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Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe (World’s Best)

This dark chocolate cake recipe was called “The World’s Best Chocolate Cake. Though I love chocolate cake, I’d  have to try a few more before I give it the blue ribbon. However, I can tell you, that it is very, very good and so easy to make!

Dark chocolate cake, anyone? This one layer cake from Ottolenghi and his pastry chef, Helen Goh, has been dubbed the “World’s Best Chocolate Cake” according to a cafe in Australia.

Well, I’m not going so far as to make that claim but I will tell you it is is a totally delicious, very good chocolate cake recipe.

It’s also an easy recipe to make.

I, of course, have my chocolate cake favorites and my very favorite would have to be my old fashioned three layer chocolate fudge cake.

It has been served in this house for over thirty years and in my life for over 40, and is still the best chocolate cake recipe I know of.

But I love all kinds of chocolate cake and when New Year’s Eve approached I thought I’d give this new dark chocolate cake recipe a try.

No one was disappointed.

This moist cake with its fudgy interior and its glorious chocolate ganache frosting, topped with a whipped cream/mascarpone mocha topping was over the top.

A delicious cake that’s truly the star of the show, this dense cake is also know as the “take-home chocolate cake” in Ottolenghi’s shops and restaurants.

Made in just a 9-inch cake pan, this cake can easily serve 10 to 12 people. It is that rich!

A rich chocolate cake whose flavor comes from chopped dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder, accented with espresso powder, this easy chocolate cake recipe is one of the best cakes I’ve made in a long time.

Well, I admit, it’s been a long time since I made cake!

Dark Chocolate Cake

Though this cake is loaded with chocolate flavor, the choice of icing is totally up to you.

Powdered sugar or Dutch-processed cocoa sprinkled on top of the cake and some whipped cream on the side would work just as well as a chocolate buttercream or ganache.

This cake keeps very well when covered with a layer of plastic wrap.

We were only four on New Year’s Eve but Manservant managed to make that cake last a good 8 days!

So let’s get this party started, shall we?

How to Make Dark Chocolate Cake:

No need for a stand mixer. This cake is made in one large bowl. Try to use a heatproof bowl so you can melt the chocolate and unsalted butter in it.

This recipe requires chopped dark chocolate. Make sure you use one you like as this is the “flavor” of the cake.

Personally I buy the dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s and have been very happy with the results.

Dark chocolate is often categorized as anything that is 70% cocoa solids. The higher the percentage the more bitter the chocolate gets. Want to go lower than that? I would say choose what you like!

Dark Chocolate Cake Slice

How to Chop Chocolate?

There are several ways but what I start with a chef’s knife or a strong serrated knife. Begin chopping thin slivers from the corners of the chocolate. Keep turning the bar so you are always working from a manageable corner.

Once the bar is sliced chop those slivers until they are similar in size and able to melt easily.

I’ve also seen insrtuctions that tell you to melt the chocolate in a microwave at ten second intervals until it is shiny but still holds its shape and then chop. I have not tried this as it seems a bit “dangerous” to me.

Another method is to leave the chocolate in the wrapper and hammer away. After the bar is broken up, use your knife to chop.

Take your pick!

Difference between Dutch cocoa and natural cocoa:

Dutch cocoa is  dark cocoa and has been processed wtith alkaline which creates a more mellow and richer cocoa. Hershey’s special dark cocoa is Dutch-processed dark cocoa powder and reacts with baking powder.

Natural cocoa like Hershey’s regular, reacts with baking soda.

If your recipe requires no baking powder or baking soda, it doesn’t matter which one you use, but if your recipe has one or the other make sure to use the right kind!

Dark Chocolate Cake

After the chocolate and butter have melted, along with the hot coffee, whisk in the sugar.

Add the room temperature eggs and vanilla extract and combine until smooth.

Stir the dry ingredients together and whisk this into the chocolate/ cocoa mixture.

If your cocoa is lumpy, I recommend straining it through a wire meshed strainer as I don’t know of anyone that still has a sifter!

The batter tends to be liquid and that’s ok.

Pour batter into a springform pan that has been lined with a circle of parchment paper and the sides also. Then grease and flour with cocoa powder.

Bake time is one hour or until a toothpick or cake skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top of the cake will be cracked and fissured but that is the way it should be.

Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for twenty minutes before removing from pan.

Plain Dark Chocolate Cake

While the cake is baking, prepare the chocolate ganache if using.

Scald the heavy cream and corn syrup and then stir in 7 ounces of chocolate chips until melted. You could also chop 7 more ounces of chocolate but Ghirardelli dark chips worked fine for me.

Chocolate chips are supposedly not easily meltable since they are designed to hold their shape, but they have always worked for me.

Use a whisk to make a smooth chocolate mixture and then whisk in a tablespoon of room temperature butter.

