My friend Valerie makes one chocolate cake. No, I don’t mean one chocolate cake for school birthday cupcakes and one for grown-up dinner parties, one for wedding cakes and one for really decadent layer cakes, one for roulades and one for a Thursday afternoon, just because. I mean just one recipe. She serves it plain to guests after dinner, she makes it when she hears it’s your birthday and she stacks, and coats it hypercolored frosting and studs it with superheroes for her kids’ birthdays.
It’s incredibly simple, just butter (she’s French, so bien sûr), dark chocolate, sugar, flour, a bit of baking powder and her secret ingredient: water. A spoonful or two here and another there creates a decadent crumb you won’t read about in any cookbook. Sure, you could use milk or maybe replace a spoonful with some kirsch but she does not so I do not. The whole thing, save some hand-whisked egg yolks and machine-whipped egg whites (which gives it an airy lift and almost crackly meringue of a lid), is mixed in the pot where you melt the chocolate. It bakes in 30 minutes, which is convenient when your afternoon is rerouted, and tastes amazing. And I bet she regrets ever giving me the recipe.
Let me explain. If you’ve ever thought that you cannot invite an avid cook to your house for dinner because they will silently judge your efforts, let me dispel this notion: when I’m not the one doing the cooking, everything tastes like the most amazing thing on earth. Maybe it’s tinged with relief that I’m not the one behind the stove for once, maybe it’s because I wholly understand what a big effort cooking can be, or maybe it’s just because you’re an awesome cook whether you believe it or not, but if you bake me a chocolate cake, I want to hug you. I want to run off with the cake.
But when I took it home and made it in my overly self-critical realm, it wasn’t right. Maybe something got lost in translation. Maybe things just don’t taste as good when I’m the one doing the cooking. But I couldn’t resist tweaking it; I wanted it more intensely chocolaty and decadent. So I made it again, with a darker chocolate and a smidge less flour. And I still wasn’t happy. And I made it again, with even less flour and some of it replaced with dark cocoa powder and reduced the sugar a bit. And I still wasn’t happy. And so I made a fourth time, with even less flour, half swapped with cocoa, a touch less baking powder and sugar and 72 percent chocolate and it was really wonderful.
But it wasn’t my birthday anymore. Yes, it’s true: I managed to be so finicky about my birthday cake this year that it came and went without it being ready for the spotlight. Fortunately, my dad was kind enough to have a birthday four days after mine (every year, even!) and so I had a chance to do it up even more fun: stacked and filled with semisweet chocolate whipped cream. Plumes of it. Believe me, you need this in your life.
My birthday cakes, previously: Gateau de Crepes, Pistachio Petit-Four Cake, Neapolitan Cake and Dobos Torte and then I guess I was kind of too busy for cake the last two years?
Two years ago: Chocolate Swirl Buns
Three years ago: Rich Homemade Ricotta
Four years ago: Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing
Five years ago: Springy Fluffy Marshmallows
Six years ago: Dead Simple Slaw, 10 Paths to Painless Pizza Making and Pistachio Petit-Four Cake
Seven years ago: Gateau de Crepes
Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake
Adapted from a friend, who is possibly not speaking to me anymore, who adapted it from Marmiton
Because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, this isn’t really Valerie’s cake anymore. I’ve made it more intense, moist and more bittersweet. But I kept my favorite part: the incredible crumb and texture that comes from folding egg whites into this cake. Whipped egg whites are used to make meringues; meringues are weightless in the center and crisp-shattery at the edges — without them, this would be a flourless chocolate truffle cake with a bit more structure; with them folded in, this cake becomes airy and decadent, with a lid you can tap on.
In case you think you’d prefer the original: Valerie uses semisweet chocolate here (55 to 60%), I use bittersweet (70 to 72%). I dropped the flour from 1 cup (125 grams) to 2/3 cup (85 grams) and replaced half with dark cocoa powder. I reduced the baking powder to keep it in line with the new flour level, and dropped the sugar a little too, from 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) to 1 cup (200). The result is a bittersweet (but not aggressively so) and featherlight chocolate cake. If you think you’d prefer it sweeter, use an additional 1/4 cup sugar.
Serves 8 generously, 16 if you, like us, prefer slim wedges of rich cake
9 tablespoons (125 grams) unsalted butter
7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet (70/72 percent) chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (about 30 grams) dark cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy (Dutched or natural will work here; I use Dutched)
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Two pinches sea salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the baking pan with a round of parchment paper.
Melt butter in a large saucepan, 3 quarts is a good size. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Once melted, stir in 2 tablespoons water, then baking powder, flour and cocoa until just combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar, 1 tablespoon water and vanilla, if using, until pale and no longer lumpy. Stir into chocolate mixture until just combined.
In a larger, very clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt until stiff. Gently fold into chocolate mixture until most of the white streaks disappear. Be careful not to deflated cake.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Remove from oven and rest on rack for 5 minutes. Run knife along outside cake to make sure it isn’t sticking anywhere, then invert onto another rack, then back onto a cake plate. Eat warm or cold.
Cake keeps for several days at room temperature, lightly wrapped.
To make a layer cake, as pictured: Several hours and up to a full day before you will fill the cake, make chocolate whipped cream. I used Alice Medrich’s recipe as a base. Heat 1 cup heavy or whipping cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat, whisk in 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate until fully melted and smooth. Stir in a second cup of cold heavy or whipping cream. Cover dish with plastic and let chill in the fridge for at least four hours and preferably overnight, or up to 24 hours.
To make the layer cake, make twice the recipe above, but divide it into 3 9-inch cake pans. Each layer will bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely. I find popping cake layers into the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes stiffens them enough that they are easily lifted and stacked and highly recommend it.
Using electric beaters, whip fully chilled chocolate cream into whipped cream. It will whip very quickly; don’t let it overwhip (it will become rough-looking). If it does, a splash of still-liquid heavy cream whisked in will loosen the mixture a bit again. Set a spoonful of the chocolate whipped cream aside if you’d like to write on the top of the cake. Spread half of the chocolate whipped cream on the first cake layer, then top with the second. Spread second half of chocolate whipped cream on second cake layer, then top with the third. If writing on the cake, place chocolate whipped cream set aside in a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off, or in a piping bag with a small round tip and scribble away.
Keep cake in fridge until needed.
303 comments on valerie’s french chocolate cake
I love the bowls and butter dish! Where are they from?
Elise — The ridged bowls and little plate are from Crate and Barrel.
Ahh, so perfect! I love that this is ‘the’ cake she makes, her signature!
stunning and looks delicious!
It looks to have an absolutely perfect texture and I love that rich, dark crumb. I’m thinking that buckwheat flour would make a great sub-in for a gluten free version – can’t wait to try this asap!
The whipped cream looked like peanut butter from where I am sitting, which made me giddy. But then I remember that chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and figured I had to be seeing things.
Jacob’s ankle or your ankle? Either way, ouch! Sometimes sprained ankles are worse than broken because at least with a cast you see an end in your future.
Molly — Jacob’s ankle. There’s nothing sadder than a 4 year-old with a limp. :(
(Or maybe a shoeless one being carried into a shoe store at 12:01 on Sunday after we realized none of his shoes fit around his swollen foot and ace bandage but we had to wait until the stores opened to buy him new shoes?)
What a treasure! Thank you for giving us this wonderful cake. Love the chocolate whipped cream frosting, an extra special touch.
Looks amazing! Think I’ll make it tonight. One question: do you mean “do let it over whip”, or do *not*?
Um, this looks beyond perfect! I can’t wait to make this, I love dark chocolate the more the better.
Unless my eyes deceive me, the layers bake up absolutely perfectly level. I’ve heard the secret is in the pans. Any wisdom to impart?
Julia — Some cakes just bake level. This one bakes level 80% of the time, 5% it domes a little and 15% it dips ever-so-slightly after cooling.
Mmmm!!! Gotta test this recipe!!
In the chocolate whipped cream recipe: “do let it overwhip (it will become rough-looking).” Did you mean “don’t”t? Oh, I forgot to say, chocolate whipped cream–might be my favorite new food group.
Peggy — Yes, thanks, fixed now.
This sounds amazing! Do you think it would work in cupcake size for individual servings?
This looks marvelous. I was wondering, can you bake off one layer at a time and let the batter rest? I only have 1 9-inch pan.
Kristen — You can; I actually only have two pans and did just this. You might lose a tiny bit of volume while it rests, but nothing to be concerned about. If making a three-layer cake and one layer is thinner, I always put it in the middle where it seems to never be noticed. (Not that I’m friends with anyone rude enough to point it out, heh.)
My problem would be having to take photos of every finished dish before eating. Going to someone’s home and not having to take photos would be a relief to me, and I would guess to you too! This chocolate cake reminds me, for some reason of Bill Cosby’s “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast”. So funny! Thanks for another great recipe.
How appropriate, Today is my birthday and I think I have all the ingredients!
I know that this may come as the most unappreciative question following an undoubtedly gorgeous cake… But can you please tell me – the woman who seems able to cook other stuff except for this- how on earth do you know when to stop whipping the cream??! I’m so terrified of over whipping, I’m pretty sure I’ve been under whipping cream for the past 12 month, and they won’t stand a chance staying put in between any cake, let alone this fabulous one…
Mandy — A few tips: You can use a lower speed so the perfect point doesn’t rush past you in a blink. You could also hold a little back (say 1/4 cup) as a security measure to “save” the whipped cream in case it goes over (just whip it back in for 10 seconds on low to soften overwhipped cream). Finally, a little crazy for large quantities, but I personally feel (but do not consistently practice) that the only way to guarantee you won’t overwhip cream is to whip it by hand. And then, hey, you’re totally burning off whatever calories you’ll be consuming when you eat it, right? RIGHT? (Don’t tell me.)
