the i want chocolate cake cake Recipes

the ‘i want chocolate cake’ cake

About six weeks ago, around 9 p.m. on a day I had consumed mostly air and maybe a slice of toast because I couldn’t for the life of me imagine how food had ever tasted good, without any warning, I wanted a slice of chocolate cake with swirls of chocolate frosting and probably some sprinkles and the sprinkles, so help them, better be rainbow. Except the word “wanted” doesn’t accurately describe the craving; it was suddenly everything. I needed a piece of chocolate cake so badly that I began to regret every cupcake shop I’d ever walked past and not gone in during the height of the mid-aughts cupcake craze. I regretted not licking every beater of chocolate buttercream that had ever crossed my path when I worked at a bakery in high school. And I regretted that when I asked my husband why we didn’t have any chocolate cake, he said “because you haven’t made any?” He was correct — I’d made them dinner, instead — and the great unraveling of all that had once been right and good but failed to lead me to chocolate cake continued.

what you'll need plus some buttermilk
sift the dry ingredients if your cocoa is lumpy

I recently warned (threatened?) that I might have to exclusively dedicate this space for a while to a few currently acceptable categories, those that involve butter, bread, peanut butter or chocolate. And while I’m happy to tell you that my interest in most foods (except for chicken, sweet potatoes and soup, they know what they did) has returned, my devotion to these categories hasn’t waned in the slightest. So, here is the promised Oh My God, Is That Chocolate Cake? Give It To Me Right Now Cake. Or The Nothing Is Ever Going To Be Okay Again If I Don’t Have Chocolate Cake Cake. Or The I Want Chocolate Cake Cake. Really, I tried to come up with a less cumbersome title, but “chocolate cake with chocolate frosting” doesn’t connote the central urgency here.

thick batter, spread it flat

chocolate, butter, sugar, milk, vanilla
just blend it!
thwunk of chocolate buttercream

And hey, if you are someone who doesn’t occasionally have a need for rainbow-confetti-ed and chocolate buttercream-ed chocolate cake that is so loud, it drowns out everything else, please step away from my cake. But if you’ve been there, you’ve felt this, this is for you. I mean, us. I mean, you can have a slice but after that you have to go home and make your own. It’s really easy, a mostly one-bowl cake and frosting. Think of it as my New York Sheet Cake, intense (the impact of cocoa and unsweetened chocolate should not be underestimated), rich (butter, in all of it), tiny (one-eighth of a sheet, to be particular) and quick to make, so you can just because you want it but not have it stay long enough to cause any permanent damage.

the 'i want chocolate cake' cake
the 'i want chocolate cake' cake

One year ago: Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel (you should totally make it this weekend)
Two years ago: French Onion Tart
Three years ago: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Four years ago: Pina Colada Cake
Five years ago: Thick Chewy Granola Bars and Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)
Six years ago: Soft Pretzel Refresh and Meatball Sliders
Seven years ago: Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs
Eight years ago: Baked Tomato Sauce

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles
1.5 Years Ago: Key Lime Popsicles (still a favorite!)
2.5 Years Ago: Leek Chard and Corn Flatbread
3.5 Years Ago: Naked Tomato Sauce

The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake

I regret to tell you that this cake is nothing exactly new, and it’s not because I’m out of ideas (I hope not, at least! One should never taunt the idea faeries, of course.) but because when I found my perfect one-bowl chocolate cake (which we’ve made as an everyday loaf, then riffed as a fudgy layered sheet cake and red wine chocolate wonder, I promise, I can stop anytime) and ridiculously easy fudgy chocolate buttercream, there was no need to keep looking. Here, I’ve slimmed the base and dropped a little sugar to make a thin chocolate cake layer and topped it with an unholy, unapologetic amount of frosting. Because when you really need chocolate cake, I vote for doing it properly.

Yield: 1 generously frosted 8×8-inch cake, which we cut into 16 small squares.
Could also yield: 1 generously frosted 8-inch or 9-inch round cake, 12 very generously frosted cupcakes, or it could be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan. Could also be scaled and stacked as a birthday cake.

Cake
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (145 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk (see Notes for other options)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt

Frosting
2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy)
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)
1 tablespoons cream or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F (175°c). Line the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, and either butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy; scrape down bowl. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, then the buttermilk and mix again. Scrape the bowl down well and don’t worry if the batter looks uneven. Place your flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a sifter (I find this step necessary because my cocoa is very lumpy) and shake it over the batter bowl. Stir on low until just combined; scrape down bowl a final time. Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth flat. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes (updated, based on feedback) 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in cake pan on cooling rack, then flip out onto rack or serving plate to completely finish cooling before frosting. Speed this up by placing it outside for 10 minutes (thanks, winter!).

Make the frosting: Place frosting ingredients in a food processor and run machine to to mix. Scrape down bowl then process for another 1 to 2 minutes (updated based on feedback) just until smooth and somewhat fluffed. [Don’t have a food processor? Beat butter, powdered sugar and salt, if using, in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Pour in chocolate, milk and vanilla, beat until combined, then one more minute to whip it further.] Scoop the frosting onto the cooled chocolate cake and swirl it around. Finish with rainbow sprinkles; don’t even fight it. Cut into squares and prepare for your family/roommates to completely freak out when they spy it on the counter. (But only share if they offer to do dishes.)

Cake keeps at room temperature for a day or two, or in the fridge up to a week, or so I’ve heard but never tested out.

Notes:
Red wine chocolate cake, mocha chocolate cake: You could replace the buttermilk in full with yogurt or sour cream thinned with a little milk or water, with red wine or replace 1/2 cup of it with strong coffee. (Keep 1/4 cup buttermilk so you’ll have an acidic ingredient to wake up the baking soda.)

I don’t have Dutched cocoa: Dutch-process cocoa (generally speaking, it’s the standard in European brands) differs from natural cocoa (what you have if your cocoa isn’t labeled Dutch, or if it’s an American brand) in that its acidity has been neutralized to form a darker, nuttier cocoa that I prefer. That said, if you don’t have Dutched but only a regular or natural cocoa, I haven’t tested this cake with it but suspect that you’ll be just fine, although the cake may be less dark in color.

How I like to swirl frosting: I always use a small offset spatula (have I convinced you to buy one yet? Seriously, $4. Do it.) and I think the secret is to always push the frosting from the center out, not pull it back. So, push and then make an S-swirl, push and S-swirl, repeat and always quit while you’re ahead (hard, because it’s so fun).

Confetti sprinkles: I got mine from New York Cake on 22nd Street but, of course, Amazon sells them as well.

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436 comments on the ‘i want chocolate cake’ cake

  1. Did you see the Tasting Table chocolate cake recipe from a few days ago? They touted it as something like WORLD’S BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE so I saved it and figured we’d make it this weekend for our weekly baking project. (Although I’ll need to squeeze in a hamentashen session at some point as well.) But frosting in a food processor? A button to press? You’ve totally made my two-year-old’s day.

    Incidentally, I did walk into every cupcake store and bakery during my first pregnancy. It added up to a 65 lb. weight gain which I finally lost, literally, three weeks before this second pregnancy. Fewer bakeries this time, but more baking in the kitchen.

  2. Christine

    I didn’t want chocolate cake 5 minutes ago, but now I do. ;)

    Just so happens I made the everyday chocolate cake in the loaf pan over the weekend for my dad’s birthday. It traveled well unbaked in the loaf pan, then brought to room temp and baked the next day, it turned out perfectly. Everyone commented how fudgey it was. I made a berry compote to go with it which paired super well. (One bag frozen berries, thawed, cooked in a small saucepan until they make a thick sauce, with a little bit of vanilla and grand marnier, just because).

    Thanks for the every day inspiration!

  3. Emily

    Deb, I love you. No particular comment on this cake (although it looks UH-MAZING), but I love you and I appreciate your blog so much. I had a rather sad brownie experience last night and I am so appreciative of how consistent your blog and the results one gets from it are. And as a fellow pregnant lady who’s had these chocolate cravings – I totally feel you.

  4. mimi

    Your food aversions made me smile. At 11 weeks, mine are fish (every kind except the rare tuna salad sandwich), risotto or risotto-like creations, and chocolate in most forms. Needless to say, I won’t be making this cake, but I’ll stay tuned :)

  5. YES YES YES! I have been refreshing your blog all day ever since you said on instagram last night that you’d be posting the recipe today. Insanely perfect timing since it’s my boyfriend’s birthday in two weeks and his only request for his cake was “chocolate, chocolate and chocolate”. I really hope I can replicate that crazy looking icing. Quick question! I’ve never made a red wine and chocolate cake, but it sounds super yum – how does it change the flavour? Is it very “winey”? If I use wine, should I replace all the buttermilk with it?
    Anna

    1. deb

      Anna — You can replace all of the buttermilk with wine, because wine is an acidic ingredient (almost a match in ph, if I remember correctly from my research a few years ago). I actually wrote about making it that way over here. It’s especially lovely with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon as well.

  6. Beth

    I’ve made your version of this food processor frosting a bajillion times and it’s amazing. Simple, rich, delicious, perfect. The first time I did it, I gave you a “we’re not worthy” bow b/c I had been stuck in a Swiss Meringue Buttercream nightmare. Hooray for frosting!

  7. Liz

    You read my mind! I’m not normally a chocolate cake person, but I’ve been crazy for it this week. I even went digging in our cabinets last night to see if we had any unsweetened chocolate around (alas, no) because I was feeling it so strongly! Well, it is a sign from above, so now this cake is definitely getting made today.

  8. Anne

    This looks wonderful! I’m pretty sure it’s fine, but will a 9 inch round pan work just as well? They’re about the same area (63.6 vs 64 square inches) but will it affect the baking time at all?

  9. Alexandra

    Do you think it would work if I cut the two tablespoons of granulated sugar? (I’ve mostly cut out eating sugar but this cake looks like it has little enough of it that it would be good when I want a treat!)

    1. deb

      Alexandra — You probably can, but I think you’ll be surprised at how not terribly sweet this cake is, despite the seemingly large amount. Cocoa powder, especially in that volume, is quite bitter. I’ve cut down the sugar a bit over the years, a little each time I make it, but I’m not planning to dip further than this.

  10. Wanda

    Oh my gosh, this is happening tonight. It’s funny – I wasn’t a cake person (blasphemy, I know – donuts were my thing) until I got pregnant, and then one day I was like “CAKE. I MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE CAKE.” My son is 7 months old and the craving still pops up now and then. Congratulations on your wonderful news, and I can’t wait for your next cookbook!

    1. deb

      Jenny — I haven’t tried it but it might work. You want to make sure this gets really blended/whipped, so you’ll probably want to scrape down the bowl and blade a lot.

  11. gmg

    I know you’ve given us variations on it before, but for some reason the photos here really drove home that this chocolate buttercream appears to be the frosting I have been looking for all my life. Which means that it’s time for me to actually make it instead of just admiring the photos. Thanks yet again, Deb!

  12. Emily

    I believe I saw that exact offset spatula for a nice price at TJ Maxx today and I didn’t buy it because I thought I would never use such a small one. Regrets: I have many.

  13. I kinda wish I had seen this last night, I was looking for some easy, yummy, recipe to make on the quick, where I actually had the ingredients on hand already, and this totally would have fit the bill. Maybe tonight?! Mmmm chocolate cake…

  14. SaraQ

    I still use your Double Chocolate Layer cake every year for my husband’s birthday. It is the best! I look forward to giving this one a try too.

  15. Kristin

    This post could not have been more timely! I just made your “best birthday cake” with the addition of chocolate chips for my fiance’s birthday, and he requested a chocolate buttercream frosting. I know this recipe is going to be fantastic.

    ….And P.S. I think SmittenKitchen is AT LEAST 10% of the reason why my fiance proposed to me. Every recipe I have made has turned out delicious and has brought a smile to his face. Thank you for an awesome cooking blog!

  16. Susan

    First. Finally, a SK cake! (this is my idea of an egg dish, fwiw!) Second. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made that chocolate loaf cake, it’s one of my very favorites, even thought it has no frosting, top or center!

    Third. Everyone, Deb is right, get that small offset spatula. It is the kitchen tool that will make spreading cake batter, especially in round pans (among many other spreading chores) and icing a cake so much easier! I could kick myself for not getting one ages ago. I use it so much more often than I ever thought I would. My larger offset languishes in the drawer unused except for sheet pan spreading jobs. TMI?

    Husband is on a single layer cake (he calls them sheet cakes, even though the ones I make at his request, are not) bender right now. Me? I like a center filled with frosting, which is one reason I have never been enamored of cupcakes either. This recipe will do nicely while the bender is ongoing!

    More cake, please!

  17. Pat

    Yes! Chocolate Cake. Your name for the cake reminded me of our favorite chocolate cake recipe -“That Chocolate Cake.” But as you’ve proven multiple times a person can have several favorites; especially brownies and chocolate cake. Looks yummy. Time will confirm.

  18. Katie

    This post could not be timed more perfectly. I am making a cake this weekend and was planning on doing the golden cake from your cookbook (which always turns out perfectly!) with chocolate buttercream, but let’s be real. What I really want is chocolate on chocolate.

    Question: Do you have an opinion on buttercreams that use melted chocolate vs cocoa powder? I find melting and cooling the chocolate to be the most annoying task, and have seen recipes that simply call for cocoa powder instead.

  19. Toni

    Is this the chocolate frosting that was on the Monkey Cake, because that was amazing, and got rave reviews at my son’s birthday party!

  20. JessB

    Your one-bowl chocolate cake is PERFECTION. I wish I’d never made it because I CRAVE it and I’m not pregnant. You also ruined me with Dutch processed cocoa. I will never go back to regular. Life’s too short to do that.

  21. Well, my healthy lunch of last night’s leftovers seems utterly unsatisfying now. I will be making a mid-afternoon trip (through the snow!) to the bakery across from my office for a chocolate piece of cake. I can’t wait.

