Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER {Decorated Four Ways}

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

Hunker down everybody.  Grab a hot tea, and a comfy spot, this is going to be a long post.  Not that it’s a bad thing!  This is the post you’ve been waiting for: how to make a rich and super moist Chocolate Cake from scratch (including some do’s and don’ts), and how to dress it up, or down as needed for any occasion.   I’m even going to share with you my favourite buttercream recipe of all time. 

I can assure you, this cake recipe doesn’t disappoint.  I made it all the time in the bakery, for countless wedding cakes (even that one I accidentally stuck my chest into while setting it down…big oops)  and now it’s often a request from my teens.  The cake itself is very moist, even after a few days and deliciously chocolate-y.   I’m not even kidding, sincerely, deliciously, chocolate-y.   The fact that the recipe is mixed in one bowl really puts this over the top.  One bowl, super rich and a family favourite.  Convincing done, let’s get to work.

Read on for the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER {Decorated Four Ways}!

Tips for making the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER

Here are my tips for making the best scratch chocolate cake recipe:

1. Have room temperature ingredients- First off, I must tell you that having ingredients at room temperature is ideal.   Why? Because warmer ingredients incorporate into a much smoother batter.  Even leaving them on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before mixing is helpful.  Eggs can be placed in a bowl of warm water (not hot) for 5 minutes or so before using.

2. Grease pans well-  While I’m a fan of non-stick baking spray, I’m a die hard pan greaser.  For chocolate cakes, I use a little shortening and a dusting of cocoa.  There’s nothing more frustrating than baking a beautiful cake, only to have it stick to the bottom of the pan.  A parchment pan liner is okay too but not necessary if the pan is properly greased and dusted. 

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

3. Use good quality ingredients where possible- I’m an advocate of buying local buttermilk and farm fresh eggs.  A good quality cocoa powder does wonders too. 

4. Keep the oven door closed-  Let that cake have its full baking time.  It should be on the middle rack ideally, and try to refrain from opening the door until near the of baking time.  Also, regardless of what your mom told you, jumping up and down in the house while a cake is baking, will not cause it to sink.  Thanks for that moms everywhere!

5. Allow for sufficient cooling time-  I usually leave the cake in the pan for 8 minutes or so, and then I turn it out onto a cooling rack.  I have always put the cake pan right back on top of the cake to allow it to steam for ten minutes or so, then removed the pan to cool completely.  This step is optional.

6. Slightly freeze the layers for frosting- The easiest way to frost a layer cake, is to slightly freeze the layers.  It makes the layers so much easier to work with.  Freeze until the layers are almost completely frozen, or at least firm.  I prefer to bake my cakes the day before and let them defrost slightly while I make the buttercream.  This does not compromise moistness or flavor at all.

Tips for Decorating The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER

Now that we’ve baked a gorgeous chocolate cake, let’s look at all the ways we can dress it up.  I’ll be sure to leave the recipes for the cake and buttercream at the bottom of this post.

For me, a beautiful cake can be ruined instantly by an awful tasting buttercream.  Presentation is great, but taste is everything.  I swear by Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  This buttercream is magic!  I use it almost exclusively.  The icing is a joy to work with, is light and silky, and is a dream for layer cakes and cupcakes.  It’s made by gently heating egg whites and sugar and then whipping them up into a bright, white, glossy meringue.  Butter is added and the icing whips up into a fluffy buttercream dream.  There are tons of flavor options too, including liquors, nut butters, chocolates, flavouring oils and fresh fruit purees.  It also colours quite well too.

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

I can’t impress enough about the importance of a crumb coat (see picture above).  It’s just a thin layer of icing that is applied to the whole cake to seal in all of those crumbs.  Pop the cake into the fridge for a few minutes after crumb coating, to allow it to firm up.  This will make your second, and final layer much easier.  Don’t be afraid to add lots of icing!  You can use a palette knife or spatula to take off and smooth as needed. 

Ideas For 4 Ways To Decorate

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

Here are four cakes that I created using Best Chocolate Cake Recipe and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

1. Rose Cake- The Rose Cake is fairly simple.  Layer and frost the cake as normal.  Using a 1M Wilton tip (which is a very versatile tip to own for cakes and cupcakes!), squeeze the buttercream in a spiral pattern, 3 times around, to create the rose shape.  I’ve shown you on the picture collage how you can cut a freezer bag to make a handy tool for piping leaves if you don’t have a leaf tip.  Simply squeeze out a dab of icing as you wiggle up to create the leaf shape.  Pipe on a simple border using the same 1M tip.  Voila, a simple and very pretty Rose Cake.  Practise your icing roses and leaves on an upturned cake pan if you need to.

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

2.  Strawberry Chocolate Cake- The second cake is made extra delectable with the addition of some chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries.  Who could resist this?  The cake is iced and a border is piped around the bottom.  Chill the cake for a half hour or so, and then spoon warm ganache around the edge.  Cover the top of the cake with a mound of fresh strawberries or raspberries.  Drizzle with remaining ganache and be proud of your creation.

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

3.  Candy Rosette Cake-  The third cake is again pretty simple and something the kids might have fun with!  Pipe some simple rosettes at the top of the iced cake and top them off with your favourite candy or chocolate.  You can add as many rosettes as you like! I used Whoppers for this cake!