Hmm. Searching for a birthday cake to make for myself next week. This looks fantastic and could be it! Thanks for this one!
Wow, does this look incredible! One little question–when it comes to whisking the egg whites, could one use an electric mixer instead? I have a bit of a lacking kitchen and was wondering if there would be a difference in the result if I didn’t have a whisk. Thanks!
Katherine — Yes, normally I’d recommend that, getting them all ribbony but as Valerie doesn’t bother decided to save people the washing-drying that would be required so that you could use the mixer again in a moment for the egg whites. The beaters must be clean and dry or the egg whites don’t whip as well.
Chocolate layer cake will always remind me of my grandmother- but she never made more than two layers, and always used Presto flour for a yellow cake, every time. Also, chocolate whipped cream?! This is a whole new level! Oh, how I look forward to and savor your posts.
ohhhmyyygoodddd this is unbelievable ! i’m in rich chocolate heaven
This cake looks amazing….want to try the triple…layer…may as well go the full hog!!
The recipe is almost the same as a brownie recipe…except for the number of eggs and the method using them. I’ve often wondered how brownies came to be…
Fabulous Deb! Looking forward to celebrating my husband’s birthday with this cake…and drinks of course.
If I had bittersweet chocolate in the house, I’d make this cake right this very moment. I’m not a huge chocolate cake fan but that looks so delicious. All it would need is some fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
Did Valerie’s have 1 tsp. baking powder?
JP — No, the original had a “half sachet” which works out to 7 grams or about 1.5 teaspoons baking powder for 1 cup flour. I found that the cake domed and then fell a bit, a sign of too much baking powder. When I dropped it to 1 teaspoon for 1 cup flour (what Shirley Corriher recommends in BakeWise), it didn’t sink. But then I reduced the flour, thus reducing the baking powder accordingly.
Yowza. Now that’s a great start to the baking week!
I love that you (and your dad) very conveniently celebrate your birthday just before my husband’s – you never fail to offer up a spectacular new cake for me to make him. This in no way disappoints! Thanks Deb.
Hmmmm…our kitty turns 1-year-old on Wednesday, and I was trying to think of a fun way to celebrate with my kiddos. Think that’s a good enough excuse to make this delicious looking cake? Maybe not the layer version…but yes on the chocolate whip cream frosting, for sure! Thanks AGAIN, Deb!
This looks exactly like the kind of chocolate cake I always want but rarely find–chocolate-heavy, not too sweet, and just fluffy enough. Going in my to-make pile for my housewarming this summer.
(also, I think you mean couldn’t — “But I could resist tweaking it”)
Christina — Thanks, fixed.
I’m going to make this for the next family birthday. Celebrated my birthday on the weekend with a purchased cake that was a bit disappointing.
I hope Jacob is okay.
Hi there Deb,
Which chocolate recipe would you recommend as a base for a kid’s birthday cake (out of which I plan to cut out an animal shape… wish me luck). I plan to bake it in half sheet pan (11″ x 15″ pan). This cake looks delicious (and will be made, soon), but maybe because of the crumb is not the best fit for this? Also, I’m planning to cover the cake with chocolate ganache – what do you recommend in terms of consistency for covering a (relatively) large cake? I typically use a pretty liquidy consistency that I can quickly spread around by tilting the cake and results in a nice shiny frosting, but I’m thinking that with a large cake that might not work great. I’d like to stick with a chocolate ganache because I think the kids will prefer the chocolate flavor, and since the cake will have to wait a couple of hours outdoors (the party is in the park), I think ganache will hold up better than buttercream.
thanks so much!
Pitz — You probably could double it and bake it in a sheet pan but I don’t think it’s the best fit for that kind of cake. I’d use the fudgy chocolate sheet cake (also with a moist, decadent crumb) I used for my own son’s birthday.
Looks amazing. It’s so fuunny. I’ve been thinking of baking this kind of cakes all morning! Plus, I agree. People always think I’m judging their food, while I’m just there having the time of my life!
Sounds great either way! Just to clarify, flour should be 1/3 or 2/3 cup? Recipe says 1/3 but sounded like you described dropping it to 2/3 cup? Thank you!
I had the same question;
Based on the text, it looks like the flour in the list of ingredients should read 2/3c instead of 1/3c.
I had to read it twice, too, but now i’m sure that in the text she’s describing a two-step adaption process that ends in 1/3c flour.
Original: 1c flour, no cocoa — total 1c
Intermediate: 2/3c flour, no cocoa — total 2/3c.
Final: 1/3c flour, 1/3c cocoa — total 2/3c
So the amount in the ingredients is correctly 1/3c. Go for it!
A possible theory (yay science) said that when you cook a meal for yourself you are surrounded by the smell and tasting as you go. so the flavor gets duller the longer it takes for you to get a chance to sit down to eat it. Versus when someone else cooks for you, you smell it for the first time and get to begin eating the finished product in a much shorter amount of time from one another. So the flavor can be more intense and enjoyable. or maybe it really is just a nice addition of knowing someone else made it for you that makes it taste better.
Probably a dumb question, but did you triple the recipe amounts for the layer cake?
Whoops, just saw the answer. Sorry for being dumb — was too busy drooling to keep reading!
Love simple cakes with simple frostings,looks divines!
Hi Deb, I was wondering if I could make cupcakes using this recipe and use the topping as the frosting?! Thanks,Amrita
Amrita — I have not made cupcakes with these but don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
If making cupcakes, would you adjust the time and temp? I am thinking I would fill each cup half full, then top with Ghiradelli chocolate mousse. I would keep refrigerated until serving. (Yes, I am a novice.)
Thank you in advance.
I would adjust the time, not temperature. It can’t hurt to check in at 15 minutes.
This cake looks absolutely perfect! Eating it would be already a celebrating, no matter if it’s a birthday.
I have no birthdays in sight, for at least another month, but need to make this cake! Looks like I will have to find something to celebrate.
This looks awesome and the fact that you put fluffy layers in between makes me want to kiss you (I need some different textures in my cake, what?)
I laughed out loud at your “every year, even!” line about your dad’s birthday.
Looks delicious! I may have to make chocolate cupcakes this weekend. One question: in the notes, you say that you reduced the flour from 1 cup to 2/3 cup, but the recipe shows 1/3 cup flour. Which is correct?
Rachel — I noted that I dropped the flour from 1 cup to 2/3 cup and then swapped half with cocoa. 1/3 cup flour is correct.
Read this post, plus all the links you included, then the links in those posts…goodbye Monday afternoon.
Your blog makes me wish I had more time to try every single one of your recipes. Dang job (and the bills that I have to pay with said job) keep me from doing just that. Will have to take it one weekend at a time I suppose…
Happy belated birthday Deb. I wish you all the best!
The cake looks wonderful and I totally relate to your need to tweak a good thing. Whenever I cook something myself, I always seem to find fault too. They say that when someone else cooks for you it’s always tastier no matter what it is. :)
Hope Jacob is feeling better!
I’m typing with my right hand and whisking egg whites with my left hand. The cake should be done soon!
How simple! And it looks so put together and pretty.
My “one” chocolate cake recipe is a Double Chocolate Cake recipe I found on Epicurious years ago. I make it for layer cakes, single sheet cakes, cupcakes and even cake truffles. It is flawless.
I would recommend a 9″ round pan with 3″ sides. My shallower pan worked, but the cake rose above the sides a lot, which made it not so pretty. Other than that, the scalding hot piece I scarfed down before I had to rush to work was delicious.
Christine — I’m sorry to hear it. I found that I got the best crackly top when it rose a bit above the rim when it baked. (When I divided 2x volume of batter over three layers for the stacked cake, the top stayed below the rim and didn’t get as meringue-like.)
This looks to die for! I made your red wine chocolate cake from your book and it was amazing! Everyone absolutely loved it. This is a must try since I am such a chocolate lover. Thank you!
That crumb sounds incredible and layered with chocolate whipped cream is pure brilliance!
Hi. I’m sorry I’m not finding how much whipped cream to whip into the chocolate cream. Please clarify the cream quantity for me! Thanks again.
This is a stunning cake, and it’s my favorite kind: simple, elegant, and CHOCOLATE
I too am looking for a recipe for the chocolate whipped cream. The cake looks delicious! Happy Belated Birthday!
Hi again. Okay after rereading the whipped cream recipe in larger print I understood what is meant.
Looks lovely! Chocolate cake is the best!
There is nothing better than a great chocolate cake! It would go perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Gotta love simple cakes like this! Yum!
Ooo, ahhh ;D Loving these nekkid cakes. I just got off the momofuku ko takeout cakes page and, while strange looking at first, they are growing on me. Is prob. a better cake to frosting ratio in most cases.
Also, re: the chocolate whipped cream – I accidentally invented what I call Stracciatella Whipped Cream, that would be so good here! When the cream is whipped and fluffy, pour in a thin stream of melted chocolate while the mixer is on fold/slow. It breaks up into thin chocolate shards suspended in the whipped cream and blows your mind while you eat, not to mention looking pretty cool too. You’re welcome!
I kind of want to try both recipes for the chocolate cake. I am sure both would work for me depending on my mood. Two chocolate cakes cannot be wrong.
Your photography is just down right stunning…I love it. Not to mention this cake is making me drool…Fantastic job all around!
Hey there Deb and everyone else – question for you. Did anyone else find the texture of the yolk/sugar/water/(I didn’t use vanilla) waaay too grainy to properly fold into the whites? I just popped a single layer into the oven but I’m a wee bit heartbroken because there was NO way to fold in the way I wanted to. And believe me, I know my way around a cake batter, so I was being as gentle as possible. But it took a pretty heavy hand so I hope the texture will be all right! Other than that, the batter tasted INCREDIBLE so I can’t wait to eat it at tomorrow evening’s picnic in the park with friends :)
Also, happy belated b-day Deb! Hope it’s a rockstar year for you!
