The Best Chocolate Cake

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

The original reason we found this recipe was that Sara was looking for a cake recipe for Ollie’s birthday. But since that time we’ve made it over and over and over again, because it is unbelievably good. I mean, as a rule, chocolate cake is good, right? Well, this one is better.

The Journey:

Oliver had some very specific ideas about what his birthday cake, specifically demanding an “Easter” birthday cake. After finding this recipe, Sara wanted to put chocolate frosting on it, and Ollie declared, “Then I won’t eat it!”

The simple solution was just to make many cakes.


We made this one in a bundt pan, and the cake is basically a giant chocolate doughnut. Or, as Ollie puts it, an “O for Ollie”.


You’ll notice this post has a lot more pictures than an average food post, because this cake is so delicious that even the pictures themselves are delicious. I can’t stop taking pictures of it, or staring at them, or licking my screen. I defy you to look at this without your tummy rumbling:


The Verdict:

I mean, come on. At this point, what do I really have to tell you?

However, I did mention that it was very versatile. Here is a picture of Ollie’s beloved 3rd birthday “Easter” cake:


But it works as a regular cake too, and is just as delicious.


The Recipe:

Cake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

(Note that we doubled the above recipe to make the cake in a bundt pan)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  4. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven.
  6. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes (It took us about 70 – 75 minutes for a bundt pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan.

Frosting recipe also from Smitten Kitchen (different recipe!)

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  1. Melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
  2. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

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