Quintessential Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

If I had to pick just one chocolate cake from my entire repertoire of cakes to eat and serve this would be the one. While my American Mud Cake is rich and decadent and amazingly delicious, this Quintessential Chocolate Cake is so versatile and all-encompassing that you could serve it to anyone for any occasion. Need a great chocolate cake for your nephew’s birthday? This is it. Need a refined cake for your cousin’s wedding? This is the one too. This cake is rich and moist and fudgy but also light and delicate. It seems contradictory but try it and you will see what I mean. A-sc-skinny-slice-web The beauty of this cake is its fine texture and moist, tender crumb paired with full chocolate flavor. Here are some of the features of this recipe that make it a standout:

  • Butter- This cake uses solid butter as the primary fat. This not only adds great flavor but also enables the incorporation of small air pockets that yield a fine, light, delicate texture.
  • Sour Cream- The sour cream in this cake provides fat for amazing moistness but also acidity for tenderness.
  • Chocolate and Cocoa- Using two types of chocolate gives the cake deep flavor and great texture at the same time.
  • Baking Soda- While baking soda is often the primary leavening agent in chocolate cakes it is often added in too great a volume. There is a very delicate balance between keeping the cake light and not wiping out the chocolate flavor. One teaspoon neutralized the structure weakening acidity in the chocolate, sour cream and espresso yet still let the chocolate flavor shine through.
  • All-purpose flour- Since this cake contains cocoa powder, that acts like a starch, the addition of all-purpose flour adds structure and texture balance to this tender cake.

a-sc-top-web For this cake I used Callebaut cocoa powder but any high quality cocoa powder that retains some of the cocoa butter fat will work well. The darker the cocoa the darker in color the cake will be and the deeper the flavor. This would also be wonderful with Cacao Barry Extra Brute, my favorite deep dark cocoa. A-sc-side-web I iced this cake with a very light and fluffy chocolate buttercream that is not excessively sweet and balances out the cake’s fudgy richness. Nevertheless, serve small slices of this cake. It packs a wallop of rich delicious intensity! A-sc-fade-webThis just may become your go-to chocolate cake too.  Bake one up and let me know what you think! Happy  baking!  

Quintessential Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting


  • 4 ounces (114 grams) unsweetened chocolate (or as dark as is available) broken or coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (120 milliliters) hot espresso or boiling water- ½ cup
  • 1 ½ ounce (45 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder- ½ cup (I used Callebaut)
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) all-purpose/plain flour 1 ½ cups
  • 1 teaspoon (5milliliters) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (3 milliliters) salt
  • 8 ounces (228 grams) unsalted butter, softened- 1 cup
  • 14 ounces (396 grams) granulated sugar- 2 cups
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoon (25 milliliters) vanilla extract
  • 8 ½ ounces (240 grams) sour cream- 1 cup
  • For the Whipped Chocolate Frosting:
  • 16 ounces (455 grams) unsalted butter softened- 2 cups
  • 1 ounces (30 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder- 1/3 cup
  • 4 ounces (120 milliliters) heavy whipping cream- ½ cup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) espresso paste or 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) water
  • 11 ounces (310 grams) powdered/confectioner’s sugar- 2 ¾ cups
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour.
  2. In a medium bowl combine chocolate and espresso and carefully whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. If necessary microwave for 30 seconds to get the chocolate to melt. Set aside to cool to room temperature
  3. Whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. In a mixer bowl beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium-high power until light and fluffy; add the eggs one at a time with the mixer on medium until they are incorporated. Stir in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed add the cooled chocolate-espresso mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle half of the dry ingredients followed by half the sour cream and repeat so that all the dry ingredients and sour cream is added. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and then beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute until smooth and light.
  5. Spread into cake pans and bake for 28-32 minutes until it tests clean with a toothpick. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out to a cooling rack to cool completely or wrap in plastic wrap until needed. Each layer should be about 1 ¼ inches tall. Top and fill with Whipped Chocolate Frosting or your choice of buttercream. Enjoy!
  6. For the Whipped Chocolate Frosting:
  7. Beat the butter on high speed for 3 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the cocoa and beat one minute until well incorporated and smooth.
  8. Gradually add the whipping cream with the mixer on low speed. Add the espresso paste, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add the powdered sugar one third at a time. When all of the powdered sugar is added increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and smooth, about 1 minute. Use immediately or store for up to a week in the refrigerator. Rebeat the frosting before using.

