Death by Dark Chocolate Cake

Today is National Chocolate Cake day! I have to post about my very favorite chocolate cake recipe since it is my GO-TO and something that everyone loves. I've found that this recipe can convert even the most cynical cake eaters because of it's light, airy and not too sweet combination. 

It is very important to note that with chocolate cake it is VERY IMPORTANT to use really high quality ingredients because the results can be very different in terms of flavor and depth of the chocolate. 

1 - Use Valrhona cocoa powder. If you can find it, use it. Or order it on Amazon because it's worth it. If you're going to consume the calories, might as well make it count. 
2 - Use a VERY GOOD dark roast coffee. This can be cold brew, in which case I like to use Stumptown's Cold Brew. Or, in my cakes, I use Caffee Luxxe coffee which is a local shop in Santa Monica known for the BEST beans and espresso. 
3 - Splurge and get a really good quality black onyx cocoa powder. It's seriously worth it and brings a whole new depth to the chocolate flavor you didn't even know existed. 

This recipe is an oil based cake so is VERY forgiving which is great for new bakers or old! I'm gearing up for more commissions this weekend so lucky for me I was already baking a chocolate cake today. :) Enjoy! 

Dark Chocolate Cake
Makes 2 x 8" round cakes or 2½ 6" round cakes


  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 
  • ¾ cup unsweetened Valrhona cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons black onyx cocoa powder 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • ½ cup canola oil 
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temp 
  • 1 cup cold brew coffee or dark roast coffee, room temp 
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and line 2 x 8” or 3 x 6" round cake pans with parchment paper. Set them aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, place a metal sifter on top and add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, onyx coca powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift into bowl. Take large hand whisk and continue to incorporate dry ingredients until well mixed and all the same color. 

3. In mixer bowl, add eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix well. With mixer on low speed, incorporate dry ingredients into the bowl. Then add in coffee last and continue to mix on low until batter is rich and thick. 

4. Pour batter into pans evenly. If using 8" pans, distribute evenly in each pan. If using 6"x 3" pans, I've found the ratio that works for high layers is around 490g in two pans and 300g in the 3rd pan works best.  Tap pans against the table to get rid of air bubbles before placing into the oven in the middle rack. 

5. Bake on center rack of oven for 30-40 minutes or until toothpicks are removed and fully clean. The thicker that batter in each pan the longer it takes. Cakes should feel springy to touch. Make sure to rotate the cakes 75% of the way through baking time.

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes inside pans. Flip cakes on cooling rack, remove parchment paper lining and allow to cool to room temp. If not using right away, wrap with plastic wrap and place into fridge until ready for decorating.