Everything You Need to Know About Making Delicious Chocolate Cake

Everyone loves chocolate cake. Here's how to make the best one ever.

IMAGE Majoy Siason

A chocolate cake is one of those cakes that has the reputation to be unforgettably delicious and sometimes, unbelievably disappointing. There's no fine line between the two feelings! The most delicious chocolate cake recipes are incredibly moist, fudgy, and powerfully chocolatey. 

If you need a helping hand on how to make an unforgettable cake, here is everything you need to know to make that that chocolate cake recipe is the best one you make: 

Malagos' 100% Pure Unsweetened Chocolate won the Chocolate Drink category!
Photo by Malagos Chocolate official Facebook
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1 Use great tasting chocolate. 

When it comes to chocolate cake, there is no other option. You have to use a great tasting chocolate bar or cocoa powder! This is the main flavor you're going to taste! If it's not a chocolate or cocoa powder that you wouldn't mind eating to drinking, then it's a great option to use in your chocolate cake. You don't have to use award-winning chocolate but if you can, your taste buds will rejoice with every bite. 

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There are many kinds of chocolate bars you can use for baking but the best will have to dark chocolate. These usually contain a certain percentage of cacao but these will determine exactly how dark your chocolate is and how deep that chocolate flavor is going to taste. Whether you grab semi-sweet, bittersweet, or unsweetened chocolate bars, these are the bars that will elevate your chocolate cake to the height that only a dark chocolate cake can achieve. 

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Take note that drinking chocolate is not the same as cocoa powder! Cocoa powder is basically chocolate beans dried and ground to a powder. Think of it a chocolate flour. Drinking chocolate or chocolate drink mixes contain chocolate but also include sugar, milk, and other ingredients that can interfere with the robust chocolate flavor that your recipe is trying to achieve. 

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2 You need to sift your dry ingredients. 

One of the key steps in making any cake recipe is sifting your dry ingredients. We know. It's a hassle you wish you didn't have to do but the fact is that this is an essential step for a number of reasons:

  1. 1. Sifting breaks up lumps, especially those found in cocoa powder.
  2. 2. Sifting separates any undesired particles that may be in your ingredients. 
  3. 3. Sifting mixes your dry ingredients. 
  4. 4. Sifting will make your cake more tender, softer.   

Even if you don't sift your dry ingredients with a sieve or sifter, there is another way you can do it without needing an extra kitchen gadget to wash: use your whisk. Just make sure that when you whisk, you do it gently so you don't create a cloud of flour in your face.  

 

Photo by Majoy Siason
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3 Bloom your cocoa powder. 

You're going to need some just boiled water to do this! This step of mixing hot water and cocoa powder isn't just to make a heavenly chocolate drink. This step is known as "blooming". Just like you "bloom" gelatin powder in cold water before using, blooming cocoa powder in hot water releases the flavors from the cacao and intensifies its chocolate flavors. It's actually the heat that does the blooming but the water makes it so easy to do, so make sure that your water is hot! The hotter, the better for this blooming process.    

You'll actually find this step in many fantastic chocolate cake recipes just like in this super moist chocolate loaf cake and this classic devil's food cake recipes:  

Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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4 You may use yogurt, sour cream, or (yes!) mayonnaise! 

Did you know that you can make yogurt, sour cream, and mayonnaise from scratch? It's easy and the best thing to know is that when you do make it, you know exactly what ingredients are going into it. This is particularly important because if you're adding it to your cake batter, you don't want any undesired ingredients in there. 

Of these three ingredients, you might be most surprised about mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is essentially an egg yolk and oil emulsion with some lemon juice or vinegar and seasonings. Any of these ingredients will work in your cake batter! In fact, it's the added richness of this creamy pudding-like mixture that can make your cake tender and moist!

These three ingredients can be the difference between a super moist cake and one that's obviously not. If you have a recipe that you find is lacking the moistness you want and tends to be a little dry, replace 1/2 cup liquid with the same 1/2 cup amount of any of these ingredients. You may just find it's the secret ingredient you've been looking for.   

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Always remember to scrape the sides of the bowl so your batter is well mixed.
Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

5 Mix well but not too much. 

The other important step to making your chocolate cake batter is really the mixing. You may find two cases: you have a very liquid and watery batter or you have a thick cake batter that's easy to pour. In either case, mixing is where you can either undermix or overmix it. 

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You may be afraid to mix too much and instead undermix your batter. On the other hand, you can become too zealous in your mixing and overmix your batter.

How can you tell you've mixed your batter just right? 

There are two signs: you can no longer see any dry or wet ingredients floating in the batter and the batter is a single color. Once you see these indicators, you know you're ready to pour the batter in your baking pans and bake it.   

With these tips, you can make any chocolate cake recipe so much better! Use any great chocolate cake recipe but just like any other recipe, always read the recipe first. There are tips and clues while reading the recipe that could make your chocolate better using this guide. 

You can make better chocolate cake at home and to start that passion off, here are more of our best chocolate cake recipes: 

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