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Feb 21, 2013 08:04 PM

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

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. 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

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

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        another +1 for the Double choc layer cake. Personally, I prefer 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

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

          1. re: trolley

            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

          The 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. 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

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

          2. 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

              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

                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

                  That cake is amazing. it's foolproof.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    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. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                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

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

                                  1. re: Jay F

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

                              3. "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

                                  ok, well then cough up the recipe!