This recipe took a ribbon at Minnesota’s State Fair.
Award Winning Rich Dark Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup boiling water
4 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch Processed cocoa powder (such as Hersey’s Special Dark Cocoa) and 3 Tbsp unsweetened regular cocoa powder.
1/2 cup unsalted softened butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Orange Liquor (such as Grand Marnier)
2 cups (All Purpose) Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream
Mix boiling water and both unsweetened cocoa’s in small bowl until smooth. Set aside and let cool.
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Add vanilla extract and orange liquor then mix and set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda together in another bowl. To butter/sugar mixture, alternately add portions of the dry ingredients, unsweetened cocoa mixture and the sour cream, mixing well after each addition.
Divide into to two 8” cake tins. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cakes completely cool and torte to make four layers. Frost with your favorite frosting.


china23 Says... 29 Sep 2009 , 2:32pm

Thank you so much for that chocolate cake recipe. I was looking for the best one and you just gave it. It is wonderful, simple delicioso.

LittlePocket Says... 1 Oct 2009 , 5:17pm

I just baked this cake and the entire thing caved in. Not sure what it tastes like but I absolutely cannot serve it to anyone. Very disappointed and probably won't try another recipe from this board.

Lorrainee Says... 2 Oct 2009 , 7:14pm

I just baked this cake and was so disappointed. I would not make it again. The orange flavoring ruined it and no one liked it at all.

springlakecake Says... 7 Oct 2009 , 2:39pm

I have not tried this recipe, but just feel a need to respond to some of the above posters. First of all, I have recently started baking from scratch and have learned that sometimes recipes are just a little more sensitive over beating, temperature, underbaking etc. Secondly, these recipes are kindly given by members of cake central, so please be kind.

pursuing_perfection Says... 8 Oct 2009 , 7:27am

A question for CHINA 23 and LORRAINEE: How did your cake bake? I know one of you loved the flavor and the other one hated the flavor...but that is a matter of personal taste. What I want to know is if your cake caved in like LITTLE POCKET? Also, is the cake quite dense, or is it light (and crumby)? How did it ice compared to other cakes you have made? I would try it myself, but I'm in the middle of a move, so baking will have to wait.

jpaglts Says... 10 Oct 2009 , 11:19am

Sounds like a great recipe. I agree with MERISSA, Cake baking is very sensitive to changes. Also to LORRAINEE if you don't like the orange liquor you could easily omit it without shooting down the whole recipe.

tiptop57 Says... 16 Nov 2009 , 4:40pm

Sorry you all had a bad time of it. As I baked this cake several times in the heat of summer with lots of humidity and never have had an problem. See my King Arthur cake in posts. It held up under heavy fondant also. The orange liquor is a matter of taste, somewhat like chocolate covered orange candy peels. Not everyone cares for it. As for the caving in, some ovens are touchy or under temperature and a bit more baking time may be required. That is why I stated until cake tests done. This recipe won money and a ribbon to go with it so perhaps it wasn't the recipe that was the issue.

Darthburn Says... 1 Jan 2010 , 10:58pm

Curious what size pans LittlePocket used also... was it something like a 12" where you should have used a flower nail to help?

dalis4joe Says... 7 Mar 2010 , 7:25pm

Hi to all...

I agree with my other fellow cc'ers... no need to bring down the whole board just because you had a bad experience... there are many many facotrs as to why a cake you (or I for that matter) bake does not turn out how you (we) htought it will... but let's not make anyone feel bad for sharing a recipe... that is more good sportsmanship.... you can voice your experience with it, and like it was said before.. maybe omit/substitute a flavor you might not like and/or be familiar with... but let's be kind when commenting, please... I would never want to make anyone feel bad for sharing something with me.... Hope you see where I'm coming from here.... :-)

iheartcakegf Says... 25 Mar 2010 , 8:11am

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have used this a couple times and really like it (I do leave out the orange favor). I have gotten many complements on the flavor. It is a good cake for stacking and carving, and holds up to fondant. I haven't had any issues with it caving in, I have to think that was a baking issue.

JMetzger Says... 29 Jul 2010 , 2:35pm

Will this work without the orange liquor? Looks yummy otherwise :-)

tallgirl333 Says... 4 Aug 2010 , 12:08pm

Im going to try this cake minus the orange liquor and will post on how it went for me....Im a novice, but I do know and agree that sometimes its the baking/baker that may have done something wrong, not the recipe itself. Hopefully it works for me :) Ill let you know within a day or two! Sounds yummy to me !

solma1129 Says... 20 Aug 2010 , 8:23am

I have used this recipe without the orange liquor at least eight times and it always comes out wonderfully moist and delicious! Thank you for providing me with my go to recipe for chocolate cake!

tallgirl333 Says... 25 Aug 2010 , 9:58am

I did make this recipe and it is awesome!!! Everyone LOVED it and I paired it with a raspberry buttercream and WOW it was fab!!!! I have not had aproblem with the recipe and am about to make it again :) I do however omit the orange liquor but I have had no probs! Thanks for sharing it!!!

wakemaven Says... 3 Sep 2010 , 12:28pm

I'm looking for a chocolate raspberry cake recipe. Any perceived problems with substituting raspberry liquor for the Grand Marnier?

Coob Says... 22 Jun 2012 , 3:01pm

Omitting the orange flavoring: I have been making this chocolate cake for 40 years and it won the coveted Best Chocloate Cake recipe judged by the local Firefighters Association of Southern Oregon. It has never caved in, nor was it ever a dry cake, the only difference is I bake mine hotter at 375F for 25-30 minutes. But when something like that happens to my cake, I first review in my head what I may have forgotten to put in the cake. I then evaluate the quality of the ingredients and techniques that I used i.e. outdated leavening, rancid cocoa, if a substitution I used didn't pair well with recipe, beat too much, didn't cream butter and sugar, etc. Don't blame the recipe until you have tried it twice.

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