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is the best chocolate cake recipe by Ina Garten or...?

trolley Feb 21, 2013 08:04 PM

i'm making a cake for my nephews birthday this weekend. i was thinking chocolate with whipped cream and bananas in the center but which recipe. i made this cake for my son's birthday and forgot which recipe i used. it was either Mom's chocolate cake


or did i use


or is there a better chocolate cake out there??

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  1. goodhealthgourmet RE: trolley Feb 21, 2013 08:11 PM

    The Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Gourmet mag gets tons of raves from our fellow hounds. You could certainly add the bananas and use whipped cream in place of the center ganache layer.


    Discussion here:

    5 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
      soccermom13 RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 22, 2013 02:29 AM

      +1 for the Double Chocolate Layer Cake. It is divine.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        danna RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 22, 2013 07:01 AM

        another +1 for the Double choc layer cake. Personally, I prefer http://www.marthastewart.com/318202/m... a butter-based layer cake like this one from Martha (former fabulous martha, not sad current martha). But most of my friends and my husband just absolutely love the more squishy-moist couble choc. And if you care about cholesterol, it's a better choice.

        1. re: danna
          trolley RE: danna Feb 22, 2013 07:45 AM

          wait, why is martha sad now? i haven't been up in her business as of late.

          1. re: trolley
            danna RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 08:43 AM

            i don't know if she, personally, is sad, but I find her magazine and website to be pale shadows of what they used to be.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet
          roxlet RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 23, 2013 08:29 AM

          The epicurious.com double chocolate cake is my go-to chocolate cake. Moist, with a very good crumb, it can hold up to any kind of frosting. I usually frost it with vanilla flour frosting, and it kind of tastes like an upscale Hostess cupcake. The batter is very liquid when you pour it into the pans. The recipe says 2 ten-inch baking pans, which I don't have, so I bake it in three 9" pans. It is a very large cake, so perfect for any kind of celebration where you need to feed a large number of guests. I would say that it serves at least 20. I recently made it for a team dinner with 12 high school boys, and I still had some left even though several boys had seconds!

        3. Tehama RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 12:47 AM

          How old is your nephew? The reason I ask is I made the blackberry red wine chocolate cake twice earlier this month and it is my new favorite thing. Absolutely fantastic. You can taste the wine, however subtly though, so may not be appropriate if he is 7!


          1 Reply
          1. re: Tehama
            trolley RE: Tehama Feb 22, 2013 06:41 AM

            He's 11. He'll probably hate me if I made a cake that tasted like wine. But sounds good to me!

          2. chowser RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 06:50 AM

            Ina's cake is essentially the epicurious cake but scaled smaller. It's a good easy cake and can be made before the oven is done preheating.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chowser
              biondanonima RE: chowser Feb 22, 2013 08:31 AM

              Ina's cake is also exactly the same as the Hershey's Black Magic Cake recipe, which has been around for probably 50+ years. I wonder where she got her "inspiration."

              1. re: biondanonima
                chowser RE: biondanonima Feb 22, 2013 12:42 PM

                Yes, I've wondered what came first since I didn't know the Hershey cake had been around for that long (which is what I started using first). It's a good cake, regardless! The epicurious double layer cake is the same w/ the addition of chopped chocolate but makes 1 1/2 times as much. Not necessarily a bad things when you're talking about chocolate cake!

                1. re: biondanonima
                  Savour RE: biondanonima Feb 22, 2013 05:54 PM

                  That cake is amazing. it's foolproof.

                  1. re: biondanonima
                    Jay F RE: biondanonima Feb 23, 2013 08:32 AM

                    That's the one I like to make, from the back of the can of Hershey's cocoa. I put strained raspberry preserves between the layers, and frost it with whipped cream.

                    If I want less cake, I halve the recipe and make one layer, which gets just the whipped cream.

                    I haven't made it since the '80s, though, as chocolate has given me migraines for the last quarter-century. I wonder if Hershey's has done anything that makes their cocoa not as good as it was 25 years ago.

                2. MidwesternerTT RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 07:20 AM

                  For an 11-year old, I'd suggest the non-coffee recipe.