128 thoughts on “Quintessential Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting”

    1. 2 teaspoons espresso powder or 1 tablespoon coffee powder in 1 tablespoon water. It is also noted in the recipe so if you print or save it the substitute is on there. 🙂

  1. This sounds delicious, can you please tell me if it holds up well under fondant and stacking, ie for wedding cake. Many thanks.

    1. I always use unbleached unless noted. You can use either with similar success. Since many countries have outlawed bleached flour I work with unbleached to provide the most consistent results for readers. 🙂

  2. This looks divine. Would I be able to make this ahead of time and freeze it? How high does it bake? Thanks again Summer.

    1. Hi Winny, I don’t think it would be tough. The texture may be affected a little but I am sure you would still come out with a very nice cake. 🙂

  3. Hi Summer. I want to bake this cake in an 8 inch square pan but I guess that would require that the batter be increased? Would this recipe be ok to be baked in a square pan and would you have a formula to convert this recipe to fit into an 8 inch square pan? Thanks so much.

    1. It should work fine with the same volume of batter. It has a multiplier of 1.1 on the Sizing Up chart, so you could increase it by a quarter if you like but it will be fine as is too. Squares offer a bit more support so the cake should be fine. Best of luck!

  4. Hi Summer. I just made this cake. Baked it in 6 inch square tins.. I didn’t change the amount but baked it in 4 layers… I had 2 tins so had to wash and reuse the tins for the 2 last layers. I did not line the first 2 layers but buttered and floured them. Unfortunately these layers could not come out of the tin well but instead broke. For the last 2 layers I lined the tins and they came out in 1 piece. I tasted the cake from some of the broken cakes and they were delicious…soft and moist. I have got the broken cakes in the freezer and hoping that these cakes once frozen can be frosted and covered in fondant.

  5. 2 questions:

    Can I use to make cupcakes?

    I plan to substitute as many ingredients as possible with organic- do you see any problem with this?

  6. Well, I can say this is one of my favourite cakes ever. So easy to make and looks and takes great. It is wonderful, light but rich and the coffee adds a wonderful flavour. Thank you so much for a great recipe that I will definitely be making over and over again.

  7. Hi, I just wanted to double check the quantities of baking soda in the recipe. It’s only 1 teaspoon and no baking powder is used? Thank you

    1. Yep! That’s right. Baking soda is so potent that you don’t need very much and with the inherent acidity you don’t need baking powder to have a sufficient reaction. I tend to go low on leavening anyway. I think most cakes are overleavened, but that’s just my opinion. 🙂

  8. Thank you for the reply. You are right about over leavened, that’s what made me do a double take (most recipes we see have baking powder as well) sour cream and chocolate certainly provided plenty of acidity for the reaction. I baked the cake last night as per the recipe and it rose beautifully. The cake is light, chocolately but not sickly and very moist. I will be freezing it until needed which I’m sure will deepen the flavour. Thank you for a great recipe this will be my alternative to Rose levy’s american chocolate cake for a lighter cake

  9. I have a general question about sugar and cake making. I’ve always bought “baker’s sugar” and everything turns out fine. However I wondered if it is necessary or is the plain cheap sugar just fine? There is quite a price difference and I wondered if it actually has an affect on the recipe or if I’m falling for a marketing ploy. The main difference is the bakers sugar is super fine sugar. I wish I had the time to experiment for myself but wondered if you might have an opinion on this subject. I love your recipes. Every time I make one, it is a hit!!!! They always turn out perfect and are easy to make. Thank you for your blog!

    1. Hi Tricia, I always use standard granulated sugar. I have used Baker’s sugar in the past but have not compared cakes made side by side with the two. I have not had issues with everyday granulated sugar, but if I get a chance to compare the two I will let you know. 🙂

  10. hi Summer, this chocolate recipe is divine by all means, im going to bake it next week again. but i wanted to ask you how many recipes do i need to bake to make a 6 inch cake with 4inch high and a 9 inch cake also 4 inch high

  11. Hi Summer! I have not tried any of your recipes before but I’m keen to. I am making an oreo birthday cake for someone this weekend. It will have 4 alternating layers, 2 chocolate and 2 vanilla, frosted with buttercream and a poured chocolate topping. Do you think that the texture and flavour of this cake would pair up nicely with your white velvet recipe? If not can you recommend two of your recipes that would complement eachother?

    1. Hi Reanna, I think the flavors would pair well but the textures are different so I would go with this cake for chocolate and the Vanilla Cake. That should allow for a bit more consistency in density. Yum! That sounds delicious. 🙂

  12. I have a cup of heavy whipping cream, and I am trying to figure out what to do with it. I had a pint, already made ganache from half. If I made the frosting, could I freeze it?

    Thank you.

  13. I just wanted to say that this cake has got rave reviews from my colleagues and friends. I took it to a party and everyone was raving about it. Making it again. Summer, thank you !

  14. Hi Summer..I made this cake over the weekend for my niece’s birthday and it was super moist..super delicious and worked well under fondant! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Jessica, The sour cream adds substantially more fat. Light sour cream or yogurt is a better substitute but you can just cut some of the fat out if you just have sour cream. I fear that just adding it in you will weaken the cake structure and it will sink.

  15. Hi Summer, I encountered your blog from Jessica Harris’. Looking forward to reading and trying your recipes. Quick question on this, Do you have any preference/recommendation of good high quality chocolate? Just like the cocoa powder, i’d be interested to see what brand you’d recommend. Thanks.

    1. Hi Mona, I love the Casa Luker chocolates from Pastry Portal. Other than that it depends on where you are shopping from. I will often buy Lindt or Ghiridelli since I can get them at the local grocery store but if you have you have access to another local or imported chocolate they are worth trying out as well. Good luck!

  16. Hi I have been trying out different American buttercream recipes, using varying ratios but all my experiments make a buttercream that still has a crunchy grainy texture of undissolved icing sugar even though overall it’s light and fluffy. Is this normal? Normally I use smbc ( now use your fab method thanks!)which is super smooth. I wanted to use abc for budget concerns on fundraiser cupcakes. Will your method here dissolve the powdered sugar better?

    1. Yes Janet the grainy sugar effect is common for American Buttercreams. I use the Simple Silky Buttercream often for cupcakes. It is smoother than American Buttercream and you can adjust the sweetness to your taste. The whipped buttercream here is fairly smooth, more so than a traditional ABC but is light and fluffy too. Not quite a traditional texture. I hope that answers your question!

  17. Hi,
    I just found your Facebook page through “All things cake” and love your recipes.
    I have a question about frosting, can I use it to cover my cake the way we use buttercream? I am going to put some fondant stars on it,

    1. Hi Ziba, This frosting is a touch on the soft side. It would hold up well if it can stay relatively cool, but I would opt for a chocolate swiss meringue style buttercream or a chocolate variation of the Simple Silky Buttercream for a more firm texture. Good luck!

  18. Hi Summer

    This cake looks delicious. I want to make it for my daughters birthday.

    A few questions please

    Shall i use unsweetened chocolate or dark chocolate? Will cooks milk chocolate be ok as well?

    I want to use dark chocolate ganache to crumb coat the cake– will make it too chocolaty? I am making his cake for kids so am a little concerened about the bitter flavour?


    1. I would suggest either unsweetened or dark chocolate in the cake. Milk chocolate will give you a very muted flavor. Dark chocolate ganache would be lovely to coat the cake. It depends on the palate of the kids how they will react to the flavor. You could always use half milk and half dark chocolate to subdue the bitterness. Yum!

    1. Hi Liz, Chocolate will seize in low proportions of liquid due to the thickening nature of the sugar and cocoa solids but if you get enough liquid in the mix it overcomes the concentrations that lead to seizing and dilutes the mixture out to a liquid state. 🙂

  19. Hi Summer, I hope you are still monitoring this recipe. Would this stand up to fondant? I plan to make a knitting basket cake- the fondant is around the outside with a rope border around the top edge, but there would be 3 cake balls of yarn on top covered in fondant with some fondant strings too. Wish I could attach a picture. I haven’t made a mud cake before, but will look at that recipe too- sounds like a mid cake would be sturdy but ooh- I’d love to make this one. Your input is appreciated.

