I've been testing out cake recipes, and I'm having a bit of difficulty creating a chocolate cake that doesn't taste like a brownie.

What I want is a light, moist chocolate cake (doesn't everyone?), but the cake currently has the same texture and taste as a cakey brownie. I've tried aerating it more by beating the egg whites before I add them and adding more rising agent (tried baking powder, baking soda, and a combination of the two), but that resulted in the cake rising too much and overflowing the tin.

I've also tried adding yogurt to make it more moist, but that only made it denser.

I'm using real chocolate in my cake because I want it to taste super dark chocolatey. I've read a lot of cake recipes and I don't see very many that use block chocolate, usually only cocoa powder. Is this the cause of my problem?

  • 1
    I don't know for sure but I'd say that it is. You're adding a lot of fat and solids when you use actual chocolate, which is making the cake more dense. How much chocolate are you using? It may be good to add less chocolate and make up the remainder by adding a smaller amount of cocoa.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 4:50
  • The more fat (chocolate in this case) you have, the less gluten will develop naturally, so swapping out cake flour for normal should help, as will mixing more, but this will only go so far, and may end up making the cake too chewy. Cocoa is probably the way to go. To develop more chocolate flavor from it, you may need to mix it with hot water first, as this will bring out the chocolate flavor much more than just mixing cocoa in with the flour. See here the flour/gluten issue: cooksillustrated.com/recipes/…
    – James
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 5:21
  • @James Actually, part of what enhances that particular recipe is the use of coffee... but that recipe is also supposed to be denser (using the bread flour, a high-protein flour). If we're using behind-paywall recipes, I'd recommend this one, which is similar: cookscountry.com/recipes/…
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 5:42
  • 2
    Cocoa powder is real chocolate minus the cocoa butter and sugar, the cocoa solids in other words, and this where most of the flavour of chocolate comes from. In particular a "super dark" chocolate bar would have more cocoa solids and less sugar and/or cocoa butter than a regular dark chocolate bar. I think you might have better luck looking for a recipe that has a high concentration of cocoa power, rather than one that uses chocolate.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 6:46
  • 3
    Could you please share your original recipe so that we can have a look at it and correct it? Now your question is a bit too vague to answer...
    – Fabby
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 21:50

5 Answers 5


In my experience, unsweetened baking chocolate can replace cocoa + oil at a ratio of 1 oz baking chocolate = 3 T cocoa powder + 1 T oil. I don't think this makes the result more brownie-like, but you do need to reduce the oil (or butter) in the cake to make up for the added oil from the baking chocolate.

If you use dark chocolate (or semi-sweet baking chocolate) reduce the sugar, too, but that's a little trickier to offer a hard-and-fast calculation.

If you are worried about losing the rich chocolate flavor by switching to cocoa powder, first make sure you're using a high quality cocoa powder and then you can also consider replacing some (maybe 2T or so?) of the liquid in your cake recipe with strong espresso. A small amount can enhance chocolate flavor in baked goods without actually tasting coffee-ish.

Reducing the egg (or at least yolk) and oil in the cake should also make it less dense, but reducing too much can make it dry.


Adding too much chocolate might be the cause....do use cocoa and chocolates at a balancing amount...(half of the chocolates and half of the cocoa)this works!! And do not forget to use milk....this makes the cake moist... And if you want it to be fluffy enough you might use bicarbonated soda!! This'll give good result!!


Try using baking powder, baking soda, and buttermilk. The buttermilk's acidity along with its liquidity will enhance the reaction process with the rising agents producing the appropriate aeration for the cake.


If you use cake flour and cocoa and cut down on the fats, the cake will be cakey instead of fudgy. If you wanted to make it have more chocolate flavor, there's actually something called chocolate extract which can enhance the chocolaty-ness (lol yeah huh) of the cake.


Try a recipe with cake flour and cocoa - if you want strong chocolate taste, try the Valrhona brand of cocoa. It is very aromatic and dark.

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