Cake & Cheesecake | February 14, 2009

Laurie and Amy’s Amazing Chocolate Cake

Laurie and Amy's Amazing Chocolate Cake

Last year, I was on a quest. A quest to find the best chocolate cake recipe. I tried cake after cake. My family thought it was funny, and enjoyed being official taste testers.

Laurie and Amy's Amazing Chocolate Cake

My dear friend (and personal therapist while walking) Peggy makes the most delicious chocolate cake. She brings it to Pie Night almost every year. Because she doesn’t (gasp!) like pie. Weird, I know. It is a wonderful chocolate cake. We love it so much that my daughter Corrine asked if Peggy would bring it again last year. She did. We ate it up. Why didn’t I just get the recipe from Peggy for her cake, and call it good? Well, that sounds like an easy solution. Problem was, every time I tried to make her cake, it flopped. One time, it flowed all over my oven and I almost had to call 911. Another time, it sank in the middle, and cooked too much around the edges. Maybe I didn’t copy the recipe correctly?? No, a call confirmed I wrote it exactly as Peggy dictated, just a problem with the baker- me.

Laurie and Amy's Amazing Chocolate Cake

So, back to the quest. I needed a chocolate cake I could make and use as a tried and true, never fail, have to have it , chocolate-fix cake. You know I LOVE cake, right?? I love pie, but cake, yes, I’m a cake woman. The truth is I love almost ALL baked goods. Cake I love: – boxed, bakery, home made. My fav bakery cakes are Granite bakery and Mrs. Backers Bakery on South Temple in SLC.

Warning- crazy rambling: Every year, for my birthday I want – no, I NEED a chocolate cake with pineapple filling and chocolate frosting from Backers. White with pineapple filling is my second choice. Every year, I start reminding my kids in October, order the cake early, because they don’t make the choc/pineapple combo unless you special order it, and they close on Wed night before Thanksgiving, and don’t re-open until the Monday AFTER Thanksgiving. By then, my birthday is OVER, and I really need this cake.

Laurie and Amy's Amazing Chocolate Cake

OK, so where were we?? The quest. You know when you eat something at a social event, and want to be polite and not lick your plate, or ask for some to take home, then you lay, or is it lie? in bed all night thinking- If I could only have one more small bite of that ____ (cookie, pie, chocolate cake). Enter my talented and lovely practically perfect friend Laurie. She made the aforementioned (like my lawyer talk) chocolate cake. She can make ANYTHING. Yes, anything. She cooks like Julia Child, has penmanship like font on a computer, has polished, classic style in decorating, clothing, sews like …um, who sews? Betsy Ross, only more talented than Betsy. Seriously, this woman has “it”.  AND she is seriously plagued with perfecting recipes. She makes something and then makes revision after revision until it is perfect. Lucky me. She learned how to make cakes, really great cakes from her friend Amy, who is also close to perfection, herself, I mean she actually is probably perfect too, I just don’t know her well enough to bear testimony of it, her, whatever. I do know, that this cake is wonderful, the quest is now over.
Done.

5 from 4 votes
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Laurie and Amy's Amazing Chocolate Cake

Author abountifulkitchen

Ingredients

for cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped, OR chocolate chips (for a double recipe, use 15 oz. chocolate chips, which equals 2 1/2 cups.)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 10 oz or 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

for frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (For really dark frosting use part Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, about 4 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with circles of wax paper or baking parchment.
  3. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate chips.
  4. Add cocoa and stir until mixture is smooth.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Cream the butter and brown sugar.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  8. Beat in vanilla.
  9. Add the dry ingredients and half of the chocolate mixture.
  10. Beat on low to combine, then on high for 1 1/2 minutes.
  11. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and beat on low until mixed.
  12. Pour batter into pans and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out completely clean.
  13. Cool for 10-15 minutes; remove from pans.
  14. Wrap in double layers of plastic wrap while still warm and freeze.
  15. Double recipe makes two 10" layers plus two 8" layers or four 9" layers.
  16. Never fill pans more than 2/3 full.