Indirect Libre — It’s very grainy but doesn’t need to be folded in, just stirred until combined. Only the whipped egg whites need to be carefully folded, so that they don’t deflate. Hope you enjoyed the cake.
How wonderful to have a signature dish—-especially a chocolate cake. The texture looks perfect—–and the photos definitely convey just how dang choloately this cake is. Yay!!!
Yum, I’m making my ‘Throw everything in the pot’ soup tonight for dinner, with lots of ginger, garlic, and turmeric. This will be the perfect finished for dessert. Thanks!
“Christine — I’m sorry to hear it. I found that I got the best crackly top when it rose a bit above the rim when it baked. (When I divided 2x volume of batter over three layers for the stacked cake, the top stayed below the rim and didn’t get as meringue-like.)”
don’t the layers need to be leveled before stacking, in which case the meringue top is lost? is one best off making 3x the volume in 3 pans?
also, any idea if the filled cake freezes well? (I assume the layers can be frozen)
rosie — For a cake like this, no leveling is needed. It’s quite flat to begin with. And, you’re only filling it twice, and I was going for a rustic look, not a carved perfect cylinder as we would with an American-style birthday cake that’s frosted. I have not tried to freeze a cake filled with whipped cream; I am not positive that it would defrost okay.
Wow, this looks phenomenal. Your photo of the batter makes me want to lick the spatula clean (which should be an obvious indicator of how good it looks and also how much I love chocolate cake). Also, your handwriting/icing-writing is so neat! So jealous.
Won’t import into Pepperplate. Can you fix it?
Absolutely delicious! Maybe my favorite chocolate cake recipe I’ve made. Delicate, yet rich, moist. I made a fresh cherry coulis from your Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe. Wonderful together.
@Indirect Libre – I haven’t made this yet, but the way I read the recipe is to mix the egg yolk/sugar/water/vanilla into the chocolate, flour, etc (not the egg whites). Then fold the fluffed egg whites into the whole chocolate mix, that now includes the egg yolk, sugar, water, vanilla.
Hi, I need some guidance on making it before a party? I am having friends over in a weeks time and know this cake will be perfect for dessert (especially one of them who is a chocolate fiend!) So that I don’t end up hot and flustered with a kitchen that looks like a war has gone on in it, I would like to make as many of the dishes as possible ahead of time. My major concern is that I live in Malta which is very hot (just starting to hit 30 degrees……..) so can you let me know if it’s possible to make this cake a day ahead and how to best to store it? Very appreciated.
Marlene — You can make the cake layers a few days or up to a week in advance and keep them well-wrapped in the freezer. You can also make the cake in full/filled up to a full day in advance; keep it in the fridge.
What an amazing chocolate cake recipe! And you make it seem so easy to do. I shall bookmark this and make it soon. Can never resist a good chocolate cake recipe. Thanks for sharing, Deb!
I totally agree about enjoying food when you’re not the one that made it! And this cake…OMG! I love that Valerie always make this cake and I love how simple it sounds. Some people think homemade cakes are hugely time consuming which I guess is only the case if you make it four times trying to perfect it!
We’ve also got a family cake recipe which we use for all occasions. Very similar to this one but you set aside half the batter before you bake it and use that as icing once the cake has cooled (there was never quite enough left once my little sister had discovered the mug of icing sitting in the fridge!). Obviously you have to be OK with raw eggs in the icing and you could use all the batter for the cake if you’d like something a bit less decadent. But the finished product is always gorgeous and gooey, collapsing slightly in the middle and sticking to the plate. This looks like a much more refined version which I can’t wait to try. thank you.
There is a cookbook you can read about the magic water crumb thing, but just not in America. Mary Berry, the British Queen of Cakes does this my my go to chocolate cake recipe of hers. If my some horrid error of fate, you don’t know who she is, buy one of her baking books. Just do it. Seriously. Now.
This reminds me of the time I made Simca’s Reine de Saba cake for my husband’s birthday. My sister came in and saw the single naked layer and said “Surely that’s not all there is?” and I said “Surely it is.” And it was more than enough..
Isn’t it amazing but I just discovered you and your blog and already I am jotting down recipes I want to try. My goodness I started looking for blogs whose photos appeal to me — I’m studying to improve my photos on my blog but your just blow me away and the recipes WOW!! I also found the one for your graham crackers. My gosh the list of recipes keeps getting longer. Thank you for sharing.
But… but… what about your famous (at least around our house) EVERYDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE? We have already found perfection in it. (See: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/08/everyday-chocolate-cake/)
As it happens, last week our just-turned-15-year-old wanted to bring a dessert to the final meeting of her chess club, and (over and above cookies or brownies) that was her request. She reported that the club devoured it; even the (adult) advisor begged for a 3rd slice!
When asked what she was serving, she informed the club: “It’s Everyday Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.” As if everyone should know (and they should!).
Oh god I want to make ANOTHER of your cake recipes. Every single one you post I want to make. This one is definitely going to happen very soon :D
I have a french friend who makes this (or a similar version) of this cake too :)
@debcargile – yep, I mistyped :) I did mix into the chocolate, but everything got really really really thick and grainy. As a follow-up to this saga though, I think that I didn’t properly whisk the yolks and sugar together. Deb’s photo looks way smoother than mine did. So, yeah…don’t go easy on those eggs!
Anyway, it turned out brilliantly and is sitting in my cake display ready for whipped cream :)
I’d leave the whipped cream off and instead add a spoon of carmel sauce, (both Martha Stewart and Epicurious has a yummy easy recipe) Then Id put just a few grains of Fleur de Sal. Either way It looks delicious.
I’m adding my voice to those who are enamored with your charming dishes, the ones with the zigzag edging. Please do share the source.
The zig-zag dishes are from Crate and Barrel.
I was just looking at your chocolate buckwheat cake, but love how this one looks even richer. However, was hoping to make it for a GF friend’s birthday. With such a small amount of flour in the first place, think i could substitute buckwheat flour or some combination of buckwheat/almond flour?
I do love a layer cake and I’m hoping this will be as moist as it looks – someting nice for the weekend … thank you :)
This cake was absolutely delicious. It was light and airy, but chocolatey and fudgy like a brownie. I made it with the strawberry coulis from the Cream Cheese Poundcake recipe, and it was great. Can you use the coulis recipe for other berries?
Deb, you’ve forgotten the best birthday cake I’ve ever seen on this site! Have you forgotten the subway cake? http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/09/roasted-apple-spice-sheet-cake/
Does anyone have suggestions on possibly making this egg free? I’m guessing that ground chia seeds as egg replacements wouldn’t result in the texture for the crust but that you might get similar crumb and rising? Maybe some combination of something like ener-g egg replacer and chia seeds, or just ener-g egg replacer? My only concern with that would be that it has baking powder in it and it might end up being too much baking powder. I will post back if I end up trying it.
I am SO making this for my birthday! Thanks, Deb!
This cake looks delicious! I’ve so much to learn! I bake two days ago and was brave (or silly ) enough to blog it. Any idea on improving the recipe (and my baking skills?!) Thanks!
Made this last night. Perfectly fudgey! My coworkers loved it.it reminds me of a cake I had in Portugal. So happy to have a recipe for it now!
thanks, deb. are baking strips around the pan a bad idea – would they interfere with the meringue texture of the crust?
also, does it make sense to triple the batter for three layers rather than doubling since you wrote (comment #60) that the volume you have listed for one layer resulted in the better crust?
(I’m trying to spare myself a lot of testing…looks as though you’ve already done most of the work!)
I just wanted to say that I love your site and your book, been lurking here reading for years. (My husband wanted me to write that he loves your site too, because I actually cook him your recipes) Anyway, when cooking isn’t a frantic race to forestall tiny children wailing, I actually enjoy experimenting. So I’m wondering, if it isn’t too much trouble, as a sort of master-class type of thing, if you would post original recipes along with the ones that you have improved. I have no doubt that your recipe is going to be better (your tastebuds seem to run along the same lines as mine!) but it would be interesting to me to actually make both and see how much a small difference could make. I’ve always wanted to play with existing recipes, but I’m afraid of overdoing it- I want to educate myself on how much to change (and which things you really shouldn’t change) to make it taste right.
Anyone make this using natural cocoa instead of the dutch processed cocoa? Wondering if there was any difference. And is one preferred over the other in this recipe? I know that sometimes you can use one in lieu of the other without any problems or noticeable result, but the one time I substituted it didn’t turn out right. Since then I’ve been wary… and given that this recipe doesn’t specify which is the preferred any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.
Hi Deb! I could hardly wait to out this cake together and I’m sad to say I didn’t end up with the piece de resistence you produced. My cake fell quite a bit in the cooling process and while I cooked for the full 30 mins it was underdone, gooey, and more brownie-like. All said, I’m sure this cake will still disappear, I’d love any thoughts you have in maybe why it didn’t turn out. Thanks so much from one of your biggest Canadian fans!
I’m sure this cake is going to be wonderful…but I just made the Cover Recipe from Deb’s Cookbook for my dinner tonight- and I ate three of them. That is one killer shortcake recipe!! Couldn’t be faster, easier or more delicious. Deb, you are a genius. The biscuits have about a zillion other possibilities too, but they were indeed the ultimate “sponge” for all the tomato “juiciness”. The whipped goat cheese is awesome…yumm-o! The maple-bacon biscuits have garnered me many raves too BTW, but the scallion ones are gorgeous and the dinner looked just exactly like the photo. It is the perfect lunch, dinner,even breakfast ( add a tiny bit of crumbled bacon?)warm weather option. All of you cookbook owners, get on this one a.s.a.p.
Do you always stack your cakes, Deb? (But seriously, let me know. :D) This … I … When it cools down, I’m making this. Guaranteed.
This looks amazing!
I actually had the same “problems” as Danielle s, a few comments above. Gooey like a brownie, not really like a cake at all. And I even cooked for 45 minutes… Maybe 1/3 cup flour was too little?
As she said, it disappeared anyways, but was not really worth the extra effort. Homemade one bowl brownies would have had the same effect.
Hi Deb! I made three of these yesterday – two for “thank yous” to friends and one for us -we loved it! It reminded me of Julia Child’s recipe for Reine de Saba…every bit as decadent and delicious. All three turned out great and I will make this again and again. On another note…I clicked on the “rerouted” link, so sorry about Jacob, hope he heels quickly! When I saw the pic of him other pics popped up, one of you in a little black dress and the caption said only 3 more months to go! I was surprised! I didn’t remember reading you were expecting again! But after a closer look I saw the photograph was dated 2009…and this is how rumors get started! xo, Nan
Deb, Can you clarify how much flour is used? 1/3 cup? 2/3 cups? Thank you!
I too have only one chocolate cake recipe (Mrs. Leuf’s chocolate cake) that I use for birthday cake, layer cakes, sheet cake, cakepops, cupcakes, and yes, even wedding cake. While I haven’t met a chocolate cake I don’t like, I just can’t bring myself to stray from the “tried and true” when I’m the one doing the baking.
A chocolate cake can be made for any occasion! And having one recipe you know you can rely on is quite a relief!
I made this last night for a potluck and it was delicious. So dense, luscious and chocolate-y. It turned me into one of THOSE people who steals some of their own food back from a potluck to enjoy later but a slice for breakfast was worth it. I wouldn’t recommend it as an everyday coffee cake, but it was pret-ty awesome!
I just love simple cakes like this because it doesn’t take up an entire afternoon to make them so you’re more likely to make it “just because”
I have a four years old bday cake to make this week and can’t wait to try this recipe
Do you think it is possible to replace the 1/3 cup flour with almond meal to make a gluten free cake?
Hi! I would love to make this for a potluck tonight…but won’t have time to cool down any sort of frosting or make it a layer cake (it will be going straight from the oven to my car). It looks like in the top picture it’s just one layer with powdered sugar on it. Is there anything you’d suggest to add an extra pop to a single layer without cream or is it great as is with some sugar?? Thanks so much!
For folks looking to make this cake Gluten Free- it’s so easy and the most delicious and no one will even know! I used 1/6 cup of ground almonds + 1/6 cup of brown rice flour/sorghum flour mix (i had wanted to use buckwheat, but was out). Delicious- the perfect texture and crumb and so moist and kept its shape even when cut. Mmmmmmmmmm
Danielle — I think powdered sugar is just fine on the cake. You can bring some creme fraiche to serve with it. I don’t think it needs to be sweetened.
Rachel — I think so, or I might use a little bit more. See also Holly’s comment #126, above.
Lynn — 1/3 cup flour is correct.
nan — Ha! That explains it. Someone sent me a very sweet congratulatory email and I was very perplexed as I was pouring whiskey into my coffee as I read it, as I always do after preschool drop-off. ;)
Gooey cakes — Sorry to hear that this is happening; I am definitely perplexed. I made this FOUR times as written (an unusually high number for me) and never once had this problem. Did you try just baking it longer? Sometimes mine took up to 5 minutes more, as I mentioned, but it was more often 5 minutes less (i.e. 25 minutes as the start time to check), which is why a toothpick coming out clean is always more important than baking times, which are always just estimates. Although I know ingredients/ovens/pan types can vary enough to change the baking times slightly, it being downright underbaked seems odd to me.
Adrianne — I really like stacked cakes. Small layers, as many as possible, please, frosting on the outside not required. :)
Laura — Thank you! That makes me happy because the cover recipe was more of a whim than any other recipe in the book.
M — You can use either natural or Dutched. I prefer Dutched; I find the taste darker and nuttier. But you’ll be fine with either. (The recipe persnicketiness about cocoa types is usually due to the fact that theoretically — although not much in practice for me — a recipe with baking soda and no acidic ingredients won’t rise as well with Dutched cocoa. Here, we use baking powder, which includes an acidic ingredient, so it doesn’t matter which cocoa is used.)
Deirdre — Thanks for the suggestion. However, I do in almost all cases link to the original recipe if it’s online, or the book it’s in, if it’s not, right under the recipe title — and I do try to list all of my changes, as I did here, in the head notes.
Rosie — I can’t think of any reason to use baking strips here. They’re usually to flatten cakes, right? And this is a pretty flat cake…
Suzanne — Thank you! I love that cake too. Ah, fall!
Holly — Yes, I think buckwheat flour would be a good sub here, although [caveat!] I haven’t test this exact cake with it. But you knew that. :)
Deb – This cake is delicious! And versatile. I had little trouble getting it out of the pan one-handed (broken wrist in a splint), so it became trifle. With whipped cream and raspberries, it disappeared at a party. Very delicious and easy.
Mine turned out a bit gooey but I am not complaining. It was just the thing for my dinner with friends tonight and might very well have to become my go-to cake that I bake for everything! Will experiment a bit with baking times in the future :)
This looks delicious! How can I adjust this for high-altitude baking? I am new to baking and find that living in Denver can be a challenge to new bakers like me.
Thanks for sharing your recipes!
I love this cake. It came out perfect. I am proud to add it to my collection of cakes. I wonder if I can replace the small amount of water that is called for, with coffee? Coffee sure brings out the chocolate flavors, and could bring this awesome cake up a notch, if that is possible. Next time I will try the frosting. Deb I like the fact, that you promote not having to frost the entire cake(s), instead just make layers of frosting between each cake layers. It is much easier, and it looks rustic,and homemade. Food Art. Thank you Deb.
Tucker — Glad you liked it. I am sure coffee would be wonderful here.
Hi Deb, I made this cake as soon as I read through your blog. Instead of using all purpose flour, I used unbleached all purpose. The cake turned out great except that when it was cooling the top dropped maybe 1/2″. Is that supposed to happen or do you know if swapping the flour caused this? Or would it have had something to do with how often i stirred my egg white into the chocolate mixture? I haven’t read everyone’s comments so please forgive me if you’ve addressed this.
Oh man, just when I decided to get back to eating more on the healthy side…
I am a big tester of your recipes even if I commented only once or twice and I would like to tell you that they always turn out a delight! (My husband think you are the ultimate kitchen goddess… and he’s French). However I had a problem with the whipped cream on this one. I used UK equivalent of heavy cream and semisweet chocolate but when I chilled the chocolate/cream mixture it solidify quite a lot. Is it normal?
I whipped it any way with my KA as it was impossible by hand but the final texture wasn’t really whipped and stayed quite compact. Also my cream looked darker than yours. I was wondering if my ounces/grams conversion was right (yes I’m also French and quite attached to the metric system ;-) ) is it roughly 170g?
Anyway being also a chemist, I think the fat content of the mixture is hight enough to try mayble to whipped at room temperature or just a tad below.
In any case, the cake was still excellent!!!
Estelle — The chocolate cream does solidify a bit, but I have a hunch that your UK heavy cream is even richer than ours (I’m jealous) and that’s why it thickened that much more. As for color, I wouldn’t sweat it if the taste was good. 170 grams is correct for 6 ounces.
UK single cream has about twice the fat content of American heavy cream, apparently.
Oh my gosh, incredible. This would be such a wonderful (and elegant) birthday cake. Love how this recipe has developed with input from both you and Valerie – I love the way you’ve made it a layer cake! Thank you very much for sharing. X
“I found that I got the best crackly top when it rose a bit above the rim when it baked. (When I divided 2x volume of batter over three layers for the stacked cake, the top stayed below the rim and didn’t get as meringue-like.)”
why not triple the batter for the three layer cake?
adele — I didn’t want a very tall cake. The cake, as shown, with three layers is quite tall enough.
This recipe came just in time for a friend’s 30th. And it was a hit! I took the liberty of creating layers with a raspberry coulis in between, instead of the chocolate cream filing. The tart played off the dark chocolate very well. As usual, your recipes are brilliant!
SO is Valerie still speaking to you? I just got kind of sad reading this article. She is your friend…..& her cake is obviously very special to her & to her family & other friends. It’s her “baby” & you messed with it! (making it “better”) I for one would be very mad & sad if I were Valerie. I will make it Valerie’s way, out of respect for her.
Mel — Heh, yes, of course she is. I was being tongue-in-cheek. She’s excited that everyone wants to make the cake.
Love it!!! I just made this cake. It is the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. I went with Valerie’s original recipe because I like sweeter and less chocolatey. I used half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate. I used 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. I only had 8 inch pans and it actually made two full layers. One had an odd dent along the edge. But, am I sure it had to do with the uneven heating of my oven. Overall, this is an amazing cake and an amazing recipe!!!
PS I live Johannesburg, SA and we are at 5000 feet. I have found that whenever I fold in egg whites at the end, the cakes come out fine at this altitude. So, I only makes cakes that way now. I also find the baking powder and heavy flour here makes a lot of cakes taste and feel like cornbread. So, using less baking powder tends to help. Or, I also use an aluminum free one (Rumford), I get in the states that eliminates that cornbread taste and texture. Also I sift the flour. Had no issues with this cake at all!!!
I made just the cake, not the whipped cream. I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 1 cup, and it was soooooo delicious! Rich and chocolatey, just perfect. It might be the best cake I’ve ever tasted (and that’s saying a lot). Thanks for the recipe!
Oh my gosh I could eat that cake right through the computer!
Made this with 3/4 cup as Giselle did. After the cake had been in the oven 15 minutes I realized I had only preheated to 300 degrees (!?!). Cranked up to 350 for another 15 minutes. No obvious negative effects. I look forward to trying gluten free versions and will start with Holly’s suggestions.
i love rich cake
Just testing–I left a comment already but don’t see it posted. Thanks!