    1. This cake will hold up great to fondant. It has a nice structure and will carve and keep its shape well. Best of luck with your knitting basket! 🙂

  20. Hi Summer! I feel extremely lucky that i found you and your marvelous recipes on the internet. I live in Argentina and I cant seem to find sour cream here. Is there any chance that I can use a substitute? If you think there’s no substitute could you share one of your fantastic recipes so that I can make it myself? Thanks in advance for your answer and thanks again for sharing your baking experiences.

    1. Hello and thank you! If you have access to whole milk yogurt you can use 14 tablespoons yogurt plus 2 tablespoons butter or oil. Or you can use 3/4 cup whole milk plus 4 tablespoons butter (or oil) plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or white or cider vinegar. Mix the milk and juice/vinegar and allow to curdle/thicken for a few minutes. Add the butter with the other butter or fat in the recipe. Best of luck with this cake! 🙂

  21. Hey Summer! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. Every recipe of yours I’ve tried has been a success. I have a question about this chocolate cake. I am doing a doll cake for my daughter’s birthday and she wants a chocolate cake. Do you think this cake would bake well in a large glass bowl (to then become the doll’s dress)? Thank you.

    1. Hi Susan, I am not exactly sure on this one. If you want to use this cake you may be better off baking it in layers and carving it. It is pretty rich and tender and I fear that it would sink in the middle in this shape.

  22. Hi Summer! Yes! Amazing chocolate cake, my loyal cake tasters at work (aka colleagues) put this in their highest ranking of what to request next 🙂 I need your input. From a couple times making this, the cake sinks in the middle, after a nice rising during baking. I used both 6″ x 3″ height and 9″ x 3″ height, both resulted similar. I used whisk attachment with my KA and was wondering if it incorporated too much air in the batter. Or perhaps, I need to do higher temperature since it’s 3″ height.. Any input is appreciated.
    I was also wondering if the frosting is strong enough to provide a structure if I want to cover the cake with fondant. I usually use SMB chilled before covering with fondant.

    1. Hi Mona, It may be an air issue. Have you tried banging it on the counter when you remove it? That may help. For more info on why that works check out the Big Bang Theory post. And be sure you are baking it until it is fully done. 🙂

      1. Ahhhh this is excellent news.. i encountered the same shrinking or collapsing problem too both times i made it. Bt not a biggg issue.. love the cake!!!!! Thks summer!

      2. Wow, I just read your post about banging your cake after you pull it out of the oven. I had no idea! I always gingerly placed it on the counter, lol. I’m making your chocolate cake today and going to give this a try! Thank you for all your valuable information 🙂

        1. Hi Julie! Yes, the banging thing is a funny concept, which seems counterintuitive, but it works. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  23. Dear Summer,
    The recipe says to spray three 8-inch round cake pans – I was wondering if I can use two 8in x 2in pans instead as I plan to have 4 layers of cake (after torting) ?

  24. Hello, I have a customer requesting a milk chocolate cake. How can I make this recipe with milk chocolate flavor? Thank you.

  25. Hi, I’ve been asked for a chocolate banana cake ( to be covered with fondant) can I add say a cup or so of mashed bananas to this recipe? I love the recipe and would really like to use. I’m don’t know whether to reduce the amount of sour cream to balance the moisture? Many thanks

  26. Hi Summer,

    Can I bake in a large tin at once?

    I want a bigger cake, say 10 or 12. Can I double this recipe and bake in a pan at once?

  27. Hi , I made your American Mud Cake and Red Velvet Cake many times and they are absolutety divine. I now want to try your Quintessential Chocolate cake but I would like tofill coat it with dark chocolate ganache. Do you think it will be nice with a tender crumbed cake such as this ?

