Sturdy Yet Moist and Fluffy Chocolate Cake

6-inch and 8-inch sturdy chocolate cake for stacking
4.78 from 49 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 – just look at the raving reviews!!!

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!

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

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 to be in a baker’s back pocket. It is great for any special occasion and any frosting will work with it!

stacked chocolate cake

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 & Substitutions

Shop efficiently (treat this as your grocery list) and gather your ingredients at home without running circles in your kitchen. (i.e. One trip to the fridge to get all your dairy needs.)

***The ingredient quantities listed below are for the 8-inch recipe. ***

REFRIGERATED:

  • eggs. You need 300 grams of eggs (weight is without shell). That is about 6 large eggs, at room temperature.

PANTRY:

  • Dutch processed cocoa. Sometimes called alkalized cocoa; it is unsweetened cocoa that has been treated with an alkali to make it pH neutral. You need 180grams.
  • water. 710g or about 3 US cups of boiling water.
  • flour. 500g of all-purpose flour – measured by weight and not by cups. This recipe uses a lot of flour and any excess amounts will make your cake dry and too dense. I don’t recommend using cake/pastry flour as we need a higher protein content to make this cake sturdy.
  • baking soda. 14 grams or 1 tablespoon. Baking Soda loses its leavening power over time so always check yours is still good.
  • baking powder. 3 grams or 3/4 teaspoon. Baking powder do expire so always ensure your batch is still good.
  • Salt. 9 grams or 1.5 teaspoon of fine sea salt/ table salt.
  • sugar. 600 grams or 3 cups of granulated white sugar.
ingredients for chocolate cake
Simple Ingredients for Sturdy Chocolate Cake

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.

steps in making the chocolate cake

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.

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


Storage and Make Ahead


Frequently Asked Questions

➡️ Can I use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch Process?

Technically, yes, but I don’t recommend it for this recipe. The Dutch Process Cocoa powder is in the recipe mainly for flavor and color. If you use natural cocoa powder, your cake would be lighter in color and you may notice a subtle tanginess or a slightly bitter edge to the flavor. This is due to natural cocoa’s acidity, which may not be fully neutralized by the remaining ingredients in the recipe.

➡️ Should I wait for the cocoa mixture to be completely cooled before adding into batter?

No need to totally cool it down. Just set it aside while you make the batter, so that’s about 10 mins.

➡️ Is this recipe sturdy enough but moist to be on the bottom a of 2 tiered 3 layer cake?

Given that proper stacking has been done, this chocolate cake like its vanilla version is sturdy enough for multi-tiered cakes. There have been many reviews that they’ve used this recipe for tiered cakes.

➡️ Is this cake okay with fondant?

Yes, this sturdy chocolate cake can hold the weight of fondant.

➡️ Can I use boiled coffee instead of water?

Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor so the answer is yes. A couple of readers shared in the comments below that they have successfully replaced the water with coffee in equal amounts.

➡️ How can I make this in 10-inch, 12-inch, etc?

Other than 6-inch and 8-inch sizes, I have not personally made this in other sizes so I can not provide specific ingredient quantities at this time. It is in my pipeline though to test this recipe in various pan sizes, similar to its vanilla version. Please sign up to our email list to get notified once it is up!

➡️ How do I bake this in a convection (fan) oven?

As a rule of thumb, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees F if using an oven with fan so that would be 325F or 160C. Check if cake is done 5 to 10 minutes earlier than the suggested baking time.


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.


❤️ 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

4.78 from 49 votes
Yield: 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. 
Looking to make a smaller cake? Ingredient quantities for a 6-inch cake can be found in the recipe post.
On measuring: All recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I have provided a conversion to US customary (based on this Baking Conversion and Measurement Chart) in the recipe but I strongly recommend using a digital scale for a more accurate result. 
Step-by-step photos: My recipe post contains step-by-step photos and helpful tips to guide you in making this recipe. Go to >>> https://thebakeologie.com/sturdy-moist-chocolate-cake/
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Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • Mise en place.
    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).
    Grease and line the bottom of three 8×2 pans (Note 1).
  • Make the cocoa mixture.
    In a bowl (preferably with a spout like a pyrex measuring glass), whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Set aside while you proceed to the next steps.
    710 grams 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 baking soda
    3 grams baking powder
    9 grams 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 (There is no need to wait for the cocoa mixture to be completely cool) 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. Usually if you are using cake strips, baking time will take a bit longer. (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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279 thoughts on “Sturdy Yet Moist and Fluffy Chocolate Cake”

    1. Yes, but you will probably have extra batter (make them as cupcakes). Fill your 9-inch pan up to 3/4 full to avoid overflow and your baking time will change as well. Check your cake 5-10 mins earlier than the suggested time and add more mins as necessary.

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Trish,
    Help, does the cake freeze well?
    Lovely recipe. Have used it several times and it always comes out moist and velvety. It gets a thumbs up from the kids at parties too! Just one question. I’ve just made the 6 egg chocolate version and now had to postpone the party because of Covid. Does the cake freeze well? It’ll seriously screw my diet if we have to eat all of it ourselves 🤣 and it’s too good to waste.
    Thanks,
    Anne

    1. Hi, Ann!:) Yes, this cake freezes well. If you haven’t frosted the cake yet, wrap each layer with cling wrap and I would put it inside a ziploc bag or may another layer of foil to protect it from freezer burns. They’re good for 3 weeks max. The day before you frost the cake, transfer in fridge to thaw overnight. Right before frosting, I would suggest brushing the cake with simple syrup to restore some of the moisture. It won’t make your cake sweeter.

  2. Hi Trish, I am making a 2 tier wedding cake. I’d like to use your chocolate recipe for the top tier and vanilla for the bottom one. I’ll be using 2″ pans and cake strips. How would I adjust your measurements to make 3 10″ chocolate cakes for top tier and 3 12″ vanilla cakes for the bottom tier? I really appreciate your help and experience on this. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Phoebe. No need to totally cool it down. Just set it aside while you make the batter, so that’s about 10 mins.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this…I adore this recipe!

    1 question please? Have you got any advice on homemade w I can make the 8” cake taller by using 4 x 8” cake pans?

    Thank you x

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! I would multiply the 8-inch recipe ingredients by 1.5 then fill the pan up to 3/4 full. You can use the extra batter for cupcakes. I haven’t tired baking in 4-inches high pans, but I would think you would need a cake heating core to help heat the center of your cake.

  4. Absolutely love the way this cake came out.
    I’m planning a 8” x 4 layer cake (~2 inches high per layer) do you think the cake would be sturdy enough? Or would I have to centre dowel and or do a double barrel board and dowel? I don’t want it to be unstable but also don’t want to dowel unnecessarily. Thanks

    1. Hi, Kayla! Glad that you liked this chocolate cake! It should be sturdy enough for the cake you are planning to make. I would put the cake layers in the fridge and stack them while cold for easier handling. I am not an expert in terms of using dowels, but I don’t think it’s necessary to use a centre dowel for four 2-inch high layers. However, if you will be traveling with the cake, the center dowel comes in handy as it prevents it from shifting.

  5. I see someone asked about when to put the simple strup but I don’t see where it mentions simple syrup in the recipe?

    1. Hi, Natalie. If you would be making this cake ahead and keeping on the fridge/freezer, simple syrup helps keep the cake moist. This is optional though. I talked more about this in DIY Wedding Cake post.:)

  6. Hi…2 questions…

    #1 how long would baking be in a 8 x 4″ (deep) pan

    #2 can I use buttermilk or sour cream in this recipe..I find it makes cakes so moist

    Thanks

    1. Hi, Wendy. I don’t have a specific time but I would start checking the cake after 50-minutes then add time (in 5-minute increments) until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Fill your pan only up to 2/3 full.
      For the buttermilk and sour cream, I haven’t tried it for this recipe. I would love to know if you give it a go!

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