Sturdy Yet Moist and Fluffy Chocolate Cake

4.86 from 7 votes

A chocolate cake recipe that is so incredibly easy to whip up and makes the most fluffy, chocolatey cake ever! What makes this cake extra special is that it is sturdy enough for stacking without sacrificing flavor and texture.  

6-inch and 8-inch cake layers

This Fluffy and Buttery Vanilla Cake recipe has been my most popular recipe on this site. I’ve received several questions on how to make a chocolate version of it, so finally, here it is!

Taste and Texture

The cake has a soft crumb but it is sturdy enough for stacking and carving. It is not fudgy but it is definitely moist and has a concentrated chocolate flavor without being too sweet.

Thanks to the cocoa dissolved in boiling water; it gives the cake an extraordinarily full and intense chocolate flavor. I used the same method in making my favorite basic chocolate cupcake.

Overall, I thought this chocolate cake is great te be in a baker’s back pocket. It is great for any special occasion and any frosting will work with it!

top view of the chocolate cake
soft and fluffy layers with a deep chocolate taste

Baking in different cake pan sizes

Here is a chart of the amount of ingredients you’ll need depending on pan size:

Follow the same procedure as written in the recipe but you may need to adjust the baking time. Remember that the time indicated below is only a guide as not all ovens are the same.

chocolate cake ingredients table for 6-inch and 8-inch

TIP: As not all ovens are the same, always check your cake for doneness a few minutes earlier than the suggested baking time. You would know when a cake is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the purpose of testing, I baked each size in two different cake pan heights:

  1. For the 6-inch cake recipe, I used a cake pan that is 3 inches in height (6×3).
  2. For the 8-inch cake recipe, I used a cake pan that is 2 inches in height (8×2).

6-inch cake

For the 6-inch cake recipe, I divided the batter into two 6×3 pans.

This is the exact baking pan I use and I really do recommend this brand (not sponsored – I just really love their baking pans!) .

You can probably bake this also in three 6×2 pans; if you do so, don’ forget to adjust the baking time.

Of course, the two 6×3 pans yielded a taller cake, about 3 inches in height (before torting and leveling). The cake rose right at the top of the pan. I then torte each cake into two, giving me a total of four 6-inch layers, as you see in the photos.

After torting and leveling the cakes, the total height of my cake is about 4.5 inches. If I put frosting in between layers and on the outside of the cake, the total height of the final cake would probably be over 5 inches.

6×3 pan, before leveling and torting
6×3 pan, after torting and leveling

TIP: If you only have a cake pan that is less than 3 inches in height, an alternative is to line parchment around the cake pan for added height, just like what I did in my Vanilla Cake.

8-inch cake

For the 8-inch cake recipe, I divided the batter into three 8×2 pans.

You can also bake this into two 8×3 pans; baking time will be longer if you bake in a taller pan.

Using the 8×2 pans, the recipe yields three 8-inch cakes that are almost 2 inches in height (before torting and leveling). The cake rose right up to the top of the cake pan.

This time, I used cake strips, and you can really see the difference in terms of doming!

cake pan with baking strip
flat top chocolate cake baked using baking strips

ingredients you’ll need

ingredients for chocolate cake
  • dutch processed cocoa – Sometimes called alkalized cocoa; it is unsweetened cocoa that has been treated with an alkali to make it pH neutral.
  • boiling water – For the 8-inch recipe, measure 710 ml / 3 cups of boiling water.
  • large eggs & unsalted butter– Make sure they are at room temperature!
  • flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – Combine them all together and sift once to remove lumps.

how to make this chocolate cake

The steps to make this chocolate cake are actually simple.

  1. Prepare your oven by preheating it to 350 F (175 C). Grease and line the bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper. Instead of dusting the pan with flour, use cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, prepare the flour mixture by sifting together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Preferably in a bowl with a spout, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. This process takes about 8 minutes – the butter should turn very pale yellow, almost white in color.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Add the flour mixture four times, alternating with the cocoa mixture in three parts, beating until each addition is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter in your pans and bake until a cake tester inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks before using them.
steps in making the chocolate cake

NOTE: Not sure what’s medium, medium-low, or low speed in your mixer? Read this Stand Mixer Speed Control Guide.

