Jenni's Go To Recipe for Chocolate Cake
You have heard me say time and again that I'm not much of a baker but hope some day I get the bug to create beautiful desserts. My oldest daughter Nell does love to bake and her younger sister Maddie loves chocolate cake. So I asked my friend Chef Jenni to come up with a delicious chocolate cake recipe Nell can prepare for Maddie (and me and mom too) that will be incredible.
Here is Chef Jenni's "go to" recipe for Chocolate Cake. Thanks Jenni.
I have never done a scientific study on this issue, but I'm willing to bet that if I gave 100 people a choice between chocolate cake and white cake, the vast majority would choose the chocolate cake. What is it about chocolate cake that is so enticing?
There is something soul satisfying about a thick slice of chocolate cake. Something that takes us back to childhood.
Of course, there are plenty of different kinds of chocolate cake"”everything from dense barely sweetened flourless cakes to light-as-air soufflé cakes to towering layers.
For me, the quintessential chocolate cake is a chocolate layer cake: two cake layers filled and frosted with chocolate frosting. Neither too dense nor overly light, a chocolate layer cake has a moist, velvety crumb that is just right with a tall glass of milk or a cup of coffee.
There are probably just as many favorite chocolate cakes as there are chocolate cake lovers out there. My go to recipe is Rose Levy Beranbaum's Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake from The Cake Bible.
Since I prefer my chocolate cake to rise high and hold up to some serious frosting, I use The Creaming Method to put this cake together as opposed to Rose's Two-Stage Method. If you like a very tender cake, use the Two-Stage Method.
Chocolate Cake Recipe
- ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder 2.25 ounces
- 1 cup water warm, 8 ounces
- 1 cup butter unsalted, at cool room temperature (8 ounces)
- 1½ cups sugar 10.5 ounces
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups sifted cake flour plus two tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Prepare 2 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans by spraying with pan spray, lining the bottoms of the pans wth parchment, and spraying again. Set aside.
- Whisk together the cocoa powder and water until smooth.
- Whisk the cake flour and baking powder together very well. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape bowl often to make sure all the butter is incorporated.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 20 seconds between additions and scraping bowl frequently. Beat in the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the water/cocoa powder mixture in this order:
- ½ of the dry ingredients
- ½ of the cocoa mixture
- ½ of the remaining dry ingredients
- the rest of the cocoa mixture
- the rest of the dry ingredients
- After each addition, beat on low speed just until combined, scraping the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Divide mixture evenly into the prepared pans and bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, about 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven.
- You can assemble this cake in one of two ways. You can stack the two layers on top of each other with some frosting in between, or you can slice each cake layer in half horizontally. This will give you a total of four layers and three layers of filling. Either way is acceptable.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the dome off the cake layers, leaving you with flat layers. This is an optional step but will leave you with a nice, flat, professional-looking cake.
- Place a tablespoon of frosting in the center of your serving platter. This will act as glue to keep your cake from sliding.
- Position one cake layer, top side up, in the center of your platter. Press down gently so the icing sticks.
- Fill the cake with about ½ - ¾ cup of frosting, spreading to within ¼ inch of the edge. Use ⅓ - ½ cup per layer if you choose to make a four-layer cake.
- Position the second layer, bottom side up, on top of the frosted layer, making sure the edges are even all the way around. Placing the layer bottom side up gives you a flat top surface that is relatively free of crumbs.
- Using a pastry brush, brush off any loose crumbs.
- Ice the sides and top of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting. This is the crumb coat which will allow you to add a second layer of frosting without worrying about crumbs marring the finish.
- Refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes to let the crumb coat set up.
- Ice the sides and top of the cake with the finish coat. This coat can be thicker. Aim for about ¼ inch of frosting.
- Decorate as desired.
Hey man how is everything. I will give the cake a try for Easter. Take care wishing you and yours a Happy Easter
Hi, my husband and I made this and thought it was delicious. I've recently cut wheat/gluten out of my diet after watching Dr. Oz and I already feel better after 1 week. My question is, does anyone have any recommendations for a flour substitute such as almond flour? I wonder if it would be as good. Thanks for your recipes. You've spiced up our dinners. 🙂
You are welcome Rene and as I delve deeper into this new diet, I hope to learn more about substitutes. I've been trying a rice flour and two nights ago purchased some penne pasta made from corn flour and it was good. The kids tried it and couldn't tell the difference. - RG
Just wanted to say thanks so much for this chocolate cake recipe. One suggestion I would make is to slightly undercook the cake so as to retain moisture.
I recently had amazing success with one of my chocolate cakes. I called it a Chocolate Cranberry Pomegranate cake. Frosted it with a chocolate buttercream icing or frosting and wow, was it ever good (even if I do say sio myself). It's not a layer cake so I left the rounded top on. All who ate it enjoyed it. Good result I reckon.
Anyway, thanks again for continuing to provide delicious recipes for the chocoholics of the world.
Do not fall prey to the "best chocolate" cake recipe listed many web sites, it is a variation of the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe on the cocoa can. The use of oil and the mixing method gives a larger open texture cake akin to a quick bread. It is nothing like the rich butter cake that is the hallmark of homemade cakes. If you like a fine crumb texture with a rich chocolate flavor the above recipe is actually the best! Creaming is the correct method and will give exceptional results. I have made this cake for 1-400 people for 20 years and they all loved it. Sadly you can not stack it well in hot weather as the chocolate and butter makes it too tender. Try adding a little expresso powder, a little curacao, casis or even smoked paprika for a subtle rich back note to the chocolate ( ok not all at the same time you chocoholics ) ..... be a blessing
do you use 1.5" pans like the book or higher ones?