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Chocolatey Chocolate Cake Tips/Recipe Suggestions

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So I need to bake a cake for a work event on Wednesday. I would like to bake it this weekend and freeze it and assemble it Wednesday morning to serve that afternoon. I don't get very many opportunities to bake cake, so I want to make something good--and this is an occasion that calls for chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I'd thought to do a chocolate cake with a chocolate raspberry ganache. I'm not a huge fan of buttercream frostings.

What I really want is a suggestion for a recipe that is tried and true to produce a really moist and chocolatey cake. I find some chocolate cakes don't have an intense chocolate flavor, but I've not made a lot of chocolate cakes, and fewer even from scratch.

I'm a pretty big novice baker, and don't have a stand mixer, but am willing to experiment. So suggestions are welcome for successful chocolate cake baking!

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  1. this is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. rich, moist and pretty simple to make. Really good chocolate is key. Ghiradelli's won't cut it.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    8 Replies
    1. re: bumble

      I love this cake. I have made it at least 20 times.

      1. re: bumble

        Yup, this one is the best. It makes a big cake!

        1. re: bumble

          I made this cake recently. I disagree about Ghirardelli not being good enough. If you use the bittersweet rather than semisweet it's very good for this ganache. I would not use semisweet of any sort for this - that's one necessary change to an otherwise great recipe.

          EDIT: I recommend Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa.

          1. re: sandylc

            Interesting on the cocoa. I've never used Cacao Barry Extra Brute, but the descriptions I'm finding online sound quite similar to Guittard Cacao Rouge, which I find to be quite excellent.

          2. re: bumble

            This does seem do-able, but I have one question. I work with a bunch of people who do not drink/consume coffee. Is there something I can substitute to still enhance the chocolate taste? I don't love coffee flavor, but these folks don't drink coffee as a religious thing, and I'd hate to offend.

            I'll need to pick up some better quality cocoa, I have the type of chocolate called for in the recipe, but not the cocoa powder.

            1. re: SarahCW

              You can use a coffee substitute that has roasted chicory root in it, like Pero, Yannoh or Teeccino. I think some Whole Foods even sell plain ground roasted chicory root in the bulk section. Just brew it up like coffee and use as directed in the recipe.

              1. re: SarahCW

                Maybe a raspberry herbal tea would work, and it might boost the raspberry flavour of your ganache too.

                1. re: SarahCW

                  Water would work. You could also try the Hershey chocolate cake which is similar w/ small variations but uses water instead.

              2. Hi Sarah, I have a few suggestions.

                The easy and tried and true Hershey's Chocolate Cake: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/reci...

                The Epicurious Chocolate Cake: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                My personal go-to is this one, which I think is a mish-mash of several recipes. It produces a SUPER chocolatey cake, very very moist, with a light crumb. It goes very well with berries to cut through the chocolate. I'm asked to make it for parties. I find it's thick enough to cut into two 1" layers; you could multiply the recipe by 1.5 for 2 thicker layers, or double it for 3 normal layers.

                MOIST & RICH CHOCOLATE CAKE
                Makes one very thick 8" or 9" cake

                -1/2 cup butter
                -1 cup water
                -1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola
                )-1 1/2 cups sugar
                -1/2 cup Dutch cocoa
                -2 cups flour
                -2 eggs
                -1/2 tablespoon vanilla
                -1/2 cup milk
                1/2 tablespoon baking soda
                -1/4 teaspoon salt

                Heat butter, oil, and water in a saucepan until butter melts. Set aside.

                Stir together sugar, cocoa, and flour, then add to butter/oil/water and mix well.

                Add eggs and vanilla, then milk, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until blended.

                Pour into greased baking pan/s. Bake @ 350 for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

                1. There is very little difference between the Epicurious double layer cake and Hershey's chocolate other than size and the Epi one has a little more chocolate (3 oz of real chocolate) and both would be fine. You can mix both of them by hand, even, but a hand mixer would be faster. For a really easy, chocolatey frosting, try the sour cream fudge frosting.

                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowser

                    BTW, I prefer the Hershey black magic cake to the hershey regular chocolate cake.If you do the regular cake, use coffee instead of water. Always add a little coffee flavor whether it's instant espresso, coffee to chocolate to intensify the chocolate w/out adding coffee taste.

                  2. The Hershey's cake is excellent and I have baked it and froze it ahead like you want too. That cake is my go to chocolate cake and I have had many requests over the years from family and friends and coworkers for it.

