I Need To Find The Perfect Chocolate Cake

Baking By Dr_Hfuhruhurr Updated 11 Feb 2015 , 3:36pm by argylealice

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 4:31pm
post #1 of 26

I know, I know. This question has surely been asked a thousand times. And, I've read those threads in passing. But I've still never found the "just right" chocolate cake. Honestly, my favorite cake is vanilla cake, so I haven't put as much effort into finding a great chocolate recipe. I have a couple of stand-by chocolate recipes that I will use, but they're not appropriate for every application.

 

For example, the tastiest recipe I've tried is for a chocolate mudcake, and it has nearly all of the qualities I'm looking for--but it's not great for a kids' cake (it's a little too dark for many kids' tastes). For carving cakes, the Durable 3D recipe here on CC is good--but it's not great for non-carved cakes (not dense and moist enough, which is to be expected). I've also tried the Cake Love and Hershey recipes, and was not very impressed by either one. 

 

Does anyone have a recipe that could be called the "perfect chocolate cake"? For clarity, the qualities I'm looking for are:

 

1. Really dense (I hate the texture of box mix cakes--super soft and airy)

2. Really moist (I want to be able to tort it and fill it, but it needs to be something you'd want to eat without any filling/frosting)

3. Not so rich that buttercream or ganache would be overkill

4. Made with milk chocolate or cocoa--not dark or bittersweet chocolate

 

I guess, in the alternative, does anyone know if milk chocolate can be substituted for bittersweet chocolate in cake recipes? If so, maybe I could just adapt the mudcake recipe I like, since it's nearly perfect.

 

Thanks for any input!

 

-dt

 

Edit: I'm not opposed to doctoring a box mix, but I prefer scratch recipes.

25 replies
Rfisher Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 4:51pm
post #2 of 26

AHave you tried this one? http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/milk-chocolate-layer-cake-recipe Moist crumbs on toothpick, never needs a wash. May not be perfect, but might meet some if not all of your criteria.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 5:19pm
post #3 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rfisher 

Have you tried this one?
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/milk-chocolate-layer-cake-recipe
Moist crumbs on toothpick, never needs a wash.
May not be perfect, but might meet some if not all of your criteria.


No, I haven't, but it looks promising--thanks!  I will try it. :)

MimiFix Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 7:23pm
post #4 of 26

I really like Hershey's back-of-the-box Perfectly Chocolate Cake. This recipe (with a few tweaks) was the basis for my bakery's best selling cake. If you make it, cut both leaveners by 33% and reduce the water by 25%. Also, I used cool water or coffee, never boiling water.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 7:42pm
post #5 of 26

i love the hershey one too but use mimi's edits or you won't like it  -- also you might want to try a texas sheet cake recipe

 

http://southernfood.about.com/od/chocolatecakes/r/bl30620s.htm

 

but instead of torting it -- i'd bake it short and layer it up that way -- just a thought

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 8:31pm
post #6 of 26

You guys are incredibly helpful--thanks so much!  Three recipes to try this weekend... should make for a happy wife and kids.

Claire138 Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 10:52pm
post #7 of 26

I agree with both Mimi and K8, 99% of my orders are for the Hershey's chocolate cake although I use boiling water; Mimi I'm interested that you don't, is it better with cooler water?

MBalaska Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 11:17pm
post #8 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Claire138 
 

I agree with both Mimi and K8, 99% of my orders are for the Hershey's chocolate cake although I use boiling water; Mimi I'm interested that you don't, is it better with cooler water?

ditto.

MimiFix Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 5:18pm
post #9 of 26

There's no discernible difference in the final product. When I began using this recipe my production method included boiling water. But when I had extra batter it would go in the fridge to be baked off another day. The cakes came out the same. I soon realized that water temp was a moot point. 

Claire138 Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 9:02pm
post #10 of 26

Got it, ;-DThanks!

