Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

I knew as soon as I found out I was hosting my family for Mother’s Day, that I had to make my mom’s favorite – chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.  Chocolate cake is something I usually don’t like.  However, this recipe was different.  The cake is just chocolatey – not sweet.  The flavor was delicious and the cake was so moist!  I had to get rid of the rest after two consecutive days of coming home from work and having a slice of the left-overs!  I will DEFINITELY make this one again!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
America’s Test Kitchen


12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), very soft, plus extra for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting pans
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate , coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (3/4 ounce)
1/2 cup hot water 
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 teaspoon table salt 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
4 large eggs 
2 large egg yolks

I used vanilla buttercream instead of ATK’s chocolate (recipe below)


1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high cake pans with softened butter; dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans; smooth batter to edges of pan with spatula.

3. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.

TO FROST CAKE: Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly across top of cake with spatula. Place second cake layer on top, then spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Cut into slices and serve.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.

8 Responses to “Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake”

  1. 1 Katie May 19, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Looks delicious and the decoration is great!

  2. 2 adheredia May 19, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I so just drooled all over my keyboard. That looks sooooo yummy!

  3. 3 CB May 19, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    aawwww what a beautiful cake! You’ve obviously learned so much from your cake class! Fabulous roses and writing. I bet your mom just loved it! 🙂

  4. 4 zebe912 May 21, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Whaaaat?!!! You don’t like chocolate cake!? Goodness. I’m glad you found one you like, because life can not be lived without chocolate cake.

  5. 5 Helen Cronauer February 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I have a question….when following this recipe I was confused about the amount of flour. Is it just a cup and 3/4 for the pans?…or 1 and 3/4 plus extra to flour the pans. I used the correct size pans, but one of them completely overflowed the pan while baking.

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