Do you need to make this cake in another pan size?

I initially developed this recipe for an 8-inch cake. Then using the baking pan conversion tool, I converted all the ingredients for a 6-inch cake pan.

I used my Baking Pan Conversion Chart that is exclusively sent to my email subscribers. Click here to sign-up. It’s free!

stacked chocolate cake

Vanilla Version

If you need to make a cake like this in Vanilla, head on to Fluffy and Buttery Vanilla Cake recipe.

I’ve used this recipe to make a 3-tiered wedding cake so I can say that while it is soft and fluffy, it is firm enough to use in multi-tiered cakes.

Vanilla Cake stacked in three tiers

 

Print Recipe
4.86 from 7 votes

Sturdy Yet Soft and Fluffy Chocolate Cake

A chocolate cake recipe that is so incredibly easy to whip up and makes the most fluffy, chocolatey cake ever! What makes this cake extra special is that it is sturdy enough for stacking and carving without sacrificing flavor and texture. 
Servings: 3 8-inch cake layers

Ingredients

  • 710 grams (710 ml / 3 cups) boiling water
  • 180 grams dutch processed cocoa
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) baking soda
  • 3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 9 grams (1 ½ teaspoon) fine salt
  • 340 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 600 grams white granulated sugar
  • 300 grams eggs about 6 large eggs, at room temperature

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven. Set the oven 350 F / 175 C. Set an oven rack in the middle rack of the oven.
  • Mise en place. Grease and line the bottom of three 8x2 pans (Note 1).Make the cocoa mixture. In a bowl (preferably with a spout), whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.Make the flour mixture by sifting the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk them together.
  • Make the batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture in three parts. Beat until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Be careful not to overmix.Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the surfaces.
  • Bake the cakes.Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. (Note 2)
  • Cool the cakes.Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for about 15 mins. Run a metal spatula between the sides of the pans and invert the cakes onto wire racks that have been coated with nonstick spray. Peel off the parchment and reinvert onto wire racks to cool completely.

Notes

(Note 1) You can also bake this is in two 8x4 pans if you need thicker cake layers. Adjust the baking time.
(Note 2) Always check your cake for doneness a few minutes earlier than the suggested baking time. You would know when a cake is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Measurements Note: All baking recipes in this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!

59 thoughts on “Sturdy Yet Moist and Fluffy Chocolate Cake”

  1. Anu

    Tried this a few days ago. Came out perfect! So sturdy without at all compromising on flavour, texture or moistness. Thank you!

    1. trish

      Yehey!! Thank you so much for taking the time to rate and give your review!😀

  2. Nicoletta Mythillou

    So i imagine it can be stacked using fondant as well ? Thank you!

  3. Natasha Masih-Naiker

    Hi can you use normal cocoa powder instead of the dutch processed ?

    1. trish

      Hello, Natasha. I don’t recommend using normal cocoa powder. The taste will be different – we need the deep chocolate flavor of a dutch processed cocoa powder.

  4. Joi B

    Thanks for this recipe, I have a question. Will this cake support at 12,10,8 inch rounds. I need a 14 inch chocolate cake that will support 3 tiers on top

    1. trish

      Hey! Haven’t tried making this cake beyond 10-inch, but I see no reason why it would not work – as long as the right amount of dowell rods are used to support each tier.

  5. Silvia

    5 stars
    Haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it does sound great for a birthday cake and can’t wait to try it! One question: if I stack the 4x6inch layers on top of the 3x8inch layers, will I need straws or dowels at all?
    Thank you!

