Monday, September 10, 2012

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

best-chocolate-cake

I should have known that Ina Garten had the best chocolate cake recipe all along; she is, after all, a goddess. There have been a few times in the past when I thought I had found The Perfect chocolate cake recipe, but every time I thought I had found my go-to, I started to get consistently bad results. Weird textures and sunken tops and what-not. I was a little skeptical when I read all of the glowing reviews surrounding this cake; everyone, and I mean everyone, said it was The Best Chocolate Cake Ever. And that it was easy to boot! Can one recipe really deliver all that? It turns out that the answer is a resounding Yes! Ina really does have the best chocolate cake recipe: it is a snap to make (no whipping, no careful folding, no fancy ingredients, just mix-mix-pour) and it produces a cake that is moist and rich and perfectly springy. My dad gave it perhaps the best compliment a cake can receive when, with eyes as wide as saucers, he stared at me quite dumb-founded and said, "What?! You made this from scratch?!" High praise indeed.


The Best Chocolate Cake Ever
(aka Beatty's Chocolate Cake, aka Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake)
I have a favorite chocolate frosting recipe that I use for everything, and it worked beautifully with this cake. I highly recommend it! I chose not to make the chocolate buttercream included in the recipe from  The Barefoot Contessa because it contains a raw egg and that grossed me out!
best-chocolate-cake-1

1 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting cake pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot, strong coffee*

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8" cake pans and dust with flour. If you wish (but I didn't and it turned out just fine), you can butter each pan, line it with a circle of parchment paper, and then butter and flour the pans. Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until combined. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and beat just until smooth. Add coffee and mix just until incorporated. Divide batter, which will be incredibly runny, evenly between the two pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cakes as desired (click HERE for my favorite recipe for chocolate frosting).

*I almost forgot my asterisk! We don't drink coffee, but adding coffee to chocolate cake deepens the chocolate flavor and really makes it sing, so I don't like skipping that or adding water instead (blah!). So I use Pero, which is just an instant beverage powder that is made from malted barley and chicory and smells vaguely coffee-esque. It can be found near the teas, coffees, and hot cocoas at the grocery store.


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69 comments:

  1. Oh my!!! I really need more time there are so many of your recipes I want to try;)!!!

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    1. Hi Jennifer! Just pick your favorites and start baking!

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  2. cake looks delish !!! cant wait to try this :)

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  3. This recipe is very similar to the hersheys recipe black magic cake. Also for the buttermilk add lemon juice to the milk and you have buttermilk

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    1. We almost always have buttermilk on-hand (big pancake fans!), but the lemon juice trick is my go-to for those rare occasions when we do run out of buttermilk. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. How much lemon juice to one cup milk? Thanks!

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    3. I believe it's 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup milk.

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  4. I tried this recipe of yours and all I have to say is AMAZING!!!The whole family loved it!

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    1. Hi Justine. My whole family loved it too. When my husband asked what I was going to post and I told him, he said, "Oh, that was the best chocolate cake ever!"

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  5. This looks so yummy. I'd like to try a cupcake version. Any suggestions for baking temperature and time?

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    1. Hi! I've never tried this recipe with cupcakes, but usually you bake them at the same temperature (350°F) for 18 minutes. Make sure to check them for doneness (they might need 2-3 more minutes). And generally a cake that makes 2 8"-layers will also make 24 cupcakes. Good luck!!

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  6. Looks beautiful. Could you advice how to make the frost? Many thanks in advance.

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    1. Hi! There is a link up in the recipe somewhere for the frosting recipe, and all of the instructions will be in that post.

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  7. good baker and good taste i like chocolate

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  8. I goto say that cake is looking like one of the best I have seen

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  9. These all are looking like a beautiful and tasty cake art as flower. Thanks for this blog.

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  10. Hi Lulu, want to bake this in a 9" by 3" pan and add a layer of a moist vanilla cake. Pls any advice on the quantity of batter to use and do you have a lovely moist vanilla cake i could use. pls will appreciate your response. I have a birthday coming up next tomorrow and everybody is expecting i bake something delish...

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    1. Hi tutu! OK, so here is a link to a yummy and moist vanilla cake:
      http://luluthebaker.blogspot.com/2011/02/vanilla-buttermilk-birthday-cake.html

      And here's what I would do to make a 9" 2-layer cake: Cut the chocolate cake recipe in half and pour all of the batter into your 9" round cake pan. Cut the vanilla cake recipe in half, and use the batter to make 6 cupcakes and one 9" cake. I would think that would work perfectly. Best of luck!!

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  11. Everything is perfect! From how it looks and with its taste!. I enjoyed eating coffee chocolate cake. Thank you for your recipe Ms. Lulu. Good day!!!.. :)

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  12. This is the best chocolate cake I've ever made. And, it's the easiest! We actually just made 30 cupcakes and they are perfect. I will make it as a cake fr an upcoming party. But we used Hershey's cocoa and I feel it wasn't as flavorful as it could be. What kind of cocoa did you use? I'm so pleased with this recipe that I will go the extra mile to get the best cocoa for the recipe. Thanks!!!!

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    1. Update on my cupcakes: after eating these all weekend, I must say they are absolutely perfect and I even plan on using the same Hershey's chocolate next time!!!! When I first tasted them I admittedly scarfed down a few really hot. They need time to sit, get to room temp, and allow the flavors to deepen. I topped with a light vanilla whipped cream frosting and they are OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! The search is over! This is my chocolate cake recipe for now on! I already have plans to make them again as cupcakes next week and then as a birthday cake this spring. My daughter told me these are the very best cupcakes I've ever made (and I bake a lot!) oh and a plus, it's the easiest cake I've ever made too! Thanks Lulu!!!

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    2. Carolyn, I'm so glad you love the cake!! It really is so easy to make, and really is so delicious! That Ina Garten is a genius!!

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  13. I just made this cake and i HAD to leave a review! Oh my lawd is it absolutely amazing!!! So moist and delicious. I did do a couple things differently...I used almond milk with vinegar instead of the buttermilk, i made it as 1 cake instead of 2, and i only did 1 1/2 cups sugar. Holy moly it is the best cake ive ever made!! This is for my sons birthday party and i was a little nervous as i have failed with cakes many many times. But this one is a keeper for sure! And the funniest thing?? I HATE CAKE!!!! I never even ate it at my own birthday party...But this....THIS cake i'll be eating for sure!!!

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    1. Elyse, I can't believe you hate cake!! Nevertheless, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one!

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  14. What happens if I don't use the baking soda??

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    1. I'm guessing it would rise properly or be salty enough, but that's just a guess.

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  15. I made both the chocolate cake (for my daughter's birthday) and the Carmelitas (just for fun) this past weekend. Both came out great. My son said I'd out done myself :)

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    1. I can't even imagine how wonderful that weekend was, Dawn! Chocolate cake and Carmelitas in one weekend makes for good times. ;)

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  16. Really cake is very important for occasion. Nice blog.

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  17. would this work in a 9x13 pan?? Is there enough batter? And how would you suggest I bake it? Thanks Lulu :)

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    1. Hi Jennifer. Hopefully I'm responding to this in time for it to be helpful! I think it would work in a 9x13 pan. Most boxed cake mixes make either a 9x13" cake or 2 8" round cakes. Because this recipe is supposed to make 2 8" round cakes, it should be just the right amount of batter for a 9x13" cake too. Bake it at the same temperature, for maybe a little longer. I would start checking it at 30 minutes, and check every 5 minutes after that. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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  18. Thanks Lulu. I used a 9x13 pan and baked it for 30 min and used your recipe for the frosting. It was AWESOME!!!! That frosting is to die for :) Will definitely be a 'go-to' cake recipe for me. I was so very happy with the way it turned out and so was my family. Super delish!!!

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    1. Yay Jennifer! I'm so glad it all worked out for you. And yes, that frosting is soooo good. It is the only chocolate frosting recipe I use now.

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  19. I love chocolate frosting recipe..,it sooo good but will be great when you prepare that recipe in formal dining room.

    dining tables and chairs

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  20. This cake turned out PERFECTLY! I love the consistency of this recipe. The only thing I did differently, is that for chocolate cakes I grease my pans with Crisco and dust heavily with cocoa power instead of flour. Thanks!