                    1. My favorite go-to deeply chocolate cake is based on a mix, and easy, easy, easy. It was published in Bon Appetit in the 70's. I have made it at least 40 times. No frosting necessary. Trust me.

                      Triple chocolate cake

                      cocoa
                      1 18 1/2 ounce box deep chocolate or devil's food cake mix
                      1 4 oz box instant chocolate pudding
                      ¾ cup sour cream
                      ½ cup vegetable oil
                      ½ cup water
                      ½ cup toasted chopped almonds
                      ¼ cup mayonnaise
                      4 eggs
                      3 tablespoons almond liqueur
                      1 teaspoon almond extract
                      1 cup chocolate chips

                      Preheat oven 350°. Grease 10 inch bundt pan & dust with cocoa. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in large bowl & beat two min. with electric mixer on medium speed. Mix in chocolate chips. Pour into pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack 10 minutes before removing from pan.

                      1. The Hershey's cake on the back of the container of Hershey's powdered chocolate is the best. I make cupcakes often with a granache icing. They are a hit every time !

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: momoftwo

                          I didn't know that Hershey made a powdered chocolate?

                          1. re: sandylc

                            Cocoa

                        2. I do cake decorating as a hobby and this is my go to chocolate cake (mud cake) recipe. It is super popular and people love how it is lovely and moist and chocolatey but not too dense as some mudcakes can be! I've also tried the orange-choc and choc-hazelnut variations for weddings and birthdays to great success!

                          http://kel11.hubpages.com/hub/Best-Ev...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: CakerMaker

                            That cake looks deelish, however there is a good possibility that someone that doesn't have a stand mixer and calls themselves a novice baker doesn't bake by weight.

                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                              I do have a food scale, and can bake by weight. It does look yummy, but I'm leaning towards the recipe posted above. It seems to have lots of rave reviews.

                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                I only recently acquired a stand mixer myself for our wedding - the recipe in question does not require a stand mixer though, it's whisked by hand? Didn't think baking by weight was something only for the experienced, I just have a $20 set of digital scales I use for all my cooking :-)

                            2. What ever recipe you use, if it calls for water/liquid (not milk) and cocoa, dissolve the cocoa in very hot water and chopped chocolate in melted butter. then cool to room temp. Choc/cocoa flavor 'blooms' when you do these and the flavor is intensified.
                              major tip from a baker whose choc. cakes were famous.

                              1. I am the biggest chocoholic there is; this chocolate cake from Ina Garten is the best chocolate cake I ever had: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                                There is coffee in the cake and the frosting, which is a buttercream; you could use a ganache instead. I have cooked for people who, because of religious reasons, don't consume coffee, tea or other caffeine or alcohol BUT they were okay with it in recipes where it is cooked out (they are Mormons).

                                That said, you can leave out the coffee but in the cake mix, you would have to add the equivalent of another liquid, hot water would work. When I make this recipe, I add 5 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate to the cake batter and I add a filling of raspberry jam in between the layers.

                                I have even doubled the batter in this cake (baking in the same pans) for a "big" chocolate cake; it came out tall and beautiful. OMG, just thinking about this cake makes my mouth water!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Cherylptw

                                  This comes up when chocolate cakes are discussed. The Beatty cake is the Hershey Black Magic cake which is about the same as the epicurious double layer chocolate cake posted above, except the latter is 50% more and has extra chocolate (which is essentially what you do to the Beatty cake). It's a good cake, which is probably why it's repeated in so many different forms. I love that it comes together before the oven is done preheating.

                                2. This chocolate cake is the absolute best--even if you do not make the pb frosting or the ganache--the cake is great. I don't use any other recipe.. even though I used to work in a bakery and know their secret and expensive recipes.

                                  http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/0...

                                  1. Just to report--I made the epicurious cake and it is in the freezer. I used the raspberry tea instead of coffee, and used callubet and the extra brute cocoa. I did cut the sugar a little and the oil--and increased the buttermilk. It tastes good--not just the batter, I made some little mini donuts with it as well. I made a raspberry ganache from Rose's Heavenly cakes--it tastes good, but in the fridge some of the fat has solidified at the top.

                                    The party is Wednesday, so I need to take the cake in on Wednesday morning--when would be the best time for me to take the cake out of the freezer. Tuesday morning to frost Tuesday evening? Defrost in the fridge?