Gourmet’s Double Chocolate Cake, Revisited
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The only trouble, if I can call it that, with baking cakes is having leftovers. A bite with my morning coffee, a sliver post lunch, a nibble with afternoon tea—I am the one at home making sure those leftovers don’t go to taste.
To mitigate the leftovers-for-days situation, I bought two small cake pans. They’re round, measuring 6×2 inches, and they’ve been so handy to have on hand. I use them to bake a half recipe of my children’s favorite one-bowl buttermilk birthday cake, and I’ve found I can nearly always halve a recipe and bake off all of the batter in one of the pans or split the batter between the two pans, as I’ve done here.
This is Gourmet’s double chocolate cake, which I blogged about several years ago now, and which has been as well received here as at the recipe’s source site. If this cake is new to you, you’re in for a treat. It’s made with buttermilk (magic!), oil (as opposed to butter), lots of cocoa powder, and coffee, if you wish, which intensifies the chocolate flavor.
A halved version of the recipe still yields a more-than-decent sized cake—I made a two-layer cake with chocolate ganache for Ben and me, and a two-layered cake with chocolate-whipped cream frosting for the children. The leftovers this time around have been manageable, though I still find myself sneaking slivers morning, noon and night. Next time, a quarter recipe it will be—I’ll keep you posted.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovebirds. Bake something delicious for yourselves. More desserts here.
As noted above, this is a half recipe. It still yields two thick, round cakes, which can be halved, iced, decorated, etc.
For Ben and me: chocolate ganache + chocolate shavings
Kids’ cake: chocolate-whipped cream frosting (see notes in recipe ) + chocolate shavings.
Gourmet’s Double Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Source: Gourmet via Epicurious
Notes: If you want to make a larger cake, you can make the original recipe. Find it here.
Here, I’ve made a half recipe and baked it in two 6×2-inch round cake pans. You could also use one standard round or square cake pan (measuring about 10×2-inches).
For the first time, too, instead of making my grandmother’s black velvet icing, which I love, but which is a little fussy (calling for eggs and one’s full attention), I made Gourmet’s chocolate ganache, which is delicious.
Note: Even if you halve the recipe (as I have here), you may have leftover ganache. If so, let it cool so that it firms up a bit—you can do this at room temperature or in your fridge. Using a small scoop (melon-ball size), scoop the remaining ganache into balls and drop into a plate of sifted cocoa powder. Roll the balls to coat. Chill until ready to serve, but bring to room temperature before serving — truffles!
For the chocolate whipped cream frosting (for the kids’ cake), see this recipe: Homemade Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting
for the cake:
- 1½ ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate (chips are fine, too)
- ¾ cups boiling water or hot brewed coffee
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1¼ cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cups (72 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (use high quality if you can)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
for the ganache:
- 8 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate (chips are fine, too)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup, optional
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- sea salt, optional
- small square of semi-sweet (or other) chocolate
- Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans or pan (see note above). Line pan or pans with round of parchment paper. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with boiling water or hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (If you don’t feel like sifting, whisking is fine, too.)
- In another large bowl whisk egg vigorously until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to egg, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and whisk until just combined. Divide batter between pans (or pan, see notes above) and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes for smaller pans, 55 minutes or longer for larger pans. Note: I simply touch with my finger, and if it feels mostly springy, I remove the pans from the oven.
- Meanwhile, make the ganache: Finely chop chocolate. In a small saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth. Season with sea salt to taste, if desired.
- Cool cake layers completely in pans on racks, at least 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Remove parchment paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
- If you are making a layer cake, spread a thin layer of ganache over one cake layer. (Note: If you baked a single layer, halve it crosswise with a serrated knife, and spread ganache over top of one layer.) Top layer with other cake layer. Pour ganache on top of top layer, and with an off-set spatula, spread it all over the sides. If desired, run square of chocolate across a microplane grater or shave with a peeler until top of cake is covered in chocolate shavings. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving. (I just keep mine at room temperature always…no space in the fridge.)