Frosting directions:

  1. Cream butter with electric mixer.
  2. Whisk together sugar and cocoa.
  3. Beat one-third of the sugar/cocoa mixture into the butter. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Add the rest of the sugar/cocoa mixture alternately with milk and beat until frosting is smooth.
  5. When cake is frozen solid, frost between the two layers and spread a thin layer over the whole cake.
  6. Freeze again for about 20 minutes.
  7. Frost again.
  8. Repeat if desired. (Frost the last time on the day you plan to serve the cake and let it stand at room temperature to thaw.)

Tips:
-*Usually the best type of cocoa at grocery stores is Saco Premium Cocoa, which comes in a round container with a picture of a baker on the front. I love Callebaut Brand Cocoa and have used it exclusively since about 2010. I also love Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, but it is usually a bit more expensive than other brands.
-I double this and it makes 4 perfect  9″ layers.
-I liked the frosting best with about 1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa (for dark color)  and 1/2 cup Callebaut unsweetened cocoa.
-If you don’t have time to frost and freeze the cake, freeze the layers, and frost the cake while still frozen. Use about 1/4 of frosting between layers, 1/2 on sides of cake and remaining 1/4 of frosting on top of cake.

-When purchasing cake pans, make sure the pans are professional quality. The sides should be straight and the pans should not be able to fit all the way into each other when stacked. If they fit inside of each other, the sides are slightly angled, which will not produce cakes with straight sides. I highly recommend purchasing this pan.

51 thoughts on “Laurie and Amy’s Amazing Chocolate Cake

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  1. Oh, Si, I do like pie!–Anything sweet! I’m in Vegas and Gretchy texted me to look at your site. Thanks for the nice words.

    You def. choose the best choc. cake recipe. Hurray for the Laurie and Amy cake.

    Hugs.

  2. WHAT?? All of this time, I thought you didn’t like pie? Maybe you just don’t like to make pie? We need to walk or go to lunch and discuss this…

  3. Si–you are hilarious! And Hooray for Laurie and Amy’s cake–it is sooo yummy. And yes, Amy is practically perfect as well. We should call them the “Poppins Twins.” Laurie told me about your site, and I have loved it.

    Do not be alarmed by my blogger name.

    It’s really just me–Sherry (Burt) Cutler

    P.S. Peggy is pretty perfect, too.

  4. I’m so going to try this one. I have been on a similar quest for a while now. For me the key is how moist and fudgey it is. So far I do have a favorite but this one looks so moist and dense. My favorite to date is Americas Test Kitchen- Chocolate Blackout Cake. Have you tried it. It is bloody good!

  5. Sadly, I tried this cake for a birthday celebration. Yes, it turned out beautifully, moist and tender. But there are some people in the world that do not like dark chocolate. My and my family are among them. I have baked a chocolate cake, the same one for almost 49 years, and it is a hit with all who have tasted it. After baking a double recipe, with more to bake, I tasted it and knew my family would be disappointed, so I started over with my cake, which was among the best times I have made it. Sorry, not dissing this cake, again it was very moist and tender, which is my criteria for cake, just by far too dark.

    Thank you for your blog, I love the time you spend with your pictures, which are sonderful, and the stories that go with your recipes. Keep up the good work.

    A follower,
    Cheryl

  6. Fantastic recipe! It was so easy to make and turned out delicious. I would definitely recommend using the 1/2 c. dark cocoa in the frosting, I think it made a big difference. Also the amount of butter in the frosting is 2 sticks plus another 1/2 of a stick. I like this cake best when it is cold. I know next time I will need to double it because everyone LOVED it.

  7. This is the best chocolate cake in the world. Anything that comes from the Cutler kitchen is incredible! Love the blog 🙂
    Karlie
    (a friend of Brookie's)

  8. Holy cow! I just made this cake (my dad has a similar recipe that I love but it has different flavorings-maple and almond in chocolate…anyway)

    THIS IS SOOOOO GOOD!

    OH MY GOODNESS!

    I had some extra batter because I only have 8 inch pans, so I poured the extra into a mini loaf pan. I started picking at it the second I took it out of the oven, and the burn on my tongue was totally worth it! I couldn't stop, the top of the cake is especially fab, to die for! I LOVE it!

  9. I will definitely try this, looks delicious.

    I'm hoping to find a recipe for a yellow cake that's rich and dense like this one, but, not a poundcake.

