A chocolate cake recipe that is so incredibly easy to whip up and makes the most fluffy, chocolatey cake ever! What makes this cake extra special is that it is sturdy enough for stacking without sacrificing flavor and texture.
This Fluffy and Buttery Vanilla Cake recipe has been my most popular recipe on this site. I’ve received several questions on how to make a chocolate version of it, so finally, here it is!
Taste and Texture
The cake has a soft crumb but it is sturdy enough for stacking and carving. It is not fudgy but it is definitely moist and has a concentrated chocolate flavor without being too sweet.
Thanks to the cocoa dissolved in boiling water; it gives the cake an extraordinarily full and intense chocolate flavor. I used the same method in making my favorite basic chocolate cupcake.
Overall, I thought this chocolate cake is great te be in a baker’s back pocket. It is great for any special occasion and any frosting will work with it!
Baking in different cake pan sizes
Here is a chart of the amount of ingredients you’ll need depending on pan size:
Follow the same procedure as written in the recipe but you may need to adjust the baking time. Remember that the time indicated below is only a guide as not all ovens are the same.
TIP: As not all ovens are the same, always check your cake for doneness a few minutes earlier than the suggested baking time. You would know when a cake is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For the purpose of testing, I baked each size in two different cake pan heights:
- For the 6-inch cake recipe, I used a cake pan that is 3 inches in height (6×3).
- For the 8-inch cake recipe, I used a cake pan that is 2 inches in height (8×2).
For the 6-inch cake recipe, I divided the batter into two 6×3 pans.
You can probably bake this also in three 6×2 pans; if you do so, don’ forget to adjust the baking time.
Of course, the two 6×3 pans yielded a taller cake, about 3 inches in height (before torting and leveling). The cake rose right at the top of the pan. I then torte each cake into two, giving me a total of four 6-inch layers, as you see in the photos.
After torting and leveling the cakes, the total height of my cake is about 4.5 inches. If I put frosting in between layers and on the outside of the cake, the total height of the final cake would probably be over 5 inches.
TIP: If you only have a cake pan that is less than 3 inches in height, an alternative is to line parchment around the cake pan for added height, just like what I did in my Vanilla Cake.
For the 8-inch cake recipe, I divided the batter into three 8×2 pans.
You can also bake this into two 8×4 pans; baking time will be longer if you bake in a taller pan.
Using the 8×2 pans, the recipe yields three 8-inch cakes that are almost 2 inches in height (before torting and leveling). The cake rose right up to the top of the cake pan.
This time, I used cake strips, and you can really see the difference in terms of doming!
ingredients you’ll need
- dutch processed cocoa – Sometimes called alkalized cocoa; it is unsweetened cocoa that has been treated with an alkali to make it pH neutral.
- boiling water – For the 8-inch recipe, measure 710 ml / 3 cups of boiling water.
- large eggs & unsalted butter– Make sure they are at room temperature!
- flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – Combine them all together and sift once to remove lumps.
how to make this chocolate cake
The steps to make this chocolate cake are actually simple.
- Prepare your oven by preheating it to 350 F (175 C). Grease and line the bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper. Instead of dusting the pan with flour, use cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, prepare the flour mixture by sifting together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Preferably in a bowl with a spout, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. This process takes about 8 minutes – the butter should turn very pale yellow, almost white in color.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour mixture four times, alternating with the cocoa mixture in three parts, beating until each addition is incorporated.
- Divide the batter in your pans and bake until a cake tester inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks before using them.
NOTE: Not sure what’s medium, medium-low, or low speed in your mixer? Read this Stand Mixer Speed Control Guide.
Do you need to make this cake in another pan size?
I initially developed this recipe for an 8-inch cake. Then using the baking pan conversion tool, I converted all the ingredients for a 6-inch cake pan.
I used my Baking Pan Conversion Chart that is exclusively sent to my email subscribers. Click here to sign-up. It’s free!
If you need to make a cake like this in Vanilla, head on to Fluffy and Buttery Vanilla Cake recipe.
I’ve used this recipe to make a 3-tiered wedding cake so I can say that while it is soft and fluffy, it is firm enough to use in multi-tiered cakes.
Sturdy Yet Soft and Fluffy Chocolate Cake
- 710 ml (3 cups) boiling water
- 180 grams dutch processed cocoa
- 500 grams all-purpose flour
- 14 grams (1 tablespoon ) baking soda
- 3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
- 9 grams (1 1/2 teaspoon) fine salt
- 340 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
- 600 grams white granulated sugar
- 300 grams eggs (6 large eggs) at room temperature
- Preheat the oven. Set the oven 350 F / 175 C. Set an oven rack in the middle rack of the oven.
- Mise en place. Grease and line the bottom of three 8×2 pans (Note 1).Make the cocoa mixture. In a bowl (preferably with a spout), whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.Make the flour mixture by sifting the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk them together.
- Make the batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture in three parts. Beat until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Be careful not to overmix.Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the surfaces.
- Bake the cakes.Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. (Note 2)
- Cool the cakes.Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for about 15 mins. Run a metal spatula between the sides of the pans and invert the cakes onto wire racks that have been coated with nonstick spray. Peel off the parchment and reinvert onto wire racks to cool completely.
Measurements Note: All baking recipes in this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!