I doubled the recipe, as suggested, to make 3 layers. The problem I had was when I cut the cake–the delicious whipped cream frosting makes the layers slip and slide. The cake is so rich and decadent that another time I will make just the single recipe, bake it in an 8″ square pan, and it will easily serve 12.
This cake is intensely beautiful. I can’t wait to try it.
That picture with the chocolate batter. Let’s just say that I’ve had to restrain myself and there very well could be a little drip of dribble on my laptop.
Thank you for this most amazing cake. I had to bake it for 5 minutes longer than stated but it was sooooo good. I made one layer but frosted it with the chocolate cream (which I could have put in a mug and guzzled down). The cream did deflate a bit as I stored it in the fridge, but it still was soooo good.
Wow!! this cake looks AMAZING!!! Cant wait to try this!! Any excuse for chocolate cake!
This cake was great. My cook time was 35 minutes, but my oven always takes a little longer. I replaced the butter with earth balance and everything turned out great. Love the crackly top but almost gooey inside. Next time I think I will replace the water either with coffee /espresso or orange liqueur.
I’m also from the Colorado area (Colorado Springs) and have had to experiment a bit with high altitude baking. I just made this cake and it came out perfectly. The only thing I changed about the instructions was the temperature. Instead of 350 degrees, I set it at 375 F. I have found that, in general, setting the temperature about 25 degrees above the normal recommendation makes my baked goods come out just as they are supposed to. Also, it baked perfectly at the 30 minute mark, and was just a little gooey in the center at the 25 minute mark. I hope this helps!
I baked this cake in 2 layers (9inches). I frosted with espresso flavored buttercream just in between and on top. It was unbelievable.
Happy Birthday Deb! Love that you gave yourself an experiment and it worked! Whoever said “…you can’t have your cake and eat it, too!” Happy belated Birthday, wishing you a great year!
Happy Birthday!! is it possible to replace the replace egg with flax egg in this recipe? I am wanted to make an eggless version of this decadent cake
NJT — I haven’t tried it but am nervous to recommend it here, when eggs are such an essential part of the cake. The flax/water technique might be better when eggs are a minority ingredient. You wouldn’t use it for, say, an omelet!
Happy birthday!! is it possible to make an eggless version of this decadent cake?please please say yes! :-)
I made this recipe into cupcakes last week and topped with your Swiss buttercream (with a little extra vanilla), and they were a HUGE hit!! I reduced the baking time to 18ish minutes. The recipe made 15 cupcakes (for anyone who might be wondering). Just the right size for this not-usually-a-chocolate-definitely-prefers-vanilla girl!
FAR OUT!!!!!! This cake is awesome! Love, love, love! Thanks Valerie and Deb!
I have made this cake two times already in two weeks, it’s that good. Praise all around, thank you for sharing!
I have a friend who is gluten free and I wanted to make this cake for her, but I’ve never made cakes gluten free. Would I need to change any ratios or take out any ingredients if I bought a ready to use gluten free flour?
I made this for my son’s birthday last night and served it with strawberry whipped cream and fresh strawberries- a total hit. This cake, your everyday chocolate cake, and your chocolate stout cake are my three favorite cakes to bake. Thanks so much!
I made this to celebrate the birthday of a chocolate-loving 3 year year old. Needless to say, it was a huge hit!
I made a single cake and followed the recipe as written, except I subbed decaf coffee for the 1 Tbs of water that was whisked with the egg yolks. I, too, had a longer baking time (+35 minutes) but followed the “use the clean toothpick” guide versus the total time. Once it was cool, I topped it with 1/2 a batch of the chocolate whipped cream.
Everyone else preferred the taste and texture on the day it was made, except me — I liked it best on the second and third days when served cold from the fridge. And preferably for breakfast. :)
I made this cake and it was delicious but very crumbly. Your pictures show it not falling apart. What do you think could have cause the crumbs?
Laura — Hm, just troubleshooting, did you eat it while still warm? Did it taste overbaked at all? I imagine it’s more crumbly when warm; it definitely compresses a bit once it has cooled and more so the next day.
I doubled the recipe and baked in a 9×13…it could have been overbaked. We ate it the next day. My egg yolks varied in size. I buy brown local eggs that were “large” but may not have been a standard large. I think it would have been better in 2 round pans but I didn’t have 9″, only 8″. :(
The birthday girl was happy, so I guess that is all that counts – but like you, I like taking recipes and making sure they are the best they can be. I will try it again…there is no such thing as too much chocolate cake.
Thank you once again for an amazing cake recipe. I used Hershey’s Special Dark powdered cocoa and two 72% chocolate bars from the local market. Aside from your chocolate peanut butter cake recipe, this is my new favorite. Amazing, creamy, you only year “mmmm’s” from the crowd. I dusted with powdered sugar, but whip cream or a coffee ice cream on the side goes great. LOVE this recipe. Thank you for perfecting it!
Deb, I’m about to make this cake for the FIFTH time. My family thinks I am the “Chocolate Cake Goddess”. Thank you, Lady. XOXOX From all of us.
Deb, this was without a doubt the best chocolate cake ever! And so easy. Thank you!!
Thanks Deb! This recipe makes literally the best chocolate cake ever! The best one I’ve ever has, seriously. I cut the sugar to 2/3 of a cup and loved it. I was worried because the chocolate mixture got really thick once I added the egg yolk mixture and that made it almost impossible to fold the egg whites in. So I stirred more than folded. No matter-cake was amazing!! My new go-to.
This cake looks delicious! I am wondering if, since the butter is melted anyway, could it be swapped for a neutral oil (canola, mild olive oil maybe)? My son is allergic to dairy, so I’m always happy to find adaptable cakes and sweets.Obviously omitting the whipped cream and frosting; a dusting of confectioners sugar should do. I’ll give it a try in a few weeks at the next birthday, but would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!
Did you ever make this? I’d love to hear about how to replace the butter with oil (trying to figure out how to make this for a friend with a dairy issue).
I just pulled this lovely cake out of the oven. It had a lovely top…just as pictured! Until the center fell :( When I flipped the cake of the pan to cool, a portion of the crust fell off. Is there a way to prevent this? Insulated pan, perhaps? The crumb that fell off that I ate was delicious, so I’m sure that even though I’ll have to present it upside down, it’ll be delicious.
This is an amazing recipe. I’ve tried this once and I don’t think I’ll entertain the thought of another chocolate cake recipe. I made the cake 4 days ago and ate the last slice today – never has anything been so moist and soft!
Hi, Deb. I finally made this and wow, delicious. Except the top turned into a craggly mess and the sides fell off, but I slathered on chocolate ganache and I’m having cake for breakfast. :) I think, next time, I’ll ribbon the egg yolks and sugar — my aunt has a recipe where she adds a TON of sugar to her pound cake and if it’s not whipped properly, there’s a craggly mess of a top. So, I’ll report back with findings. Still, delicious!
I had the same problem as Caroline a couple comments up. My cake fell and as a result the top became a sort of hard crust that crumbled. it was still delicious, just not very pretty. Did I mess up the egg whites in some way maybe?
A quick question: I noticed that you combined 1 cup of heavy cream to 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in your recipe, but the recipe you linked to does 1cup cream :3oz chocolate. Did you make that adjustment intentionally or do I need to double the cream?
Thanks! Making this GF version again (I mentioned buckwheat before, but I’ve found 1/6c. almonds + 1/6c. any type of GF flour works wonderfully) for a friend, but a small one, who is turning 4 and I thought would enjoy the icing.
Hi Holly — The way I wrote it is confusing because in the next sentence, I say to add another cup of heavy cream, i.e. I basically just doubled the amount, which is what I needed here.
Oh no!! my beautiful cake has been in the oven for more than 30 minutes. The top seems to be burning and the cake is still not done!! Where did i go wrong??
Thanks for this recipe, Deb. I just tried it, it was delicious but, like a couple of the commenters above, mine too sank after rising a bit, tasted more than a bit gooey, and felt more like a brownie than a cake. Delicious, but not really what I understood this cake to be. Any suggestions? I used the same amount of ingredients as your recipe, only shaving off about 1-2 tbsp of sugar as I was using a sweeter chocolate anyway. I was thinking of increasing the four and reducing the baking powder.
First, I LOVED the cake. I split it into 2 6 inch pans, and then cut the layers to make a 4 layer cake (who doesn’t love a 6″ cake!?! SO cute). Next time I’d make in 3 pans for ease.
For the whipped cream, I had the same issue as Estelle – mine was completely solid when I tried to whip it (I only refrigerated for 4 hours). So, it whipped a little, but not like your photo or the one on Food52, so I kept whipping, and then it became rough with separated liquid. I used the “rough” to frost the cake. But, I’d love to know how to do this correctly! Thanks!
I am thinking you might just have had better, fattier cream if it solidified. If your whipped cream (here or elsewhere) ever gets too stiff, you can whip in a splash at a time of extra liquid cream to smooth it out. That said, I also found this to be less loose and smooth than regular whipped cream; the melted chocolate really does tighten it up.
Deb – Thanks for your response! So yours didn’t solidify at all after being in the fridge? I did use whipping cream from a local dairy, so maybe it was fattier than typical whipping cream…?
Sally — I would say that mine had been very soft/loose pudding thickness. But it whipped up just fine. Well, not as smooth as chocolate-less cream. I do find that local dairies have fattier cream. Because they love us more. :)
You are so fantastic for replying with such detail! I love it – and couldn’t agree more about the dairies! Mine was totally solid – so now I’ll know next time to add more cream. The cake was AMAZING – I gave most of it away and everyone who ate it raved about it…
Hi Deb! I’m hoping you can help me with a judgement call- I’m making the cake for a friend’s wedding in may. I’ve done some private catering before but never on this scale, and wedding cakes are really something you don’t want to screw up! Would you recommend this recipe? It’s an absolutely gorgeous cake but the scale of this is kind of crazy. The guest list is for 200 so it’s a pretty large one (yes I know I’m crazy but she begged) but decoration isn’t going to be elaborate. It’s a naked cake so the icing doesn’t need to be fondant-like or anything, but would the cream be stiff enough? If not the cream, do you have another suggestion for a compatible frosting? thank you so much!!
