Chocolate cake

Recipe: Best Chocolate Cake and Cupcakes


We are big fans of chocolate cakes in our family. And so far this best chocolate cake recipe from my friend Robyn at Add a Pinch has been my go-to. This is seriously the best. But, in all fairness, I don’t really consider myself a baker. The precision of the cooking gives me anxiety. There is too much chemistry involved.

The butter adds great flavor and the oil keeps the cake moist. (Stacey Little / Southern Bite)

So when I was looking for the best way to make a super delicious chocolate cake recently, I wanted to start with a cake mix. I know. Shoot me. But stay with me for a second …

Now I learned a few years ago that my favorite cakes contain both butter and oil. The butter adds great flavor and the oil keeps the cake moist. So I knew he had to include both.

I’m also a huge fan of the ever popular White Almond Sour Cream Cake (WASC) which many bakers swear by. It starts with a canned mix. So I wondered if there was a way to take chocolate cake mix and use the same method as WASC cake.

A quick Google took me to Liz Marek’s blog. Sugar Geek Show is all about amazing cake and dessert recipes and cake decorating tutorials. It sounds simple enough, but his blog is much more than that. When I tell you she’s amazing, that’s an understatement. If you have time to kill, you have to click on it and check out some of the ridiculously amazing cakes she has created. This is how I would describe Liz.

This recipe makes about 36 cupcakes, and the frosting will give you more than enough for tall decorative swirls. (Stacey Little / Southern Bite)

Either way, she has a recipe for a WASC chocolate cake that met all of my criteria. It started with a canned mix and included both oil and butter. And it was incredibly delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I only made a few tweaks after testing it about six times – you know, science and all. It was so good like that.

I love the flavor of my chocolate buttermilk cake. I have been told that the unique flavor, besides buttermilk, is created by heating the cocoa powder and letting it “bloom”. With that thought in mind, I decided to test the recipe using hot coffee rather than the cold coffee Liz requested. It could all be in my head, but I found it to make a difference. That said, cold coffee will definitely work. And no, your cake won’t taste like coffee. The coffee only intensifies the flavor of the chocolate.

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Why don’t you just start from scratch? Well, I hear you. And here’s the deal: Starting with a cake mix gives us several advantages. This gives us a head start by eliminating certain steps. This reduces the margin of error when it comes to measurement, which means there’s a lot more chance that your cake will be perfect. And Liz’s blog also taught me that it contains emulsifiers that a scratch cake wouldn’t. These emulsifiers also help ensure a perfect cake.

Before serving, let the cake stand at room temperature. (Stacey Little / Southern Bite)

This cake gives you the best of both worlds. It has the reliability of a canned mix, but the flavor of home-made with all the ingredients added.

So why are we adding extra flour? Well the extra flour, cocoa, and sugar help work as a cake mix extender, so we have more dough, which means thicker layers of cake than the super thin layers we would get from a mix alone.

The Decadent Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe is my own creation and have been using for years. And now I have the perfect cake to complete my frosting.

The combination of the two makes for a pretty nasty cake, if I say so myself. And it easily turns into cupcakes.

The Amplified Cake Mix recipe will give you enough dough for about 36 cupcakes, and the frosting will give you more than enough to form mile-high swirls.

For the icing, it is essential to start with butter at room temperature. And once everything is combined, the mixing time will give you some differences in results. For a dense and smooth frosting, you want to mix it up until everything is just combined. If you want a lighter, fluffier frosting, stir it a little longer. Side note: Does anyone else use the terms frosting and frosting interchangeably? I know they are supposed to be different, but I use them both for the same thing. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Another tip from Liz: Cool your cake layers before frosting them. This makes them stronger and a bit easier to coat. Then let the whole cake come to room temperature before serving.

This chewy and chewy cupcake is worth every calorie. (Stacey Little / Southern Bite)

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: ten


Best chocolate cake:

  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) Devil’s Cake Mix (I like Duncan Hines for this recipe)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 bag (2 pounds) powdered sugar (7 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (or more)


Best chocolate cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray two light-colored 9-inch aluminum cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and flour. Put aside.
  2. In the bowl of a blender, combine cake mix, flour, salt, sugar and cocoa powder until well combined.
  3. Add the hot coffee and stir to combine.
  4. Add melted butter, oil and sour cream; mix to combine.
  5. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  6. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix for about 2 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough between the two prepared pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Add the butter to the bowl of a blender and mix until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Add salt and cocoa powder and mix well.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add heavy cream to dilute buttercream until smooth and toss to combine.
  6. Add more cream to make it thinner or more powdered sugar if it is too fine.
  7. Once the cake has cooled, cut the rounded part of each cake and frost with the chocolate buttercream.


  • To make cupcakes, line a cupcake mold with cupcake molds and fill them about halfway full. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes about 36 cupcakes.
  • The frosting recipe does enough to generously frost the two-layer cake or to frost 36 cupcakes.
  • Cake recipe adapted from Sugar Geek Show Chocolate WASC Cake.

This recipe originally appeared on For more great recipes, visit the website or check out ”The Southern Bite cookbook. “

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