    1. trish

      Yes, you would definitely need dowels/rods to support them. 6-inch cakes need about 3 rods; 8-inch cakes need about 4. I’ve briefly mentioned here how I stacked the the vanilla version of this cake for a wedding. https://thebakeologie.com/diy-wedding-cake/

  6. Kayla

    5 stars
    I just used this recipe yesterday and made three 6×2 cakes + a dozen cupcakes. It was PERFECT. Just firm enough to layer the cakes but still sooooooo super moist. A few people told me it was probably the best chocolate cake they had ever had! This ones a keeper 🙂

    1. trish

      Thank you so much for the feedback, Kayla!!! =)

  7. Suky

    5 stars
    I made this today as a test for a special birthday cake I’ll be making in two weeks. It’s exactly what I wanted. Blackout dark, nice crumb, firm textured but not at all dry. I had plenty of batter for my three 9″ x 2″ pans.

    1. trish

      Thank you for sharing your feedback, Suky! =)

  8. Lochia Rubra

    hi do you have measurement in cups? thanks

    1. trish

      Sorry, I don’t. Measuring by weight gives you a more accurate result.

  9. Thomi

    Sturdy & good for carving? Does that mean I can cut out a small section of too layer to hide a surprise in the cake? I’ve made several hide away cakes but they seem to crumble apart.

    1. trish

      Yes, if made correctly it should be sturdy enough for that. I think chilling the cake first would help too.

  10. Candy

    Hi, I’ve been asked to make a tiered chocolate cake for a wedding. I’d like to test this recipe out. I saw a previous comment about freezing the layers separately. Do you know how long it would keep in a freezer for?

    Also, I have never heard of dutch cocoa powder before. Would Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa Powder work?

    Many thanks 🙂

    1. trish

      You can make this up to 1 week ahead and then freeze the cake layers, though the closer to the event date the better. When I made the vanilla version of this cake, I made them 2 days ahead and stored them in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic cling wrap. I then assembled and frosted the cake 1 day before the wedding day. I shared details on how I did my DIY wedding cake here https://thebakeologie.com/diy-wedding-cake/

    2. Janet Goodall

      Cadbury is dutch process

  11. Sandy

    Love this cake but it made a lot more than I needed…can you freeze it?

    1. trish

      yes! tightly wrap each cake layer with cling wrap, then wrap again with aluminum foil to protect from freezer burn.

  12. Solange

    Hi Trish,
    I would like to try the 6inch pan. How many eggs is 168 grams equivalent to?..

    1. trish

      From where I am, 1 large egg (without the shell) is more or less 50 grams. So using that guide, I would get 3 1/3 large eggs. Not sure how much your eggs weigh in your country, so measuring by weight is the best way to go.

  13. Solange

    4 stars
    Hi,
    Could I use this recipe with fondant? My daughter’s birthday is coming up.

  14. Solange

    Hi, Could I use this cake with fondant? My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon.

  15. Sienna

    Hi I really want to try this recipe but would like to make it in three 6x2inch pans. How would I covert the measurements? Thank you

    1. trish

      Half the measurements for the 6-inch cake and divide them into your 3 6X2 inch pans. Remember to fill you pans up to 2/3 full only to avoid overflow. You may or may not have a bit of extra batter.

  16. Runninghead

    Tried to halve the recipe for an 8″x2″ cake tin as my tins are 8″x1″. All went well aside from the water/cocoa- halving the stated amount of 710ml gives 355ml of boiling water, which made the mix really runny, thin & liquid. I must be doing something wrong as others have had great results with the recipe. I’m going to try again and add some coffee too. I was wondering if a little brandy might be included too and, if so, how would we need to compensate for it?

    1. trish

      Thank you for reaching out! I hope your next try will be ok. Since you are using an 8×1 pan, remember not to overfill them. =) You can also replace part of the water with coffee. However, for the brandy, I have not tried baking with alcohol yet – Sorry I won’t be of much help for that part!

  17. Arlene

    5 stars
    This is the perfect chocolate cake recipe I am looking for, the dry looking but moist and fluffy texture when you bite it. Just in time for my 2 tiered cake order for this weekend. Already tried it and tastes so chocolatey. Thanks for sharing!

    1. trish

      Glad you liked it, Arlene! Thank you for letting me know! =)

  18. Gift

    I’ve tried this recipe and it tastes really nice but the problem I have with it is that it easily breaks, it scatters easily. I dint know if it’s the recipe or I’m not doing something right

  19. Catherine

    I used this recipe for my son’s birthday last month and it was incredible! Kept its moist dense texture for a week.