  22. Adrienne

    Oh Deb, as I am now a little over 4 months pregnant, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that our cravings are in sync. I literally said 2 minutes ago “I think we will just have leftovers for dinner, but I could really use a chocolate cake”… Fate brought me and this recipe together! Thanks! And best wishes to you and your growing family!

  23. Karina

    Deb, you so perfectly describe what I experienced with food when I was pregnant!! Reading this blog right now brings back so many memories. There is a need for certain things (I went through an egg phase, hamburger phase, chocolate cake phase) that can only be described as a deep aching soul hunger…I haven’t ever been truly “starving” before, thank goodness, but I imagine pregnant cravings are similar…thanks for letting those of us who are past that stage in life live vicariously through you and your delicious soul satisfying recipes!

  24. Not to be anal or anything, but to be, umm, anal, I guess: why is everything 3/4th or 2/3rd of the loaf cake but the egg is actually 1.5x? Enquiring minds want to know. (Okay, I see that you had already changed to doubling the eggs back at the red wine version. Hmm.)

    This is so totally the wrong place for this, but I will ask anyway. In the past, iirc, you have mentioned having a salad dressings section in the Recipe Index. Not sure if you still think this would be worthwhile, but if you were to do it, I would -totally- use it.

    Thanks!

  25. stacy

    This! This is the Cake! Baby is now 3 months. My whole 10 month long pregnancy plus these 3 postpartum months have been filled with with the desire.. no OBSESSION with finding the perfect chocolate cake. I never found it, and was too lazy to try to make it (i’m never satisfied with my own baked goods anyway). I need this cake in my life, and I need someone else to make it!

  26. Leah

    How? How do you make the frosting look so swirly and delicious? I don’t even like frosting but I’m drooling at the sight of yours!

  27. Nikki

    A few weeks ago I was laying around feeling sorry for myself and my all-day sickness (morning sickness is a very inaccurate name!) when I suddenly NEEDED brownies, so I feel you on this! Saving this recipe for when my next chocolate craving hits….and hoping I can eat real food again in the near future!

  28. Amy P

    At seven weeks (for the third time), I both totally understand these intense cravings and can’t tell if I actually want this cake or not. Maybe I just want the icing-free cake? Especially because I could make it and then end up suddenly repulsed by it. I’ve taken to drive thrus lately because I can decide what I want, not be involved in cooking it, and eat it five minutes later – hopefully all before I change my mind! Sad but true. Just five more weeks of this!

  29. deb

    liz — I have no idea! I’ll be as surprised as everyone else. :)

    Katie — I think buttercreams with melted chocolate are better, or, at least I love this one most of all. The intensity from the smallest amount of unsweetened chocolate is surprising; plus, it’s so bitter, it really helps offset the sugar-assault that butter-powdered sugar icings usually are. Melting and cooling is an annoying process. I usually melt half of the chocolate (chopped) and stir in the rest until melted. At this point, it’s usually cooled to lukewarm. 5 minutes outside on a winter day, it’s good to go.

    Toni — Yes, same as the Monkey Cake. Once I found it, I saw no reason to keep looking.

    handfulofshadows — I actually continually tweak this cake, but I tend not to edit the earlier versions because they work and everyone is happy with them. But yes, I did up the egg on all future versions after the loaf one, and reduced the sugar. And I think increased the proportion of cocoa, too, I think.

    I agree that a salad dressings index would be great. Right now, there’s a limitation because the Index is based on titles, and the title is rarely the name of the dressing, but that could change. At least a Pinterest board might do the trick.

  30. Amanda

    This was SO my recent pregnancy (baby is 10 weeks). I was sick for the first four or five months and couldn’t really eat anything that wasn’t starch plus dairy (mac and cheese, cheese enchiladas, etc.) Then after that i could eat more (though not meat of any kind, or greens), but the only thing i really wanted to eat was your chocolate brownies. So i basically lived off brownies and muffins for the last few months, but i was fine and so is he!

    I’m totally making this cake for his first birthday. And, you know, now.

  31. Sarah

    Deb – this cake looks great and just the type of thing I want to make, but don’t want my husband to realize I am capable of making, lest the requests come non-stop! I hope to try it at some point, but we still have piece of your NY cheesecake in the fridge! YUM!!! This coming from a girl raised in NJ, just outside the City, and whose standard is Junior’s!

    My main purpose in commenting, however, is to commend you on your perfect parenting skills. As every Italian woman knows, if a pregnant woman does not get the food she craves, the baby is in danger of having a birthmark in the shape of said item. Keep in mind that there is no telling where said birthmark will show up… I am pretty sure my mother is not the only woman to utter the hint, I mean heartfelt words, “Nonni, I want…” only to have her grandmother show up with a big dish of (fill in the blank)!

    Congratulations and prayers for much joy, many full nights of sleep, and lots of laughter and cuddles!

  32. Anna

    You are my hero.

    I’m also pregnant and wanted chocolate cake so badly last week that I was practically begging anyone who would listen to bring some to me! Yes, I could have made it myself, but I’d have had to get out of the bath tub. I am definitely making and eating this on the weekend. Thank you!

  33. Now I’m craving chocolate cake! (and I’m not even pregnant ;) )
    Love how you swirled the frosting on top! (I might as well admit that I lost my train of thought a few times while writing that sentence and just thought “I want chocolate cake.” I think you’re rubbing off on me :) )

  34. Kate

    I guess I wasn’t in the mood for sticky buns last week, or I would have been up on all the news, but I didn’t know about the baby! Or the book! I’m thrilled on both counts. Congratulations! When can we pre-order the new cookbook?

  35. Another site question: you’ve said that site updates are in the works. Will the “N years ago” parts be automated after that? I know that you do them by hand right now, and I totally admire your patience with that, hence the q :)

    1. deb

      handfulofshadows — I don’t think they’ll be automated because I don’t think there’s a way to do it the way I want them to look. (Or, I’d have done it already. I add new plugins and make changes here all of the time.) It’s definitely a pain this way, but if people like the links, I’m happy to add them.

  36. Lauren

    Have never liked chocolate cake (other chocolate things -oooh yeah,) but the color of this one (soooo dark), has me wondering if this will be the one that changes my mind. All my friends at work will love me though- if it doesn’t make a believer out of me, as they will profit from my experiment. It will be a win for somebody for sure, since your goodies usually are. I truly hope it will be me…

  37. Abbie

    I love the size of this cake. And I’m a sucker for any cake with those confetti sprinkles on it. I need to get some to keep them in reserve for when I want cake (which is today and always).

  38. Aarthi

    Deb,
    Not related to this awesome looking cake, but since you are the queen of all things brown butter- have you tried making Brown butter scones? We had one at Tilth up here in Seattle this last weekend- it had buttermilk, browned butter, hazelnuts and currants and I want to eat there everyday just for this one scone!

  39. Mel

    Deb this is just. Dear God. The best looking thing ever. After the corn muffins. And the cardio/working out/yoga that followed. I’m on my way to a weight loss/fitness goal. And now you’ve posted the cake I have dreamed of. Chocolate cake, with rainbow sprinkles, is simply the best thing ever. I am planning to make this next week, and I don’t know if I should send a hug to you or be irritated that you continue to post such delicious recipes! lol j/k :)

  40. Debby

    Deb, the cake sounds fabulous, but I have to tell you, your introduction had me laughing out loud. I remember those strange feelings of strongly disliking (yes, they know what they did) familiar flavors and textures. Have a great weekend!

  41. Grace

    Hey Deb! Thanks for posting- I love your recipes, and especially enjoy the baking ones :) I keep running into the same problem with cake baking though, and I wanted to ask for your advice. I love baking (and eating) cake, but I’ve never liked chocolate cake! It’s the favorite of my family and friends though, so I’m trying to create a chocolate cake recipe that both they and I will enjoy. I think that I would like chocolate cake better if it were significantly less sweet. I love bittersweet chocolate, but nothing much sweeter than that. How can I cut down on the sugar in a cake recipe without throwing off the volume and texture? Any suggestions or ideas you might have would be much appreciated! Thanks :)

  42. deb

    Grace — Sugar provides moisture to cakes, too, so it’s not ideal to just drop it. I find that it’s hard to get a bittersweet chocolate taste in a cake from bittersweet chocolate itself, because the chocolate itself is sweetened. One thing you can try when you see a recipe for a chocolate cake that uses bittersweet chocolate is to replace it with unsweetened chocolate, which is more intense and of course, not sweet. Meanwhile, you should make this one; it’s not very sweet and quite moist. (The frosting, of course, is very sweet. As it should be.)

    Aarthi — I haven’t, but it sounds really good. My question with brown butter in baked goods is always the same: can you taste it? I find it can easily get lost in cakes but in a vanilla or brown sugar cookie, is easy to taste. Could you really taste it in the scone? Was there a brown butter-sugar glaze on it too?

  43. Grace

    Thank-you Deb! I will try this recipe with coffee :) I’m excited to experiment with unsweetened in place of bittersweet chocolate- I hadn’t thought of that before!

  44. Joanne Richards

    I must say, something that involves both the food processor and mixer does not qualify as a one bowl cake. I’ve just made this and I find the frosting ridiculously sweet-I don’t think I am even going to put it on the cake :-( I think Australian tastebuds must be a lot less sweet. I would halve the sugar in the frosting for next time-I haven’t tried the cake itself so do not know if it is equally as sweet.

  45. Joanne Richards

    Ok the cake itself is delicious :-) Next time I’d cut out the granulated sugar and cut the brown down to 100g or even 80g (I find less than the flour is generally a good amount) to make it a little less sweet.

  46. Molly

    Just made this and can’t wait to dig in! I didn’t have unsweetened chocolate, so used bittersweet and cut the sugar to about 3/4 c. Delicious frosting. I wanted to eat it all.

  47. Your recipes are so easy and relate-able, and yet so novel, and your photography is scrumptious. Nice job, as always, Deb.

    I love that I don’t have to go to five different grocery stores to find the ingredients.

  48. Jane M

    Boy those MEANIES ar NY CAKE did it again when you click on their link it doesn’t work. I shop there because they have EVERYTHING FOR BAKING but….they aren’t the most pleasant peeps I’ve come across. THIS CAKE LOOKS SO YUMMY!!!!!! Oh and happy 2nd baby on the way to you! Weeeee!

  49. Linda

    Hey Deb – This looks marvelous! Just enough for one ;) Quick question – can I use light brown sugar instead of the dark brown? I just don’t have the room (or the energy!) to buy both & I’ve almost always got the light brown kind around. Thanks in advance!

  50. Jenny

    My head isn’t working for conversions right now: will this make a 6″ round 2-layer cake as is, or would that require halving the recipe? The volume of a 6″ round is half a 9″ round; yay pi. My daughter wishes for a chocolate layer cake filled with chocolate chip ice cream for her birthday next week, and 6″ cakes are my family’s favorite size.

  51. Gina

    I’m glad to know we share the same pregnancy cravings :) makes me not feel so bad about the 24 chocolate cupcakes I just HAD to make last week. But seriously, that post about the carvel ice cream cake weeks ago is still haunting me.

  52. my friend this cake is gorgeous! you know, something about being in the family way (i’m assuming that’s what’s going on???) makes some foods terrible, but others so much more DELICIOUS than you’d have ever imagined. good luck and thanks for the beautiful cake!

  53. Lucy

    This recipe is so disappointing, especially after all the other ones I’ve made from your site. The cake is heavy, not sweet, a chore to eat, and the only redeeming thing about it is the frosting – and that’s because it has a half cup of butter in it! Not a recipe to save, though the pictures are pretty.

  54. Susan

    Deb, I made this frosting tonight and I found it almost too bitter as written. I had to add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. I was hoping it would work with the quite sweet yellow cake my husband requested but I was to worried about it to wait and see. Even with the extra sugar, it was still bitter-sweet but in a good way. I will use this again because it was so creamy and smooth and didn’t have that powdered sugar chalkiness or ultra sweet after taste.

  55. This looks so good and I know my little girl would love this. I love the recipe and will have fun making this with her. I can’t wait to get all the ingredients and bake this cake! The photos really drew me in mmmmm

  56. Susan

    Man, I wasn’t going to print this one out (it’s just sheet cake, right?), but it was reading the word “chocolate” for, what, maybe the 57th time in one post, while reading the list of ingredients that finally got me. The combination of butter, sugar, sugar, cocoa, buttermilk, cream, and sea salt all in quick list read effectively slayed my weak will power.

  57. Adrienne K

    Dear Deb- I’m hoping you can solve a problem for me. I recently doubled a recipe that was originally a 8×8 or 9×9 pan and put it in a 9×13 pan. Everyone told me I used the wrong pan and I got a chemistry lesson and another one on finding the right pan (which I still don’t understand). I see you doubled this using the 9×13 like I did…. Can you explain how you choose a pan when doubling a recipe? Thanks!

  58. Kristin

    So, tomorrow is my birthday, and I’m already planning to make David Lebovitz’s salted butterscotch pudding, BUT we are also getting a decent snowstorm, so I think the weekend might require this chocolate cake as well! You’ve made it sound irresistible!!

  59. Nicole

    I laughed at the “we cut it into 16 small squares”. I have 2 teenage boys. This cake would feed one of them, maybe 2 if they were forced to share. Probably for breakfast. :)

  60. Jessiet

    So making this! We just finished my husband’s “favorite chocolate cake”, which is my Mom’s recipe for chocolate mayonnaise cake (don’t laugh–it’s outrageously good), but yours sounds even better. I didn’t know that was even possible. More cocoa, brown sugar, that extra egg yolk for richness, etc, etc. Thank you for always inspiring me! You’re the best. Love your “I’m pregnant recipes”!

  61. deb

    Jenny — Yes, you can make 2 6-inch round layers from this cake; the layers would be ever-so-barely-slightly thicker than the 8-inch square would be, but not a bad thing, as you can see the 8-inch square is very thin (maybe .75″). (See more details on how I figure this out below, but it sounds like you already know. #allhailpi!)

    Adrienne — 9×13 isn’t the wrong pan for doubling an 8×8, in fact, it’s about as close as you’ll get to doubled from a standard pan. I compare sizes using the area of the bottom of the cake pan, because generally when you’re doubling or scaling up a recipe, you’d like the cake layers to be the same height, just bigger. So, 9×13 = 117, 9×9 = 81, 8×8 = 64, 9-inch round area = 63.6, i.e. if you double a 9-inch round or 8-inch square in a 9×13, it’s a pretty good match, but the cake will be ever-so-slightly thicker but close enough. If you double a 9×9 in a 9×13, it’s less of perfect match; the cake might end up 1.5x thicker. None of these are a dealbreaker, of course, just good to know going in. (P.S. I did not double the cake this time, I just baked it in an 8×8, but I have before to make a layered sheet cake.)

    Emily — If my notes are correct from the last time I converted it, you’ll get 12 standard. You’ll have more icing than you need, but of course, need is relative. You could just heap it like a bakery does.

    Linda — Yes, it just might be a little more pale in color.

    Kate — Check out overstock.com. I find they have a great range of those clamp-top canning jars. Just buy the biggest ones they have. I think you have to buy 6 at a time.

    Jane M — Ugh, I give up. I try to give credit to stores where I buy things, and not just Amazon all the time, but I can’t help if their site doesn’t have permalinks in the year 2015. You can find it under Sugar and Sprinkles > Assorted Shapes. It’s an okay price, at least.

    Susan — Wait, howww? I’m so surprised. I make this frosting whenever I need to ice cupcakes or a kid birthday cake (i.e. several times a year) and if anything, it’s on the sweet side. I mean, it’s definitely on the sweet side, like all powdered sugar buttercreams. Definitely only two ounces chocolate, right? I agree that it can make a passable thickness for a 9×13, but clearly, I was going for excess here. :) (Also, see Joanne’s comment!)

    Joanne — I agree; frosting this sweet is definitely more of an American thing. Also, such an epic amount. Glad you enjoyed the cake in the end. You can also bake it as a lovely loaf.

    Lucy — I’m sorry to hear that. I feel like something went wrong because it shouldn’t seem heavy; rich with chocolate and not terribly sweet, yes, but I make it for almost every birthday layer cake and it’s always just delightfully tender and moist, especially, like most cakes, on day two. Did you use Dutched cocoa? You’re not at a higher elevation, are you? I hope I can get to the bottom of it.

    Rebecca — Here you go. I usually just add a tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and don’t fuss about the extra spoonful. Do let it clabber for 10 to 15 minutes for a thicker texture.

  62. Fran

    Does anyone have suggestions for making this cake dairy-free, other than wine? I could swap out the butter for margarine, but wasn’t sure what would work to replace the buttermilk. I’ve heard mayonnaise suggested before – has anyone tried that?

    1. deb

      Fran — You can use coffee for most of the buttermilk and I’ve heard good things about mayo too. I believe it’s acidic as well, which you’ll need when using baking soda.

  63. “They know what they did” is killing me right now. Thank you for the laughs and the chocolate as I wrap up my hell week! Grad school is sometimes miserable but also wonderful. :) This looks amazing; can’t wait to try it!

  64. This is how I feel about chocolate on a regular basis. Are you saying this is not normal? It’s supposed to be reserved for only specific times? Like pregnancy? Then I’m in trouble. Just looking at these pictures makes me feel the urgency. I need cake in my face, or everyone in this office will have to pay!

  65. Annie

    Made this last night – great timing as the boyfriend’s 35th was yesterday and usually my desserts are “too fancy” for him. Adjusted the cake for high elevation (extra 1 Tb flour, 1 Tb less of sugar, and 2 eggs instead of the 1+yolk) and it was perfect. Rich but perfect cut in 16 squares, and hit the chocolate spot. Thank you!

  66. stephanie

    thank you, deb, for the small chocolate cake! it is the number one thing boyperson asks for, half in jest but i know he really wants it, but i’m not going to bake a whole giant two layer cake, and scaling down baking recipes is something i haven’t wanted to try. but now…all shall be right in the world. and fat. fatty fat fat.

    bring on the sweatpants!

    ps, is there a sub for the unsweetened chocolate? only asking as i have all the other ingredients except that. which i should buy just to have…but in the meantime…

    pps, is there a softening butter hack? boyperson also always complains that our apartment is cold…i hadn’t noticed until i realized the butter on the counter wasn’t soft. i always leave some out in case of a sudden urge or need to bake or for bread buttering needs, and while it’s not fridge hard, it is not at all baking soft/room temp. and we’re talking been on the counter for days.

  67. JessicaD

    Deb, I recently bought your cookbook here in Dublin (Ireland, not Ohio), and it looks so, so great. I’ve made several recipes from your blog, so I knew the kind of quality I could expect, but still, I wasn’t expecting to be wooed into buying another cookbook when I have plenty that don’t receive enough attention as it is. But the choice of recipes plus the use of WEIGHTS for ingredients overpowered me. Then I went to Copenhagen, staying in a stranger’s apartment through Airbnb, and your cookbook was in this Danish woman’s kitchen! And she had marked so many pages with little pink tabs! I felt bonded to this woman I’d never met through your cookbook. ;) Anyway, I’m sure you know how well your book is selling by the numbers, but I thought I’d share the glee of finding your book and an enthusiastic audience in a couple of different countries. xx

  68. Love that you include the alternatives for the liquid moisture. And I love the suggestion of sour cream thinned with coffee — sounds like my kinda cake!!

    Stephanie, if you cut up your butter into little pieces and let it sit while you measure out your dry ingredients it will often soften up even more. That and maybe set it in a bowl on your warming stove!! I get impatient so I usually do both. :) xx

  69. deb

    stephanie — I suppose you could use a bittersweet chocolate, the most bitter you can find, but it will make the frosting more sweet/less dark. You can drop the sugar a little, but too much and it won’t be thick enough as a frosting.

    For softening butter, what anne said (I like to cut it in pieces first, so there’s no melty spot in the middle of a big stick). Or, what I do more often is if you’re using a stand mixer anyway, just cut it into chunks and let the paddle soften it. Beat it on high, scrape down the bowl, beat it some more, etc, until it’s mixable. No extra dish, too.

    anne — Coffee, at least as far as I could read about it, has the same ph as water (5/neutral). It may taste acidic or strong, but it’s due to a ph change, just flavor.

    JessicaD — Thank you.

  70. Susan

    Deb, re: your comment to me above, I may have been a little hasty in my judgment as the first taste while mixing hadn’t had time to settle in with all the sugar and butter so the flavor was still overwhelmingly bitter. Even the first piece of cake, which was shortly after icing it, the frosting was still very soft and the flavor was intensely bitter chocolate. This morning, however, it has settled down some and is more balanced and it’s firmer. Bottom line, it needed to be made well enough in advance to get to the best consistency and flavor. That extra 1/2 cup of powdered sugar didn’t really hurt the flavor, it’s still very chocolaty, just not as bitter. (fwiw-I used Sharfenberger unsweetened. One block (1/5) of the 9.7oz bar of chocolate is a touch less than 2oz. It was pretty powerful at first while mixing, so I won’t go by first taste ever again!)

  71. JP

    @stephanie#133- You can also substitute 3 tablespoons cocoa and one tablespoon butter or shortening for one ounce of unsweetened chocolate. I always have cocoa on hand, but rarely unsweetened chocolate so I always go this route and it works well. Depending on the recipe, you can melt the butter or shortening and mix in the cocoa until smooth, or just add it to the ingredients as is if it works (like in frosting).

  72. stephanie

    thank you deb, anne, and JP! only asked about the choc sub to see if i could use what i already had on hand. JP hit the nail on the head. thanks again, all! :)

  73. I sooo remember that feeling of “if I don’t have whatever it is I’m craving right now, I will die” feeling from my pregnancies.

    Chocolate cake was a frequent visitor to my kitchen in those days. This one looks just absolutely perfect!

  74. This cake is just gorgeous! It reminds me of childhood parties and I can just imagine how it tastes – my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures! Sometimes the classic simple recipes really are the best :)
    Jennie

  75. Ruby

    Deb, I love you. I realized I had everything in the kitchen already, and promptly went home and made it.

    Boyfriend is allergic to wheat, so I used brown rice flour (he found out two weeks ago so I’m pretty new to this) and I couldn’t tell the difference!

    Bonus: I saved buttermilk last time I bought it by freezing it in ice cube trays – 2 tbsp per cube – so that made impulse cake making that much easier.

  76. Kirsten

    I’ve been a lurker here…since I was in highschool? And I’m a recent grad, now. This is the cake that inspired me to comment.

    It’s been a pretty miserable week, and this cake is exactly what I need. I can already tell by how great the batter is that this cake is going to make the awful week worth it.

    And the Dutch process cocoa seriously made a difference.

  77. serenpoly

    Thank you! Your timing is excellent.

    My Significant-Something-Or-Other, the theatrical sound-and-lighting tech, had a birthday was this week, but he was buried under two show openings and an over-the-top Sweet Sixteen birthday party (can you believe a $200,000 budget????). So we haven’t had The Birthday Dinner (budget about $30… and just a _bit_ more than 16) yet.

    I’m planning to put a cupcake-with-candle into an emptied pop-top can as his present (adapted from http://www.the36thavenue.com/2013/10/birthday-cake-tutorial.html); he’s not big on presents. Now I have a recipe. (And chocolate leftovers with excess icing for me! Score!)

  78. Aarthi

    Deb- Yes! Surprisingly so. There was no glaze but they served it what I think was more slathered brown butter. It was definitely brown-butter-nutty flavored enough that my health conscious husband thought it was whole wheat- did I correct him, no :) I saw some recipes that brown then freeze the butter and use buttermilk instead of cream in the scone. I was thinking of starting with your dreamy cream scones as base and use browned butter. I might even sub some w.w.pastry flour to please the husband. Anyway, its worth the experiment. I will report back when I try it :)

  79. *swoon* How hard was it to take those gorgeous pictures of the finished and then sliced cake without pouncing on them first?? Ye gods all I want is that chocolate cake now (hello final month of pregnancy, so lovely to finally meet you). :)

  80. Sarah

    Perfect timing! I just asked my boyfriend what chocolate afternoon snack should I have today? At 38 weeks, I’ve decided I really should eat whatever I want, especially things that might cause problems when I start breast feeding in a couple weeks. Not that I haven’t eaten what I wanted the whole time, and that want has mostly been chocolate (and frozen mango pieces lately, so good!) anyway I came here looking for the fudgy chocolate cake recipe, that I used for cupcakes a couple months ago. But this will do and maybe I won’t even share it ;)

  81. Dora

    Had to make this because I know that I GOTTA HAVE CAKE feeling well even though I’m not pregnant. I have two boys, almost exactly five years apart, and it’s (mostly) a really good gap. Older one is old enough to be helpful, and old enough to go to school while you have lots of time (and naps) with the new one. Congrats and thanks for this recipe!

  82. Leti

    Do you prefer a particular brand of chocolate for both the Dutch cocoa and the unsweetened chocolate? Just wondering if you use brands that are commonly available in grocery stores (US) or if you use more of a speciality chocolate. Thanks.

  83. Livvy

    Just made this cake tonight and as I have a milk allergy I replaced the buttermilk with 1/2 cup strong coffee and 1/4 cup red wine!! I normally just replace milk with coconut milk/coconut cream in all my baking but tried the wine as don’t know if coconut milk has any acid in it and you were saying that was important. Anyway, wasn’t sure if I was over doing the flavours but the smell of it was amazing going into the oven and it went down well here after tea!! Even the kiddies liked it! Never thought of using wine in cakes before:-) and wine and coffee and chocolate together :-) It was yummy. happy days all the way from Ireland. Love your blog!

  84. Tonya

    I’m so, oh, so sad. My belly partner is revolted by anything sweet or dessert-y, even though that’s what I’m craving the most (now that the “morning” aka 24/7 sickness is gone)! (What a little jerk, amiright?) So I’m logging this recipe away until after August, and I won’t be sharing with the new tiny one AT ALL.

  85. Janet

    Have been needing something chocolate all week and this was it! I did add something tho, two tablespoons of Riversdale organic farm orange and cinnamon marmalade to the cake mixture instead of vanilla, but frosting was your recipe. Completely organic and perfect.

  86. Preston

    So the chocolate cake by itself is fabulous, but I went crazy and substituted the Barefoot Contessa’s peanut butter icing…two fabulous ladies in one dessert treat…I do not have a bunch of gays to invite over, just the boyfriend…and I made it all to get me out of the doghouse. Mission accomplished. Thanks, Deb.

  87. Erin

    Gah!!! What am I doing wrong??? I’m making this for my book club tonight and wanted to time it so I could ice the thing and then hop in the car and head out, only my icing is not fluffy but oily!!! What did I do wrong? I will admit I subbed bittersweet choc for the unsweetened because that’s what I had. I decreased the icing sugar and added a titch of cocoa to compensate. Was that the culprit?!? I’ve tried adding back the sugar in the hopes it will “fluff” but alas, no; it’s an oily albeit fudgy/tasty mess. Help!! I have to leave in 50 min!!

  88. Charlie B

    “Speed up by placing outside for 10 mins” LOLZ
    No bears there then? :)

    Have just put this in the oven. I was a bit worried when I added the buttermilk and it went quite lumpy, but I guess that’s what you meant by uneven.

  89. This was just what we needed tonight for a little impromptu gathering. Pizzas, red wine and, to finish off the carb load, this chocolate cake. We opted for a few fresh strawberry slices on each little square and it was just right. Thanks!!

  90. Deb, how is it that you can take the most simple chocolate cake and make it look so amazing that I think that I will just die if I don’t go make it right now, even though it’s nearly 11 p.m.? I want to dive into that swath of icing. I will be making this soon!

  91. Sarah Weiss

    measurement question! the choc. and zuc conversion site says 1 cup of coco powder is 120 g, but this recipe says 1/2 c is 40g? thank you!