  28. Wao!! Se ve delicioso. Lo voy a intentar!! Me encanta todo lo que sea chocolate. Espero me salga bien. 🙂

  29. Hi Summer! Your chocolate cake is my go to..absolutely delish! I ve been asked to do a chocolate cake infused with rum and or baileys..can I use this recipe and somehow replace the liquids or some? Please advise. ..thank you! I need to start baking asap…

  30. Hello Summer
    I made this cake this week and decorated a 2 tier with fondant and crusting chocolate buttercream and the family loved the taste of the cake, it soft and very moist.. Thank you. I have also made couple of other recipes, so once again thank u…

  31. I was dying to try this as a three layer cake, but needed to make cupcakes for a party so I decided to give it a try. The middle did sink a tiny bit, but you couldn’t tell after they were frosted and no one seemed to mind when they were scarfing them down! I got so many compliments. People were raving and quite a few said they were the best chocolate cupcakes they’d ever had. So glad to have found this recipe!

  32. Hi Summer, I have a quick question. I had done this recipe twice and the flavor is absolutely delicious, it is rick and chocolaty, sweet enough. But I had the same problem over and over. The cake is not holding together, it is so crumbly and brittle. When you cut the cake it starts crumbling almost like dry chocolate powder. Is this the way the recipe turns out or do you know of anything that I could try?

  33. Hi Summer! Fantastic cake again! Just wondering what you tend to use for preparing the pans? I have tried shortening and “magic cake release” that is on pinterest. I still don’t get a smooth release on the sides with this mud cake. Thanks!

  34. Will this recipe work well with a raspberry mousse? Or, do you think it would pair better with your other chocolate cake recipe? Thank you in advance!

    1. Yes you can but I would reduce it a bit and add some oil or butter to make up the difference in fat. The sour cream provides fat needed to keep this cake moist. Good luck!

  35. Hi summer,
    I baked this recipe twice yesterday and I followed the steps exactly , the first time I baked it as per instruction for 32 minutes but the cake rise up beautifully and when I took it out it sank all the way and then the second time did exactly as per ur instruction again , but this time baked it for 50 mnts and rise up nicely again inside the oven but same problem it sunk all the way from the middle again , I don’t understand ??

  36. Hi Summer.

    I have made this cake many times now and I love it. I am making a huge minion cake and was thinking that this icing is on the soft side… may not hold under cake layers and fondant… so can i use milk chocolate ganache as icing ?

    will it be too sweet? it will make the cake firmer though.

    any thoughts?


    1. I think the ganache will work well. Milk chocolate may be a tad sweet but you can always do half milk and half dark chocolate to cut the sweetness. Another option is to make a sour cream milk chocolate ganache. The sour cream will temper some of the sweetness. Lastly, you could try a chocolate SMBC will is much more firm and stable than this frosting. Go to Easy Foolproof SMBC for the recipe and add 1 cup high quality cocoa powder with the butter when you beat it. I hope that helps!

  37. Can you make this as a cupcake? I tried and it is delicious, but it doesn’t rise. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Emily, I have not made this cake as cupcakes but it should be possible. I would add 1/4 cup extra flour for structure. Many cakes don’t translate well to cupcakes.

      This cake should rise but doesn’t done a great deal. Make sure your baking soda is very fresh and don’t let the batter sit too long or stir excessively before baking. Since there is no baking powder you will not have secondary rising due to heat. Hopefully this will give you better results!

  38. Hi Summer Thanks for yet another recipe! Baked mine in 2 x 8″ pans, had to leave to bake way longer than recommended – trust this will not alter the moistness of the cake? If baking a day or 2 in advance can I wrap with clingwrap and leave at room temp or would you recommend freezing or refrigerating? Need to bake a one tier cake for 70 people soon. Please advise what size pan and how to increase this recipe. Much appreciated. Kathy

  39. Hello, I’m going to be using this recipe (hopefully!) soon for a wedding cake I am baking. But I noticed a little typo which might throw some people off! I love chocolate, but I think it should be 30 grams of cocoa powder, not 30 ounces, I would hope, haha! Thank you for the recipe, I’m excited to see how it turns out! :~)

  40. hi summer! Im wondering if this chocolate cake is tastier or the moist chocolate cupcake recipe one would be better to make a choocolate cake? I personally love the moist chocolate cupcake recipe but I doubt i’ll have time to experiment with this one. im thinking to use one of them to make my brother’s birthday cake. would appreciate if you could advise! 🙂

    1. I would go with this cake. I’m not exactly sure how the Moist Chocolate Cupcakes will come out as cake and this cake is really, really good. It shouldn’t disappoint. Let me know what you think if you make this one! Smiles.