                  I made the Ina Garten (Food Network) recipe recently and although it was very tasty when fresh it had a decidedly cocoa flavor 2-days later. It also overlowed the Bundt baking pan I used - leave extra rising space in your pans.

                  I like the looks of the Mom's recipe and have those ingredients on-hand, so may warm the oven and chocolate-perfume the house while it's snowing outside.

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: MidwesternerTT
                    trolley RE: MidwesternerTT Feb 22, 2013 07:44 AM

                    i love the mom's cake. the batter was very liquidy and i was skeptical of it's outcome but it came out moist and rich. the only issue i have is that i need to serve 10 people. the mom's made a perfectly cute 8" but not sure if it'll be enough.

                    i may try the epicurious one. i want to make two 9" cakes.

                    1. re: trolley
                      MidwesternerTT RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 04:34 PM

                      I'd have no worries about serving 10 people with the 8-inch two-layer frosted cake I made today. But crowd appetites vary.

                      The Mom's cake & frosting are tasty. I thought they were a bit tedious to make. When I read the recipe phrase "cool slightly" I didn't translate that to 15-minute wait times for cooling the sugar syrups before doing the next step. I really liked the way the cakes came out of the pans easily. And were sturdy enough to move from rack to serving plate but still tender.

                      However I'd only glanced at the frosting recipe, and should have read the comments, which seem to say it's a bit tricky technique and not flexible for substitutions. I had no cream and naively thought I could substitute skim milk and added butter. Fail. Rescued it, sort-of, by beating in a cup of powdered sugar and got a pourable frosting. And now have plenty of extra frosting for my next cake, cookies or brownies.

                      1. re: MidwesternerTT
                        trolley RE: MidwesternerTT Feb 22, 2013 05:04 PM

                        so you have made the mom's too? i don't know why i'm beating myself up over this decision. i'm becoming overly perfectionist/ indecisive which is annoying.

                        1. re: trolley
                          MidwesternerTT RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 05:42 PM

                          Yes, I made the mom's recipe today.

                          Roll a dice / flip a coin - any of the 3 top-contenders will taste great.

                    2. re: MidwesternerTT
                      danna RE: MidwesternerTT Feb 22, 2013 08:46 AM

                      The coffee cannot be tasted in the Epi recipe. Did you think you tasted it in the Ina recipe? My coffee hating husband has no idea it's in there. it just adds complexity. but it could be swapped for hot water.

                      1. re: danna
                        chowser RE: danna Feb 22, 2013 12:44 PM

                        Exactly--people I know who are sensitive to coffee have never detected it in the cake. Hot water works, though not as well, but coffee intensifies the flavor. It gives a much flatter taste. As caffeine goes, chocolate also has a good amount of coffee.

                        1. re: danna
                          juliejulez RE: danna Feb 22, 2013 12:47 PM

                          I haven't had the Epi recipe but I've made Ina's. I hate coffee. When I made the cake, and had to go to Starbucks to order a plain coffee because I didn't even have a coffeemaker. I did not taste coffee whatsoever in the final result.

                          1. re: danna
                            MidwesternerTT RE: danna Feb 22, 2013 04:39 PM

                            Agree that you can't taste the coffee in the cake. I was just thinking that the caffeine in the chocolate, plus sugar in the cake would give plenty of zip to an 11-year old. No need to take the effect over the top.

                            1. re: danna
                              trolley RE: danna Feb 22, 2013 05:01 PM

                              well, i was going to replace the coffee with Folgers crystals...

                              ok, just kidding. i was going to replace it with a strong brewed decaf from Peets. i've done it with other cakes involving coffee and it seems to work.

                              1. re: trolley
                                chowser RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 05:39 PM

                                I know you said you were joking but it would be fine with Folgers crystals. Seriously. I've used instant espresso, Folger's crystals (free sample in the newspaper), leftover coffee and the cake is fine, at least to me. Decaf is a good idea if you're worried about the caffeine but, in he eats 1/8 of the cake, that's only 1/8th of a cup of coffee, just a couple of sips.