  92. Tracy

    Came out perfect! I had just about everything I needed to make this in my pantry, but I could only muster half the frosting – but it was still excellent. A real end of the week treat. I’ll use this frosting recipe again too: whizzed up this easily in the blender.

  93. Charlie

    Your site is consistently the best food site on the entire internet. It evokes something so real and essential. Thank you for doing this.

  94. anne

    Thank you for the cake recipe, the sprinkles really catch the eye! For the buttermilk substitution, could you use stout in this? or a combination of stout/buttermilk?

    Very much looking forward to any recipe involving peanut butter!

  95. Susan

    Have you ever made the King Arthur cake pan cake?

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/king-arthur-flours-original-cake-pan-cake-recipe

    It has been my go to I-need-chocolate-cake-right-now recipe for years. It’s ludicrously easy and not over the top sweet. I put about a teaspoon of cloves into the dry ingredients sometimes. Yes, that’s odd, I know, but it’s also good. (Hmmm. I bet you could put in the same amount of cinnamon, for a Mexican chocolate vibe….)

    p.s. made your chicken with olives and grapes yet again last week – so so terribly good!

  96. Thanks for such a beautiful site Deb. I’m a long time listener, first time commenter.

    I found you last year, bought the book, and have since made at least a dozen cakes and more. Your writing is awesome, the photos are perfectly approachable and I love the process photos. Your site is the first food blog I’ve read continuously and made things from.

    No one goes without at least a two layer cake for their birthday now. I’ve even had some photos I’ve taken of your recipes published in our local papers, The Vancouver Sun and The Province. It’s so fun to make your recipes, read your stories, and learn to use my new camera while showing your creations in a different way that you have. Thank you for being an inspiration to get me started.

    Made this last night and used the sour cream chocolate frosting from your best birthday cake, I was cheap and had a little left over. I froze it and it thawed out great. I used coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar here, and about 40g less, it works great!

  97. Kitty

    Thank you for posting that note at the end about how you do your frosting! I was meaning to ask you about that as I read through the recipe and your note was a very welcome surprise. Beautiful, btw. :)
    Also, your cheerful writing style has brightened up my day considerably :)

  98. deb

    Kim — Whooooops! I know better than that. Thanks for the clarification.

    anne — I think stout would work just fine. Mainly, you need an acidic ingredient and beer seems to be acidic, from what I’ve read.

    Sarah — Actually, I find that it’s very hard to get an even read on cocoa powders because they’re all different, and pack differently in cups. I can’t attest to what C&Z is doing but I’m sure it was correct when she measured what she had. (That said, I find whole wheat flour to clock in at 120 per cup, and flour is heavier than cocoa…) As for how I got/checked my numbers, Hershey’s cocoa clocks in at 80 per cup, King Arthur lists theirs as 85 grams, and I usually get about the same, hence the 41 grams here.

    Charlie — Not on my 2nd floor balcony in Manhattan, I hope! :) Yes, that was what I meant by uneven. It should all be fine in the end.

    Erin — Was the chocolate completely and totally cool, i.e. had no chance of melting the butter, when you mixed it in? If so, then it was the decrease in sugar. It’s hard to decrease sugar (more than I have) with a quick buttercream like this because the sugar provides the structure. Otherwise, it would be much easier to make them less sweet!

    Leti — My favorite is from Valrhona. It’s expensive and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to seek it out (I tend to price it out online, buy it in bulk and split it with baker friends) unless they’ve tried it and, like me, found it impossible to buy anything else after that. As for a brand I find more often in grocery stores, look for Droste. It’s less expensive and bakes pretty well.

  99. Leanne

    Woah Nelly do I ever feel you with the chocolate cake craving. Except my chocolate cake was a bacon cheeseburger. And I was vegetarian. It would be impossible to overstate the urgency of such a desire!

  100. Jessica

    I NEVER comment, but this hit me right in my stress-baking sweet spot and I made it yesterday with a three year old and a baby underfoot. HOLY HELL, it’s fantastic. My husband usually dislikes cake because it’s too sweet, but he had two pieces last night (as did I). I will absolutely make this again.

  101. Upon reading this post I immediately began craving chocolate cake. And so, my absolutely wonderful husband made it for me! We have been eating it today, and this recipe is wonderful. The salt in the frosting is the perfect touch.

    one note: We only have glass 8×8 baking dishes, and it required quite a bit more time to bake the cake to “done.” I am going to purchase a metal 8×8 as soon as possible!

  102. Meagan Pierluissi

    So, made this today in honor of my little girl’s birthday (and of course she’s too young for this, thus the “in honor” part). I substituted 1/2 cup of buttermilk–kept 1/4 cup–for a Terrapin Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter beer. Amazing! Thank you for this quick and delicious recipe!

  103. Jan Z

    Ummm, yum! So glad I didn’t read the few negative comments. Great little cake, so nice to have something smaller and delicious! Did in a 9.5″ pie pan, which alters the edge texture a bit, but that was what was on hand!

  104. KatieH

    I need to stop reading this blog while pregnant… First the cornbread muffins, now the chocolate cake. Thanks for so much deliciousness!

  105. Jessie

    Just made this cake & your perfect birthday cake for a friend’s 1-year old party. I am frosting the bday cake with a double batch of the above chocolate frosting, and making the raspberry buttercream for the chocolate cake. Hope that’s an ok combo. Raspberries & chocolate- what could be bad? Mazel Tov on your happy news, and thanks again for your indispensable Smittenkitchen!

  106. Mary

    We love so many of your recipes in our house–we literally make your Favorite Brownies at least a few times a month (my husband somehow remains just as excited every time).

    Made this cake GF for our babysitter (our policy is to always have something freshly baked for a sitter) by subbing out regular flour for Pamela’s all-purpose GF flour. Also subbed 1/2 coffee 1/2 yoghurt for the buttermilk. So easy, and a perfectly chocolate-cake-hankering cake! The icing is just divine.

  107. christina

    That chocolate cake is everything, the cake just looks so yummy and delicious. I am going to try and bake this cake. You have given me inspiration to make this chocolate cake.

  108. Chum

    Could I make the frosting a raspberry buttercream by putting in raspberry purée or jam instead of chocolate? I’m not much of a baker. I’ve been dreaming of my late mother’s chocolate cake lately (yes, dreaming!) and then your post came to my email box. I can’t find her recipe anywhere and am excited to try yours to see if I can make the dreams stop! I’m too hungry when I wake and can’t stand it anymore. Thanks!

  109. Jennifer

    Hands down the best frosting I’ve ever made! Cake was good too, even though I’m not a die hard chocolate lover. But Deb, that’s how much you inspire me! If you suggest it, I make it. Even bought the special spatula. Next time, I’ll add those adorable confetti sprinkles!

  110. June

    I was so happy when I saw this recipe as I knew due to schedules including mine I’d be home and no one would be making me a cake for my birthday yesterday, so this one fit the bill! First piece I had with chocolate milk, the second with scotch. ;) Tonight get to share it with friends. Easy and yummy, thanks.

  111. Deb, you are my shero! I’m reading this recipe for “Emergency chocolate cake” while filling my mouth with your Cocoa Brownies from a couple of years ago. (yes, for breakfast!) I love the pasta and chocolate diet—Just add wine and espresso and I’m all set! Btw, I added a little cinnamon, New Mexico red chile powder, and a drive-by amount of chipotle to the brownies for a Mexican flavor. (I’m an exile from New Mexico living in Vermont and I need my chilies.) I’ll be making this week’s pasta you posted as soon as I exercise off the brownies. Thanks for your wonderful blog and mazes tov on your pregnancy!

  112. Jessica H

    Made this with my friend yesterday (hey rebecca!) and it was AMAZING. So easy to make- love that it’s one bowl, since that always makes me more inclined to make it in the future. Also the fact that its delicious and practically gone doesn’t hurt!

    I also went to NY Cake Shop on 22nd st and they were really nice, helpful and had hundreds (no exaggeration) of sprinkle choices- will definitely be going back.

    Thank you for the great recipe!!

  113. Emily

    You’re pregnancy sounds exactly like my pregnancy. I’m at a similar stage, due in August, and I’ve been equally crazy for chocolate cake and not much else. I’m still super nauseous though, this was supposed to go away weeks ago, and haven’t baked anything because I can’t stand being in the kitchen. I don’t know how you’ve done this for the past few months with morning sickness. Thanks for keeping us all entertained! Anyways, good luck!

  114. Wendy

    Recently made your “Valerie” chocolate cake with this frosting. (I thought the cake was perfect by itself; kids wanted frosting; I ate cake and frosting separately and was in heaven!) Can’t wait to try this combination. No more babies, here, but this winter calls for all manner of treats!

  115. Jennifer

    Exact same pregnancy cravings, as I sit here eating another PB on English muffin. Just found out we’re having a second boy. Thanks for the delicious chocolate butter cream recipe! And congratulations!

  116. Pam

    I made cupcakes with this recipe yesterday and covered them with a vanilla buttercream frosting. Baked for 20 minutes. They are all gone now and left everyone (all adults) with smiles on their faces.

  117. Rebekah

    This cake is now my cake. Deep chocolate flavor, not too sweet, very easy to mix up and bake. The frosting was a bit too sweet for my guys (their tastebuds, not mine) so we might go with a ganache next time. Thanks Deb! I love your little person for inspiring you to post this.

  118. Lori

    You can’t beat chocolate cake and this one looks incredible, Deb. So happy about the sprinkles. Wouldn’t be the same without them!

  119. Caterina

    Its the perfect little chocolate cake! Rebekah describes this perfectly – “deep chocolate flavour, not too sweet, very easy to mix up and bake” I loved the frosting – this is my new chocolate frosting.

  120. Barbara

    THANK YOU for this recipe – I made it yesterday – it’s delicious. But! I seem to have screwed up the frosting, and I’m not sure how. It was a little grainy/granular, and I had a really hard time getting it nice and smooth/whipped. Maybe I just mismeasured, do you think? Not that I won’t eat it :-D

  121. Avril

    Thanks so much Deb! My 13 yo son baked this for our Sunday dinner dessert. I asked him if we wanted to make the small cake or double it for leftovers and he looked at me like I had 2 heads. 9 by 13 it is!!!

  122. Tracey

    Thank you for this easy small cake! It’s my goal as a parent to make cake often and large cakes take too long and end of going to waste (very sad!). This one will cause quick a bit of excitement, I can tell.

  123. This cake looks perfect. Like eat-one-square-in-two-bites perfect.
    Oh, and funny how I only noticed the “s” shapes after I read your notes on how to swirl the frosting ;)

  124. Anna

    I made this last night and it is amazing. I ended up with lots of frosting left over (I should have just made a smaller batch, I knew I didn’t want a thick layer) but my biggest issue was that I ended up adding an additional 8-10 minutes to the baking time. Admittedly, I don’t have a thermometer inside my oven, nor do I know if it’s perfectly calibrated, but my bake times are usually pretty close to the recipe, and it seemed like a lot of extra for a small cake. I guess I’ll be investing in a thermometer! But either way, the cake turned out great. My fiance, who was weirdly unenthusiastic about my plan to make it, was on his way to the kitchen for a second piece before he had even finished the first. He’s enthusiastic now :)

  125. Literally just finished frosting it and devoured it along with the sprinkles. Definitely an amazing chocolate cake and it’s not even one of my favorite flavors but one look at this cake and I HAD to make it! Thank you for this wonderful recipe – it is incredible! Have a great one Deb! Take Care -Iva

  126. Barbara

    Oh sheesh, I know why my frosting came out grainy (see post 213)…I didn’t just melt the chocolate first, I melted the butter first too. :-O

    That’s what I get for making frosting while trying to watch the Downton Abbey finale.

    It was still tasty.

  127. Susan

    Made this cake last night. It’s fabulous and the husband pronounced it the best chocolate cake he’s ever eaten. I have to say, however, that the part about cutting it into 16 pieces made us laugh and laugh and laugh!

  128. Dezreen

    At around 25 weeks with my son, I suddenly craved chocolate after many months of guac, almonds and popsicles. My little pregnancy book chimed in, asking if I was craving sweets. Turns out baby now had taste buds! Chocolate continued as a food friend for the remainder of the pregnancy and was quickly gobbled up by baby son when permitted.

  129. Tal

    Hi, I used microwave chocolate mug cake when I had this craving, 5 min crave to product time. Same for apple cinnamon cake… good luck with pregnancy!

  130. Sarah

    I return to your website multiple times each week for various recipes. This morning, in search of a chocolate cake recipe to make for Fun Night at my children’s school (Cake Walk is a big deal), I felt it was meant to be that this recipe was front page news! I decided to divide my cake in to two 9″ round pans. Baking time is decreased to 12 minutes. Thanks for the fantastic recipe.

  131. Lori

    Made with my daughter while snowed in yesterday. We had a lot of fun, and the frosting is the best I have ever had in my entire life (she insisted I write that, it’s all I could repeat after eating it!). Thank you!

  132. Leigh

    I made the cake the other day for my son’s birthday. I think I over-baked the cake (closer to 30 min) because it was quite dry. In terms of the icing, the same thing happened to me as with Erin, the icing became oily. I think the problem may have been my food processor. The icing was looking perfect until I walked away from it to give it a good 2 minutes to beat. Is it possible for the machine to heat up just enough to melt the butter? I made the icing a second time, watching it carefully, and it turned out perfectly. The icing is to die for and such a snap to make. My new go to icing!

  133. Jamie

    Everyone commenting on the sweetness of the frosting is scaring me off! Do you have a recommendation for a less sweet chocolate frosting? Doesn’t have to be a quick buttercream but I would prefer not to do a ganache. Thanks!

  134. deb

    Re, the sweetness of the frosting: I think it’s relative. If you’re used to canned or standard back-of-the-box powdered sugar and butter frostings, it should be less sweet, due to the very bitter unsweetened chocolate that’s used. If you’re not used to U.S. frostings at all (which, of course, are very sweet), it might seem over-the-top. The cake itself isn’t very sweet, in hopes to provide contrast.