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

4.  Edible Image Cake- The last cake is the pièce de résistance!  I’m showing you how simple it truly is to add an edible image to your cake!  Most grocery store bakeries are able to print images for a small fee.  Most bakeries (in my experience) charge around $10.00 for this service. You can bring in either an USB stick with a jpg image or an actual photograph.  You can print pictures of your family, favourite characters or something fun like your favourite handmade, homemade, heart-made website logo.  They print it out and then you can apply it to your own cake! I’ve shown you in the collage the easy steps to applying the images to your cake.  It’s like peeling a giant sticker, but go slow, as the images tear quite easily.  Just make sure the top of your cake is fairly smooth, as wrinkles in icing can show through images.

 

Ready for the delicious recipes???

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER

Ingredients:

-1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups of sugar
-1 1/4 tsp of baking soda
-1 tsp of baking powder
-1 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 cup of cocoa
-1/4 cup of oil (I use canola)
-2/3 cup of buttermilk
-3 large eggs
-1 tbsp vanilla
-1/2 cup of strong , hot coffee

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°  Grease and cocoa two 8″ cake pans (or use one 8 x 3 inch cake pan)

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the ingredients except the hot coffee.  Mix to combine.

3. Slowly pour the hot coffee into the bowl while mixing on low speed.  Once all of the coffee is in, mix on high for approximately 3 minutes.

4. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  If you’re using and 8x 3 inch pan, bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. 

5. Cool cakes in pan for 8 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely.  Wrap layers in saran and freeze until ready to use.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

*makes enough for one 8 inch round double layer cake.  Eat Swiss Meringue cakes at room temperature

Ingredients:

-5 large egg whites
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
-1 tbsp vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
-Wilton White White Icing Tint if desired

Directions:

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your stand mixer bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place the bowl of egg whites on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify (this can take up to 10 minutes!).  Add vanilla flavouring and pinch of salt and beat until combined.  Add gel tint if desired.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a week.  Icing will need to be at room temperature and whipped for about 5 minutes if kept in the fridge.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

-4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
-1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Make the ganache by putting the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream gently just until it starts to bubble and pour over the chocolate. Stir slowly until the chocolate melts and the ganache becomes smooth and glossy. Pour the ganache over the cold cake and let set 15-20 minutes before serving.

And there you have it!  One super duper Best Chocolate Cake Recipe from scratch, an amazing Swiss Meringue Buttercream and 4 ways to impress with decorating.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and you’re feeling inspired to create! For more recipes like this, make sure to visit my own site, Sweet Revelations!

Renee

This article is AMAZING! Former bake shop owner, Renee from Sweet Revelations, shares how to make the best chocolate cake recipe EVER! She gives tips and tricks, suggestions on 4 ways to decorate your cake, and the recipe for chocolate cake, swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache!

Tell us… What recipe would you like our master baker, Renee to bake up next?

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About

As the mother of three teenagers, Renee Mackey-Burson of SweetRevelations, often feels the need to knead! Nothing clears the mind and calms the heart like icing a cake or rolling a big ball of dough into submission. Despite the full time job, the chauffeuring between schools and hockey arenas, this former bake shop owner still manages to scratch bake bread and other sweets for her family almost daily! Why she does it? Plain and simple: it’s cheaper than therapy.


'Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER {Decorated Four Ways}' have 6 comments

  1. March 29, 2016 @ 12:00 am Silvia D

    oh, my..such beautiful and tasty looking cakes! I just love the one with the roses! oh, and the strawberries! going to try the recipes!

    Reply

  2. May 18, 2016 @ 5:47 pm Victoria Ess

    Those roses are so perfect! I love the way these were decorated!

    Reply

  3. August 10, 2016 @ 9:55 pm donna kelly

    Renee, I absolutely love the decoration with the strawberries and ganache. I am making my daughters 18th birthday cake with an edible cake image (of course she loves justin bieber!!) its a square cake. i love the ganache idea of letting it run down the sides of the cake. could you suggest how i would do this with the edible image on top im assuming i would need to do a border around the image but your advice would be great. thanks.

    Reply

    • August 12, 2016 @ 11:17 am Renee

      Hi Donna!
      I hope I’m not too late! I would do just as you suggested. I would lay the edible image down first (I would make it at least an inch or two smaller than the cake size). Then, I would pipe a border around the image (if desired). Refrigerate the cake for an hour. Once the cake is cold, you could use a spoon to drip chocolate down the edges and sides. Put fresh berries on top of the chocolate border if desired.
      Renee recently posted…Fresh Sweet Cherry and Nectarine PieMy Profile

      Reply

  4. January 21, 2017 @ 4:37 am Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe - Sweet Revelations

    […] to chocolate cupcake recipe.  I used it for cakes and cupcakes every single time (I did an article over here about easy ways to decorate a chocolate cake).  The cupcakes are oh so chocolate-y and can stand up […]

    Reply

  5. August 28, 2017 @ 11:25 am Ryan Bridges

    Wow those look amazing! these are such great tips and just love all the photos! I will have to try these, thanks for sharing this!

    Reply


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