MKC Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 10:48pm
post #11 of 26

Aif you think the mud cake is almost perfect, you should try to make it the best. trying milk chocolate vs dark chocolate would be a good first step. that's what I did with Hershey's chocolate cake.. I made several changes until it was perfect for my needs...but it took more than a weekend :-)

saapena Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 10:57pm
post #12 of 26

My favorite chocolate cake recipe for taste is Toba Garrett's chocolate fudge cake--but it is finicky.  Sometimes, it comes out perfect and sometimes it doesn't--and that is with weighing the ingredients.  Confetti Cakes chocolate cake is the recipe I use when making tiered cakes--everyone seems to love it, and it it turns out perfectly each and every time.

AnnieCahill Posted 15 Jan 2015 , 3:01pm
post #13 of 26

This cake is epic.  I used it for one of my wedding tiers and it was totally annihilated. 

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275

 

It's dense and fudgy but if you want something a little lighter and fluffier then go with the Hershey's.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 15 Jan 2015 , 10:43pm
post #14 of 26

I am now convinced I must have botched the recipe the time that I tried the Hershey cake. So many supporters! I really do appreciate everyone's input.  I think I'm going to dub February the Chocolate Cake Month, and make 1-2 tester cakes per week. Might even enroll my family in a blind taste test, running through each recipe to find our favorite.

MimiFix Posted 15 Jan 2015 , 11:01pm
post #15 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr_Hfuhruhurr 

 

... I think I'm going to dub February the Chocolate Cake Month, and make 1-2 tester cakes per week.  

 

Why wait until February? National Chocolate Cake Day is Tuesday, January 27th.

didavista Posted 16 Jan 2015 , 12:23am
post #16 of 26

A

Original message sent by AnnieCahill

This cake is epic.  I used it for one of my wedding tiers and it was totally annihilated. 

[URL=http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275]http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275[/URL]

It's dense and fudgy but if you want something a little lighter and fluffier then go with the Hershey's.

This is the I fell in love with!!

gaumeome Posted 19 Jan 2015 , 3:55pm
post #17 of 26

I love chocolate cake. Thank for the recipe :)

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 19 Jan 2015 , 4:34pm
post #18 of 26

Okay, everyone. Thanks again, very much, for all of your contributions. We actually tested out five different cakes this weekend, and we found a lot that we liked. The contenders were:

 

- Hershey (with modifications proposed by MimiFix)

- King Arthur Flour

- Epicurious

- Macsmom's chocolate cake

- Artisan Cake Company recipe (found here: http://artisancakecompany.com/recipes/cake-and-buttercream-recipe/)

 

For the most part, all of the cakes were very good. The only one we didn't like was the King Arthur flour recipe, and it turned out so bad that I suspect I messed up the recipe somewhere along the way (I was cutting each recipe in half to help stem the onslaught of chocolate cake). I must have mismeasured something, because it was a really odd cake. Not bad, exactly, but I wouldn't really even call it cake. It tasted more like bread, with a slight chocolate flavor. My daughter was a fan of it, and dubbed it "Choco-bread," but it definitely did not compete with the other recipes.

 

Ultimately, we may have had a tie for winner. After baking four of the recipes on Saturday, we determined that the Hershey recipe (as modified) was our clear winner. But, on Sunday, I baked the Artisan recipe, and now we're not sure. Both have a great chocolate flavor, but very different textures. The Hershey cake is probably moister, but is also lighter. The Artisan cake is dense and very tight, with a thick, melt-in-your-mouth characteristic. "Fudg-y" would be a good descriptor.

 

I feel like I was looking for the texture of the Artisan cake, and possibly the flavor, too, but after having tried the Hershey cake, I'm not sure. Both are very good--just in different ways. I'm tempted to think the Hershey cake may stand up better to frosting, which could push it over the edge. The Artisan cake may just be too rich if frosting is added. So... maybe the Hershey cake if I'm going with ABC or ganache, and the Artisan cake if I'm making an SBC or whipped topping.

 

I don't know.  I'm just glad that I've found some real contenders that I can fool around with in the future.  Thanks everyone!

johnson6ofus Posted 19 Jan 2015 , 4:52pm
post #19 of 26

*Your results may vary*

 

BUT... I love seeing the results of other people's "bake offs". Thanks!

Rfisher Posted 19 Jan 2015 , 7:56pm
post #20 of 26

AInteresting. Even though cakes don't always bake up the same for different people, I always like to see results of others bake-offs, as well.

CookieNibz Posted 20 Jan 2015 , 3:28am
post #21 of 26

AI only make cakes for family & friends, so I'm no professional, but been baking since I could reach the stove (with gma's assistance of course). I run a small painting company, so my time is very limited, & like I said, I don't charge or anything. My favorite chocolate cake recipe is very dense & moist, & crazy easy. It has had rave reviews by at least 5 different finicky family members!

Supermoist Duncan Hines (with pudding in the mix) triple Fudge cake mix. Discard directions on back & instead do 3/4c oil, 1c sour cream, 4 eggs, 1/2c expresso, I also add an additional small (3.9 oz) chocolate fudge instant pudding & 1c mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped good quality chocolate, which I prefer). It is delicious! I used the same recipe for a white chocolate cake & strawberry cake (replaced coffee with strawberry puree & omitted the chips) & it worked wonders with all 3. Seems it's a very versatile recipe!

I got this recipe somewhere on CC, no idea where, I hadn't even joined yet, my apologies. I tweaked something too, but don't remember what I changed, lol.

rociodbb Posted 10 Feb 2015 , 2:36pm
post #22 of 26

Hi!

Sorry to highjack your thread, but I was wondering how would you describe the cakes you tried if you had to cover them in fondant. Which one would be firm enough to tort, fill and cover (fondant)?
I would really appreciate your help!!!

argylealice Posted 10 Feb 2015 , 5:07pm
post #23 of 26


Hi I don't know if my favourite chocolate cake recipe will be any good to you as it is a uk recipe in pounds and ounces but it is a great moist scratch cake that I have made many times and is ideal for covering and stacking.

 

for 2 x ten inch round tins I use the quantities below

 

cream 1 lb of sugar with 1 lb of spreadable butter

 

add 1 lb of self raising flour, 8 eggs, about 4oz of coco {I usually add to taste}, half tspn of baking powder and half tspn of bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbl spoons of golden syrup and 2 tbl spoons  of milk 

 

divide between the two pans and bake at 180oc until firm.

CookieNibz Posted 11 Feb 2015 , 1:31pm
post #24 of 26

A

Original message sent by argylealice

Hi I don't know if my favourite chocolate cake recipe will be any good to you as it is a uk recipe in pounds and ounces but it is a great moist scratch cake that I have made many times and is ideal for covering and stacking.

for 2 x ten inch round tins I use the quantities below

cream 1 lb of sugar with 1 lb of spreadable butter

add 1 lb of self raising flour, 8 eggs, about 4oz of coco {I usually add to taste}, half tspn of baking powder and half tspn of bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbl spoons of golden syrup and 2 tbl spoons  of milk 

divide between the two pans and bake at 180oc until firm.

Is the golden syrup (corn syrup in US) the only sugar content? Thanks for sharing!

I recently was looking for a "scratch" chocolate recipe & decided on trying the recipe on a Hershey's can of cocoa. It was moist & delicious!!! I only subbed the boiling water with freshly brewed expresso instead. Tasted wonderful!

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 11 Feb 2015 , 3:17pm
post #25 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by rociodbb 
 

Hi!

Sorry to highjack your thread, but I was wondering how would you describe the cakes you tried if you had to cover them in fondant. Which one would be firm enough to tort, fill and cover (fondant)?
I would really appreciate your help!!!


Frankly, I think any of them would be fine with fondant. The Hersheys recipe is a little "springy"/soft, so you'll want to make sure you ice it properly, but I think it would work just fine. Having said that, I think the Artisan recipe and Macsmom's recipe would probably hold up even better under fondant. They were the most dense of the cakes I tried. Hope that helps!

argylealice Posted 11 Feb 2015 , 3:36pm
post #26 of 26


Hi

 

i think you can use corn syrup as a replacement for golden syrup but the taste may be slightly different.

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