The Best Chocolate Cake

The Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chocolate wrapping that this recipe was printed on is completely crusted with dried batter, chocolate prints and a generous dusting of flour. I’ve kept it in a folder labeled “cakes” that is stuffed full of great recipes, but nine out of ten times when I want to make a chocolate cake, this is the recipe I reach for. It is the best chocolate cake recipe, period. It’s rich yet super moist and light with just the right amount of chocolate and not too sweet. I have made it many times with very stable and delicious results, even at high altitude in Montana.
This chocolate cake is heavenly on its own and needs no frosting. I enjoy it most with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar. If you are making a birthday cake, consider frosting it with a good buttercream frosting. Or, what about filling it with raspberry preserves and frosting it with chocolate ganache for Valentine’s day?
The secret to this cake is whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding them into the batter just before baking. The egg whites create air pockets that are going to make this cake light and delicious. This video from has some good tips on beating the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites in two installments is key. Chef John Mitzewich demonstrates proper folding techniques in this video.
The Best Chocolate Cake
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk or strong cold coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Line three 8″ or 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper, set aside. Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the water and stir until melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
2. Sift flour with soda. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk or coffee to the chocolate mixture. Mix until smooth.
3. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. Fold one third of the egg whites into chocolate batter until well incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites until well incorporated.
4. Spread into the prepared round cake pans. Bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for ten minutes. Remove cake to cool completely.
Makes 3 cakes or one triple layered cake

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