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    1. Good tip! I have to say, I'm super lazy when it comes to greasing cake pans, and I usually hold my breath when I'm turning the cake out. I'm usually OK, but every once in a great while, disaster srikes, lol!

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  21. Not a torte, not a mousse, not a pudding, but a cake which actually tastes of chocolate: fluffy and light enough to eat at tea time, rich enough to serve with a dollop of creme fraiche for dessert.

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  22. What kind of cocoa did you use?

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    1. I use regular old Hershey's cocoa powder.

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  23. Hi, I was just wondering if I could bake this as a single layer cake in a 8.5 inch round pan. If so how long would I have to bake it for

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    1. Hi susberry. I wouldn't recommend making the whole recipe if you only want one 8.5" layer. I think there would be too much batter and it would overflow in your oven! You could cut the recipe in half and do one 8.5" layer, or make the whole recipe two pans and just freeze one for another time.

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  24. What if I don't have access to buttermilk? What can I substitute the 1 cup of buttermilk with? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Julie. You can combine just under 1 cup of regular milk with 1 Tablespoon white vinegar. Let it sit 5 minutes, and use it as you would buttermilk!

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  25. Hi I just love this pictures of cake.the Chocolate flavor is my favorite flavor.also thanks for sharing the recipe.

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  26. Hey Very good looking one but I like to see the Pineapple flavor one, I am very glad to see the yummy cakes.

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  27. Doing my midnight baking with this recipe, I used a mini loaf pan. Smells good.

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    1. I hope it was a delicious as you hoped for, Rachel!

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  28. HELP!
    Just took this delicious smelling cake out of the oven ad realized I forgot the sugar! How can it be salvaged/ fixed? I made a 9x13, and had considered trying the oreo frosting recipe you have. Would anything be sweet enough to counter the missing sugar in the cake? Party tonight :(

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    1. That's the worst! So sorry. I don't think any frosting will make up for the missing sugar if you serve it as a cake. You could try cutting it into cubes and making a trifle or using it to make cake balls. I don't think the missing sugar would be as noticeable in either of those. Good Luck!

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  29. I am looking for a chocolate rum cake recipe. Do you happen to have one? Please let me know, I have been craving it for days!

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    1. Hi Mia. I do not have a recipe for a chocolate rum cake. Best of luck finding one!

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  30. Hi Lulu,
    I need to bake - probably three 9X13 cakes - and sculpt one into a dolphin for my daughters upcoming birthday party. Can you tell me if this cake lends itself to being frozen if made a few days in advance and sculpted? Thanks so much

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    1. Hi Ronnie. I haven't tried freezing this recipe, but I'm guessing it would freeze well. Good luck, and please let me know how it turns out!

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    2. So it froze quite well but freezing did take away something....I tasted it before I froze it so I know :-). Also while frozen I could sculpt it, but the moment it got even a little thawed out, it became difficult. I made gray MM fondant to cover this cake (for the dolphin) - so to answer the question below - I found that this cake is a little delicate for fondant. Or maybe my fondant was too thick, I dont know. I'm not a pro by any means . Thanks Lulu. The cake was delicious!

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    3. Ronnie, thanks for the update!! I'm not too surprised that it's not quite as good after being frozen or that it's a little delicate for fondant. I'll just have to eat it fresh and covered in buttercream! ;)

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  31. Cakes plays am important role in all festivals and functions like birthday celebration,wedding anniversary celebrations.It would help to convince our lovely person.
    Cake Home Delivery in Delhi

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  32. Hi Lulu,Do you think this is a cake you could use to cover with fondant? Thank you! Kelly

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  33. Hi Kelly! I've never worked with fondant, but I can tell you that this cake is very tender. Good luck!

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  34. Please advice difference between German black forest cake and normal Black forest cake

    Thanks From, http://www.chennaicakesdelivery.com

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  35. Hi there
    I am serving this cake tomorrow for a luncheon. Do you think I could make it today?
    Emiky

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    1. Yes, I think that would be fine. The cake is very moist and tender, so it keeps well. Good luck!

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  36. hi Lulu,
    can't wait to try the recipe - how many teaspoons of Pero did you use per 1cup hot water? thank you!

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    1. Hi Johanna! I usually use 1 heaping teaspoon per cup of hot water. Good luck!

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