Every baker needs a never fail, guaranteed to impress, showstopper, easy chocolate cake recipe in their baking arsenal. Let me tell you, this is that cake. Invented in the early 20th century by Hershey’s, this is one of those recipes that has been tried and tested and handed down through the generations. It never fails to impress with its deep, dark colour, rich and moist texture and melt in the mouth topping of chocolate ganache.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is also incredibly flexible and forgiving. With some slight adjustments in oven time and volumes, it will make perfectly lovely muffins, loaf cakes, layer cakes or tray cakes.
Top it with whatever seasonal fruit strikes your fancy, and if you are not a fan of ganache use buttercream frosting, cream cheese icing – or for a more austere version (a guilty, snacking favourite of mine) simply dust with icing sugar.
The original recipe calls for buttermilk, which I’ve substituted here for soured milk, as I don’t often have buttermilk in the fridge. You can replace the milk with yoghurt or dairy-free alternatives. If using dairy-free be sure to add a little lemon juice or vinegar as this is what really kick starts the rising process. For a beautifully risen cake, make sure you get it into the oven quickly after mixing.
Let me know if you try this easy chocolate cake recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 350 g sugar
- 300 g plain flour
- 100 g unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda, (sodium bicarbonate)
- ½ tsp salt
- 250 ml full cream milk
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 250 ml strong black coffee
- 125 ml neutral oil, sunflower, canola etc
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence / extract
for the ganache:
- 200 ml pouring cream
- 200 g dark chocolate
- 400 g fresh cherries
- Heat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and dust with cocoa a 26cm / 2 litre capacity ring or bundt tin (see tip).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Stir together the milk and vinegar and set aside. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla essence. Add the milk mixture and beat well to combine.
- While beating on a low speed, add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients in large spoonfuls, until it is completely incorporated and completely combined. The mixture will look very thin but don’t panic, it is supposed to look this way.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping out the bowl with a spatula. Tap the cake tin on the counter once or twice to dislodge any air bubbles, then bake on a low oven shelf for 45-50 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to rest on a wire rack for 5 minutes before carefully inverting onto a rack. Allow to rest another 5 minutes before removing the tin and allowing to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make the ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan until nearly boiling. When hot, remove from the heat and break the chocolate into the pan. Set aside for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely combined, dark and glossy. Chill, stirring occasionally until the ganache has a thick pouring consistency.
- When the cake is completely cooled, spread generously with the chocolate ganache, chill to set, then top with fresh cherries.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 783Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 471mgCarbohydrates: 106gFiber: 6gSugar: 65gProtein: 11g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
My cake always sticks to the pan. How can I get it to release cleanly?
If you are using an ornate ring tin or bundt-pan, consider using vegetable shortening rather than butter to grease the pan before dusting with cocoa – it gives a much cleaner release than butter will.
I don’t have the right sized pan. Can I still bake this recipe?
This recipe can be cooked in lots of different pan sizes, make sure that you don’t fill the pans more than two thirds of the way, and test to ensure they are done with a wooden skewer. Cupcakes and muffins will cook much quicker, a larger cake with no central hole will need longer in the oven.
When I try to ice my cake the icing always runs straight off! How do i get perfect drips on the cake?
To get perfect drips of ganache around the sides of the cake, chill the cake before pouring over the ganache, the cold cake will begin to set the ganache as it runs down the sides. Do not try to ice a still warm cake, the icing will simply melt and slide off – or worse still, absorb into the cake.