How to get a darker chocolate cake?

by Eva Bodib
(Miami, FL, USA)

This is a very long page with a lot of great tips about making chocolate cakes :-)

Hello! I hope you can help me.. I am desperate! I made a chocolate cake a few weeks ago. I was rushing and it was the first time trying out this recipe. It turned out very dark - like a dark chocolate (although I used semi-sweet chips). It was a huge success - very moist and the flavor was incredible.

The problem is that I have not been able to duplicate this cake since! I have used all the same ingredients. Only thing I can think of is that the first time, I may have used more than the 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips the recipe calls for.

I don't personally care for dark chocolate so I never buy the baking chips. The 4th cake did turn out a bit darker than cakes 2 & 3. I did use a bit more chocolate... If the cake bakes a little longer would this make the chocolate darken a bit more? Would adding more chips darken the cake?

I really would appreciate your help. This is driving me insane!

Thank you!


Hi Eva, I believe by adding more chocolate chips to your cake may make it darker, but if you add too much it will weigh the batter down. I don't think that by baking your cake longer it would darken the cake though. I am not sure what to tell you other than to try adding more chips until you get the right color you are looking for. Keep track of how much you add as you experiment.

Have you tried my buttermilk chocolate cake recipe? That cake combined with a dark chocolate ganache may satisfy you

I will ask my facebook baker and cake decorator friends if they have any ideas for you. They are very helpful and add quite a bit of helpful advice here at this website.

Here is the link to Wedding Cakes For You Facebook page.

Please update us and let me know how it goes.

The chocolate mousse on this website is awesome as well. I use these combinations for a lot of my wedding cakes.


Cocoa powder
by: DebbieCatt
You can try mixing Hershey's cocoa powder half and half with special dark powder. The higher percentage of cocoa, the darker.

Dark cocoa
by: Lorelie
Thank you Debbie. Good call on the special dark cocoa :-)

Darker cake
by: Colleen
I agree, the darker the cocoa the better or use Hershey's dark chocolate chips. But the buttermilk chocolate cake is the darkest I've ever gotten for a cake. It's like dark velvet.

Thank you!
by: Eva
Thank you for all your help! Have one question though.... If I use Hershey's dark chips will do I have to add more sugar to the batter?

Baking chips
by: Anonymous
No, you won't have to use more sugar, you will just get a richer flavor and darker color. Good luck, please let us know the outcome, and mark your recipe if it turns out the way you want it. I have made changes to recipes, then gone back to make them again, but forgotten exactly how I changed it. Very frustrating! Merry Christmas

by: Lorelie

I just read in the Cake Bible, that cocoa is richer and has a stronger chocolate taste than does chocolate. She says that it is necessary to dissolve the chocolate in liquid to unlock the full flavor.
She also made suggestions on how to convert a cake from chocolate to cocoa.
To convert a cake recipe using bittersweet or semi sweet: For every ounce of chocolate, substitute 1 Tablespoon plus 1 3/4 teaspoons of cocoa, 1 Tablespoon plus a 1/2 a teaspoon sugar, 1 /2 teaspoons unsalted butter. Dissolve the cocoa in at least 1/4 cup liquid in the recipe.

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Death by chocolate

by Kim
(Mississauga,ON Canada)

Hi there!
I have a question that hopefully you can help me with. I've been searching the net and haven't found what I'm looking for. My question is your "chocolate cake" recipe it calls for "cocoa" however, I wanted to know if I could use semi-sweet chocolate instead? or a combination of the both? if so, how would I go about that?

I did have a recipe on hand, but seem to have misplaced it, and I made it with cocoa and semi sweet chocolate, it was definitely death by chocolate! I'm looking to make a 3 tier wedding cake, preferably square shape.

Hi I would probably not add melted chocolate to that particular recipe. It is such a moist cake. I did however find a recipe that sounds really wonderful made with semi sweet chocolate and coffee, but no cocoa. You may want to give this recipe a try. I have not made it myself yet but it may work. Try the smaller 8 inch size first. I will bet this goes really well with this chocolate mousse recipe and possibly raspberries Yum!

Dense, Moist Chocolate Cake

  • 4 ounces of Bittersweet(or semi sweet) chocolate

  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) of coffee or liqueur

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2/3 cup (5 1/2 ounces) sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted and then measured (5 ounces) cake flour

Oven 325

One 8 inch round

Prepare your pan

In the top of a double boiler, over hot but not boiling water, melt the chocolate, stirring in the coffee or liqueur and butter, set aside.

Beat the egg whites with 1/3 cup of sugar until peaks keep their shape, set aside.

Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cups sugar until thick and ribbon like.

Fold the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg yolks, alternately a third at a time. Fold the beaten egg whites and the flour into the chocolate mixture. Mix only until smooth, don't over beat.

Pour the batter into the pans and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool for 2 minutes in the pan, then invert onto cooling racks.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

I also found this version

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup buttermilk (8 ounces)

  • 3 large eggs, separated (1/3 cup whites, 1/4 cup yolks)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar(12 ounces)

  • 1 cup sifted and then measured cake flour (4 ounces)

The method is the same for this cake as the one above. You melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Then add the butter and buttermilk , set aside.

Beat the egg whites with 1 cup of the sugar until peaks form and set aside.

Beat the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until ribbon like. Fold the chocolate into the beaten egg yolks.

Alternately a third at a time fold the whites and the flour into the chocolate mixture. Mix only until smooth. Pour into two 8 inch layer pans that have been prepared ahead.

Bake until dry on top or around 30 minutes. Cool two minutes in the pan and invert on racks to cool completely..

Good luck with your death by chocolate search. I hope one of these recipes works for you.

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Triple Chocolate Cake

by Tracy
(Western Australia)

I have been asked by my brother and his wife-to-be to make your Triple Chocolate Cake. I would like to know how you got the chocolate to wrap around the cake so I can fill with the fruit. And also she doesn't want a strong coffee taste with the cake. Thank you for your time and I really love your website.

Hi Tracy, Thanks for your nice comments. I have to admit I cannot take credit for that cake. It is a photo that I posted from I-Stock. But I can tell you that modeling chocolate would do the trick. You can roll it out thinly and then wrap it around the cake. Here is a video of a chocolate modeling recipe and how I used it top make grape leaves to form around a cake. Even though the cake calls for coffee it doesn't have a strong coffee taste. You can substitute for water if you want to.

Hope this helps you ! Here is a link to more modeling chocolate inquiries on this website. We would love to see your finished cake. You can submit it here on my site if you would like to.

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Chocolate Cake Too Dense

by Sherlye

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

I made your chocolate cake but it turns out a little bit dense in the middle. What did I do wrong?

Hi Sherlye,

I use the chocolate buttermilk cake almost exclusively, and I am going to assume that you are too. It needs to be baked at a slightly lower temperature in my oven to get a full rise. I use 335 - 340 instead of 350. All ovens are different so take a look at that. If the oven is too hot it will form a crust on the top, which prevents it from rising to the fullest.

This cake does appear to be dense when it is fresh from the oven and doesn't rise up too high in general. Sometimes I second guess it but once filled and frosted it is always outstanding.

Make sure that you mix it well enough too. Give it a full 3 minutes of beating at the end, as in the directions. I hope this helps. if you need more help then comment back with more details.

Which chocolate cake recipe did you use? Was it cooked all the way? Did you fill and frost it? and if so were you able to eat it? was it sunken in the middle? What sizes were the cakes etc.
Happy Baking:-)

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Chocolate Cake Recipe Question

by Kathleen Paveletz
(Portland, Oregon)

I am baking my first wedding cake for a dear friend. Your Chocolate Cake Batter calls for all-purpose flour. Have you ever used cake flour instead. Wanting to make sure that my cake is moist and light. Your thoughts on this?

Thank You, Kathleen
Portland, Oregon

Hi Kathleen, No I have not used cake flour. No worries about this buttermilk chocolate cake being heavy. It is light, moist and delicious. Stick with all purpose flour because the batter is very thin and fine and I don't think it would hold up as well with the lighter cake flour. Hope that helps you out. Good luck with your baking and the chocolate cake recipe.

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Changing a recipe from pumpkin to chocolate

by Julie
(Topeka, KS)

I have a pumpkin roll recipe I love. I love the texture and how moist this cake is so I want to use this recipe to try and make a chocolate cake roll. I'm unsure of what to change (beside the pumpkin, of course).

Here is the recipe:
3 eggs
2/3 c pumpkin
1 c. sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

I thought maybe replace the pumpkin with sour cream but I have no idea what kind of chocolate to use (baking cocoa?) and no idea how much.

I really want to come out with a moist delicious chocolate cake roll. Please help! :) Your advice is greatly appreciated!

Hi Julie, Have you seen my Yule log recipe? It is a chocolate cake roll, and is moist and delicious.

The log paired with a chocolate ganache or z chocolate mousse would be amazing. You can frost it with chocolate fudge icing for a super chocolate dessert.

Is this for a Christmas celebration?

If you want to use your recipe and tweak it then I would suggest trying the sour cream and possibly adding melted chocolate to the sour cream for added chocolate goodness, and or adding cocoa to the dry ingredients.

My recipe calls for 2/3 cups of cocoa but also calls for 5 eggs. Your recipe calls for only 3 eggs, so try 1/4 cup of cocoa to start with. Please let me know how it goes. I will also be asking my facebook baker and cake decorator friends for any suggestions.

I hope that helps you with your changing a recipe from pumpkin to chocolate question.


Chocolate yule log
by: DebbieCatt

Personally, I wouldn't just try to substitute pumpkin for something else. I'd use Lorelie's suggestion and recipe or find a chocolate spongecake recipe. I think it would be very difficult to find a substitute with the same texture and moisture content as the pumpkin. One way I find to get very moist cakes is to use buttermilk instead of regular milk. It really makes a nice, moist cake.

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Chocolate Cakes Are Falling.

I am trying my hand at baking chocolate cakes. I have used your recipe and one off the back of the cocoa can.

I don't know what I am doing wrong. But every time my cakes rise real good then fall in the middle. I have made a total of 6 cakes.

Even after I level them they are not exactly right. Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong. They taste great.

Hi, The buttermilk chocolate cake recipe is the one I am assuming you used. This cake does tend to fall a little in the middle if not baked long enough or at too high of a temperature. It is a very thin batter and is on the delicate side.

It is possible that you are under mixing the batter, next time you make this cake beat the batter for a full 3 minutes before pouring the batter into the pans.

Try lowering the temp of your oven. I set my oven temp at 235 for this reason so it bakes up slowly and more evenly. Keep an eye on the cakes as they are baking and raise or lower as you see fit. You can try starting at a slightly higher temperature and then lowering the 235.

Even if the cake does fall a bit they are fine to use unless of course it falls all the way. (I have never had that happen with this recipe) I use this chocolate cake recipe almost exclusively but it keeps me second guessing when I take them out and they shrink in the middle, yet every time the texture and the taste is amazing.

You might want to try one of the other recipes such as the chocolate stout cake which is also really good and the batter is less delicate. That cake tends to be firmer. Try filling it with the chocolate ganache' icing.

The Stout cake contains butter versus oil as in the buttermilk cake. The butter firms up once the cake sets. The only issue I have with butter cakes is that they firm up too much and come off as dry.

The best way to enjoy a butter based cake is at room temperature or microwaved for a few seconds. DELICIOUS!

Another side note: I freeze the cakes once they are cooled. This makes them easier to work with and holds them together well until they are filled and frosted.

I hope this helps.


Oh Thank you. Yes it is the buttermilk chocolate. I did actually lower my temp, but not that low, so I bet that is my problem. Thanks for all your help and guidance.

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Marble Cake Recipe

by Helga

I need to make a marble cake, your buttermilk chocolate cake is awesome but maybe too runny for this cake. Do you think I need to use the butter cakes recipe (vanilla and chocolate) that you have? They want the cake to be moist, do I need to use a simple syrup?

Hi Helga. I have used the chocolate cake with the white cake to make a marble cake and it was great! The batter is thin but it bakes up nice along with swirls of the white butter cake within it. But you could also try the chocolate butter cake recipe.

I am sure either one will be fine although I find the buttermilk one to be moisture. Also I don't use the simple syrup with those cakes. In general I don't need to do that with my cakes as they are very moist in their own.

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Difference between chocolate layer cake and chocolate butter cake

by madeitwithlove

Hi Lorelie

Could you please advise me what the difference is between your chocolate layer cake recipe and that of your chocolate butter cake recipe. I'd like to bake the butter cake. My oven cannot take two 10" pans and as the batter uses baking powder one batch of batter would have to wait around until the first batch came out of the oven. I understand batter containing baking powder must be baked more or less immediately. Is there another way of formulating this recipe?

Thank you

with best wishes

The chocolate layer cake(buttermilk cake recipe)is made with oil and is moister then the chocolate butter cake recipe.

I much prefer the oil based one as the butter cakes are firmer but not as fluffy. The butter cakes need to be left out for quite a while to soften before eating, the flavor is not appreciated when the cakes are eaten cold.

Don't worry too much about baking one cake at a time. I cannot always fit all of my cakes in the oven at once and the second batch always comes out perfect too.

Give the butter one a try and see how they work for you, then let me know how they turn out.

Happy Baking :-)Roshan and thanks again for coming back to "Wedding Cakes For You" and asking a great question!


By Anonymous
Hi there, just a quick question on making chocolate cake. When it calls for coffee, do you incorporate it into the batter while still hot as I noticed a couple of recipes I've used in the past have used hot water.

Lorelie's Response
I let the coffee cool to warm before adding it to the batter. I also mix the buttermilk in with it as well as the oil and vanilla and then mix it all at once.

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