  41. Hi Summer, I can hardly wait to give this cake a try. It sounds absolutely fabulous. My question … can you substitute Ricotta Cheese for the Sour Cream? I love Ricotta Cheese, have successfully used it in place of Sour Cream with other recipes, while Sour Cream is lovely & moist, is it also essential (don’t substitute) because “food science” requires the acid in this particular food product to make the cake tender? Baking and having successful aka delicious results definitely makes science very fun! Thank you for great cakes and your generous expertise. 🙂 Lisa G.

    1. Hi Lisa, Ricotta should work well in many instances. You will have a bit less moisture and less acidity than sour cream so I would use three-fourths ricotta and one-fourth milk plus 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice. Let me know how it works if you try it. I have used ricotta some in baking but not in cake. Good luck!

      1. Hi Summer, thank you so much for the science lesson. So interesting re “why” things work or don’t work. Everyone has such wonderful things to say about this particular cake and while Ricotta Cheese certainly puts a “new” spin on things, your recipe is the perfect (Quintessential) example of “don’t mess” with success, so, I won’t. Ricotta Cheese is wonderful. I have used it in place of Sour Cream in my Lemon Cake and it’s rich and truly fabulous, but that’s another cake. I can hardly wait to try this cake. I’m a real fan of REVERSE CREAM method. Is there an “order” (expecting to add coffee vs boiling H2O last), that you would suggest if you would assemble this cake using the REVERSE CREAM method? Again, thank you for your awesome recipes. I’ve been making a list of a few other fabulous recipes in your collection. You really are a very talented lady. 🙂 Lisa G.

  42. Hi Summer, Thanks a lot for your recipe! It tastes wonderful. I only have one 6 inch pan, so I used half amount of the recipe to put them all in the 6 inch pan. I intended to cut the cake into 2 or 3 layers. It came out about 2 1/2 inch tall. My problem is that the cake fell apart when I tried to cut them in layers. I baked 60 minutes. I checked every 10 minutes after baking for 40 minutes. I am wondering if I need to buy couple 6 inch pans instead of baking one tall cake. Also, can I cut some sugar? Many thanks!

    1. Yes, all of my recipes are formulated for two or three layers so they tend to sink or fall apart when baked deep (see Size Matters). They are just too rich. And yes, you can cut sugar but sugar makes a cake lighter so you may end up a little more dense than as created. You can always incrase the baking powder a half teaspoon to compensate. I hope that helps!

  43. I want to bake this cake, but only have Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder in my pantry. The label says it is a blend of natural and Dutch processed cocoa. Can I substitute the Hershey’s in this recipe?

  44. Hi Summer 🙂 I’m a real fan of REVERSE CREAM method. It would “appear” this cake can be made using REVERSE CREAM based upon the sugar out-weighing the flour. Do you agree? If so, is there an “order” (expecting to add coffee vs boiling H2O last), that you would suggest assembly of this cake?

    1. Hi Lisa! Sorry it took a while to get back to you. WordPress was giving me trouble the other day! I think this would work well for the reverse method. I would mix the chocolate and coffee as directed, whisk all the dry ingredients including sugar and cocoa, then add the butter half the sour cream and eggs and beat. Then add the remaining sour cream and coffee-chocolate mix. Let me know how that works for you!

      1. Hi Summer 🙂 Thank you for taking time to write and for your follow-up to my question about REVERSE CREAM method to prepare The Quintessential Chocolate Cake. I am so pleased that you feel this “could” work and I can hardly wait to give it a try. I will follow all your instructions in original recipe and take suggestions for order of ingredients for this new version of preparation. I understand the concept, have had great results using this method, so this should be really fun. I will keep you posted with me results. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving. :-* Lisa G.