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62 Comments on “Gourmet’s Double Chocolate Cake, Revisited”
I have saved the gourmet recipe but your halved recipe is much more manageable! Is there a cocoa powder you recommend? I usually buy a dutch processed cocoa. Will that work here?
Sonia, I typically buy Droste’s but I’ve also made this with fancier cocoa powder, like Lake Champlain Chocolate’s unsweetened cocoa powder, which is Dutch process, too. So yes, Dutch process is great!
This is my favorite chocolate cake and it is truly a classic, beating out all others (and I’ve made many). If anyone chooses to make the full recipe, I find it fits three 9 inch x 2 inch pans well. If you go the cupcake route with this, know that this recipe doesn’t produce the nice dome tops, these will be more flat-toppish. Finally, this makes a great base for ice cream cakes because oil-based cakes have better texture frozen than butter ones.
Thanks so much for ALL of these tips. LOVE the idea of making an ice cream cake with this as a base. Totally trying this this summer. Thank you. Great to know about the three pans and the cupcakes, too. Thanks for writing in!
Oh boy ! Hooked totally ! Have you maybe done it with white chocolate ? It would make an refreshing change. Any experiences ? Thanks 🙂
I have not! I don’t use white chocolate too often. I’ll let you know if I give it a go!
I tried your cake! LOVE! It’s going in the “KEEPER” file. Thank you.
Yay! So happy to hear this!
I desperately miss the “constant comment” section, which is where I found this cake for the first time, along with seared tuna with ginger cream sauce that I make so often. Love, love, love this showstopper cake and I think I’ll make the smaller version much more often!
Hi Kami! The tuna sounds awesome! Is this the recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pan-seared-tuna-with-ginger-shiitake-cream-sauce-100670
My lady had a rough week so while she was out I made this cake for her, knowing it would be welcomed as the light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Trouble is she has a gnarly dairy allergy; not intolerance but an allergy with hives, sore throat and coughing.
So I followed the recipe, used some quality dairy-free semisweet chocolate and substituted the heavy cream for a cashew cream made from 2:1 water and cashews (soak the cashews in water overnight, drain, and blend with twice as much water in your food processor or blender). Substituted the buttermilk for straight, unflavored almond milk.
This cake was outrageous, delicious and disappeared in no time at all. Perfect texture, too. Thanks for posting this one, looking forward to making it again.
Hey Eric, thanks so for writing in and sharing these substitutions! I’m so glad it all worked out, and these non-dairy substitutions are so handy for people to know — we’re one step away from making it vegan! Hope your lady’s rough week has long passed and that she is feeling OK. Thanks again for writing in.
This is the best chocolate cake EVAH!! I will be making it Friday night for my son’s 11th birthday Saturday.
I am in love with the shaved chocolate on top… going to try that this time to make his birthday cake more festive.
Thank you for the awesome recipes that make me seem like a better cook than I am! 🙂
So happy to hear this, Sharie!! Happy Birthday to your son!! So special.
This has become my “go to” chocolate cake recently. As a member of chocoholic family I used to make Bûche du Noel” whether Christmas or not for special occasions however being time consuming it was an all day project for me. This cake is so simple, fast and delicious! I made it the first time following the recipe to the T” and then with bittersweet chocolate instead. The family voted for the last one as their favorite as it was much bolder in flavor and not too sweet. Thank you, thank you for making us all happy!
Hello. Can this easily be made Gluten free? Thanks.
If you have a gluten-free flour mix you like, go for it. I like Cup4Cup brand. I think it would work nicely here.
Can’t wait to try this recipe. I am a little mixed-up though. The original recipe makes two 8″ cakes. Half a recipe (or your smaller recipe) makes one or it it two 6″ cakes?
I just found you and have so many things to read on your blog. Everything sounds sooo good. Thanks so much for sharing.
Hi Annabelle! Sorry for the delay here. Welcome!
I use two 6″ pans for half a recipe. Hope this makes sense! Let me know if you have more questions.
