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Let’s face it – it’s easy to be a chocolate lover. It’s even easier to be a chocolate taster. But sometimes, prepping, mixing, and baking the cake that we foam at the mouth for can seem like, well, an ultimate chocolate fantasy. The biggest problem is that the secret to a perfect chocolate cake isn’t just in the mixture of ingredients. It’s also in the shape, texture, and moisture of the final product. These steps will help you perfect the art of creating the perfect cake for any chocolate connoisseur.
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- Decide on the chocolate grade of your cake. If you are following a recipe by the book, then you may think that you have to stick with the chocolate called for in the recipe. However, experimenting by personal taste will allow you to truly perfect your cake. You will need a mix that is at least 70% cocoa. Baking chocolate is comes in cocoa solids and is used in both cooking and baking. It is not naturally sweet at all and has no added sugar. Bittersweet chocolate is sweet enough to eat, and produces the darkest chocolate of all eating chocolates. It already contains sugar for added smoothness, but not enough to nix sugar from any recipe. Higher grade bittersweet chocolates have higher cocoa content, allowing for the richest taste. and semisweet chocolate. Sweet and semisweet chocolate are, of course, the sweetest forms of chocolate available, and are available as chocolate chips as well as bars.
- Prep the cake pan prior to baking. Always make sure you use the pan size that is called for in the cake recipe, making sure to spray or butter it prior to mixing your ingredients.
- Mix the cake ingredients at room temperature. Batter blends better at room temperature and will save you time and fuss. While you are at it, make sure you measure out your ingredients properly.
- Add your ingredients gradually. Add one egg at a time and one cup at a time. This will allow your mixture to blend more smoothly.
- Don’t under or over mix cake batter. When using a electric mixer, mix until there are no lump and the color has blended. You don’t want your cake batter to be in liquid form. If you are mixing by hand, realize that you need to take extra time to blend the mixture.
- Leave room in the pan. Make sure, no matter what kind of pan you use, that you leave at least 1/4 of the pan empty so the cake can rise.
- Keep an eye on your cake while it bakes. If the cake seems to be baking unevenly, turn it several times during the process. Instead of poking your cake to test it, you can press the top to see if it springs back or watch to see if the cake pulls away from the pan sides. Both of these are indicators that the cake is done cooking.
- Cool on a rack. For shaping purposes, flip the cake upside-down on the cooling rack after 5 minutes of cooling in the pan,. This will give your cake a flat top. If you have trouble removing the cake gently pry it with a spatula.
- If your cake is lopsided, reshape it. You can use a small, sharp knife to do this – and easily hide any minor slant with frosting once you’re done.
- Apply the frosting. If you are using store-bought frosting, apply it while the cake it warm. If your frosting is home-made, wait until the cake cools.
Making the perfect chocolate cake is a matter of trial and error, tasting and testing, love and passion. Remember that cake baking is an art as well as a science – don’t stray too far from recipes, but don’t be afraid to be creative. The secret to truly decadent cake is satisfying the true chocolate lover’s appetite.
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