Deep, Dark, and Rich – Chocolate Lovers’ Cake

This is the second in a series of chocolate recipes that I am posting for Valentine’s Day.  I came across this recipe a few weeks ago on Williams Sonoma’s website.  I tried it immediately and it was soooo chocolatey, I thought I might immediately go to “H-E-double-toothpicks” just for tasting it!  I have added European/Turkish measurements to the ingredients.  However, I am not sure of the conversion from liquid Vanilla Extract to the powdery Vanilya şekeri. You will have to test that yourself!

Here’s a great place to check the conversions for your recipes.  And one for sticks of butter.

Finally, while my cake was extremely moist and rich, I had two issues with it.  First, the flour in Turkey seems a bit different from home.  I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.  But I believe that is the reason my cake did not rise as high as it should.  Second, the confectioner’s sugar may be different too.  My frosting was gritty.  So be sure you test yours before topping the cake with it.  Still, this was one of the best homeade chocolate cakes I ever had!  Rich, dark, and velvety!

Photo courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Deep, Dark, and Rich – Chocolate Lovers’ Cake
(a.k.a. – Devil’s Food Layer Cake)

The secret behind this moist, rich chocolate cake is mixing the cocoa powder – use natural, not Dutchprocess, with boiling water, which allows the chocolate flavor to blossom and adds extra moisture to the crumb. This time-honored favorite, layered with velvety chocolate frosting, makes the ultimate cake for a birthday or other celebration.


For the cake:

1 cup boiling water  – 250ml su
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder  – 96g kakao (Note: Dr. Oetker or Ulker is darker and richer than the one in the can.)
1 3/4 cups allpurpose flour – 224g Un
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda – 6g karbonat
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt – 1.5g tuz
2 cups granulated sugar – 402g. şeker
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature – 142g tereyağ
3 eggs – 3 yumurta
1 tsp. vanilla extract – biraz Vanilya şekeri
1 1/4 cups buttermilk – 315ml “buttermilk” = 1 çorba kaşığı limon suyu + 300ml süt. Süt ve limon suyu ekleyin. 5 dakika bekleyin. (Note: to make one cup of buttermilk, use 1Tbsp of lemon juice, add enough milk to make 1 cup.  Let stand for 5 minutes. Adjust measurements for this recipe.)

For the chocolate frosting:

3 3/4 cups confectionerssugar –  480g Pudra şekeri (Note: this is not a typo!)
1 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder – 128g kakao
1 tsp. vanilla extract – biraz Vanilya şekeri
1 cup heavy cream, or as needed – 250ml krema.
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature – 113g tereyağ

Directions:To make the cake, preheat an oven to 350°F (180C).

Lightly butter two 9inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool completely.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the granulated sugar and butter on mediumhigh speed until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and the cooled cocoa mixture. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake the cakes until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of each pan to release the cake. Invert the pans onto the racks, lift off the pans and peel the parchment paper off the cakes. Turn the cakes right side up and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate frosting: In a bowl, sift together the confectionerssugar and cocoa powder. Using the mixer, beat in the butter on low speed until it is crumbly. Beat in the vanilla, then gradually beat in enough of the cream to make a spreadable frosting.

Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, spread the top of the layer with a generous 1/2 cup of the frosting. Place the second layer, top side down, on top of the first layer. Frost the top and then the sides with the remaining frosting.

Slice the cake into thick wedges and serve. Serves 10.

Variation: For chocolate cupcakes, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.

15 thoughts on “Deep, Dark, and Rich – Chocolate Lovers’ Cake

Add yours

  1. Buy ‘kekunu’ instead of normal ‘un’ – ‘cake flour’ is proper self-raising stuff. I made a sponge and it was very fluffy, if I do say so myself.
    You don’t need to use the baking soda then. Also, ‘karbonat’ is not ideal, ‘karbartma tozu’ is the good stuff. Only if you can’t find the kekunu (it is available in Migros, Kipa, most big markets).

  2. Hi Terry,
    I was going to make the same comment, you can find cake flour at the local stores. (My Cagdas has it, and it is not even that big. I would agree that karbonat and karbatma tozu are baking soda and baking powder, respectively.

    I miss you!

  3. To sub all-purpose US flour, I’ve found I need to add usually an extra 1/4 cup of Turkish pasta/borek unu for every 1 cup. So if you have 2 cups US you will need 2 1/2 cups Turkish un. The flour here has less gluten so you need more to make the same strength power of US all-purpose flour, IMO.

    Don’t even get me started on the powdered sugar here! =) It’s not near as fine as the US or European versions so smuggle some in if you really want some good stuff. I have found a guy recently in Eminonu that sells it in bulk and his powdered version is a bit better than DR. Oteker brand.

    Happy baking!

  4. Hi there! I have been having some issues with conversions myself but with the Turkish kaşıks – theirs are different!!!! If you sieve the icing sugar, I find it’s perfectly fine! And I have been using Turkish flour for 30 years and never had a problem – I make my own self raising flour when necessary simply by adding 1/2 tsp BP for every 2 oz plain flour. But maybe I have just lived here too long to know any better!

    1. Hi Claudia! Thanks for the info! That’s a great idea for the icing sugar. Although, I may try making it from regular sugar, since that seems cheaper. Do you know if there is actually a kek un as opposed to the borek/pasta un? What are your thoughts on karbonat vs. karbartma tozu? And thanks for the info on Ayran. I was wondering if I could use it. I decided not to bc I didn’t know what the effect of water would be (watered down yogurt) as opposed to buttermilk (milk and lemon). I will try it next time.

  5. I’ve been baking here quite a bit, lately, and the ingredients are a little different. Yes, kek un is specifically made for cakes and muffins, etc, but you may have to adjust your amount of baking powder (kabartma tozu) and/or karbonat in your recipe because the kek un may have some baking powder pre-added. I use “Söke” brand ‘Altın Harman’ and it works well for the things I’ve been baking.
    I also generally mix a little baking soda with my baking powder when baking things that I want to rise more (even pancakes because I like them fluffier). You can Google it (difference between baking soda and baking powder) and get a more thorough explanation, but the two react in different ways. Be careful not to use too much of the soda in more moist batters. It can make it bitter.
    BTW, I’ve not been baking cakes, but made some awesome brownies with a very similar recipe to yours a couple of nights ago. I’ve been baking Southern style biscuits and made my own pide dough tonight. 🙂
    Afiyet olsun!

    1. Hi Jason! Thankas for reading the blog and for the great info. Congrats to you on your succesful baking. I used to make pide back in the States, but haven’t tried any bread here since it’s so easy to buy fresh! I will definitely check into the brands of flour you mentioned. And when you have time, pass on that bisquits recipe!

      1. Here is the recipe for the biscuits (I substituted regular milk for buttermilk), which is simple and easy, even for the novice baker:

        Two cups of flour
        1 tablespoon of baking powder
        1 teaspoon of sugar (can add more to taste)
        1/2 teaspoon of salt
        1 stick of butter, cold (8 tablespoons)
        3/4 cup of buttermilk, cream or half-and-half

        Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
        Mix all the dry ingredients together.
        Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.
        Add the liquid, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.
        Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it’s sticking.
        Take dough into a ball, and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes.
        Roll out dough until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick, and then fold it in half.
        Using a round cutter (can use a glass or a cup if don’t have a biscuit cutter) cut out your biscuits from folded dough.
        Place on a greased baking sheet close together (so they rise up not out), and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
        Makes 10-12 biscuits.

        If you don’t want to roll and cut them out, after kneading and beating the dough you can drop the dough onto the baking sheet with a spoon. They’re not as symmetrical (dropped biscuits are also known as cat head biscuits) but they’re no less delicious.

  6. Thanks!
    Oh, and I apologize but I should have been a little more specific about what kind of “pide” dough I was so happy to have made. Not the Ramazan pide bread, but pide crust for the pizza-like, kiymalı (ground beef) pide. Not sure if you can see the pic from this link to Facebook, but if not, just search me on there (my surname is in my email and I live in Istanbul) and add me as a friend. That is, if you are a member of that site:) My wall also has several pics of the foods I’ve been making lately, including a lot of stuff I miss from back home (Texas) that I’ve been able to successfully recreate here using Turkish ingredients. (Can you say, Chicken Fried Steak and gravy?)!/photo.php?fbid=10150647904494919&set=a.86183104918.100792.564504918&type=1&theater

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