this process so much easier.
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How To Measure Ingredients
If youve followed my blog for a while, you know I like to measure my ingredients using a scale. Its faster, cleaner, and more accurate than using measuring cups BUT for some of my easier and beginner cakes like this one, I also include the measurements in cups because honestly, the cake is so forgiving you dont need to be super accurate.
When measuring flour with cups, its important to spoon the flour into the cup then level it off with a knife. Do not pack your measuring cup or you could end up with too much flour which will make your cake dry and hard.