Our very favorite chocolate cake recipe — it truly is “the best chocolate cake”.
The Best Chocolate Cake
Chocolate cake, chocolate cake, how do I love thee?; you are the very fairest of cakes, the truest and bluest and luscious-est of cakes, a cake I covet, a cake I will always choose if there is a choice of cake, a cake that is never a dark horse, a cake that walks by itself through the dark alleys of cakes advertising whimsy and panache and something different maybe with bananas and raspberries and a boozy creme filling — no! I will always, always come back to thee, o best beloved chocolate cake, especially if you boast a good, comforting, delicious sturdy heft and not a hint of dry crumbles and are piled, please and forever, with a fluffy whipped chocolate butter cream.
My particular favorite chocolate cake, continuing in the theme of favorite recipes I don’t care to mess around with is my forevermore go-to. Back in the days before children — the days when I could pop off to a yoga class after work on a Thursday, go for a two-hour run on a Sunday, waste hours in the library, read the paper in bed with a cup of coffee on the weekends, actually have a conversation with my husband: those days when I was busy but my time was my own — I experimented with different variations of the same recipe and on this site you will, in fact, find at least several very good chocolate cake recipes.
I used to be partial to Alice Waters’ chocolate cake from “The Art of Simple Cooking” but I think it called for a mixer and these days I try to keep it as simple as possible. I also don’t fool around much with variations nowadays; when I hit on a good recipe I keep it and repeat it and don’t think about it.
This one comes by way of Sarah Keiffer’s Vanilla Bean Blog and it’s a winner. I tweaked the original recipe a bit, incorporating olive oil, whole wheat flour, and Greek yogurt. It’s so good so good! I put the batter in a tube pan, make a very chocolatey, velvety buttercream with which to frost it, and it’s easy peasy. This is in my every two-week baking rotation or so and it also pops up when I make birthday cakes or cakes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Rich and and satisfying, this is a totally solid chocolate cake. It’s also versatile: You can bake it in two cake rounds, a large bundt pan, or a tube pan (make sure to use a baking sheet to catch any drips). You can fill or frost it with anything you like — I am partial to a very chocolatey buttercream, but ganache or even just plain whipped cream would be delightful too.
Ingredients for the Best Chocolate Cake
- Whole wheat flour
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Fine sea salt
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Olive oil
- Greek yogurt
- Whole milk
- Pure vanilla extract
How to Make the Best Chocolate Cake
For the full instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a tube pan or two 9-inch cake rounds and line with parchment.
- Make batter. In a large bowl, w In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the coffee.
- Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Make frosting. While cake cools, make frosting. Whip the butter with a mixer until it is smooth and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and powdered sugar and whip to combine, then add the milk to make a smooth, fluffy frosting.
- Frost cake. Smooth the frosting evenly over the cake.
Hint: You can substitute boiling water for the coffee in this recipe.
Store cake, tightly covered, in the fridge for 5 days. Serve cold or at room temperature.
According to epicurious.com, the texture of cakes made with oil is generally superior to the texture of cakes made with butter. I love olive oil in this chocolate cake recipe.
I personally feel that the flour should suit the cake — check my gluten-free cake recipes! – and in this cake, I love the nice, firm, dense crumb that the whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour creates.
Don’t even ask this question! You know the answer — it’s chocolate.
The Best Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar light or dark brown
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup Greek yogurt whole fat, plain
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup hot, fresh-brewed coffee
- ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a tube pan or two 9-inch cake rounds and line with parchment. Have a baking sheet ready.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Then add the coffee and whisk lightly or stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place the pan on the baking sheet to catch any drips, and place in the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then carefully turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whip the butter with a mixer until it is smooth and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and the powdered sugar and whip to combine, then add the milk (more if needed) to make a smooth, fluffy frosting. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting.