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Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

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old fashioned chocolate cake
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

With the responsibility of undertaking the creation of your child’s birthday cake comes a basic yet really, the ultimate decision: what kind of cake am I going to make?

You would think that chocolate simply just pops to mind instantly and your decision is made. But start searching the internet for ideas and you are bombarded by recipes. Some have mayo, some have sour cream, others have coffee and others have none of those at all.

This is one amazing cake. Rich, sweet, dark, moist, this is the best chocolate cake I have tasted outside a restaurant and better than a lot I have tasted IN actual restaurants.

It will make 2 ten inch cakes for a layer cake or one very large specialty cake pan. I used 1 and a half times this recipe for my huge 16×16 square pan and it was perfect. The rest went into the little stars I used to hold candles with R2D2.

Ingredients Needed:

3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Kick the tires and light the fires to 300 degrees.

old fashioned chocolate cake

You can see above that I used Hershey’s cocoa, and now that I know the recipe is a definite keeper, I would invest in 3 ounces of better chocolate. And speaking of chocolate, you need to chop it up.

old fashioned chocolate cake

I made a fresh pot of coffee for this recipe, one for me, some for the recipe. It was a win-win situation.

Melt the chopped up chocolate in the hot coffee until it is completely dissolved and set aside.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Whisk together your dry ingredients.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Beat your eggs for 2-3 minutes, until they are thick and lemon colored. Time to add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Once those are in, add the coffee/chocolate mixture slowly.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Then it’s time for the dry ingredients, dump them in and mix at a moderate speed until they are combined completely.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Grease and parchment line your cake pan.

This works so, so well. You can’t do this with a character cake pan, of course, since you need the contours of the shape, but when you are going for a straight shape? This saves a lot of tears, the cake pops out beautifully.

I greased the whole thing then cut out a square to lay on the bottom. Yes, I greased under the parchment paper.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Bake at 300 degrees until done. The original recipe says an hour to an hour ten, but that would have charred 10 inch cakes, so I am not sure how that was right. This monster took about an hour and it was a 16×16 pan and 1.5 times the recipe.

It just comes down to know your oven. The reason this recipe also appealed to me is I love longer baking at lower temperatures, when they work, they work.

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, or the middle springs back to the touch.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Create what you want!

old fashioned chocolate cake

Mmm. Leftover birthday cake.  A birthday mom’s due reward.

old fashioned chocolate cake

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Rich, sweet, dark, moist, this is the best chocolate cake I have tasted outside a restaurant and better than a lot I have tasted IN actual restaurants.
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
American
Servings
12
Calories
506
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Kick the tires and light the fires to 300 degrees. 

  2. Get the chocolate and chop it up. 

  3. Melt the chopped up chocolate in the hot coffee until it is completely dissolved and set aside. 
  4. Whisk together your dry ingredients. 

  5. Beat your eggs for 2-3 minutes, until they are thick and lemon colored. 
  6. Time to add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. 

  7. Once those are in, add the coffee/chocolate mixture slowly. 

  8. Then it's time for the dry ingredients, dump them in and mix at a moderate speed until they are combined completely. 

  9. Grease and parchment line your cake pan. 

  10. Bake at 300 degrees until done.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 506kcal, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 504mg, Potassium: 333mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 2.2%, Calcium: 7.6%, Iron: 18.8%

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian Prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Sophie says

    Wow!! I made this cake today for my daughter’s 3rd birthday and couldn’t believe how perfect it turned out. Everyone raved about it! It was just as good (or slightly better) than a cake we usually buy for birthdays at our favourite bakery. I highly recommend anyone to try this and follow the instructions to a T! I used the vanilla butter cream recipe on this site (which also blew me away). I never post reviews, but had to in this case. Thanks for posting such fantastic recipes!

  2. Jonia Kostiuk says

    YES! Especially with chocolate, I too have found lower temps for longer time. Also, I don’t like to use glass or very dark pans for chocolate. It cooks faster and for the glass, it keeps cooking longer after being removed from the oven

  3. DebbieUmbaughIerano says

    this is THE BEST chocolate cake I have ever eaten or made! thank you so much for sharing the recipe! now that my search for the perfect chocolate cake is over I will have to find a new quest :))

  4. Java_Junkie says

    Hmmm, mine didn’t work out. As Chane mentioned, batter was VERY runny, but since I followed the recipe as written, I went ahead. Used a 9×13 and an 8″ round pan. 

    At just over 30 minutes, I turned on the light & took a peek. They were rising beautifully in height, level, no dome, but as Chane also mentioned – not very pretty looking. If I hadn’t seen their comment, I probably would have yanked them from the oven right then and there & called it a day. 

    Since I used smaller pans, I checked at 45 mins & they were still very runny. Closed the door & almost immediately, my 8″ sank. And the 9×13 fell in as well, but not as extreme. Drat!!

    Smelled like they burnt, but the skewer was still wet? I’m thinking this is definitely a fail today 🙁

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Java_Junkie That’s really weird, I’ve never had it fail on me! It’s from Epicurious and has over 1500 comments and 4/4 spoon review, which is why I chose to share it on here. It is a runny batter but baking it at 300 for a long long time makes it perfect and nothing baked at 300 should smell burnt after half an hour.. I’m at a loss! 

  5. Java_Junkie says

    Hmmm, thinking mine’s not working out. As Chane mentioned, batter was VERY runny, but since I followed the recipe as written, I went ahead. Used a 9×13 and an 8″ round pan. 

    At just over 30 minutes, I turned on the light & took a peek. They were rising beautifully in height, but again same as Chane – not a very pretty looking cake at all. If I hadn’t seen their comment, I probably would have yanked them from the oven right then and there & called it a day.

    Since I’m using smaller pans, I checked at 45 mins & they were still very runny. Aaaaaaand as I’m looking into my oven, my 8″ just completely sank. Drat! Looks like the 9×13 is falling in as well.
     

  6. Karlynn Johnston says

    Hershey’s has a Natural cocoa that would work. It should be used because you need the acidity BUT I can guarantee that I have used it with normal cocoa. I am sure of it. The buttermilk gives good acidity as well. You might lose “poof” factor, but not that much.

  7. Jezebel says

    Can’t wait to try this for my son’s birthday next weekend (with your chocolate buttercream recipe)!  A question for you – I see that you call for non Dutch cocoa.  Is there a reason for this, and can you recommend a brand?  I have Fry’s cocoa and since it has sodium carbonate in it I assume it is the dutch process type.  If I can’t find natural cocoa (and I haven’t even looked at bulk barn yet, so this may not be an issue) is there a problem with using the Fry’s?  Thanks! 

  8. Nidil says

    Hi, I baked this chocolate cake and truly it is the best chocolate cake I ever made. This is what I was looking for and finally found. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe,,,, Karlynn.. U are awesome..

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Nidil Aw thanks! It’s my absolute go-to recipe!

  9. cheap health insurance says

    Looking good. would mind updating some good tips about it. I still wait your next place. travel insurance

  10. Karlynn Johnston says

    I always use this for cupcakes, the batter DOESN’T rise as much, so fill the cups about 3/4 of the way. They make dense, rich, amazing cupcakes then!

  11. ChaneSmit says

    I made this recipe into cupcakes, but I think that the batter was to runny, because it did not rise into round peaks like cupcakes normally does.  Is there any adjustments that I can make to ensure it’s success next time? Because they taste very nice, they just don’t look good…. 🙁

  12. Connecticut says

    Looking Yummy Cake. thanks for that Chocolate Cake. I like Old fashion Cake.

  13. A Canadian Foodie says

    YUM! That is exactly the best – the old fashioned, thick, dense, moist and rich chocolate cake.
    🙂
    Mom always put brown sugar icing on hers.
    YUM

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