My favorite chocolate cake recipe is moist and rich, exploding with deep chocolate flavor! It easily lends itself to a covering of buttercream frosting, fondant, or another topping of your choice.
I’ve been wanting to feature my favorite chocolate cake recipe for months, but I saved the it to share on the heels of our June/July family birthday season. These are months that I’ve affectionately coined All Cake All the Time: Summer Edition.
Not to be confused with All Cake All the Time: Fall Edition, in which we celebrate three more family birthdays with cake-centric feasting. It was last fall when I originally wanted to post this recipe. Son #3 requested “that World Famous chocolate cake that you always make” for his birthday. How could I possibly deny a request like that? I couldn’t.
If I am only half as cool as my 6 year old thinks I am, then I’m doing just fine.
Since my third born’s personality is larger-than-life and colorful, I instantly glammed on to Sweetapolita’s Rainbow Doodle Cake when I saw it via Pinterest. Having never worked with fondant before, my first thought was How Hard Could it Be?
That cavalier attitude has been the source of both triumphs and tribulations in my kitchen. Sometimes I just need to channel the Little Engine That Could, “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!”
Naturally, all of the store-bought fondants are processed in facilities with peanuts/tree nuts, so I had to make it myself. Besides, that stuff in a tub tastes like sugared
crap cardboard. Blech! My own personal Cake Guru Megan was kind enough to talk me onto the ledge to try it. She even drew a diagram, showing me how to wrap the cake. Reason #105 why I lurve that girl.
To call my first foray into fondant abysmal would be kind. My trial run was an utter disaster. For some reason I got it into my head that I should not use marshmallows in the base, and opted for a corn syrup based recipe. You know, because the instant I decided to make fondant, I became an expert. In my mind.
The resulting fondant was wet, weepy, and cracked when I looked at it. I did my best to hold the ripped, craggy fondant together with
duct tape & bubble gum more fondant in the shape of stars. As if…
My favorite chocolate cake looks a bit forlorn. Clearly, fondant hated me–I swore to never work with it again. #DecoratingFAIL
But…this little sweetie changed my mind. He decided a week before his birthday that he needed a Thomas the Tank Engine Cake, and told everyone within earshot about it. I had zero time to source edible cake images nor were there any Thomas cake toppers to be found within a 30 mile radius. Naturally. But the Baby was so sweet and insistent on his vision–how could I deny that face?
Again, Megan saved the day, posting a fab Thomas cake that she made for her nephew. After much Twitter consulting and her blessing, I set out to recreate Megan’s cake. Armed with a fantastically easy fondant recipe, I mustered the courage to try again. And by mustering courage, I mean I ate unhealthy quantities of chocolate and prayed a lot during the process.
I must say that the new fondant recipe made all the difference in the world–and it was good. I think it’s safe to say that fondant hates me a little less.
No matter how my attempts to adorn the outside turn out, My Favorite Chocolate Cake tastes like a winner every time.
It’s rich, decidedly chocolaty flavor pairs perfectly with it’s deliciously moist texture. You cannot fail.
All that stands between you and my favorite chocolate cake recipe is:
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- baking powder
- baking soda
- ground cinnamon
- instant espresso
- vanilla extract
- canola oil
- and a little hot water.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
This cake is essentially a “dump cake” because most of the ingredients are dumped in the bowl at the same time, before any mixing takes place. So go ahead and dump the flour and sugar into a large bowl.
Then dump in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon. Just a touch will rock your chocolate-loving world.
Dump the unsweetened cocoa powder on the mix, and whisk to combine.
Crack in the eggs and add the vanilla.
Beat it all together with a hand mixer. (Just Beat It…woo!)
Boil a little water, and stir in the instant espresso until dissolved. It took me forever-and-a-day to find instant espresso here Up North. If you have trouble finding it in your local coffee aisle, then instant coffee granules work well, too. (Brewed coffee is a little too harsh.)
Espresso flavor really brings out richness, adding depth to my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Don’t skip it!
What I am about to show you is my mom’s Super-Secret Foolproof Method for preparing chocolate cake pans, so let’s just keep this between us Friends, okay?
Grab two 8-inch cake pans. Slip a sandwich bag over your hand and scoop a little shortening onto your fingertips. Generously smear the shortening around the interior of the pan to coat. Repeat with the other pan.
Give the pan a good shimmy-shake to coat the shortening with a thin layer of cocoa, being sure to tap out the excess. I like to do this over the other pan to catch the cocoa that will invariably tumble out of the pan as I attempt to coat it.
Cocoa-coated pans will help keep the cake from sticking while adding a little extra oomph to the cake.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes just comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cakes rest for 10 minutes in their pans before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, frost with the only frosting you’ll ever need before serving up big, fat slices. Then do a little happy dance to celebrate.
After all, it is my favorite chocolate cake recipe!