  45. Hi Summer! Loved all your recipe. I baked this today in 2 8 inch bake pan but as it about to cook the middle of the cake has sunk. I don’t know what happened? Any suggestions how can i avoid that? Thak you

    1. Hi Precy! Sorry your cakes sunk. I know how disappointing that can be. It is likely because this cake is formulated to be baked in three 8-inch pans. If you add too much batter to one pan the weight of the cake can’t hold itself up. You can reduce the recipe to 2/3 of the size if you just want two layers or split the batter of the whole recipe into 3 pans. For more on this see the Size Matters post. I hope this helps!

  46. Summer, I love your recipes. I have tried a few, I have a question about this or any or your chocolate cakes, which one would you recommend to use with the chocoflan, or pastel imposible? I love them by themselves, but since you know food science, which one would work better? Thanks!

      1. Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I was happy to receive your responce!! I baked the cake last night, half of the recipe with the chocoflan and half without. I baked the one without flan in a 9×2 and came beautiful, unfortunately the chocoflan didn’t work. It did baked, but looked all chocolaty, did not separate. It kind of just merged into an ugly looking mess. I could tell which patches were flan and which were cake. In addition, when i flipped it, the top looked somewhat wrinkled. I bet it was from when i pour the flan. I poured the chocolate cake first and then the flan. I have made othe chocoflan recipes, which look nice, but i am not happy with the chocolate cake flavor. That is why i wanted to use one of your cakes. I was so happy i made the whole recipe because we had a yummy layer of delicious chocolate cake. Thank you so much.

        1. Sorry you ended up with choco goo! I think the cake batter needs to be less dense than the flan mixture. I would try this Chocoflan Food Network recipe with these changes: Cut the baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon, increase the baking powder to 1 teaspoon; add 2 ounces good quality dark chocolate melted into the batter.
          I hope that works! It should help the chocolate flavors to come through.

  47. Hi Summer! Still have my 3 pans in the oven. All of them sank while still in there? Right oven temperature, followed your recipe carefully. Any idea of what could’ve happened? My husband’s birthday is tomorrow 🙁

    1. Yikes! It’s very difficult to say what could cause problems without knowing ingedient specifics. In my experience, fat seems to be the culprit in cake sinking. You can scale back on the fat if it causes problems. Adding an egg can also help offer structural insurance. This cake is formulated rich, so it balances on the edge of structural integrity. So sorry you had to deal with sunken cake! That is very frustrating.

      1. Hi Summer! I finally gave it another try and the result was a sunken cake again. I noticed this recipe doesn’t include baking powder, so I’m thinking if this is even an issue? Thank you!

        1. Hi Inna! It’s difficult to say what exactly is causing this cake to sink, but you could likely remedy it by using light sour cream or plain yogurt in place of the regular sour cream. Sometimes, too much fat will cause structural problems. With a lower fat product you will retain the moisture giving properties of the sour cream but lose a little of the richness that can contribute to the dowfall.

  48. Hello Summer…!!! I want to bake this cake as a 11 inch two layer heart shape cake. What should be the things that I should be aware of and what difference should I make in the quantity.

  49. Help, I just made the frosting and follow the instructions and it just tastes like butter, not chocolate, it’s not very sweet, and it looks broken and greasy.

  50. Hi summer, can I get away with using hersheys special dark cocoa? My clients can’t really afford to pay me if I use more expensive brands.

    1. It may work to substitute half of the sugar with Splenda. You may be better off with something like erythritol though. Sugar plays a major role in the lift/lighness of a cake. For more information see this post on Sugar Substitution that I wrote for The Cake Blog. Splenda a will act similar to stevia in baking. I hope you find a combination that works for you!

    1. Hi Ruth! This cake will work well for a naked cake. It has a good side-wall structure. You could also use the cake from the German Chocolate Cake. I made it recently with buttermilk in place of the coconut milk in the batter and it was wonderful. Either one should work well. All the best!

  51. Hello Summer, I am going to try this chocolate cake next.
    If this is the Quintessential chocolate, which among your vanilla cakes is the Quintessential vanilla cake?
    Thank you

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