This makes for a very spreadable mixture that allows you to create pretty swirls using a rubber spatula.

Should you make the espresso whipped cream?

I think the flavored, but only slightly sweet, whipped cream helps cut the richness of this cake.

If you choose not to make the ganache, I do recommend making the cream topping.

And even with the ganache, I recommend making it!

Though this was the first time I made this cake, I must let you know that it turned out perfect even at Denver’s high altitude.

Dark Chocolate Cake

This cake has a few more steps then this Alice Medrich recipe that I refer to as my quick chocolate cake.

Take your pick, but make everyone happy and surprise them with cake. Any cake. Cake never fails to make everyone feel special.

And the end result? Well, at our house no one could have dessert until the dishes were done. And you can bet they got done fast!

Need More Cake?

Hershey’s Syrup Chocolate Cake

Hershey's Syrup Chocolate Cake

Nigella’s Chocolate Fudge Loaf Cake

Chocolate Fudge Loaf Cake

Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

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Dark Chocolate Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 40 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9" cake (single layer) 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Some people think this is the world’s best chocolate cake. All I know is that this dark chocolate cake recipe is easy to make and totally rocks!


Ingredients

Scale

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 1 1/2 tablespoons), at room temperature and cut into 3/4-inch cubes, plus extra for greasing the pan

7 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), chopped into 3/4-inch pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 1/2 cups hot water

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 3/4 t baking powder

1/3 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, for dusting pan

1/4 teaspoon salt

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE (OPTIONAL):

7 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), broken or chopped roughly into 3/4-inch pieces

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

FOR THE ESPRESSO CINNAMON MASCARPONE CREAM (OPTIONAL):

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

3/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1 t vanilla

2 1/2 teaspoons finely ground espresso

2 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar


Instructions

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with butter and line with parchment paper, then set aside.

Make the cake:

Place butter, chocolate and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth.

Whisk in sugar by hand until dissolved.

Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and then whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture. The batter is liquid, but  this is how it should be.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little, but don’t worry, this is expected.

Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside until completely cool.

Make the chocolate ganache, if desired:

Place chocolate pieces in a small nicrowaveable bowl and set aside.

Combine cream and corn syrup in a small pan and place over medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles begin to appear (just before it comes to a boil), remove from the heat. (I also do this is a microwave by heating for about 2 minutes on power level 7. You must watch this closely or the cream may boil over.

Pour in the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. You can blast this in the microwave for no more than 20 seconds at a time if the cream hasn’t melted the chocolate. Whisk well at all times. Process for 10 seconds, then add butter. Continue to process until mixture is shiny and smooth. (You can also make the ganache by hand; just make sure the chocolate is chopped fairly finely before adding the cream mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until almost melted, then add the butter. Stir again until the ganache is smooth.)

Use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic actually touching the top of the ganache. Set aside until it has set to the consistency you want. I set this outside in the cold for about 20 minutes. Whisk it well to see if it is the consistency you want. If it isn’t, chill longer.   (The ganache can be stored at room temperature, providing it’s not too warm, for 3 days or kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen, although it will lose a bit of its shine when defrosted.)

Make the espresso cinnamon mascarpone cream, if desired: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until soft peaks form.

Peel the parchment from the cake and discard. Transfer to a serving platter and spread the ganache, if using, on top of the cake. Slice into wedges, divide the cake among plates and, if using, spoon the mascarpone cream alongside. With or without icing, the cake will keep well for up to 8 days in an airtight container or sealed well with plastic wrap.


Notes

Thanks Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi.

Keywords: dark chocolate cake, dark chocolate cake recipe, moist chocolate cake, Dutch cocoa

Recipe rating

Doris

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

The cake looks good but the only thing I would do is omit the coffee and use water or hot chocolate

Abbe

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

Sounds great! Let me know how they work!

Pauline

Thursday 17th of February 2022

I'm so pleased I have found your blog and this chocolate cake recipe. I am still searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe, and this one looks amazing. Adding coffee to the ingredients makes all the difference. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Now I know what to bake this weekend for my birthday. https://happyretireeskitchen.blogspot.com

Abbe

Thursday 17th of February 2022

Enjoy Pauline! And Happy Birthday!

Susan

Monday 7th of February 2022

This looks so dense and chocolatey! I know I'd love it!

Abbe

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

It really is Susan. And yes, you would!

Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!

Friday 4th of February 2022

OK, I'm convinced! I was looking for a cake to bake this weekend, and this looks like it ... takes the cake?

Abbe

Monday 7th of February 2022

Very good, Jeff!

Liz

Friday 4th of February 2022

I just found my weekend dessert!! Perfection!!!

Abbe

Monday 7th of February 2022

Think you will love it, Lizzie!