The Perfect Chocolate Cake

The Perfect Chocolate Cake

In 1994, I moved to the South Pacific and opened a small café.  At that time there was not a box cake to be had in the Kingdom of Tonga and the local bakeries made a poor substitute;  pale in color, tough in texture, bland in chocolate flavor.  In short order, I hunted through my collection of cookbooks and recipes boxes and found several chocolate cakes worth baking.  By and far the best cake was this one…tender, moist, rich in chocolate flavor with the deep, dark color of cocoa.  The cake was an instant hit and for 12 years it was my signature dessert. 

The original recipe of this cake appeared in a 1986 McCall’s Cooking School magazine.   I’ve added almond extract and omitted the sugary icing to make this the “Perfect Chocolate Cake” in my book.  Add this recipe to your dessert repertoire and your family and friends will rave.


The Perfect Chocolate Cake 



 1 cup cocoa powder

2 cups boiling water

2-3/4 cups flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

4 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups whipped cream with 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar and 1 tsp vanilla to fill and cover cake layers.

1 Tbsp. cocoa powder to dust top of cream (or use chocolate curls)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and dust two or three 9-inch cake pans.  In a small bowl whisk cocoa powder with boiling water until smooth and refrigerate to cool.  Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium sized bowl.  Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts until light and fluffy.   Reduce the speed to low and add flour mix alternately with cocoa mix.   Do not over beat.  Pour batter into prepared pans and bake about 30 minutes for 3 layers or about 40 minutes for 2 layers, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then remove cakes to a rack and cool completely.  Fill and cover layers, swirling the whipped cream on top and sides.  Place cocoa powder in a tea strainer and tapping the strainer against your palm, dust the top of the cream.  Chill cake until ready to serve.  Hold at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.  This cake also freezes well.  Wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap before freezing.  Ganache may be used in place of whipped cream.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: