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How do you make the darkest chocolate cake?

We simplify a delicious cake into 7 layers of chocolate ecstasy using our favorite chocolate methods.

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There’s chocolate cake and then there’s this chocolate cake — four glorious layers of rich and tender dark chocolate cake, slathered with a whipped ganache frosting and drizzled with a bittersweet chocolate sauce. It’s not the one-bowl cake you make on a Wednesday night to serve after dinner, nor is it the brownie-cake hybrid you remember eating as a kid. This is a serious, rich and dark chocolate cake for those who aren’t scared to proclaim their love of chocolate from the rooftops. The sort of cake that requires nothing more than a large glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee to accompany it.

A large chocolate cake does not have to be complex. Using our favorite chocolate tricks — including blooming cocoa before baking and whipping chocolate and cream into frosting — we’ve streamlined the making of this decadent cake for maximum chocolate flavor and smart kitchen efficiency.

The Deepest, Darkest Chocolate Cake

With its layers of black chocolate cake, dark chocolate ganache, and generous chocolate drizzle, this dessert is equally at home on a fancy dessert menu as it is in a diner dessert case. It’s not as sweet as many cakes, but the rich tastes of cocoa and dark chocolate make it a more grown-up affair.

  • In addition to flour, sugar, and eggs, this cake calls for Dutch-processed cocoa and unsweetened chocolate.
  • The whipped ganache calls for 24 ounces of chocolate and 2 1/4 cups of heavy cream. Use high-quality bar or dark chocolate instead of chips in this recipe.
  • From start to finish, this cake takes around 2 1/2 hours, including chilling time.

The Key Elements of Dark Chocolate Cake

  • Bloom the cocoa. Mixing cocoa powder with hot water (or coffee) is designed to bring out more flavor from the cocoa before you add it to the cake. The process of blooming hydrates the cocoa powder, giving it the intensity that our deep chocolate cake demands.
  • Bake the cakes. The cake batter itself follows a fairly typical cake mixing process after the cocoa has been bloomed, but it’s vital to get the cakes going before creating the frosting so that they may bake and cool while the frosting cools.
  • Make a rich ganache and cool. As soon as your cakes are in the oven, start making your frosting by making a ganache and letting it cool. The ganache comes together quickly but has to chill for approximately an hour before whipping.
  • Whip the ganache. At this point your cakes will be cooling and your ganache should be the consistency of very soft butter. Whip the ganache with an electric mixer until it has lightened in color and volume.
  • Build the cake. Before icing, divide your cakes into two layers and layer them with the whipped ganache. You shouldn’t have any issue covering the cakes as long as the cake is cold and the frosting is at room temperature, which means you can skip the crumb coat.

A chocolate cake drizzle is the last stage on our journey to chocolate cake perfection. A cake drizzle is just a thin ganache drizzled down the edge of the cake. It’s important that your cake be at room temperature and your ganache be warm but not hot for a beautiful cascade of drips down the side of the cake. While the drizzle is still wet on the cake is a perfect time to add chocolate sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or even mini chocolate chips to top off the cake — baker’s choice.

Slicing and Serving the Cake

You can serve this cake the same day it’s made or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Let the cake to come to room temperature before cutting and serving. A thin knife will produce tidy, attractive slices. Serve with a tall glass of milk, hot coffee, or a neat pour of bourbon.

We simplify a delicious cake into 7 layers of chocolate ecstasy using our favorite chocolate methods.


For the deep chocolate cake:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cupDutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cupboiling water
  • 2 ouncesunsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cupwhole milk
  • 2 cupsall-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoonbaking powder
  • 1 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1 teaspoonsalt
  • 2 sticks(8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cupsgranulated sugar
  • 4large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoonvanilla extract
  • 4large egg whites, at room temperature

For the chocolate ganache frosting:

  • 2 cupsheavy cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds(24 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoonsvanilla extract

For the chocolate drizzle and decorating:

  • 4 ouncesbittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cupheavy cream
  • Chocolate streusel or shaved chocolate (optional)


Bake the cake:

  1. Heat the oven and prep the pans Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper round; set aside.
  2. Bloom the chocolate In a small dish, combine the cocoa and water and whisk to make a thick paste.
  3. Heat the milk and melt the chocolate . Place the unsweetened chocolate and milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the chocolate is melted. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add the cocoa mixture to the milk mixture . Whisk the blooming cocoa mixture into the milk mixture until smooth. Let to cool to room temperature. In the meanwhile, prepare the dry ingredients.
  5. Whisk together the flour, leaveners, and salt . Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  6. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. . When the chocolate-milk mixture is ready, place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) 3 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Pause and scrape down the bowl’s sides.
  7. Add the yolks, followed by the chocolate mixture Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing on low speed. Once fully incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to low speed and slowly add the chocolate-milk mixture. Mix in the vanilla extract until well mixed.
  8. Fold in the flour mixture Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. Add the flour mixture and fold it in by hand with a rubber spatula — don’t worry if there are a few dry spots, there’s more folding ahead.
  9. Whip the egg whites . Put the egg whites in a wide, clean basin. Use an electric hand mixer or a whisk to whip to soft peaks.
  10. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter Fold in 1/2 of the beaten whites gently into the cake batter. Use a wide flat spatula and gently scoop through the batter to incorporate the egg whites. It’s okay if there are some white streaks in the batter between the second and first batch of egg whites. Fold in the rest of the egg whites.
  11. Bake the cakes after dividing the cake mixture amongst the pans. . Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  12. Cool and remove the cakes from the pan . Cool the cake pans for 20 minutes on a cooling rack. Flip the cakes out, remove the parchment, and place right-side up on the rack to cool completely.

Make the ganache frosting:

  1. Heat the cream in the microwave. Microwave the cream for 2 minutes on high in a microwave-safe basin or measuring cup. While the cream is heating, place the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl.
  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let aside for 5 minutes to allow the cream’s heat to melt the chocolate.
  3. Whisk everything together, then let it cool for an hour at room temperature. Whisk the chocolate ganache until smooth, then set aside at room temperature to cool and thicken, about 1 hour. Before beating, the ganache should be around the thickness of room-temperature butter (soft and spreadable).
  4. Whip the cooled ganache into frosting. Mix the cooled ganache with an electric hand mixer on medium speed for 8 minutes, or until it lightens in color and rises in volume.

Assemble the cake:

  1. Slice the cakes in half. Use a long, serrated knife to cut each cake into 2 layers. You should have four layers of cake.
  2. Layer the cakes with the whipped ganache. On a cake plate, serving platter, or cake circle, place a single layer of cake. Distribute approximately 3/4 cup of the whipped ganache thinly and evenly over the initial layer. Repeat with the second layer and additional whipped ganache until you have three layers of filling and four layers of cake.
  3. Coat the cake with the remaining ganache. Dump the remaining ganache on top of the cake and use a spatula to work it down the sides until the whole cake is completely frosted. As much as possible, smooth the top and sides. Don’t worry, the chocolate drizzle will hide any flaws.

Make the chocolate drizzle:

  1. In a microwave-safe dish, combine the chocolate and heavy cream. Stir together the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1 minute . Microwave the chocolate-cream mixture on HIGH for 1 minute.
  3. Stir to combine and let cool about 5 minutes. Mix the chocolate and cream together until smooth. Set aside until just warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the drizzle onto the edges of the cake. Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the top edge of the cake with a small spoon until it drips over the edge.
  5. Decorate the cake. If used, decorate with sprinkles or chocolate shavings before the drizzle solidifies.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Any leftover cake may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Make ahead: The cakes may be cooked up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerated after being carefully covered in plastic wrap.

Related Questions

  • What is dark chocolate cake called?

    Death by Chocolate is a colloquial descriptive or marketing phrase for numerous cakes and sweets that include chocolate as the major component, particularly dark chocolate or cocoa.

  • Which is the best dark chocolate for cake?

    Dark Chocolate

    1. 85% Dark Chocolate Bar from Theo. Purchase on Amazon Purchase from Theochocolate.com.
    2. Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate Bar.
    3. Equal Exchange 12 Pack Extremely Dark Chocolate Bars
    4. Chocolove 65% Delicious Dark Chocolate Bar (12 Pack)
    5. Chocolove 70% Dark Chocolate Bar (Pack of 12)
    6. Chocolove Extra Strong Dark Chocolate Bar.
  • Why is my chocolate cake not dark enough?

    There might be a few reasons why your chocolate cake isn’t as dark as it should be. Maybe you used an insufficiently dark chocolate or did not use enough chocolate. It’s also possible that your cake was overdone, causing the chocolate to lose its color.

  • Is dark chocolate good for cake?

    Yes! You are aware that a dark chocolate cake is highly healthful and beneficial to your health. You may have heard that eating a dark chocolate cake makes your skin shine and helps you lose weight. It has less sugar and aids in the maintenance of excellent health.