Sturdy Yet Moist and Fluffy Chocolate Cake

6-inch and 8-inch sturdy chocolate cake for stacking
4.77 from 47 votes
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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.  

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 Chocolate Cake for Stacking

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 Chocolate 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! – What is room temperature butter?
  • flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – Combine them all together and sift once to remove lumps.

How to Make

The steps to make this chocolate cake are actually simple.

STEP 1. MISE EN PLACE. Prepare your oven by preheating it to 350 F (175 C). Note that I am using a conventional oven (no fan).

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.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

STEP 5. Add the flour mixture four times, alternating with the cocoa mixture in three parts, beating until each addition is incorporated.

STEP 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.

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

❤️ Tried this recipe and loved it? If you made this recipe or any other recipe on this site, I would love to know! ❤️

Rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Or tag @thebakeologie on Instagram and hashtag it #bakeologie !

6-inch and 8-inch sturdy chocolate cake for stacking

Sturdy Yet Soft and Fluffy Chocolate Cake

4.77 from 47 votes
Servings: 3 8-inch cake layers
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. 
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 710 grams (710 ml / 3 US 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 ℉/ 175 ℃. Set an oven rack in the middle rack of the oven.
    Note that for all recipes in this website, I am using conventional oven (no fan).
  • Make the cocoa mixture.
    Grease and line the bottom of three 8×2 pans (Note 1).Make the cocoa mixture. In a bowl (preferably with a spout), whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.
    710 grams (710 ml / 3 US cups) boiling water
    180 grams dutch processed cocoa
  • Make the flour mixture.
    Make the flour mixture by sifting the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk them together.
    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
  • 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.
    340 grams unsalted butter
    600 grams white granulated sugar
    300 grams eggs
  • Combine the cocoa mixture and the flour mixture.
    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 1 to 1.5 hours. There's a high chance your cake will fall apart when you remove it from the pan while still warm.
    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 8×4 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.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theBakeologie or tag #Bakeologie!

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

  1. 5 stars
    Can I use cake flour? I don’t expect a response before I plan to make the cake but I know for the vanilla cake you said no cake flour. Just want to know if it is acceptable on this recipe.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. I haven’t tried this with cake flour but I think it might work. Cake might come out softer (which does not necessarily mean moister) and on the less sturdy side. If you will be using this for tiered cakes (ex. 6 inch then 8 inch layers stacked together) I do not recommend using cake flour due to its lower protein content. We need a higher protein content flour for structure.

    1. Yes, they can be made ahead and frozen! Once the cakes are cooled, remove them from the pan then tightly wrap each cake in cling wrap/ plastic wrap. If you would be keeping them in the freezer for longer than a week, I suggest adding an extra layer of protection from freezer burns by wrapping it with aluminum foil or place them in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge the night before you are going to fill and frost the cake. A brush of simple syrup would add back some moisture, if you wish to do so.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice and it’s phenomenal! It truly is very sturdy yet very moist! Do you have variations for different flavors? I haven’t been able to find other recipes that taste this good for vanilla, berry, etc?

  3. 5 stars
    Fabulous silky batter which made feel confident that I’d get a good result and wow what a truly lovely cake it made. I made the 6 inch x two pan version and got a fabulous rise. It cooked perfectly within 1 hour. I tweaked the recipe and incorporated 20g of black cocoa into the same cocoa measurement and I also added boiling coffee instead of water. Easy recipe with excellent results. This now my go to chocolate cake!

    1. Awesome, Suzie! I was curious what would be the result if I use black cocoa instead of Dutch processed. I imagined it would be darker in color and would have a deeper chocolate taste but wasn’t sure about how it will affect the texture of the cake, so thank you for sharing! 🙂

  4. Hi Trish, I tried this recipe in 2x10inch round tins for a practice run and it turned out awesome, am making my best friends wedding cake and will make it 2 tier 10inch and 12inch. am wondering how I work out the volumes of the recipe to do a 12inch round cake, I need 2 of these but will need to cook seperately as only have 1 cake tin in this size. Am going to be pushed for time so will make cakes in advance and freeze them many thanks for your lovely recipes.

    1. Awesome that your practice cake went well! I haven’t made this in 12-inch, but if I were to try it I would multiply the ingredients for the 8-inch by 2. 🙂

  5. Hello,
    If I follow the same size pans and all that you did how many can this cake serve? I have read 6” cakes serve 5-11 slices and 8” cakes serve 12-16 slices. So if I go in the middle of this hoping I can get 22 slices. Please may you confirm?
    When do you put the simple syrup on the cakes?
    Does this cake need to be in fridge after full assembly or can it stay at room temp for 1 day including 2 hour travel?
    I plan to make cakes on Friday, cool and wrap and keep in fridge. If no space in fridge will keep at room temp hope that’s okay? I can keep in cool garage if that’s better. Then I plan to skip Saturday won’t be around. Then ice and assemble on Sunday. Travel on Monday cake will be served in evening. Thanks

    1. The cake servings depend on how you will cut the cake. Here’s a good resource I’ve found. Brush the simple syrup right before filling and frosting. The cake (cooled, unfrosted and tightly wrapped) can be stored at room temperature overnight although they are easier to handle and stack while they are cold. Once you have applied the frosting I recommend keeping it in the fridge.

    2. Hi Trish,
      I need a cake that the top layer will hold up as the middle layer will have a hole in the middle to hold goodies.(m & M’s) I found this as it is sturdy, but would it be too top heavy and collapse in the middle?
      Thank you!!

      1. I haven’t tried that but I think it should hold up. I would love to know in case you’ll give it a try!

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing chocolate cake. Made it for my husbands birthday and it was a hit. My mother in law doesn’t like anyone’s cooking but she liked this cake! Thankyou for this recipe!!

  7. Hi there! I originally commented on your vanilla cake regarding instructions/ingredients for a 12 inch cake. For your chocolate cake, i also need info for a 9 inch cake! (Trust me to pick such awkward sizes for my daughter’s wedding cake!) I’ll be forever grateful for any assistance!
    Kindest regards,
    Kel..xx

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