    Chum — Yes, it would be delicious. I’d limit it to a couple tablespoons as it will be pretty wet, and personally, I prefer to strain raspberry purees to get rid of the seeds, but I think they bother me more than they bother other people.

  135. s

    I made this with Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa (they say this is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoas) and it turned out great!

  136. Jenny

    The cake came out fine, but the batter was just that — pourable “batter,” not the spreadable, brownie batter-like kind in your photo. Any ideas why? I followed the directions, and the butter and eggs were at room temperature. The kitchen’s not too hot, and it’s snowy outside. Hmm….

  137. Articul8er

    You made it a Sweet! 16 celebration! Made this for my *baby’s* bday on Sunday and we are all loving it. Except for the recommended 16-small-square servings, which she thought were deprivingly undersized. Thanks for another winner!!

  138. Joy

    Hey Deb! I made the cake a couple days ago, and served it only yesterday. I loved it! Especially how there was so little to clean up, and how all the ingredients came nicely together :) My friends all enjoyed it immensely too and they all said the icing went really well with the cake.

    However, my cake was dense, moist, almost fudgy- like a good brownie! Was it supposed to turn out that way?

  139. Katia

    Just made this. Delish no frosting just some a bit of icing sugar.
    Really like that is was not too sweet. Next time will try with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  140. Rebekah

    @Anna #216, I had to bake mine almost 20 extra minutes even though my thermometer read 360*F. I did use an 8″ round instead of square, and it was nonstick. YMMV.

  141. Yoko

    I made it yesterday and it was easy and excellent! I used two whole eggs for not wasting an egg white, but it turned out fine. Cake is moist and light with a very tasty frosting. My daughter is already asking for her birthday to make the SAME! Thank you for sharing a great recipe!

  142. deb

    Baking time — It sounds like it’s taking up to 5 to 10 minutes extra for everyone. I’ll add a note.

    Space Station Mir — Hilarious. Chocolate cake will clearly be my undoing as well.

    Joy — Yes, it gets more moist as the days go on. Less so on the first day. Plus, if it’s sitting under frosting the whole time, the frosting will slowly soak into the cake.

    Jenny — Not sure why it came out thinner but as long as it baked up well, I wouldn’t worry about it.

    Cupcakes — Usually bake for 17 to 20 minutes. I’d start checking at 15 to be safe.

    Serving size — I guess it’s just us that cuts cake into small pieces? That’s the tradeoff for me, at least. I want real cake made with real butter and real sugar and good chocolate, I just try to limit portion size. Either that, I would have to eat cake less often and at 21 weeks, that is unthinkable.

  143. Mel

    I made a half recipe of this and out of it came 4 largish size muffins? cupcakes? Small cakes?

    So so so so delicious. Chocolatey. Unbelievable. The perfect antidote to absolutely needing a chocolate fix. And the cakes seem so small…who needs to work out?! No need ;)

    One question – I don’t have a mixer or a hand mixer (I know…I know…) I normally do everything by hand and I don’t think I’ve ever made icing before so I haven’t yet found something I couldn’t do by hand. Any tips for a frosting I could make with a whisk or does that just not work for frosting?

    Thanks Deb!!

    1. deb

      Mel — For a whiskable frosting, well, it’s all about how strong your arms are. ;) But, I whip whipped cream by hand all of the time. It will be harder to get butter/sugar fluffy, though not impossible. Your safest bet might be more of a ganache, which doesn’t need to be whipped, only stirred. Or maybe get one of these? My BFF still uses one, and I find it charming.

  144. Aunt Vixen

    Huzzah for cake. I had the following complications:

    My stand mixer struggled with such small amounts of things, but the hand mixer is in a storage box somewhere, so the Kitchenaid and I had to make do.

    I forgot the salt in the cake batter.

    The baking time was about 35 minutes, all told. I don’t know if that’s an issue with my oven (soon to be replaced) or the el cheapo disposable foil cake pan I was using (all the cake pans are – of course – in a storage box somewhere), but after the intitial 18 minutes, the batter was barely set around the edges; after five more minutes the center was still jiggling like a perfect custard pie; after five *more* minutes it had finally started to puff up and the surface was dry, but the center was still goopy when I tested it. I think another eight minutes after that and the testing knife finally came out clean enough that I was prepared to take the thing out of the oven. It cooled nicely and didn’t fall apart when I turned it out of the pan onto the rack, a perennial fear of mine, but the outside was so dry and solid I could pick the whole thing up in one hand like a discus. I was quite alarmed that the cake would be dry and sawdusty when I brought it to my co-workers.

    Meanwhile, Uncle Vixen had bought unsweetened cocoa rather than unsweetened chocolate for the frosting, so I had to find a sort of halfway point between Deb’s recipe and the one on the back of the cocoa bag (which assumes a double layer of cake, natch) w/r/t proportions of cocoa, butter, and milk; also I had to deal with the same issue of the stand mixer not really being able to reach all of the frosting; also I splashed the vanilla and the frosting tasted Very Strongly of it when it was finally done.

    Fortunately, after a night of mellowing in the refrigerator, the frosting was delicious today; and although the outside edges were quite, um, sturdy, the cake inside was delicious and moist, and we didn’t miss the salt at all. (My co-workers very kindly said that unless the cake leapt up off the plate and attacked them, they were going to love it – but I was worried about the texture.) Ultimately it was a success!

  145. Emily

    The icing on this was great! I’ll never buy it from a store again. The cake was good too. It only took about 20 minutes to bake, and it fell in the middle, but that may have been my own fault for checking on it too soon.

  146. Emily

    I made this yesterday and was so pleased by the result. This was my first experience with Valrhona cocoa power. Wow, have I been missing out! The color was beautiful and the taste was rich and chocolately in the best possible way. I agree with Aunt Vixen. Total bake time was over 22 min for me. I did not overbake though and it came out moist and perfect. The frosting was fluffy and delicious. This will be my ‘go to’ chocolate cake recipe!

  147. sharon

    Thank you for the recipe and inspiration. I made this last night for the office and so far I’m getting rave reviews. I doubled the cake recipe and it made a perfect amount of cake in a buttered, bake and serve 9 x 13 glass pan. It took about 32 minutes baking time. The frosting recipe I made as is, with the addition of about 3/4 cup of left-over coconut cream I had. This resulted in thick, tall slices of cake with still a substantial but not ridiculous amount of insanely rich frosting. It all came together rather quickly on a weekday evening too. Definitely a keeper, thanks!

  148. kamila

    This cake hits the spot and is a perfect snack size. It took about 28 mins to bake the cake and my batter was a thin due to being overly enthusiastic w/ vanilla and coffee extracts (I always add coffee extract to chocolate cakes). It was just fine; moist but not dense. One of the easiest and most satisfying chocolate cake recipes ever. Thanks!

  149. Fiona

    I made this pretty much as per the recipe (which is quite unlike me, but I had all the correct ingredients) and as a Scot with a love of chocolate, but who finds some American recipes very sweet, I found this was just right. Chocolatey, soft-textured but not crumbly, sweet but not overpowering. I have a fan-oven so cooked it for 17 minutes, which was just right. I used a hand-held mixer, and made the frosting the same way, so not only did I not have to clean the food processor, I had the beater blades to “clean”. Yum! Your suggestion to cut it into 16 pieces was hard to obey, but I did. I’m not saying how many I had.

    Thank you!

  150. Haha, Deb, I love your enthusiasm and urgency for cake in this post. Totally respect that! I like the ease of this cake; every now and again I too just crave something like this mid-week, but don’t feel like making a whole “thing” out of it. I just want a few slices of cake, enough to last in our house for two or three nights, even when there is no birthday or holiday or cause for celebration in sight. Loving this one. Thanks for sharing!

  151. Tawni

    I noticed that you put less white sugar in this than your “Everyday chocolate cake” (which I adore). Did you put less sugar in this cake in to balance the sweetness in the frosting?

  152. This worked great as cupcakes! Got about 10 from a single batch, and baked about 24 minutes in my oven. These will be great for my babe’s first birthday party tomorrow!

  153. serenpoly

    The cupcake-in-a-can birthday present was a big hit! I only got ten cupcakes. Two of them (one spare…) were slightly bigger than the others, but not that much. I used plain Hershey’s un-Dutched cocoa, water and a teaspoon of vinegar in the cake batter; it was very dark, and rose fine. There’s enough baking powder in the recipe that I’d bet the acid/soda balance is not super-critical.

    I also used cocoa and a little extra butter, with a dash of instant-espresso powder, in the frosting, and did not find it particularly sweet at all, just a good chocolate flavor. I only made a half batch, iced the gift cupcake generously, and had enough to adequately ice the rest.

    I am enjoying cupcakes for breakfast this week!

  154. Karenu

    Wow, made it, it came out perfect. Did not have the right size pan so baked 6 delicious cupcakes. Used 1/2 cup strong coffe and a 1/4 cup wine instead of the buttermilk. Will make again!!!

  155. stephanie

    i made the cake! i used thinned greek yogurt for the buttermilk. i did end up going out to buy the bakers chocolate for the frosting and i’m glad i did because
    a.) the frosting is SO GOOD and i am not a frosting person and
    b.) while at target i found star sprinkles for a buck as part of an easter baking end cap display. see?

    thanks deb!

  156. elle

    Your directions for the frosting part of the “I Want Chocolate Cake” recipe, in the frosting directions you left out the vanilla if you are using a micer, and not a food processor. I’m not sure which area I am suppose to add the 1/2 tea of vanilla too.

  157. Juliet

    So, I made the cake. It was good but not “knock your socks off” good, which has been my experience with everything else I’ve made from SK. I made the cakes in two 6in pans and it took a lot longer than what was written for one 8in square. The frosting was delicious but I didn’t find using a food processor to be convenient… powdered sugar clouds poofed out and it was difficult to wipe down the bowl to get everything evenly incorporated. I’ll definitely stick to the stand or hand-held mixer when making frosting in the future.

  158. Daniel

    Hi Deb – I actually found your blog while searching for Apple Tart recipes and “accidentally” clicked on this Chocolate Cake recipe instead. The food photography is top notch and presents the delicious food very well.

    I subbed home-made full fat natural yoghurt for the buttermilk (loosened a little with a dash of milk) and used an inch of real vanilla pod rather than the extract and the cake came out very well indeed. I used an 8″ round springform and it rose more than your tray version and needed an adjustment in the cooking time but I have got used to listening to my cakes for that little bubbling sound that tells you they need a few more minutes.

    Since you said you were generous with the amount of frosting (I am not going to get between a pregnant woman with an offset spatula and her bowl of frosting) I sliced my cake into two layers and put a third of the frosting inside and the rest on top.

    My wife’s final verdict on the cake was… “We have no words…” followed by “Next piece please!”

  159. Daniel

    Actually as a followup to Aunt Vixen’s post 245, I too had to extend the cooking time. I thought it was an issue with my oven temp (175, standard convection) at first but at 20 mins I had a ring of cooked cake around a pool of batter. At 30 mins the top had cooked and closed over and not till about 40 mins did the skewer come out clean and the cake stop making that bubbling noise.

    All in all, not a problem. The outside was not dry and the cake did not collapse.

    It might be worth making another one (oh, the hardship!) and checking the cooking time. I have a similar chocolate cake from a post-wartime austerity recipe (only 18g cocoa and a single egg) which assumes 30-35 minutes cooking time.

  160. Abbie

    This is my husband’s birthday cake today! It is wonderfully decadent for such a simple, unassuming cake. I will keep this one in the mental file folder for sure. The only change I had to make was baking it for an extra 4 minutes (total 26) and really should have continued baking it because it was still somewhat underdone. Initially, it appeared to have too little frosting for my lots-of-frosting preferences, but it is so rich and delicious more isn’t necessary.

  161. Nathan

    Great cake! It’s just the right size for when you don’t want a larger sheet cake sitting around all week. And the frosting is superb and so quick. I don’t know if anyone else experienced this, but I attempted to process it the 1-2 minutes, and something happened to it. It turned grainy or separated or something. So I just started over and served the first batch as a not too bad fudge. I processed the next batch just until fluffy and spreadable looking and it turned out great.

    Thanks Deb!

  162. jen

    YUMMMMmmmmmmm. Made this tonight and shouldn’t have, but am so very glad I did. I added on at least another 5 minutes, and maybe more, for the baking time.

  163. Magda

    Website question/suggestion (maybe someone asked for this already?) – and not sure how difficult/easy it is to do. I love reading your recipes, etc, and often print off the recipes.
    For the posts that have multiple recipes – is it possible to break up the recipes in the post, so that you can print only one (of say 3?) recipes? Reasons for this: the pickled onion recipe should be on my fridge, the sweet tart recipe I use with everything, etc….

  164. deb

    Magda — I don’t have the functionality at this time, but I’d love to get it if possible.

    rebecca — You can use cake flour, so long as it doesn’t already have leavener it it, however, it’s not necessary to make this cake tender.

    Frosting issues — It sounds like some food processors are indeed warming the frosting up a little, and making it grainy. I’ll update accordingly, suggesting you just mix it until smooth. I make it all of the time (like, embarrassingly often) in the FP and hadn’t run into this, but it definitely sounds like something that could happen that would be no fun at all.

  165. Shelly

    Made this today and although I am not a great fan of chocolate I do really like this one. I questioned the need for unsweetened chocolate vs. one of the many choices I already had in my pantry and am certainly glad I went and got some. In your opinion, is there a great deal of variation in the taste of the different brands available? The frosting was fantastic, creamy and smooth using the food processor.

  166. Tara

    This is really embarrassing, but, yesterday when I made the frosting using the food processor (something I’ve done a ton of times using this recipe), it curdled on me! So, I remade it, but I was so scared I was going to ruin it again, that I didn’t whip it enough and it wasn’t as creamy as it’s been all the other times I’ve made it. What did I do wrong?!?!

