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Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

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2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cups boiling water or hot coffee
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

This rich and velvety chocolate cake is the perfect choice for birthday celebrations.

  • Serves 12
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Everyone deserves chocolate cake. Especially this recipe for Deep Dark Chocolate Cake.

America’s taste for chocolate has changed a lot in the past 50 years. If you look at recipes from old cookbooks, you’ll see that most chocolate cakes and brownies were made with a small amount of chocolate or cocoa powder. Some chocolate recipes from that time can call for as little as three tablespoons of cocoa powder for a two layer cake!

But since the 1980s, more people have come to love and appreciate darker chocolate. And dark chocolate is actually considered a health food! Any chocolate with more than 70% cacao, which is the seeds from which chocolate is made, contains lots of antioxidants, compounds that can protect your health.

This cake is rich, tender, moist, and deeply chocolate. It uses both cocoa powder and melted chocolate. The cocoa powder gives the cake a velvety texture, while the melted chocolate deepens the flavor.

The Dark Chocolate Frosting for this cake is made in a saucepan. You pour it over the cake while the cake is still warm and the frosting is soft and smooth. The frosting stays soft because it contains just a little bit of corn syrup, which prevents crystallization. Make the frosting while the cake is cooling.

Tips for the best Deep Dark Chocolate Cake:

  • Measure the flour correctly! Honestly, that’s the best advice I can give anyone when baking.
  • Adding the flour mixture and liquid mixture “alternately” means just that. You add part of the flour and beat until combined. Then you add part of the liquid and beat until combined. Do not skip this step or try to rush it. These actions build the structure of the cake.

Why this recipe works:

  • Cocoa powder acts as a finely divided solid and gives the cake a very smooth texture. Melted chocolate contains cocoa butter, which also adds to the velvety texture of the cake.
  • The large amount of water in the cake makes the batter thin, which makes the cake tender.
  • A pourable frosting is perfect for this cake. Pour it onto the cake while it’s still warm to help keep the cake moist and so the frosting adheres to the cake.

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Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9” x 13” pan with unsalted butter. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to coat; knock the excess cocoa powder out of the pan.


In a medium bowl, place the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Pour the boiling water or coffee over and stir until the chocolate melts. This step helps “bloom” the cocoa powder so the flavor is more intense. Set the mixture aside.


In a large bowl, combine the butter, vegetable oil, sugar, and brown sugar and beat well until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla.


Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in four batches and the cocoa mixture in three, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger in the center. The edges of the cake should be just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.


Cool the cake for 30 minutes on a wire rack while you make the frosting.


Frost the cake, then let it cool completely. Store covered at room temperature.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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