Ugh, made this just this afternoon and already ate half. So, so delicious. But also, so, so dangerous.
I am so, so happy to hear this : ) 🙂 🙂 But also: SORRY … this is why I can’t bake sweets as often as I would like. I have no control. Hope you are well!
Can you describe the texture difference between this cake and the Nigella dense chocolate loaf? If I wanted to serve a dense cake with creme fraiche, would you choose one over the other?
I think I would choose the Nigella cake. The Gourmet cake is delicious and moist but definitely is more of a candidate for layering and frosting, whereas the Nigella cake can stand on its own or with a dollop of something. Crème fraîche sounds perfect!
This cake has awesome flavor and texture, but I’m confused on the pans, is it possible they’re supposed to be listed as 6″ x 3″?
I put it in two 6″ x 2″ rounds, and I thought it looked like too much batter but figured maybe it doesn’t rise all that much. Weelllllll, I guessed wrong – it overflowed like crazy in my oven, dripping batter and half-done chunks down the sides of the pans and onto the oven base. Bummer.
Such a bummer to hear this! I do use 6×2-inch pans. These are the pans. You made the recipe in this post, right? I ask only because I have another post that includes the full recipe. This is a half recipe.
I, too, made this recipe (using the weight measurements) and somehow ended up with too much batter. I filled the cake pans halfway and then poured the remaining batter in a 1 QT pyrex bowl I use for the peasant bread!
Oh no! And did you bake it in the peasant bread bowl?? I hope the cake turned out OK.
Your recipe says to use all-purpose flour. Can I use cake flour?
Thanks!! Making it today. 🙂
Hello, i have been looking for a dark chocolate cake receipe for quite long and came across this.looks amazing.
I just want to know how to make freshly brewed coffee to mix choco chips in?
I dont drink coffee at all and donnt want to spoil the cake
Hi Avanika! You can use boiling water in place of the coffee.
Beautiful cake. Moist and has a rich chocolate taste. Best chocolate cake.Made it in one pan(1/2 of the double recipe) however it sunk in the middle. I turned it over and covered with the ganache, so no one noticed.Baked at fan 140.
How can I avoid this problem next Time?
Hi Pat! Wonderful to hear this. A number of things could have attributed to the sinking. It’s possible that it just needed more time. Is fan the same as convection? If so, I might try baking it not on the fan setting. Was it undercooked in the center or just sunk? Also, did you use a scale to measure? Finally, was the pan very full of batter?
Thank you. Next time I will bake using convection and not fan. I used cup measurements. I will use the scale next time. The pan was not too full. The cake was fully cooked it just sunk. Thanks for your advice. It’s such a beautiful cake so I want to get it right
Sure thing Pat! I think the scale will help. Just to clarify, I don’t think convection is great either — at least in the US … on the convection setting here, a fan blows the air around, and it isn’t great for cakes or custards or anything made from a batter. Not sure what the equivalent in the UK is for just a regular baking setting, but whatever it is, do that 😍
If I double this recipe would it be the right amount for a 9”x13” glass pan?
I think that would work well Tina Marie!
I make this recipe, full size, all the time. I do a lot of birthday cakes and this is requested very often. I have found that the cake is so moist it doesn’t slice cleanly. If I use milk with added vinegar instead of the buttermilk it seems to be easier to slice. Also, the full recipe makes a 3 layer 9″ cake, but it is very tall – too tall for a cake box and too big for many dessert plates. From the full recipe I normally make 3 – 8″ or 9″ layers plus 1 or 2 – 6″ layers (for the freezer).
So great to hear this, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing your tips and your experiences — so helpful for others. I love this cake, too 🙂
Thank you, made it today. t’s awesome!
Great to hear, Marina!
Soo chocolatey and moist. If you are looking for a chocolate cake that is not dry this is it!!
I used 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder for the hot coffee and made my own ganache because people were having issues with this one. The cake itself was amazing.
I also filled two 9 inch pans with this recipe, got thinner cake slices but it was perfect for me.