Susannah — Not sure I would use this. It’s a lot of work, more fragile and can sometimes dip a little in the center (as happens with egg white whipped cakes sometimes). I’d recommend a cake such as the chocolate butter cake I used for a wedding or even the more tender fudgy chocolate sheet cake I make for something less stressful to scale.
This cake is PERFECT every single time! No changes at all. Love, love, love it.
Your scrumptious chocolate cake will be my go-to cake from now on. I made a three-tier bday cake for my handsome. The top layer was pumpkin cake (his bday was on Halloween), the bottom layer was this lovely chocolate cake, and the middle layer was a marbleized combination of the two. It was so rockin! This weekend, I am attending a baby shower and plan to use your recipe as a sheet cake. I then want to cut it up into bite-size cubes and will be sprinkling them with powdered sugar and edible pink sparkles. Can’t wait! Thank you!
Wow. Made this for my son’s birthday (in an airplane shaped pans). I had also made some of your flower cupcakes. Kids devoured the cupcakes first since they were so easy to grab. That left the cake for the adults. The usual polite “no thank you” or “just a sliver” disappeared and very little cake came home with me. This is my go-to cake from here on in!
FYI- I had a bit of extra batter (I had doubled the recipe for the airplane shaped cake pan) and they made quite delicious cupcakes!
This looks great! We are having another couple over for dinner and I would like to make a half recipe in a 6-inch springform pan. How long do you think this would need to bake for? Usually I’m pretty good at improvising but I don’t like opening the oven a million times when baking if it’s avoidable. Thanks!
Deb, this cake turned out amazing. Made it for a colleague’s birthday and put a little bit of fleur de sel on top because she loves that combination. It’s fantastic. I will sure make it again soon.
I doubled and baked this in a parchment-lined half-sheet pan, and it worked beautifully (I did reduce the baking temperature to 325 F, and gave it 30 minutes to fully bake). tender, delicate, light interior with that gorgeous, shiny, shattery top. I cut the cake in half (to yield two rectangles), stacked, layered & iced them with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, then finally covered with fondant (not my choice — this was a special request — I’m not a fondant fan, but it peels off easily enough!), decorated to look like the Trans Pride flag. it was a HUGE hit. thank you! this may well become “my” go-to chocolate cake recipe, too! it seems very versatile and adaptable, and I love the simplicity. plus, the flavor and texture can’t be beat.
Hi, Deb. On October 9, 2014 I made this post:
“Hi, Deb. I finally made this and wow, delicious. Except the top turned into a craggly mess and the sides fell off, but I slathered on chocolate ganache and I’m having cake for breakfast. :) I think, next time, I’ll ribbon the egg yolks and sugar — my aunt has a recipe where she adds a TON of sugar to her pound cake and if it’s not whipped properly, there’s a craggly mess of a top. So, I’ll report back with findings. Still, delicious!”
I’m here with the findings. I’ve discovered that ribboning the egg yolks helps to keep the cake intact, but also dividing the sugar, by adding 1/2 cup to the melted chocolate mixture and the other 1/2 cup to the egg yolks. I also discovered that adding cocoa powder inhibits a satisfying structure; I made a cake with 2/3 cup flour and it wasn’t chocolaty enough, but the sides stayed together, then I made a cake dividing flour and cocoa powder 1/3 and 1/3 and it was chocolaty, but the sides fell off again. I’m stopping here because I’m out of chocolate and I need to solve the next step, which is how to get the right texture without sacrificing the structure. It’s a simple cake and I love it, but I want to get it right. Kudos! :)
I found your site by accident a couple of weeks ago, I am glad I did. This is the first recipe I made from this site. I grew up eating chocolate cake but this one amazed me. It is so simple to make but it taste sooo good! I shared this with my sister and friends and they loved it. I’ve made the double chocolate layer cake that’s so popular on epicurious too but this one wins as my fave choc cake recipe. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Next, I will try your chocolate stout cake recipe.
It was nice to see your recipe,I loved very much.Really the cake looks delicious.
Hi! This is a crazy coincidence, but I have a french neighbor named Valerie. She makes this chocolate cake for all her events. The cake is to die for… Does your friend Valerie happen to live in Portland Oregon?
Sahar — Nope, she lived near us in NYC and now nearby. But I love the coincidence!
Hi Deb! I’ve now made this cake twice and my family absolutely loves it! Thank you thank you, again. I want to make it next week for my husband’s birthday and – quick question- do you think it would work in a bundt pan? If so, do I just butter and flour the inside of the pan like normal? We got this beautiful bundt when we got married and I just used it for the first time; so pretty! But I don’t want to mess the cake up since it’s so delicate. Thank you!
Anita — I’m not positive. There are cakes that I think might take better to one, perhaps this, doubled?
Hi Deb. I have made this cake few times as you have written. My store doesn’t hav that % chocolate, so I bumped down to the 60-65% that I can get. They have 85-90%, but I think I am the only person I know willing to go that dark :)
Quick question, is there a good way to spike this cake? I would like to try adding frangelico or kaluha. There is the 3 Tbsp of water that could be subbed for alcohol, but would that mess up the moisture content of the cake? Maybe 4 Tbsp liqueur in place of 3 Tbsp water?
Caitlin — Yes, I think you could use some liqueur instead of all of the water.
Made the cake this weekend for a family birthday. I doubled the recipe, followed directions exactly except used bittersweet choc chips (by weight) and it turned out perfectly. We served with black walnut ice cream to cut the richness. Probably the most decadent cake I’ve ever made, thanks for the recipe!
SarahS — Please tell me everything about this black walnut ice cream. #obsessed
My first attempt at this domed quite a bit in the oven—almost too much, nearly overflowing the pan—but then fell to roughly “fudgy brownie” thickness and texture while cooking. Not sure yet what I should adjust to get make it stay taller, but I imagine that experimenting more with chocolate cake won’t be too burdensome.
Deb, not sure if this had been asked….making cake right now, and would like to freeze it. Thoughts?
Jan — Should freeze just fine.
Came out so perfect! I will freeze when completely cool.
Can I just say that I made the chocolate whipped cream tonight (well, made the base last night and whipped it up tonight) to go on top of the I Want Chocolate Cake-and OMG. I may never go back to buttercream frosting. I loved it so, so much that I could pretty much forgo the cake and just eat the whipped cream (which, incidentally, is what I’ve been doing with the extra). Thank you, thank you, once again. (Oh, and the cake was great, too!)
Hi Deb! Took the cake out of the oven earlier today, but it sank almost immediately, and I can tell even without cutting into it yet that it will be quite dense. It smells fantastic, so I’m not concerned about taste, but I was wondering if you’d figured out why I (and other commenters, it seems) are having this problem? I took the cake out when the top domed, and when a toothpick came out with just a couple of moist crumbs sticking to it (no batter). Should it have baked even longer? Crumbs on a toothpick have been my tried-and-true judgement call for taking cakes out, but I’m not too sure with this recipe. Thanks!
I tried this cake last weekend and the flavor was good, but my toothpick testers still had wet batter on them at the 30 minute mark (my oven is accurate). So, I kept baking, covering with foil so the edges wouldn’t burn, and my cake unfortunately came out dry and crumbly, which I knew would happen. Are you sure the toothpick needs to be completely batter free? I’m thinking if I try this again I’ll take it out of the oven while it’s still a little jiggly in the middle, as I’m sure it would set as it cools. Other than the overbaking/texture being a little off, it was tasty.
I’ve made this cake several times and it’s always a hit – so much so that someone requested it for a party tonight…My problem is that the normally flat surface came out like rolling hills. My friends arent fussy, and i can cover with whipped cream – but i wonder what might have gone wrong? (Dont know how it tastes yet…)
I’m sorry if you’ve answered the following question before, but I couldn’t find the information anywhere on your site. What material is the cake pan you used for this recipe made of? Is it a dark metal? What are the cake pans you use usually made of?
FABULOUS! Everyone I have given this to wants the recipe. It’s sin in disguise! It looks like a rather boring piece of cake until you put it into your mouth, delicious.
Do you use an 8″ tin? I have to cook it slightly longer than stated
I use a 9-inch cake pan, which the recipe was written for. An 8-inch is fine, will just make it thicker and thus will need longer to bake.
This cake was so good. Maybe the best I have ever made. My sons fiancé loved it for her birthday and engagement celebration. She told us she had never had a home made birthday cake before. The bar has been set.
Baked this as a three-layer cake for a dinner party. My official taster thought the chocolate whipped cream was not a sweet-enough partner for the cake (I made a couple of tester cupcakes) so I added about a cup of powdered sugar to the whipped cream. I frosted the entire cake with the whipped cream, which softened the cake underneath in a very pleasing way. I also served it with cut up strawberries and everyone loved the combination. The three-layer cake will serve at least 20 people and maybe up to 30.
The line: “…..and preferably overnight, or up to 24 hours. ” makes me very happy. The frequent “overnight” in recipes always irritates me since I’m seldom planning to roast the meat that is marinating “overnight” when I get up in the morning. HOW MANY HOURS is what I want to know. So thanks! A RANGE of hours is what would be most helpful.
If you were to make this as a last minute contribution to a New Year’s potluck and then, say, accidentally drop it out of the pan while inverting it such that it tragically rips apart into three separate pieces, it looks lovely when torn up and served in a glass bowl as part of a berries and cream trifle. Even if the berries were frozen and cooked up into a quick, tart pie filling. And even if you’re 23 years old but still called your mom screaming blue murder first.
Plus, the pieces that don’t fit in the bowl are a delicious consolation prize… just saying ;)
What size and shape pan would you recommend baking this in if I want to cut it in half?
6-inch round is perfect for halved 9-inch round cakes.
This has been on my list for a long time, and I just made it. And it was … OK. (All right, I’m not great at following directions and ended up beating egg yolks, water, and vanilla together, then adding to pot and adding sugar later.) But, it seemed just like regular chocolate cake. It was a little crumbly and reasonably rich (richer than your typical devil’s food birthday cake), but honestly I prefer your everyday chocolate cake. I didn’t layer, frost, or serve with whipped cream, which I’m sure would have added moisture and delight. But … honestly, Deb, I’m a little disappointed. Is this supposed to be earth-shattering somehow?
Oh – maybe I overbaked? I waited until I got a dry toothpick, which was far over your recommended baking time.
It might not have needed a dry toothpick, just one without wet batter on it. Dry might indicate that it was, well, dry inside. I’m sorry it wasn’t a big hit.
Mine was moist, dense and rich the second time. The first time I over baked it and it was crumbly and dry. If you like rich chocolate and ganache you should like this. I hope you try it again and it works better. Maybe lower the oven temperature by a couple of degrees.
This is a delicious cake. However, I made this as a six inch layer cake (used the original recipe up there, just in 2 6-inch rounds) with plain whipped cream (touch of vanilla and sugar) as the frosting for my 3 year old’s birthday. It was wonderful tasting – but I definitely don’t recommend it as a layer cake. It puffed up beautifully, but as it cooled, it deflated substantially (think soufflé) and the top effectively all cracked off. Then, the crumb is too crumbly and doesn’t lend itself to frosting or really being handled in any way. The top picture here is how I’d make it again – in a 9 inch round with powdered sugar dusted on top and fresh whipped cream on the side. For an elegant dinner party. As this is definitely not a kid cake.
The cake was wonderfully chocolatey but i found the cooking time wasn’t nearly enough. I needed to bake it for an extra 15 minutes before the batter finally stopped sticking to a toothpick. Still a lovely recipe though
Thanks for letting me know; I’ll recheck when I bake it again soon.
I made this cake to bring to a friend’s house and tasted some of the crumbs. Oh my goodness, am I a bad person for wanting to keep this all to myself? It is heavenly. I packed it away so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it. The best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.
I made this yesterday and while it was DELICIOUS, it crumbled all over the place and almost fell apart when transferring to a cake plate.
There was an especially crumbly crust.
Any idea where I went wrong?
My first attempt did this so I reduced my oven temp a little as it was a fab oven and it seemed to work.
Thanks Sue! What did you reduce to? And did you need to subsequently increase baking time?
I only reduced by 5 Celsius but it was lovely and squidgy. I didn’t bake it any longer Good luck.
There is a discrepancy in the flour quantity. In the text you say you reduced flour to 2/3 c but in the list it says 1/3 C. I assume 2/3 c is right?
I think she means that she reduced it to 2/3 cup and then replaced half of that with cocoa, so it would be 1/3 cup flour in the end. (I hope so, because mine’s in the oven right now…)
I made a 1.5 recipe of this cake into 2x 9-inch layers, made two layers of peanut macaron (peanuts subbed for the hazelnuts in your chocolate hazelnut macaroon torte), and made a 2/5ths recipe of your new york cheesecake without crust. These were all made on separate days and frozen. I layered everything, still frozen, with a thin smear of peanut butter frosting between each, covered the lot with whipped cream, piped on a game character face, and refrigerated overnight for a kid’s party. You guys. It was a mic drop.
Oh my gosh, that sounds AMAZING.
I am going to make MINI-cupcakes. A small (1/4 – 1/3) layer on the bottom of torte, then let it cool. How long should I cook for?
Once cooled, I will top with Ghirardelli chocolate mousse and a single raspberry, then chill. Then, top the mini-cupcakes with the ganache.
Cheers and thank you.
Made this for a party. Skipped the whipped cream and just sprinkled it with powdered sugar. It was AMAZING. I think it may be one of the best chocolate cakes every. Because of the comments about it breaking apart during removal from pan, I made it in a spring-form pan. It did crack slightly as I removed the bottom of the pan, but I just pushed the cake together and the crack didn’t show. Also, I made it with gluten-free King Arthur flour, and it was every bit as good as it would have been with wheat flour. Will make this many times again, I’m sure.
What a beautiful recipe. However, I’ve just made it and the outside of the cake has started to burn while the middle is still very runny :(. I have a tiny oven too. Any tips?
Check your oven temperature with a oven thermometer. Sounds like it’s running hot. Try baking on the middle rack also.
I’d love to know what in the world ever happened to this cake in the oven. It was boiling!! It never rose and I just checked the date of the baking powder and I’m good until next year. What a flop!
Well, I just figured it out. I used 1 egg instead of 4. I printed the recipe and the printer made the 4 look like a 1. What a horrible mistake. I’m so disappointed. Will try again some other day. :(
Somehow managed to miss the flour and cocoa powder step and it turned out like an amazing mousse with a crispy top – Delicious! Will have to try it again the right way!!
I made this gluten free by replacing the 1/3 cup flour with part ground walnuts and part ground oats. I also slightly reduced baking powder cuz I like my cakes to act more like fudgey brownies. It hit the perfect spot in my dark chocolate heart
This cake always falls in the center for me – which I don’t mind. But I think it’s because at 350, and adding to the cooking time, it is always just under-baked. It’s still my go-to, but I wouldn’t attempt to layer it given this consistent falling.
Hello valerie, If I was to add frozen raspberries to the top of the cake mixture (before putting into the oven), would I need to increase the flour weight to counteract the wetness of the raspberries?
I made this recently and the flavor was good, but if you touched it, it crumbled to bits. The crumbs were fudgy and moist, they just wouldn’t stick together. I probably should have taken the advice of some other commenters and taken it out earlier, but it’s too late for that now. Nobody complained about it, but nobody took a second slice.
Can we substitute a gluten free flour for the all purpose? What kind would you recommend?
I make this with King Arthur all-purpose gluten-free flour and it comes out great! People who eat gluten don’t even notice the switch, because there isn’t very much flour in the recipe and because the chocolate flavor is robust.
Great typo “Be careful not to deflated cake.” Great undeflated cake. Substituted brewed coffee for the water. Thanks Deb.
Hi Deb, If this cake comes out fudgey rather than airy, which is more likely to blame: not whipping the egg whites stiff and/or not folding them in gently enough OR using an 8×2″ pan but not using all the batter (most, but not all.) It’s delicious but not what I was hoping for and I really don’t want to buy an 9″ cake pan!
Thanks for this great recipe, your ideas and any suggestions!
Happy Holidays, Emily in Washington State
It might be the cake! It’s not a very light cake. It’s a rich chocolate cake with a little lift to it from egg whites.
I made this cake to celebrate my youngest, chocoholic child turning 17. We had semisweet and unsweetened chocolate in the pantry so I combined them, then put a swiss meringue topping on when it was on since we had some in the fridge. This was absolutely delicious and the kid ate 2 peices! You are my fail-safe, go-to site for desserts, thank you.
Wow! Thank you! I will be happy to make this my go-to French chocolate cake! I’ve made it twice in three weeks already, for two different dinner parties, each time to swooning acclaim! And the leftovers found carefully wrapped in the fridge a few days later sure are sweet reminders of the fun party! And again, swooning over that perfected effect of a chocolate cake done well! The bite, the flavor, the crumb… I’m pretty sure this Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake as adapted by Smitten Kitchen could win awards! I’ve made whipped cream and served with raspberries. Delightful in small slices, easily 16 to a cake.
I’ve made this two years in a row for my chocolate addict boyfriend, to rave reviews. Because I too cannot leave well enough alone, I did replace the three tablespoons of water with two of strong coffee and one of kaluha, and there were no complaints. Made a single recipe last year and frosted with espresso buttercream. This year made a double recipe in a 10-inch springform pan and it was gigantic and perfect.
I just made this – glad I didn’t read the comments first because I might have been discouraged. I baked it in a convection oven (countertop) at 325 for about 33 minutes and it came out perfect! I think it’s my new favorite cake…Just sprinkled it with powdered sugar. I whisked the egg whites by hand and they were not completely stiff, but I find that when whites are too stiff they are too hard to fold in without overdoing it…I’d call mine soft peaks. I’m gonna have to freeze it because I keep cutting (and eating) little wedges…Yum…Thanks Deb for another winner!!
Hi Deb, this chocolate cake was delicious! Like you wrote, a slim wedge of this cake is satisfying! The cake was sufficiently sweet for me, too. In a 9 inch springfoam pan, mine took about 40 min to bake, but I usually find that my oven takes a bit longer anyhow. The cake did rise a bit and fell, but it didn’t make any visible cracks on the crackly top. It was surprisingly crumbly for its dense appearance, so I thought making a layered cake might require some skills!! Thank you (and Valerie) for the wonderful recipe!
slim wedge enough
Thank you! This recipe is a hit with young and old and the icing is the best. I used this recipe to make a 3 shaped birthday cake, topped with raspberries.
Made 2 8-inch bundt tin cakes (each tin had one batch of the recipe. Buttered and floured the non-stick pan rather than baking paper and it came out perfectly. Took a bit longer to cook in the bundt tin though, 40mins at 340farenheight
– Sunk dramatically within 2mins of coming out of the oven but there was no loss of shape and was a normal cake height in the end, about 2inches
This cake is delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe! Query: I replaced the flour with almond four and although the cake rose beautifully in the oven it sank in the middle a little as it cooled:( Is there anything I can do to stop it collapsing? Would sticking to ordinary flour have prevented this? It was definitely cooked through all the way and even starting to burn a little at the edges.
I have made this cake for a lot of different birthdays and celebrations and I love it! I end up needing to send the recipe out to everyone after each party.
Today, for the first time I am following the recipe exactly (rather than making cupcakes or weird shaped tins etc) and realised I don’t know whether it is 350 deg for a fan forced or the bake function on the oven. I’ve always just had to watch like a hawk and trial and error to work out the bake times. Do you have a general rule what function you use when cooking different things?
I have a very simple rule — we only have one kind of oven here, mostly, and it’s not forced fan. So, always assume it’s a “regular” oven. Mine is gas.
These are the cakes I remember from my youth abroad- I just popped this in the oven, and so torn that I’m donating the finished product to my kids’ school Carnival fundraiser cake walk instead of eating it myself… thinking i’m going to have to make another one tomorrow, the house smells divine.
Deb, is the picture of the single layer cake with a lovely wedge on white plate your altered version with the less flour or Valeries original version? (it appears “cakier”, why I’m asking)
It’s the recipe that’s printed here! It might just be the light.
I’ve made/served/enjoyed this several times before, so when I needed to make miniature whoopie pies, this recipe came to mind. I made the batter as usual, then blopped small scoops onto parchment, and baked for ~20 min. With a vanilla buttercream frosting, 72 tops became 36 four-bite whoopie pies. As one friend said “They don’t taste bland enough to be whoopie pies”. I agree. Maybe ‘artisan’, ‘free-range’, or ‘gourmet’ whoopie pies?
Deb, if challenged to make THE BEST fancy chocolate cake for a small crowd, would you make this one, the chocolate souffles (mint cupcake recipe), the chocolate puddle cakes, or some other….? Molly Wizenburg’s Winning Hearts and Minds is in the running too, dontcha think? http://orangette.net/2004/08/and-then-the-cake-came-forth/
PS: We’re heading to NOLA soon and using your post as a jumping off point. Thanks for writing that up! I can’t find it in the archives though…I’ve just kept the tab open on my laptop for…6 weeks now. NBD.
I haven’t made Molly’s. I should. I had dismissed it because it followed what looked to me like a general flourless chocolate cake formula, and they can be heavy. Maybe the Belgian brownie cakelets?
you are the funniest, deb, i wish i could know you! question: my son is allergic to dairy and hates frosted cakes. how could i make this dairy free? do you think substituting earth balance for butter will ruin it? thank you in case you respond! tracy
You could use earth balanace. Also, check this recipe, which is entirely dairy-free.
Thank you; you are truly the best. Everytime you respond I feel honored.
I really love this cake and have been making it plain, dusting with powdered sugar. Today I tried halving the chocolate whipped cream recipe and using that on a single layer — I found the result to be very, very rich. It’s good but I can’t eat more than 1/16 of the cake! I definitely couldn’t imagine a 3 layer cake with the stuff. Maybe a layer cake would be better with unsweetened whipped cream.
Baked this for my father-in-law’s birthday and he and my mother-in-law loved it. It was a wee bit too bitter for my 2 yo (I used 74 percent dark choc) but other than that it was very well received. Thank you for this and all your other recipes, they have always been such a great resource for me.
I baked this cake, and currently the layers are waiting to be frosted. I am curious if anyone else’s cake fell dramatically? Mine were quite high when I took it out of the oven but then fell a LOT. Did I take it out too early? I searched the comments, and it looks like at least a few people had this issue but no reply on why. Any suggestions for a fix? Little nibbles is telling me that this is still very delicious though. But definitely tastes like a brownie the way mine came out.
I have had it fall slightly, most cakes with whipped egg whites do, but not dramatically. It can be caused by overbeaten egg whites — past stiff to crumbly.
My daughter and I made this for my Moms birthday. We did the layer cake. It was easy enough and very good but I thought a little dry and not particularly airy. Maybe we were too rough with it. They looked wet after 15 min so I left them in for another 4 min and the toothpick came out completely dry so I think I should have checked instead of assuming at 15 min. The chocolate whipped cream was amazing. I will try this again keeping care to be gentle when folding and err more on the underbaking side.
Best chocolate cake I have ever made and I have made a lot, lol!!
I was struggling to figure out how to make my celebration-loving father a special 70th birthday during social distancing and poor weather limiting social distance gathering options. I tend to get unnecessarily upset when my baking efforts turn out poorly so I was hesitant in picking the right chocolate cake (his favorite) recipe but it felt more special to make than to purchase. This cake was an incredible success on all fronts!! I used a mix of 60% chocolate chips and 90% chocolate bar because that’s what I had on hand and subbed the water for coffee. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly as is and it was moist, fudgy, rich, complex, and delicious. My mom said it was the best cake she had in a while and the two of them ate the leftovers within two days (and they aren’t big dessert people). Thank you for making decadent recipes that are approachable for the less experienced and easily grumpy home cooks/bakers so we can make our loved ones (and ourselves) feel special!!
This cake was absolutely divine! It was a cross between a brownie and a lava cake. So rich! I had a question for the experts. My cake sunk a little in the middle while cooking. What can I do differently to prevent this from happening again?
I always made a simple bday cake from the Berkeley Parents network since my son was 1 year old, but last night was my birthday, and I wanted something a little more graceful. This cake was absolutely perfect. I invited a bunch of friends for hot toddies and presliced cake, byof (bring your own fork), and we celebrated outside on my street in Greenwich Village in 30 degree chill. One friend brought hot chestnuts, everyone drank toddies, and everyone loved this amazing, light, delicious, perfect cake. I pushed the batter a little to the edge to avoid the center issues people mentioned, but lordie, who cares if it doesn’t look perfect? Slather that chocolate cream and a strawberry on each piece, pull aside your mask to wolf it down from six feet apart on a cold winter day with friends, and you got yourself a party! Thank you, Deb and Valerie!
Lovely recipe, I’d like to try again. First go, at 25 minutes it was fully liquid beneath a thin solid layee on top. At 35 minutes the top looked decent, if a little dry, but a toothpick still came out with batter. The rise was as I expected… Thoughts on where I went amiss?
A 24th birthday cake for my daughter. We loved it. I made it as a single layer, dusted it w powdered sugar, and served it with vanilla ice cream and a mixture of orange slices and berries. In my hotter than average oven, it was just shy of being over baked at 23 minutes. Sunk a wee bit in the center, but I find that charming.
Can I just do a 9×13 cake
My family had a chocolate hankering this past weekend and this recipe totally satisfied it! I’m 50/50 on not having appropriately whipped the eggs whites either!
Thank you Deb for yet another wonderful recipe.
Saw it, made it right away…it’s FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!! The only tiny addition I made was to add 1/4 tsp espresso powder. Definitely my new favorite chocolate cake❤️
P.S. I used 1/3 Hershey’s cocoa, 1/3 Bensdorp Dutch- process cocoa, and 1/3 KAF “Black” cocoa
Can i substitute almond flour for the white flour?
Made this cake … again. It is the perfect “adult” chocolate cake. Only change to the recipe is using 3 TBL of decaf espresso instead of water. Do not overtake this cake. In my oven it takes 28 minutes. Brought it to a holiday dinner party last night and everyone loved it. Rich in chocolate flavor, but the lightest cake, not too sweet and the most delicate crumb. Oh and I served it with very lightly sweetened Kahlua whipped cream.
I never frost it but often make a stencil for a powdered sugar design, hosts initial, etc last night was a Christmas tree. Deb, thank you for continuing to provide all of us with amazing recipes and wonderful antidotes. Happy Holidays.
When our Christmas plans were rerouted (thx, Covid), we comforted ourselves with this. I used a 86% dark Lindt bar & chocolate chips with dark cocoa, and baked it for 40 minutes – until the top didn’t jiggle. It sank into deep, dense, tenderness. We topped it with sweetened whipped cream and fancy sprinkles, and felt a little less disappointed.
I was so excited about this cake, the batter was luxurious and the dark chocolate flavor is perfect BUT it was dry and crumbly….I wonder if cooking even less time
Would help? Maybe 15-20 minutes instead of 25-30? I’m curious what went wrong, we are at high elevation.
I love this blog and have made many many of the wonderful recipes, but I rarely write a comment. I feel compelled to comment now because I made this cake for my mother’s 75th birthday last night and everyone, in our small family of 6, loved it. Now I am sitting at my desk, trying to work, literally fighting back tears, because there aren’t enough left overs and I want more cake. And I don’t want to share. And my 5yo is going to come home from school and there won’t be any left and then SHE will cry. Next time I am making 2!
What would you say about replacing the water with strong coffee?
Go for it!
This is an easy and absolutely delicious cake. I increased the recipe by 50% for a bigger crowd, and so we’d have leftovers. I also added a couple of extra egg whites that I had in the fridge from earlier in the weekend. I used a mix of 55% dark chocolate and 70% dark chocolate, which provided a nice depth of flavour along with the cocoa powder.
My 12 year old requested a ‘molleux’ for her birthday. I didn’t trust the chocolate molleux recipe that I’d written on the flyleaf of the first cookbook I ever bought when I was 18, despite the fact that I wrote it down while living in France that year. So I was delighted that Smitten Kitchen had a recipe for me – and it was perfect! (And it was pretty darn close to the one that I’d jotted down way back when, actually). Thanks for giving us a new recipe to add into circulation.
Well I’m just throwing this out there….I had an egg separating “accident” and ended up with a bowl of eggs. Since I could not beat the whites separately I beat the eggs and sugar with my hand mixer until they were pretty fluffy and then folded them into the chocolate. I honestly could not tell the difference in the end result, and I have made this cake many times the “right” way. I have to say I will probably keep doing it my “new ” way – much faster! Also I halved the recipe and used a 6″ pan…same baking time…perfect!