  10. I too was on a quest for the perfect chocolate cake a couple years ago and gave up. I was in New York last week and ate this cake at Amy's…it was a huge piece, and I said to my friend, "I can't eat all this!" Good thing she wasn't feeling well or I might have shared. It was so amazing I left on a quest to find the recipe…thank you so much! I'm thinking of making it instead of pie for Thanksgiving, not sure my husband will approve!

  11. I have made this cake(wait for it…)

    TWO times in the last three days! Once for my own family and once for an extended family dinner. It is phenomenal – hands down the most delicious chocolate cake recipe I've ever made. I gave a hunk to a friend and she called to tell me it was the most delicious cake she, too, had eaten.

    It is amazing when kept in the fridge, that's for sure. Love this, love this, love this. Thanks, and when's the cookbook coming?

  12. My cakes rose? raised? too much in the middle. I am so new at this, Si(: The good news is this tiny kitchen in my college apartment is finally getting used enough after years of boys living here…ick! Love you and your blog so much.

  13. I just recently stumbled upon this recipe and it is by far the best cake I've ever eaten! It was my first attempt at a layer cake but it was so easy to make and even easier to eat!

    Thank you for the recipe that will live in my family for years to come!

  14. Just made this cake for hubby's bday. Waiting to try it. What's the best way to store this? And for how long? Thank you

    1. Hi Anon, I usually just store this on the counter, wrapped lightly in saran wrap, to keep it from drying out. It will keep for several days , if it doesn't get eaten up first! 🙂

  15. Hello Si, I am new to your blog. I also made this cake last night. I was wanting to create a Chocolate Covered Strawberries cake, so I needed to find a dense, darkish cake to accomplish that. Let me just say that this recipe is, by far, one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever made! Not only is the batter :wink,wink: delicious, but the finished product is AMAZINGLY GOOOD! But…here is my question (same as above)…how do I prevent it from rising so much in the middle? Is this a baker error? If the cake is supposed to do this, I will have to double the recipe next time….AND THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME….so that I can cut the humps off and have a level cake.

    Thank you for such a YUMMY blog!
    Angela

    1. Hi Angela,
      I have not had this problem with the cake rising too(terribly) much. You could try a couple of things:
      1. Are you sure your pans are the right size? Measure and double check.
      2. After the cake is out of the oven, place a sheet of wax or parchment paper over the cake. Place a flat pan, such as a jelly roll pan or heavy cookie sheet on top of the cake to weigh it down. I have done this with another recipe, and it worked to level the cake without cutting the top down.
      3. You can wrap strips of rags, cut into one to two inch strips around the base of the pan. this is a trick I learned from Judy of Judy's Cakes, here is a link to a tutorial you will find very helpful
      http://judyscakes.blogspot.com/2011/01/making-cakes-rise-evenly.html
      Thanks for giving your feedback, and happy baking ! 🙂

  16. Dunno if anyone will see this anytime soon…but does anyone know if this can be made as a sheet cake? Also, what's the purpose of freezing it? If I don't freeze it, will it compromise the integrity of the cake? Does it make it easier to frost? Any info anyone has will be helpful. Thanks! 😀

  17. Hi Fit,
    I have never tried to make this as a sheet cake. You could try, I think it may be enough for two jelly roll pans. The purpose of freezing is to make the cake easier to handle in the frosting stages. It will not change the texture of the cake at all. I have made the cake and immediately frozen it, and also made the cake and frosted it after cooling. Tastes wonderful both ways. Happy baking!

  18. Thanks Si! I actually made it in a 9" rectangular Pyrex dish and it made 12 cuppies as well. I added lavender sea salt to it and it was divine! Thanks so much for the response, and for finding the recipe! 🙂

    1. Crystallina, I have never used this for cupcakes? But I'm sure it works. The batter will probably make about 36 cupcakes. Fill the cups about 3/4 inch full. Try baking a couple to see how much of a rise you get before baking the whole batch. Let us know how it turns out! Also, of course, reduce the baking time. I'm guessing about 20 minutes total baking time?