  167. Julie

    Funny, I am so the “I need chocolate cake now” kind of person, and it has nothing to do with hormonal cravings. My absolute hands down favorite chocolate cake recipe is your chocolate stout cake. I keep Guinness & cocoa powder on hand all the time just in case. I’ll have to give this a try for comparison. Because I need an excuse to make chocolate cake…

  168. Susan

    Please, please tell me this doesn’t mean you were still nauseous in week 16?
    I’m in week 11 and only the thought that morning sickness is about to end keeps me going!

    1. deb

      Susan — I’m not, although I may not have declared it behind me until 17-18 weeks. Still, much better by then. Sometimes it comes back for an afternoon but it’s not like it was. I’ll just skip the chicken with dinner or something. Hope you feel better soon!

  169. AlexS

    I recently rediscovered this place. I can’t believe I forgot about it ever, and I gave a lot of catching up to do! Congrats! I can relate, as I was dry sick when growing each of my two little people. On an I.V. sick. It lasted until around 21 weeks with number one, and week 17 with number two.

    Must go spend hours perusing archives, after I make this cake!

  170. Olena

    Made it last weekend. The cake was delicious! My kid ate only the frosting, though :) Thank you, Deb!
    P.S. I backed it 28 min because 20 min wasn’t enough and it became a bit dry. Probably need to stick to 20 min.

  171. elisha

    Deb – made this cake last night in a “woohoo I’ve made it to the third trimester” fury. Had Hershey’s cocoa on hand and the cake did not disappoint. Amazing. Thank you!

  172. Sarah

    I made this last night and it was delicious! A couple of notes from my experience:

    -my batter was significantly thinner, probably in part because I just used two whole eggs (I used egg whites alone so rarely that it’s not even worth it to freeze them) and I used a touch more buttermilk than called for (no real reason, just poured out a little too much).
    -baking time was approximately 35 minutes
    -I used regular cocoa powder and absolutely missed the Dutch cocoa powder, so go for the gold here
    -cut down the sugar in the frosting to 1 cup, which was more than enough frosting for the people I fed it to, and it tasted very buttery, which is my preference

    Overall, absolutely delightful and delicious and will definitely enter my cake rotation.

  173. Rike

    Thank you for this recipe, it was PERFECT and so easy. This will definitely be in my regular rotation of dessert recipes. Such a perfect moist crumb on this cake – it must be the buttermilk!

  174. Ellie

    I made this and it was so delicious! I love that it took very few pots/pans to make. The Dutch cocoa powder definitely made a difference in the richness of the cake. It was a big hit with friends, too. The frosting is phenomenal. It’s kept quite well in the fridge for a week.

  175. Margie

    Thank you for this recipe. It’s the perfect cake size for our family of 3. I just made it for our son’s birthday and if the batter is any indication this is one of the most delicious chocolate cakes I have ever eaten. I used golden brown sugar and non-Dutch cocoa powder because I had them on hand. The color of my baked cake is a lighter brown but the flavor is fantastic. Can’t wait to try the finished product.

  176. stephanie

    ps Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewife, i didn’t see your reply until now (i am excited for the eventual SK revamp that includes replies :)) but i have indeed learned that esp with a gas stove again i can leave the butter there when the stove is off and it gets to “room temp” perfectly! thanks!

  177. Meredith

    Hi Deb,
    Love your recipes:) I just moved a few weeks ago from Brooklyn, NY to Germany and I wanted to see if you had any insight on the baking soda/baking powder issue. My husband is back in NY right now (he speaks german) and im lost with a 2 year old and google translate on my phone at the grocery store (getting ingredients for this cake as a surprise)! Any idea if you can sub baking soda for Natron and baking powder for backpulver? are the measurements the same? apparently they don’t use baking soda here but then what? I cooked a lot back home and im getting nervous starting my cooking adventures here! Eek!

  178. deb

    Oh my goodness! I’m sorry. That cannot be easy.

    Baking soda is actually part of baking powder. You can make baking powder by using baking soda and an acid (usually, cream of tartar is used) at home. In terms of leavening power, 1 teaspoon baking powder is equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. This isn’t what you asked, but it might help you understand what you’re looking for.

    It sounds like Natron is indeed what baking soda is sold as in Germany. (See here.) And backpulver is baking powder. (It says it on this package.) I’ve read that German baking powder is single-acting while U.S. baking powder is double-acting, but I wouldn’t worry about it so much for this recipe. I think you’ll be just fine. Good luck!

  179. Deanna

    As a 16 week pregnant lady myself right now, I have to commend you making a cake to satisfy your own cravings. You’re kind of my hero. I would have wanted and moaned until I managed to get my husband to remedy it – but your solution is way better.

  180. Megan L.

    Okay I now have a terrible problem. I made this cake and it was pretty much the best cake I have ever eaten. And then I had to tell my mother that it is better than “The” Family Recipe for chocolate cake. But now I want to make this cake again and again… I am in a chocolate cake loop. Please send help.

  181. Lauren

    Lovely, Deb, thank you.
    Made this yesterday and the cake was soft, dense, moist and delicious.
    Baked for 30 mins.
    A winner!

  182. kendall

    Wow theses foods look so amazing!! The cake looked so good. My sister cooks a lot and makes good cakes. My favorite kind of cake is chocolate. I dont like a lot of icing on my cake. What is you favorite kind to eat? The cake is perfect size too, not to big. I think i am going to try to make it myself!!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!

  183. Melissa

    Hi there!

    I would love to make this for my daughter’s birthday….do I double the ingredients for 2 nine inch rounds? Same timing? Would I leave the recipes as is if doing cupcakes and adjust baking time? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Melissa — Yes, double the ingredients, including the frosting if you’re looking to cover the sides as well. Baking time for cupcakes is less; I usually start checking at 15 minutes.

  184. kris

    I just made this last night. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×13 for 40 minutes, came out perfect. I used the alternative to buttermilk she mentions and used 1/2 cup strong coffee and 1/4 cup whole fat Greek yogurt (though doubled in my case, and the cake was deeply chocolatey and moist. Fun at I don’t have Dutch cocoa so used standard and didn’t feel it was lacking all. The frosting is awesome as well! I really really loved this recipe.

  185. Is it wrong that I have that MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE CAKE feeling most nights and I’m not even remotely pregnant?! It’s a problem, I hear you loud and clear!

  186. jake

    i don’t have rainbow sprinkles and am feeling a bit too lazy to run out and get them right now… would it be a terrible idea to finish this with some grey sea salt?

  187. Melissa

    Just made this with my gluten free flour blend. I did increase to 1/2 tsp of baking soda because I used Hershey’s (not Dutch process), but kept a 1/4 tsp baking powder because it was GF flour. Turned out, really, really well. Fantastic recipe!!

  188. M Stowe

    My husband promised my kids dessert last night, and it was up to me to fulfill this promise. This cake was so easy to whip up and it made just enough. I frosted it with a chocolate Swiss butter-cream and fresh strawberries…I even dusted it it with confectioners sugar just to make it a little more beautiful. This is the perfect week-night treat.

  189. Elysa

    Mmmm… yum. Delicious. I love the ratio of frosting to cake in this, and that it still manages to not be too sweet.

    I definitely agree about the longer (25-35 min) cooking time, and I actually one bowl-ed the frosting somewhat successfully. (Used the metal bowl of my kitchen aid over a double boiler to melt the chocolate, then mixed the frosting in that. However, I think I should have creamed the butter and chocolate together before adding the powdered sugar. I added the powdered sugar and butter to the chocolate at the same time, and while my frosting turned out fine, it took a decent bit of beating to get the lumps out.

    A question about the eggs. I noticed in the comments you said you upped the amount of eggs in this from the original recipe – what does that actually do to the cake?

  190. Pam

    I have one of these babies in the oven right now, perhaps the 6th one in a month. (!!!) Just checking in now again because it always takes so much longer to bake. Thanks for the update! BTW, I often use buttermilk powder because it’s easier to keep on hand; it works very well. LOVE this cake!

  191. Sally

    I’m making this in 2 6″ layers for my mother’s birthday- can I freeze the layers ahead of time for a couple of days? If so, how would I defrost? Thanks!

  192. Sally

    Thank you! Is this the type of cake that is great 2 days later? I’m thinking about making it on Friday to serve on Sunday am… Thanks!

  193. Deepa

    This cake is EVERYTHING. I got back from work at 8pm without a plan for my husband’s birthday and managed to bake, cool, make a bodega run for confectioner’s sugar, decorate, make cacio e pepe, and open a bottle of wine within 90 minutes! FWIW, I first peeked at the cake at 20 min, then it took three more 3-minute timers till finished. Thanks, Deb!!!!!!

  194. Keisha

    I made this cake for dinner at a family friend’s house – we needed something amazing and indulgent, but not overwhelmingly complicated or fussy (small children ((and adults)) are only willing to wait so long for dessert, after all). This cake fed 6 adults and 4 children with two small slices left over, perfect for breakfast the next morning with strong coffee :P

  195. deb

    Crystal — I’m not sure — how is the temperature control in your toaster?

    Sally — Yes, it should be great two days later. Keep it in the fridge.

  196. Sally

    Thank you! Will report back on Sunday. Meanwhile, I’m also making Ovenly’s Chocolate Stout Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream – have you seen their cookbook? It’s wonderful. I made the same cake recipe with their dark chocolate salted pudding buttercream, and it was UNBELIEVABLE.

  197. Naomi

    Deb, I love your recipes and we just made this cake – delicious!! For anyone who, like me, likes their frosting darker chocolate-y and less sweet, I melted an additional 1 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate and added that to the frosting. For me, I liked it better that way! But, what a lovely thing to have a perfect recipe to get to play with. Thank you!

  198. Ali

    I live at 5000ft, so I added an extra 2Tbs of buttermilk, cut the baking powder down by 1/8tsp (to 3/8 tsp), and baked about 10 degrees higher for more like 30 minutes. It was GREAT! Rave reviews on the cake and the frosting from my wife and house guest! They agreed that the cake is more like a brownie in the best possible way. I will also add that the cake batter is delicious by itself so I enjoyed risking a bit of salmonella and licking my spatula during the clean up. I could easily see this being a go-to recipe for last minute parties – it’s fast, easy to make, and a definite crowd pleaser. Thanks!!

  199. Betsy

    I love your best birthday cake with the chocolate sour cream frosting, but tonight I wanted chocolate cake, so I thought this was the appropriate recipe to try. :)

    Wow. Now *that* is chocolate!

    I agree. “Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting” would definitely be an understatement!

  200. Gerley

    Regarding the time this can be kept: Since my 3-month-old is not ready for cake and my husband was away but I NEEDED to make this I worried it would go bad too soon on the counter (frosting) or get too stale (in the fridge). My solution was: I didn’t frost the cake after baking but kept the frosting in the fridge and the cake on the counter in cling film . When I had a piece I cut some cake, scooped out some frosting and let it sitto warm and frosted the squares individually before eating. This also worked well when I took some to my parents house since it was easy to transport separately.
    Maybe it’s not as pretty but it worked really well- maybe this is helpful to someone with the same dilemma.
    Also, Deb, keep doing what you’re doing! I love how reliable your recipes are- I always know if I make something it will be really delicious and exactly as you describe it. (Me: Hmm this looks wrong..it’s all lumpy. *Turns to recipe for next step*
    Deb: Don’t worry if it looks lumpy! Me: Wow, how did she know I would think this?)
    P.S. I also really appreciate the conversions since I am in Germany!

  201. Lynn Wainess

    I made these a cupcakes tonight. Fabulous! The icing needed a bit more milk but other than that, perfection in a baking cup. I took 10 of them to the local fire department to prevent me and hubby from devouring all of them. Thank you!

  202. Hey Deb. I’m making this for my friend’s birthday which is tomorrow so this is kind of urgent haha. Can I replace the dutch cocoa with natural cocoa?

  203. How did I even miss that! You think it might have anything to do with the 20 tabs of different chocolate cake recipes I have open on the computer? Sorry about that Deb. Thanks!

  204. Thanks for the reply deb and the toaster oven just broke a cuple a days ago lol that was the sure cause and i made i the oven an it was fantastic!!! Best chocolate cake ever.

  205. Steffi

    Hi, I am baking this for the second time now and there is no way for it to be done in 22 minutes. Is it my oven or did something get lost when transferring the Fahrenheit to Celsius degrees?Anyway. After a good 30 minutes it comes out DELICIOUS. :-))

  206. Kate

    Hi Deb! I have some too-ripe bananas hanging around, and I’d like to throw them into this recipe. Do you think it’d work? I have seen your recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread, but I just love this recipe (second time making it). Thoughts?

    1. deb

      Kate — I haven’t done it, but if I were going to, my approach would be to replace the buttermilk with 3/4 cup mashed banana. Actually, I’d probably keep 1/4 cup buttermilk, just so the batter wasn’t too thick to work with. I.e. 3/4 cup banana + 1/4 cup buttermilk. Hope that helps — and works!

  207. Okay, Deb. This is the third time I’ve made this cake since you posted this recipe. I suggest a warning label: You will not be able to lay off the cake slices, nor will anyone else who sees/smells/tastes it. Once it’s gone, your tastebuds will demand you bake it again as soon as possible why isn’t it cool enough to frost yet darn it I can wait I’m cutting a slice. In short: not safe.

  208. Um, do not make this cake unless you plan to eat the whole thing. In my defense, I ate most of it over the course of a whole weekend, standing up with nary a fork or plate in sight. So that doesn’t count, right?

  209. Deb,
    Two things: I haven’t read in awhile (not for any reason on your part, but like tv shows, I like to stock up on blog posts I love and then completely binge…I should not admit this unhealthy behaviour, but there it is) so, CONGRATULATIONS!! Baby # 2! Has it been six years? How is Jacob so grown up? I’ve been reading your blog since before he was born and have cooked my way through a lot of what you’ve written about. We were sitting around with a bit of wine and a roasted cauliflower tonight, thinking about what to do for the night; we are homebodies, Friday basically is equal to Tuesday in my mind… and CAKE! Good lord, cake. It’s just about done baking, we’ve moved on to beers (I’m sorry, but a Belgian white ale pairs unbelievably well with the smell of chocolate cake) and I had to say thank you. It smells like heaven, and is exactly the kind of evening we needed. <3 <3 <3

  210. Amy

    I had to chime in because I’ve now made this twice and it is delightful! I used gluten free flour (King Arthur general purpose is my favorite), subbed coconut oil for the butter and coconut milk with a little vinegar for the buttermilk (to make it dairy-free). I’m fairly new to gluten-free cooking, but learned a good trick to get rid of the sometimes gritty taste the baked goods can have: let the batter rest for 30 min before baking. It helps the flour soak up moisture and makes things much better! Thanks Deb!