    Could this recipe be used for cupcakes?

    1. trish

      Thank you, Catherine! This can also be used for cupcakes, but may I also suggest you try the chocolate cupcake in this recipe? They’re my go-to!

  20. Seth Worrell

    Looks like a good recipe.. Just curious. Have you tried using hot coffee in place of the boiling water?

    1. trish

      Hi! I have not tried that for this recipe, but I think it would work as coffee boosts the flavors in the cocoa. =)

  21. Leah

    What would the measurements be if I need to make a 9*13?

  22. Brittany

    You have baking soda and baking powder in the ingredients but only reference baking soda in the instructions. Can you please clarify? Thanks!

    1. trish

      Thanks for pointing that out. Sift all your dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    2. Kyla

      Hi there! I noticed in your ingredients that you list 710ml water (3 cups), but 3 cups = 750ml. I that they correct measurement? 1 cup = 250ml, so it’s confusing. Thanks!

      1. trish

        Hi Kyla, that’s a great question! The conversion I used is 1 cup = 236.588 ml. The tricky part when measuring in volume is that they are not consistent. For some it’s 236ml; my US cup here is labeled at 240ml, and there’s also 250ml for others. While the extra 40ml (if you follow the 250ml conversion) will not drastically affect this specific recipe, I highly recommend to measure by weight – It will give you the most accurate result!

        Also just below the recipe card, there’s a note that all my baking recipes were developed and tested using weight measurements – the volume measurements have been provided for convenience. =)

  23. M. Chapman

    5 stars
    I gave this recipe a shot after I was looking for recipe that would have a good consistency for a tiered cake. This cake turned out perfectly. It was moist, yummy and had the perfect consistency. I was amazed this cake didn’t have more reviews. It was a hit at my daughters birthday. This will be my go to chocolate cake recipe for now on. Thanks for an amazing recipe. I’m going to try the vanilla cake recipe next time

    1. trish

      I am glad you liked the recipe – this is my go-to recipe as well! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, it’s a big help for me!

  24. Ao

    Can you make this into cupcakes?

    1. trish

      I haven’t used this recipe for a cupcake, but I don’t see any reason why not. Just don’t forget to fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full. Check for doneness starting after between 15 and 20 minutes of baking..

  25. Valerie

    5 stars
    O.M.G. I made the chocolate cake for my triplets’ 21st birthday and they loved it! This was my first ever triple layer cake and it was fantastic! It was super moist and super chocolate-y. I used Rodelle cocoa powder, stainless steel 8” pans with the Wilton cake strips and each layer baked without doming. I only had to take a smidge off of one layer. I’m going to use this recipe forever!

    1. trish

      Thank you for letting me know, Valerie! I’m REALLY glad you loved it!

  26. Jena

    For making this with a 10in round cake what would be the measurement differences/baking time?

    1. Kiks

      Same question. Can you give us measurements and baking time fir a 10” cake? Thank you!

      1. trish

        Hi! The measurements and estimated baking time for a 10-inch cake are on the chart inside the post. As always, not all ovens are the same so it’s better to check for doneness about 15 mins before the estimated time then add as necessary. I baked mine for 80 minutes – I’m using a convection oven (no fan).

  27. Sandra

    Hi, can you use self raising flour instead of all purpose flour and can you use caster sugar instead of granulated sugar. Would it be ok to use other cocoa powder? Many thanks.

    1. trish

      I haven’t tried using self-raising flour for this recipe, so I could not say about the outcome, sorry. You can use caster sugar instead of granulated sugar. For the cocoa powder, it should be any dutch processed or alkalized cocoa powder.

  28. Kamille

    I was so glad to see this recipe in my emails today. I was originally going to try your vanilla cake recipe for my daughter’s birthday but then she told me she wants a chocolate cake so I’ll try this one instead!

    1. trish

      Just in time! A homemade birthday cake is always the best. =)

  29. Shortia

    Thanks for the recipe. Your vanilla recipe is my home to, can’t wait to try this chocolate version

    1. trish

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad you are loving the recipes. =)

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