Dark Chocolate Cake

Dark chocolate layer cake


Dark Chocolate Cake from Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions

Process notes

  • instead of 85 grams unsweetened chocolate I used 85 grams unsweetened natural cocoa powder from Penzey's, which I sifted in with the dry ingredients
  • instead of 225 grams cake flour I used 200 grams freshly-milled hard white whole wheat flour + 3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, sifted together
  • I didn't have enough light brown sugar, so I used 170 grams light brown sugar, 114 grams dark brown sugar, and 114 grams granulated white sugar
  • baked in 2 - 6x3 round cake pans
  • frosted with King Arthur Flour’s Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting, using half butter and half Spectrum All Vegetable Shortening


Things were going swimmingly, despite my substitutions, until about 38 minutes into the baking when the middles of the cakes fell. I was a bit crushed by this, though the results weren't as severe as with the Hot Milk Cake experience. Happily these weren't for a special occasion, just regular ol' weekend cake made to use up some sour cream and leftover vanilla buttercream.

Sunken dark chocolate cake
Sunken centers :(

Of course the sinkholes inspired another round of cake research. I'm just not convinced that the whole grain flour is the problem. This time I didn't open the oven door until 45 minutes in, after they'd already sunk in. Other people have reported problems with 3" tall cakes falling in the center, so perhaps it's related to that. Too much batter in the 6" diameter pan for it to bake evenly?

The smart thing would be for me to bake these cakes again, but in my 9x2 pans, to see if that makes a difference. But the urge to try a different recipe is strong…we'll see…

All concern for the deep dimple on the top of the cakes flew out the window upon the first bite. Holy cow, this is a delicious cake recipe. It's really dense with a deep chocolate flavor. You would never guess that whole wheat flour was used. The vanilla frosting was a nice complement to the chocolate, but definitely prefer a Swiss buttercream to the recipe I used. The Swiss is just smoother in texture, which I prefer to the powdered sugar method.

After tasting the result, I do think I'd make this cake again using the 9-inch pan, with the hope that it doesn't sink in the middle. It's that good a recipe.