                                1. re: chowser
                                  trolley RE: chowser Feb 22, 2013 07:02 PM

                                  he'll be fine with caffeine but my 4 yr old bounces off the wall with any amount of chocolate so going to reduce the juice as much as possible. too bad i don't have instant. yeah, folgers would be fine but i need to go get coffee beans anyway. i get a free cup at peets for any bulk purchase.

                                  1. re: trolley
                                    chowser RE: trolley Feb 23, 2013 03:20 AM

                                    In the back of my head, I was thinking you were making it for your nephew and you could pass him back after but now I see it's your son and you'd have to deal w/ the repercussions. ;-)

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      trolley RE: chowser Feb 23, 2013 06:39 AM

                                      yes, it'll be my nephew and my 4 yr old will be eating the cake as well. gotta keep the little one in check.

                                  2. re: chowser
                                    MidwesternerTT RE: chowser Feb 22, 2013 07:05 PM

                                    Do, however, dissolve the Folgers instant in a cup or hot water. I suspect that some of those recipe commenters (not here on CH) who complained about overwhelming coffee flavor put in a cup of instant or ground coffee, i.e., not brewed!

                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT
                                      chowser RE: MidwesternerTT Feb 23, 2013 03:22 AM

                                      I wonder if they used ground coffee instead? I put instant espresso in most of my chocolate products w/out dissolving first and no one seems to notice the coffee. Or, it could be a matter of mixing it.

                                      I'll have to give the Mom's cake a try. I've never seen one that starts w/ a simple syrup. Interesting idea. Thanks for giving it a try!

                                      1. re: chowser
                                        trolley RE: chowser Feb 23, 2013 06:38 AM

                                        chowser, mom's cake is fantastic. as i mentioned i've made it before and was really skeptical but turned out wonderful. i didn't make the frosting recipe that comes with it as i prefer a vanilla or whipped cream with chocolate cake.

                              2. re: MidwesternerTT
                                trolley RE: MidwesternerTT Feb 25, 2013 01:06 PM

                                i ended up making the Ina Garten cake as I had all the ingredients on hand. i also frosted it with a flour frosting and put sliced bananas in the layers. what's the verdict? i know i saw this in another thread but i thought the cake had a bitter aftertaste. mom's cake did not have this bite to it. i did an ingredient comparison and i think maybe it's the coca versus chocolate. i think i used an inferior cocoa (trader joe's) and somehow i ended up with a slightly bitter cake. it was also very very crumbly and the frosting was thick so it was taking pieces off. nothing that 15 minutes in the freezer couldn't fix.

                                1. re: trolley
                                  Jay F RE: trolley Feb 25, 2013 01:33 PM

                                  Looks delicious, trolley. You cut two layers in halves to make four?

                                  1. re: Jay F
                                    trolley RE: Jay F Feb 25, 2013 01:49 PM

                                    yes i did! who doesn't like a four layer cake?

                                    1. re: trolley
                                      Jay F RE: trolley Feb 25, 2013 03:27 PM

                                      Bet they loved it to pieces.

                              3. g
                                GutGrease RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 08:38 AM

                                "is the best chocolate cake recipe by Ina Garten or...?"
                                Duh, made by my grandmother!

                                Don't forget that a spoon of crisco means a heaping serving spoon....yowza

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: GutGrease
                                  trolley RE: GutGrease Feb 22, 2013 08:46 AM

                                  ok, well then cough up the recipe!

                                2. h
                                  HillJ RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 03:50 PM

                                  Let me start out by saying I am super fussy about chocolate cake. I'm fussy about chocolate. I don't eat much of it but when I get that craving I want the cake to scream chocolate goodness. This one does. It's rich, chocolaty, super moist and even dare I say good for your health.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: HillJ
                                    trolley RE: HillJ Feb 22, 2013 05:03 PM

                                    what an interesting recipe. i've made pink pancakes with beets before. i'll have to think about this. if this one doesn't get made this time then there's always next time just for fun.

                                    1. re: trolley
                                      HillJ RE: trolley Feb 22, 2013 05:51 PM

                                      Absolutely. it's worth the wait.

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