  19. Just to follow up, I made the cupcakes (without waiting for your response) since I waited until the day I needed to make them, when I asked the question, :/ and I also made a single 6 inch round cake.
    The verdict: the cupcakes were baked for about 20 min, and turned out ok. The flavor was good, however they were a tad too soft/ airy, and fell apart kind of easily, even when completely cooled. The cake was MAGNIFICENT! ! I froze it over night and frosted it the next day. It was moist, dense and rich, but not too rich. It was used as my daughter's smash cake for her 1st birthday. Luckily, she barely picked at it like a dainty bird, so I was able to eat a slice or 4.

    I've tried at least 20 of your recipes and have never been disappointed. Thanks, Si! {novel over}

    1. Hi Trisha,
      Not sure how I missed your comment…using coffee will not compromise the flavor in this cake. Usually coffee cuts some of the sweetness in a recipe and also enhances the chocolate flavors. Have a great day!
      Si

  20. When I was turning ten, my mom and I were visiting my grandparents in Salt Lake, and my birthday cake was a white with pineapple form Mrs. Backers! I hadn't thought of this in years – what a lovely birthday, and wonderful cake that was.

  21. My husband requested a dense chocolate cake for a celebration we were having, so I made this recipe, and frosted it with ganache. He is still raving! I'll definitely make it again!

    1. I’m glad he loved it! Frosting with ganache would make this over the top wonderful!
      thanks for reading ABK 🙂
      Si

  22. 5 stars
    This is from now on my only chocolate cake recipe in my box. It was soooo good. I did it exactly like you said and did the regular cocoa for the frosting and my kids adores. It baked for 35 minutes and was so tender and tasty. Thank you!!! It made my four year olds birthday fabulous and my 13 year old and 6 year old already are requesting it for their birthday. Thank you so much! My only question is can they be made into cupcakes? How long would they bake for?

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Sorry I missed this comment…I have not ever tried to make this into cupcakes. I have had a few readers say they have tried it, some with good results, others not so good. I would suggest adding 2 tablespoons of flour to the batter if making cupcakes. It will help stabilize the batter a bit so the cupcakes won’t fall apart so easily. I also have a Chocolate Bundt Cake on ABK which bakes up very nicely for cupcakes!

  23. Can I use Dutch process Cocoa? Also, do you have to adjust this recipe for high altitudes? I’m baking in Provo and since I moved here from California, I’ve been really struggling with my chocolate cake recipes.

  24. I was very disappointed with this recipe. It was very dry, and I cooked it the least amount of time. I love dense cake, so I made it for Christmas dinner dessert. Of course my family ate it, but it could have been so much better. Also, the freezing the layers is very inconvenient. Who has room in their freezer at Christmas?

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      So sorry you didn’t love this recipe. In all of the years I have baked, it is the best chocolate cake I have made to date. There are variables when baking and it sounds like your oven may bake at a higher heat than mine, which would cause the cake to be dry. Freezing is not necessary, but makes it easier to frost the cake without crumbs getting into the frosting!

  25. If i used this recipe for three 8 inch cakes would it work without having to double the recipe? And how long would i need to cook the 8 inch cakes?

    1. Anom,
      Yes, you can use this recipe for three 8 inch cakes. Try 25-30 minutes, but keep and eye on them! remove you cakes when you touch the center of the cake and it springs back. Also, use a toothpick to test the cake; when it comes out clean, it’s finished!
      Let me know how this recipe works for you.
      xo,
      Si

  26. 5 stars
    Hi my name is Karen. I made this cake for my honey for Valentines Day. He just loved it said it was the best cake he has ever eaten. It was so moist and chocolaty. I also loved it. Thank You for a wonderfully enjoyable cake to bake.

    1. You’re welcome, Karen! I love how moist and chocolatey this cake is too, and perfect to make for loved ones. Thanks for sharing,
      xo
      Si

  27. No one has addressed this, so maybe I’m not reading it correctly. The recipe says “10 oz 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened”. 10 ounces of butter is 1 stick and 2 Tbl.; 2 1/2 sticks of butter is 20 ounces. So . . . is it 10 oz. or . . . 2 1/2 sticks of butter? Please clarify. Thanks.

    1. Hi Stephanie, the 2 1/2 sticks is for if you want to double the recipe, the 10 oz is if you want to make the standard recipe for two 9″ cake layers. Hope this makes more sense, I’ll update this in the recipe as well. Thanks for asking!
      xo
      Si