Perfect Chocolate Cake

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 20 servings

Chocolate frosting and a whipped cream filling make this chocolate cake—you guessed it—perfect.

Teresa Blackburn

"I found the basis for this recipe in the early 1970's in what we called a 'women's magazine' at the time. I have baked it many, many times since, and it always gets raves. I have made small changes in the original."—Mifflin Hollyday. Make the frosting the day before you plan to bake the layers and assemble the cake.


1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa
2 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine chocolate chips, butter and cream in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until chocolate melts. Stir until well blended. Beat in sugar with a whisk.  Add vanilla.  Frosting will be very loose. Scrape into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator several hours before you plan to assemble the cake so that the frosting can reach spreading consistency.
  2. To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans.
  3. Combine cocoa and boiling water. Whisk until smooth. Let cool.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
  5. Place butter in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium-high speed until creamy. Add sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until light.
  6. Add flour mixture alternatively with cocoa mixture, beating at low speed and beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Do not overbeat.
  7. Divide evenly among the 3 pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until cakes test done. Let cool in pans 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. When completely cool, make filling.
  8. To make filling, beat cream until almost firm. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla.  Whipped cream should be quite firm.
  9. To assemble, place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread half the filling on top. Top with second layer. Spread remaining filling on top. Top with third layer. Spread frosting on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Testers’ notes: Perfect in every way: visually, taste, and texture.

Recipe by Mifflin Hollyday.



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