Great to hear this, Kelly! Thanks so much for writing!
Tastes great but like another commenter here my cake sank/cratered really badly. I made it twice, once with regular oven using cups to measure, and the second time with convection and weighing grams, same problem both times.
Sorry to hear this, Dianne! Are you making the smaller version as in this post? Or the larger one from the original recipe?
Part of my wonders if it’s just a matter of cooking it long enough?
if i make this in a bunt pan, how long do you think it would take?
I would estimate 45-55 minutes, but start checking at 35 minutes just to be sure.
I do not like the taste of coffee and was wondering if instead of the full 1 1/2 cups of water if Bailey’s or Kahlua could be used for part of the measurements. Thanks
Hi Terry! Yes, I think you could definitely make that substitution. Sounds delicious!
Just made this. Did the half-batch recipe above, and although the 6” pans were only about 2/3 full, they did overflow…
This cake is delicious!!! Although it looked done when I got it out of the oven, it might have been a bit under baked? It was as moist and fudgy as a brownie. It seems unlikely that it would hold its shape as a layer cake (I did attempt to slice it into layers). And I made the black velvet custardy frosting from the original recipe. Delicious, but seemed too thin for a frosting. So we ended up having mangled pieces of cake drizzled with frosting, but it was absolutely heavenly! 1/10 for looks, 10/10 for taste!
2- 6″ pans. Weighed ingredients- gorgeous recipe and batter- crater formed in both once I opened the 300 degree oven at 40 minutes. Let it bake another 5 and craters worse- crumbs are delicious but they are a bit unsightly as didn’t release well- even the offset spatula left marks and caused crumbling on rack. Replaced on cardboard rounds to discourage further crumbling- bummer cuz crumb is so wonderfully tasty & tender. Will freeze and use as a trifle or w ice cream. Tastes fantastic.
Bummer to hear this, Teresa! By crater, do you mean they sunk? Did you make any changes to the recipe either with ingredients or method? Sometimes sinking occurs when batters are over-mixed, so I’m wondering if you maybe beat the eggs with an electric mixer? So sorry this one didn’t work out for you.
Hello Alexandra, how does this cake compare to Ina’s Chocolate Beatty Cake that you also have on your site. I’m pondering over which one to make! Thank you for your advice, Marilou
Hi Marilou! This one is richer and denser. Ina’s cake has a lighter texture. Both are delicious!
Thank you for this amazing recipe! I made the half recipe using metric, it fitted better and perfectly in 2 x 8 inch sandwich cake tins. It was a little too much mixture for my 6 inch tins despite them being deep. It took 33 minutes 150celsius and baked up great, rising really well.
I’ve been searching for a go to chocolate fudge cake and now i have found it. The texture and taste are amazing, it is fudgy yet fluffy, rich and chocolatey and just the right level of sweetness; you can actually taste the chocolate unlike a lot of cakes! It is dark and indulgent, and everything a chocolate cake should be. I made a cocoa ganache using a different recipe, to stop it being too intense for my young children. I put milk chocolate shavings around the sides, It looks great, i wish I could attach a photo!
I’m going to have to drop some of this cake off for family as otherwise as it is dangerous! Thank you so much and look forward to checking out more of your recipes!
So nice to read this, Louise! Thank you so much for writing and sharing all of your notes, especially about the pan sizes. Your ganache + chocolate shavings sound wonderful, too. Lucky kids you have!! 💕💕💕
By far the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I saved this a long time ago and it’s always my go to chocolate cake. I usually use a buttercream frosting with it. Everyone I make this for loves it! Thank you for this awesome recipe
Great to hear, Rebecca! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
H Ali, Just got the pans out of the oven. Mine sank in the middle. I triple checked the ingredients and did not miss anything.. Also the pans are exactly the ones you are using. Any idea?
It likely just needed more time in the oven or potentially the measurements were off… I’m realizing I infortunately don’t have weights for all of the ingredients. Did you use a scale to measure any of the ingredients?