  211. Really love this recipe!!! I’ve made it twice in the last few weeks. The first time I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×13″ pan – baked for about 30 minutes. Turned out delicious! Then yesterday I made it again with mini 6″ cake rounds. The batter (just made a single batch this time) filled three 6″ rounds perfectly and baked for about 18 minutes. Thanks for sharing!

  212. LizzieBee

    Man, Deb I have made this cake about 5 times in the last two months. It is the PERFECT cake to take around to friend’s places when catching up with Game of Thrones (you know, in preparation for season 5!!), the perfect cake to whip up the night before you’ve decided to take cake to celebrate 2 years at your current job (woot!) & again the perfect cake to make again the next night when you’ve been asked to bake it for a friend.
    I actually made the frosting last night with 70% Green & Blacks dark chocolate, and it actually came out almost savory! I couldn’t figure out what I’d done, but probably using an incing mixture instead of pure icing sugar, with the 70% dk choc, meant there wasn’t *quite* enough sugar to soften the edge of that very bittersweet chocolate. Made it with a plainer ‘dark’ baking chocolate tonight (OK OK it was Cadburys!!) and it’s better – still not as sweet as if I’d made it with chocolate chip melts or something like the Green & Black’s milk chocolate – and it looks smashing, once again! I may be making it (again) for our Faculty head’s birthday next week, as a quick “have cake!” morning tea – I’m thinking about using little DINOSAUR sprinkles as well as Stars (my usual go-to sprinkle) because they would just be too CUTE.

    Ahem. Deb – I love this cake.

  213. E

    This was delicious, especially the frosting! (Isn’t that the whole point of cake anyway?). I only had bittersweet chocolate, but I made the frosting as written and it was perfect. The five-year-old said, as I was cutting, “make sure that I don’t just get a sliver!”

  214. Mandyanne

    I just made this today and it is solid! Definitely needed the extra time, I was closer to the 35 minute mark than 25. I made the chocolate buttercream with 2 tbs of melted butter and 6 tbs of unsweetened cocoa powder to sub for the unsweetened chocolate and it worked beautifully.

  215. Megan L.

    I don’t think you will have time to respond to this question, but I am baking a beautiful cake for my baby who is turning one. How much batter should I make for two 10-inch pans? 2.5 times the recipe? 3 times?

    1. deb

      Megan — 10-inch round or square? If round, to make 2 layers of an equivalent height, you’ll want to scale the recipe 250%. If square, 300 to 325%. However, keep in mind that this is a thin cake layer, a little under an inch. You might want to aim for three layers, or just make even more batter for two thicker ones. Happy baking.

  216. A

    best chocolate cake ever! had all the ingredients and i’m one happy MOM! Used a round pan and used homemade curd for buttermilk.

  217. Ang J

    Must try! Incidentally, this is only a couple of steps away from my go-to brownie recipe. No buttermilk or baking soda (and white sugar instead of brown) in the batter and less butter in the frosting.

  218. This cake sounds heavenly and, well, just too darn cute. Sometimes I’m like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when it comes to chocolate. I can be perfectly normal, going about my business, and then suddenly bam, the crazy chocolate fiend takes over and I need something decadent now. :). This cake looks like it fits the bill. Yummy!

  219. Tracy

    I just made this using a homemade paleo mix of almond flour, arrowroot flour and coconut flour (in a 3:2:1 proportion – I did 300 gm almond flour, 200 gm arrowroot flour and 100 gm coconut flour to create the mix, then took the exact amount of flour in the recipe). I did use butter and sour cream in the recipe, so I guess it is primal, not paleo. But since I have been paleo for two years now, I find almond-flour baked goods much more fulfilling than wheat flour goods. So, anyway, my kids and I just made this using our 3:2:1 homemade mix and it is delicious! We’re probably not going to add frosting, as going paleo has made us really sensitive to sugar, so this cake by itself is sweet enough. Delicious!

  220. Becca

    My friend said the word ‘cake’ to me today and I could not get it out of my head. I made this about two hours ago, substituting normal chocolate for arabica-infused chocolate in the frosting and honey Greek yogurt in the cake because it was in the fridge. I just frosted it and now half the cake has disappeared! I’m the only one here! Your cake defies all logic, physics, and natural laws of consumption. So delicious and absolutely the ultimate ‘I want cake’ recipe.

  221. Sophie

    I so want this. But I am living in a country free of baking powder (Switzerland!). As soon as I hit home shores in Australia…. next year… I am making this chocolate cake.

  222. Carmen

    I doubled this recipe using the weights instead of volume measurements and it turned out great. I made a double layer round train track cake fir my son’s birthday. He even drove the train around the tracks. I finished it with wilton buttercream frosting.

  223. Thanx For Sharing this recipes. I made it and it was so yummy.Everyone loved this delicious peanut butter brownies with chocolate,your cake looks so wonderful, so yummy, and I will be making this again!

  224. Naomi

    Such a great recipie, I’ve just topped off my finish cake and am pleased at how well it’s turned out! (The taste test tomorrow) simple and easy to follow recipie (im addicted to your Instagram too!)

  225. stephanie

    deb, i made this frosting again last week (underneath i confess i made the hershey’s chocolate cake recipe as boyperson wanted a more box-mix-like cake), and we ended up not being able to eat the cake right away so we stuck it in the fridge. OMG. this frosting is even *better* cold! it really cuts the sweetness and just has the most awesome texture – a solid lid to the cake but that still can be cut through, and so creamy. it actually reminds me of carvel frosting a little and i mean that in the best possible way. i did also back off on the sugar this time – i didn’t measure but i would guestimate about a cup vs 1.5 cups.

    anyway, this is my go-to frosting recipe from now on!

  226. Libby

    Making a commenting account just to say this is now my favourite chocolate cake recipe. Seriously. And so many thanks for including metric measurements.
    I’ve made this twice now and it’s definitely in rotation as a birthday cake cake. [kisses]

  227. KellyDC

    Just finished frosting the cake and I’d recommend adding the salt. The sugar is a bit much so the salt balances the sweetness a bit and enhances the chocolate flavor. Next time I won’t add as much sugar; I should’ve read the comments first, but live and learn! Also, I doubled the cake recipe to make a 13×9″ cake but did not double the frosting recipe; it covered it just fine.

  228. frances

    i made this into cupcakes. they took about 18 minutes. i filled them about 3/4 full; next time i’ll do a little less as they spilled a tiny bit. i got 12 standard size cupcakes plus one bigger one, made in a custard cup. probably if i had filled them closer to 2/3 i could have gotten 16 altogether. anyway, the cake itself is delicious, tender, and easy.

  229. Andie

    Hypothetically, if you wake up early in the morning to make this cake for a co-worker celebration and, in a sleep deprived state, add two cups of flour instead of one–you can convert this recipe into chocolate cake cookies!

    The dreamy frosting covers a multitude of floury sins…

  230. Lara

    So I made this yesterday, and it was delicious. It actually tasted like chocolate, unlike most bakery cakes that just taste ‘brown’. I have a question about the frosting. I followed the instructions and used exactly the type and amount of ingedients called for. It turned out rather thick, but spreadable, and so delicious. Then I put the cake in the fridge for 3 hrs until dinner, and when we had it for dessert the frosting had turned it ganache. Delicious, rich, ganache. But so thick that the cake’s moist crumb couldn’t hold up to it. Way thicker than any buttercream I’ve ever made before. Is this the nature of this recipe, due to the added solid chocolate, or did I perhaps mis-weigh my powdered sugar? Though it tasted sweet enough…

  231. Lara

    Also, someone posted back in February (timely response, I know) that their batter was runny. I may know why, because it happened to me. So you cream the butter & sugar, then add egg and the buttermilk. For me, this always ends with a liquidy batter with tiny capsules of butter/sugar floating, so I assume that’s the norm. If you follow the instructions TO THE LETTER and mix in the drys just until everything is wet, you end up with a thin batter with tiny butter/sugar capsules distributed throughout. If you give the mixer 30 more seconds, suddenly the capsules break apart and the batter becomes thick, shiny, and more like the texture in the pictures. An inexperienced baker may appreciate a more precise explanation of just how mixed you were intending.

  232. Shayne

    Love the looks and sounds of this cake! I’m going to make it for my kids fifth bday party. If i wanted to omit the chocolate from the frosting (as I’m picturing blue frosting for a deep sea themed cake) and added some blue colouring, Would that work okay do you think? Thanks!!!

  233. Cordelia

    Love the frosting. I used it for my daughters birthday cupcakes. Just enough for a big swirl on 12 cupcakes and even tastes good made vegan with earth balance buttery sticks. Must have been the chocolate.

  234. DEB oh my gawd.

    I would buy anything those swirls were trying to sell me. I had the great idea to make this today. Here I am, all alone in my studio apartment–with this damn scrumptious cake.

    I will force feed it to my colleagues tomorrow.

    xoxo, you are the best, as always.

  235. Noreen

    This is what happens when I am craving chocolate cake, see THIS gorgeous cake, and want it NOW! I prepped all the ingredients for cake and frosting, got the butter, eggs and buttermilk at room temp…I’m mixing the butter and sugars together, add eggs, buttermilk, and rather than adding the flour mixture next, add the powdered sugar and have to start all over again! But after tasting the cake batter with the slightly tangy taste of buttermilk, I know it will be well worth it. The frosting is delicious too! Love the single layer recipe. Thank you!

  236. Allyson R

    Deb – Question about measuring. When you call for 3/4 of packed brown sugar (or 145g), if I am using a scale can I just dump the brown sugar until it reaches 145g? Any reason I need to pack it first and then weigh? Shouldn’t matter, right? Note: when I do pack it and weigh it, 145g actually comes to a little over 1/2 a cup of brown sugar. Any insight?

    1. deb

      Allyson — No reason at all to pack before weighing; packing won’t affect weight. That said, measuring cup sets vary a little; they’re an imperfect measurement. For a cake like this, that’s flexible, you can use either what you get in volume (from your 1/2 cup) or weight (145 grams) and you’ll be fine.

  237. Miriam

    Ok, so I just made this cake. I would say it is a great, deeply chocolatey cake. The only edit I would make is to halve the amount of frosting. The frosting was also too sweet for me and the kiddo, but my sister and brother-in-law didn’t think so.

    Also, for the “buttermilk,” I mixed 1/2 cup black tea with 1/4 cup yogurt, and that worked really well.

    Finally, this is my note to self–at 25 minutes the cake needed another few minutes, I left it in for 6 minutes, and that was too long, and maybe should have been 3 more minutes. It came out slightly dry. I think it was too close to the bottom heat source too. It should have been on the rack one level up. This is my sister’s oven, so I am just learning how it bakes.

  238. Manisha

    Hi Deb.

    I have been really successful in recreating this recipe( without a mixer too Infact). I was wondering if I can layer this cake with white chocolate raspberry filling and ice it with white chocolate ganache using the steps outlined here http://sweetnessandbite.com/2014/10/how-to-ganache-a-cake/. Would the cake be able to take the weight of the ganache? I am considering 8×8 two layers. I highly doubt it would stay out long after cutting it. So the question of saving it for later doesn’t even arise! ( thanks to the hereditary sweet tooth)

    Thanks!

  239. Maria

    Re Sarah’s comment above (63),

    My (Italian) mother also used to say that if a woman craved a certain food during pregnancy the baby might end up having a birthmark in the shape of that food. This is the first time I’ve heard someone else refer to this saying.

  240. LFW

    I just wanted to chime in and say this recipe is perfect for 1/2 birthday celebrations. I’ve put it in an 8 inch round, cut in half and created a half layer cake. I’ve also just made it as square. The 1/2 birthdays always sneak up on me so its nice to have an easy recipe not to mention that most are for much larger cakes – this one is perfectly sized!

  241. Siobhan

    So I was making this cake and I was mixing in the dry ingredients and I thought ‘Wow this is a dry mix’ and I thought there is no way this is going to spread. So I added some whole milk until it was smooth enough to spread and then baked it for 25 minutes. It came out perfectly baked, not very risen. I made the frosting and smothered it all over the cake.

    Moral of the story is: even if you forget the buttermilk, the cake isn’t half bad :)

  242. judy

    I love everything I’ve made from your recipes – especially the rapini and pasta! I’m looking for a new chocolate frosting recipe for my son’s traditional birthday cake – 33 years of James Beard’s 1234 cake, made in three layers. This frosting, tripled, perhaps, looks perfect! This is my go-to site for recipes. Thanks so much!

  243. Sneha

    Hi,
    I am trying this right now but my cake is still chocolaty ( dippy ) from the middle. Is it supposed to be like that? The sides have cooked but the center hasn’t. The knife comes out with chocolate on it. I guess it isnt done. IT’s been in the oven now for a good 25 minutes.

    Your response will be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sneha

  244. Elisa

    I made this cake for Christmas and it was extremely delicious. I mean EVERYONE commented on it. Many people had seconds. Thank you so much for this Christmas gift. It will be on the Christmas menu from now on.

  245. Meg

    Love this website. Have visited this page many times, but thinking about making it for the first time for my roommate’s birthday! I noticed Mel’s comment, but was wondering if you have any ideas about making this frosting without a hand/ stand mixer. I do have a blender (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00Y2QHY02/ref=s9_top_hm_b3rSILn_g79_i13), might that help? Or should I be strong by hand?

    Additionally, I have baking powder but not soda – might I somehow be able to work with one? I’m buying a bunch of things on a limited budget, and here in London it’s all unfortunately pricey and I’m trying to substitute with what I do have.

    1. deb

      Pati — Sorry, I’m completely unfamiliar with this. I usually hear about substitutions with flax eggs, but nobody has mentioned doing so here yet in the comments.

  246. Aisha

    Hi Deb! I’m sorry this will sound similar to a comment I posted on another recipe (marshmallow frosting), but how does this chocolate cake compare with the other chocolate cakes on your site, especially the ones in the double chocolate layer cake and the peanut butter chocolate cake? I love moist and really intensely chocolatey chocolate cakes . I’ve made the peanut butter one several times (with and without the frosting+ganache) and love how moist it is, although I do reduce the sugar quite a bit and almost double the cocoa powder.

    I’ve often had more success with the oil-water chocolate cakes than with the butter-based ones (in general I mean; I haven’t tried your butter-based chocolate cakes). But I wonder if that’s more due to my mixing by hand than to inherent flaws in the recipes. (easier to mix oil batters by hand than to cream butter and sugar properly).

    I’m sorry if all this compare and contrast reminds you of high-school essays (eek!) I guess it just shows what a vast repertoire of recipes you have and how easily searchable they are (kudos to the OCD indexing)… Or how obsessed I am with your cakes and breads (ahem) :D

    Thanks a lot !

    1. deb

      Aisha — It’s a totally fair question. I’ll put it this way: I, too, am obsessed with layer cake moisture but since I got this configured exactly the way I like it, I haven’t made another chocolate layer cake. The Double Chocolate Layer Cake is amazing, as is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake’s cake layers (although I prefer the Double Layer) but this just wins. It’s basically one-bowl and has astoundingly good chocolate flavor (especially with good cocoa powder) for something almost comically simple that I can pull off even with, say, a 4 week old in a Bjorn. The Double Chocolate probably is more chocolaty, but I hardly notice.

  247. T

    Sweet Jesus this cake is so good that I have died and gone to chocolate heaven. I made this while snowed in during the blizzard and I’ve been sneaking bites throughout the day, I just cannot stop eating it. How this the cake so fudgy and the icing so irresistibly fluffy? This is getting pawned off on my coworkers as soon as my office reopens because I can’t take it anymore.

  248. Rachel

    Writing with another substitution! I made this yesterday, for Chocolate Cake Day, but had no buttermilk handy, and was loathe to go out in the cold to buy some. Instead, I used almond milk (since that’s what was in my fridge). I heeded the note about acidity required to wake up the baking soda, and so also added a splash of white vinegar. The results were excellent.

  249. Amanda

    Made this tonight! So so so good! The frosting is sweet and pairs very nicely with the not overly sweet moist light cake! My daughters licked the frosting bowl clean! Really this is so good! Thanks Deb!

  250. Nina

    My frosting turned out chunky (fortunately the rainbow sprinkles hide it!). I sifted the sugar and the butter had softened all day. Any thoughts?? Thanks!! Even with chunky frosting it’s still delicious and I may or may not be having a piece with my morning tea :)

    1. deb

      Nina — Not sure… was the melted chocolate cooled? What do the chunks seem… composed of, does it seem like sugar or chocolate? Hope to help.

  251. Nina

    I just tasted one of the chunks (for research, clearly, not as an excuse to have cake for breakfast ;) ) and it’s sugar!! The melted chocolate had cooled a little but was not chunky when I poured it in. Not sure what else I could do if I sifted the sugar and it was still chunky! Thanks for responding! I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity!!

  252. Aisha

    Thanks a lot Deb! I guess I’ll just have to give this cake a go at the next family birthday (which, thankfully, is in barely two weeks). What a difficult choice ! :D

  253. Elaina

    I love all your recipes so when my 4 year old boys asked for chocolate cupcakes this morning (at breakfast none the less) I came right here. The directions mention this can be made as 12 cupcakes. Does the baking time need to be adjusted? And do I need to butter the inside of each paper cupcake wrapper or should I butter the actual cupcake tin and then place the paper cupcake wrapper inside that?

  254. Jen

    My 8yo made this today. So easy and so quick (was supervising 10yo’s homework as well). So delicious. And not too huge so we didn’t get sick of it. Made with a shot of espresso (double strength). Beautiful cake, thank you!

  255. Megan

    Dear Deb,
    Just wondering if you’d any tips on scaling this cake to fit a 15cm tin as used for your ‘Tiny but intense chocolate cake’? In thinking about cutting and layering..? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Megan — You could halve this in a 6-inch round. 8-inch squares and 9-inch rounds have roughly the same bottom area, and roughly double that of a 6-inch round.

  256. Chithra

    Just made this today. Wonderful cake!!! I don’t have any dutched cocoa but used regular ghiradelli coca and it came out just fine (threw in a handful of extra chocolate baking chips for good measure). Great cake for V-day!! Two thumbs up.

  257. Meryl

    Deb,

    I am looking for a chocolate cake to make with raspberry filling, because your double chocolate layer cake has inspired me. I’m nervous about its moist crumbliness, though, and would prefer frosting to ganache. Would you suggest this cake or the fudgy chocolate sheet cake as the cake substitute?

    Thanks!

  258. Deb,

    I’ve been reading that one shouldn’t use Dutch processed cocoa with recipes that contain baking powder or baking soda; apparently recipes with those ingredients use the acidity of natural cocoa to react with and the alkalinity of Dutch process will mess with the product. First time I made this cake (huge success, by the way) I used natural because that’s all I had. I just bought Dutch process thinking, “I don’t know how this cake could be any better, but I’m in!” to make a rerun on Sunday. Then I saw an article with the above watch-out.

    What say you, Guru of the Kitchen? What shall I do?

    1. deb

      Pamela — I mention concerns about Dutched cocoa under the recipe. Dutch-process cocoa (the standard in European brands) differs from natural cocoa (what you have if your cocoa isn’t labeled Dutch, or if it’s an American brand) in that its acidity has been neutralized to form a darker, nuttier cocoa that I prefer. Because baking soda (not baking powder, which has cream of tartar as an acid) needs an acidic ingredient to “activate” it, there is some concern that the using Dutched cocoa in a recipe only leavened by baking soda will be a problem. It rarely is in my experience, often because there are other acidic ingredients in the mix (here, buttermilk, even eggs, brown and white sugar are slightly so).

  259. Am

    Deb, would this frosting make enough for two stacked round cake layers, if you’re someone who prefers a thin layer of the stuff? It looks amazing, so I’d love to use it for a marbled birthday cake.

  260. Deb- Thx for the speedy reply. After noodling for a day, I decided that the acid present in the buttermilk must be enough to do the job. I have a fave friend who doesn’t make a baking move without you. I asked if she trusted you enough to plow through and make as directed. Her answer was an unequivocal, “Yes!” Thanks again. This cake is a delight.

  261. Am

    Update: went ahead and tried it anyways – it was definitely enough for the “naked cake” look, ie just inside and on top! (I don’t like super sweet cakes, so I often leave the sides unfrosted.)

  262. michelle

    I was so tired and grumpy, the kids were fighting, and hubby was exercising his birthday right to take the day off. We were at the cabin so this was going to be a hand-mixer + $5 ikea-cake-pan-smeared-with-whole-cow-of-butter kind of a job. I followed the instructions exactly and the cake turned out beautifully. The icing was fluffy goodness – perfectly spreadable, delightfully lickable. Hubby blew the candles out, served it up, we started eating, and nobody said a word. With every bite the grumpiness and stress and bickering melted away. This was the cake that saved the weekend. This cake rivals the chocolate cakes from the best bakeries in town. And to top it off, hubby, the pickiest cake eater I know, who rarely finishes a slice, had seconds.

  263. elle

    Can you tell me what size is your strainer in the picture? Is it a 3″ or a 5″? The cone shape one? I would like to order it. Thank you

  264. Emily

    I adore this cake and make it (or one of its differently sized cousins) constantly (and will be making it tomorrow for a bake sale on Friday!) How well do you think it would hold up in a totally round pan (like the Wilton Sports Ball pan)? I ordered one for an upcoming birthday party cake, and the instructions say to use a dense cake such as a pound cake. I’m thinking if I work with it while frozen all will be fine….any thoughts? Thank you!

  265. Grant

    Wow. This is the fudgiest, most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever experienced. I used to think all chocolate cakes were either boring, dull, and dry, or so dense and moist that they couldn’t actually be called cake. This one is almost brownie-like (especially on day 2) but definitely still cakey and has a great chocolate flavor. I used natural cocoa and it worked just fine, and doubled the recipe to make 24 cupcakes (they took somewhere aroudn 25 minutes to bake for me, but I would advise anyone trying this to start checking on them as early as 17-18 minutes). Thanks again, Deb!

  266. WrittenPyramids

    Hi! I just made this on Friday after hearing about it on Call Your Girlfriend. I made it with wine, and it’s a big hit (the leftovers–since I made the 9×13 and served it after a huge meal are being consumed at work now). Quick question: my cocoa is not lumpy at all. I didn’t use a sifter, but I did mix dry ingredients sperately. Did I need to do that? Could I have just put everything in with the previously mixed mixture?
    THanks!

  267. Louisa

    Deb, seriously why do ever try another cake recipe that isn’t from your site? For the last 4-5 years I’ve been making one of your celebration cakes for my birthday cakes my two fav being the crepe hazelnut and the chocolate peanutbutter cheesecake. Yum! I thought I’d try a different blog’s cake this year, dumbest idea ever! Im a good baker, I know how to read a recipe and I use a scale. My first cake turned out to be a lumpy unappetizing scraggly mess as it’s to be my bday cake I had to make another as immediately turned to this one. Thanks for having such well written and scrumptious recipes that end up being perfection every time. Seriously, thank you

  268. Maria

    I think I may have already written a comment on this recipe, but I have to write one again–this cake is magic! I’m currently 40.5 weeks pregnant, I’ve eaten my box of half-off Easter truffles already, but I wanted, needed a chocolate fix! Instead of digging into my husband’s chocolate box (he has so much self-restraint!), I decided to make this cake instead! Perfection! Also, the “when you make a cake, they will come” rule totally applies to this cake. Every time I’vve made it, I’ve been invited somewhere, including in the middle of making the frosting for this one! No one will know that there are a few pieces missing, right? :)

  269. NRS

    If I wanted to use this frosting for a 9 inch double layer round cake, would you just double it or do 2 1/2 times? It’s amazing on this cake and thinking of using for other chocolate cakes or yellow cake. And just want to confirm it’s fine for the frosted cake to stay room temp for a couple days?

  270. Zara

    I’ve made this multiple times before and it’s my definitely my go-to chocolate cake – but I want to make it tomorrow for my birthday and I don’t have any unsweetened chocolate. How much should I decrease the sugar if I use the semisweet chocolate I have? Or should I just give in and go to the store? :P (Obviously I understand if you don’t answer this by the time I make the cake, haha, but thought it’d be worth asking.)

  271. Brisa

    Hi, I plan to give this cake a whirl for an upcoming family birthday for 3 chocoholics. Do you think I could add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and decrease the powdered sugar to 1 cup in the frosting? They die for chocolate but don’t care for overly sweet frosting. I know powdered sugar affects the structure, so I wasn’t sure if this would work.

    1. deb

      Brisa — I haven’t tried it but I feel like this recipe should be okay with the adjustment. Do let us know how it goes, if you can.

  272. Brisa

    Hi Deb – I tried decreasing the sugar to 1 cup and replacing it with 1/4 cup cocoa. It worked, and the toddlers had no problem with it. But I found it to have a slightly grainy texture. I’ll try it again without the modification. Thanks!

  273. Jill

    Finally made this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday last weekend. It will now be my go-to recipe when chocolate cake is called for. So tummy and satisfying. And I think the frosting recipe is one of the best I’ve ever made. And so easy in the food processor – a first for me! Thanks Deb!!

  274. karen marie

    Every bit as wonderful as I imagined. Used Dutched cocoa – I keep it on hand because I love the deep color and flavor. I used a full fat cream-on-top plain yogurt from Trader Joe’s in lieu of buttermilk. So good! Perfect size cake for two people. Thanks!

  275. Wmd

    And why I don’t have half of these ingredients in the house, RIGHT NOW, I do not know. I do know that I want this cake RIGHT NOW!

  276. Yolanda

    Holy stinkin’ cow this cake is GOOD! I made it as written with the exception of reducing the sugar in the frosting by a smidge. I was worried that it would be dry as most of the cakes that I make from scratch are, but it isn’t at all. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  277. ellie

    having major third trimester chocoholic cravings and this is on the agenda for tonight…hopefully this won’t derail my glucose test next week (pray for me!!!! I’m terrified of failing the first test and having to take the dreaded 24 hr one)

  278. JP

    Made this cake this afternoon when an intense craving for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting hit. The cake turned out very moist, really delicious. It is good to note that dried butter milk plus water works in this recipe. Sometimes that mixture is too thin, but in this case, it was fine. I riffed off your frosting to make rocky road frosting by adding mini marshmallows and chopped toasted pecans. I used cocoa in the frosting instead of chocolate because that is what I had (had to add more milk to compensate) and it turned out to be just what I was hoping for. Your cake saved the day! Thanks!

  279. DRosenthal

    This was just what I was looking for. So rich, moist and CHOCOLATEY!
    Great recipe, easy to make.
    Definitely going into the rotation.

    Thank you!

  280. Jennie

    I switched buttermilk for mascarpone (I had the latter in the fridge, but no buttermilk which is surprisingly difficult to get here in the UK). Cake has come out perfectly. Lucky husband will be having it for his birthday celebrations after work!

  281. Erin

    My boys and I made this tonight. It was great. So moist and chocolatey. I thought that there would be too much frosting, but no! I went to 6 stores in my neighborhood and couldn’t find sprinkles. We used m&m’s instead. This will replace the chocolate cake from the I Hate to Cook Book as my go-to chocolate cake. Thank you!