My friend would like to make a chocolate cake using this recipe: HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake.

The ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

The directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  4. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. Makes 12 servings.

They'd like to use baker's chocolate squares in place of the powdered cocoa.

Is this possible?

2 Answers 2


It's just a really basic (plain-vanilla, if you will ;) chocolate cake recipe. You'd be better off just finding a basic chocolate cake recipe that calls for unsweetened chocolate in the first place, especially if you're new-ish to chocolate cake.

Otherwise the substitution that Sobachatina suggests above requires some fancy recipe-adjusting work on your part. Cocoa & fat (melted butter, usually) can be substituted for whole chocolate, but it's not really such an exact science, so I don't think the reverse substitution will give you the results you're looking for.

  • 1
    +1- Ha! I was hung up on figuring out the actual substitution. You are right. The best bet would be to just find the right recipe. Aug 13, 2012 at 15:40
  • 1
    It's okay, cooks do that :) I once spun my wheels for an hour trying to figure out how to crowbar the half-semisweet (whole), half-cocoa (powder) chocolate I had on hand into my fave chocolate cake recipe at the time... then I just went, d'oh!, and searched for a diff recipe. Delicious cake ensued.
    – MandisaW
    Aug 13, 2012 at 15:45
  • Additionally cocoa is a powder, bakers chocolate is not, the best you could do is pulverize the chocolate into little chunks, but it's not going to be the same and probably won't work for this recipe. This recipe is calling for some homogeneity which chunks cannot produce.
    – Escoce
    Jun 18, 2016 at 11:35

Baker's chocolate is essentially cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Usually a little lecithin is added to make it smooth and sometimes it has some sugar.

Substitution tables suggest that the unsweetened chocolate can be replaced with 3 parts cocoa and one part butter.

This means that one cup of melted baker's chocolate could be used in place of the 3/4 cup of cocoa and 1/4 cup of the fat in the cake recipe. Obviously it would have to be added with the wet ingredients instead of the dry as the cocoa is.

If the baker's chocolate is bittersweet or semisweet instead of unsweetened then the sugar in the cake would need to be reduced accordingly.

The lecithin in the baking chocolate will actually improve the consistency of the cake.

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