Recipe: Chocolate Cake

Recipe: Chocolate Cake

Recipe: Chocolate Cake

Posted by Schmidt Christmas Market on


  • 1 3/4 cups (265g) plain / all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (55g) cocoa powder , unsweetened (Note 2)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (bi-carb soda)
  • 2 cups (440g) white sugar (Note 1)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (~55-65g / 2 oz each)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk (low or full fat)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil (or canola)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water



  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160C / 320F (fan/convection).
  • Read Note 4 regarding shelf positions.
  • Grease 2 x 22cm/9" cake pans with butter, then line the base. (See Note 3 regarding springform pans and other pan sizes).


  • Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add Sugar and salt. Whisk briefly to combine.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk well to combine until lump free - about 30 seconds.
  • Add boiling water and whisk to incorporate. The batter is VERY thin (see video).
  • Pour batter into cake pans.


  • Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. See Note 4 regarding cook time if pans are on different shelves.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks upside down (Note 5).
  • Cool completely before frosting. I frosted the cake with my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (scale recipe up by 50%).

 Recipe Notes:

1. Sugar - I use caster / superfine out of habit for all baking recipes, but regular is ok too.

2. Regular cocoa powder works just fine here, but dutch processed will make it a slightly more intense chocolate flavour. I use regular for this cake.

3. SPRINGFORM PAN (important): Even the best ones are not 100% leakproof so with very thin batters like with this cake, you will get a small amount of leakage. The best way to combat this is to "plug" the space where the sides meets the base with butter, and place a tray on the bottom of the oven to catch drips (don't put cake pans on the tray, it affects heat circulation).

OTHER PANS (use same oven temp per recipe):

This works great in a bundt pan (50 minutes) or a single 22cm/9" pan (40 - 45 minutes).

The original Hershey's recipe also suggests the following pan sizes which I have not tried myself:

* 13 x 9 x 2" / 33 x 22 x 5 cm rectangle pan, 35 - 40 minutes

* 3 x 8" / 20cm round pans, 30 - 35 minutes

Quick way to make cake pan liner for base: take a piece of baking paper and fold in half, then quarters, then keep folding so it's a small long triangle. Line up the pointy end with the middle of the cake pan, then snip the end off at the edge of the cake pan. Unfold and voila! A near perfect round cake pan liner that fits your pan perfectly!

4. BAKING / SHELVES - If your oven is large enough for both cake pans to be on one shelf, place the shelf in the middle of the oven. If it's not large enough, put one shelf 1/3 of the way down the oven, then the next shelf below it (check to ensure cake pan fits). If cakes are on separate shelves, take out the top one at 35 minutes per recipe, then move the bottom one up to the top shelf and bake for a further 5 minutes.

5. I turn the cakes out upside down so the flat base becomes the surface used for frosting. Flat surface just looks nicer when you cut into the cake! This cake comes out pretty level, but if you want to be extra neat, feel free to level the cakes using a serrated knife.

6. EASTER DECORATIONS as pictured in post and in the Easter Recipes post: baby chicks $2, speckled chocolate eggs and shredded paper all from Woolies. Chocolate basket made as follows: blow up balloon to the size you want the basket to be, place with tied end down in a rice bowl or something it fits in. Melt baking chocolate in microwave (about 1/2 cup chips/buttons), then transfer into small ziplock bag. Snip corner, then drizzle chocolate over exposed half of balloon. Let set in fridge, then carefully release air from balloon. Voila! Chocolate basket! Fill with shredded paper, eggs and chicks.

7. STORAGE: Keeps in an airtight container for up to 5 days and is still lovely and moist. Refrigerate if frosted and it's very hot where you are. Freezing not ideal because it's such a moist cake that it makes the crumb a bit wet so while it still looks like cake, when you eat it the texture is almost like chocolate pudding cake. Still tasty, just not as cakey as it should be.

8. DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, different measures - This recipe will work with cup measures whether you are in Australia, US, Canada or anywhere else in the world (except Japan, please use weights provided).

Measuring cup sizes in the US and Canada are slightly different to the rest of the world, including Australia. While for most recipes, the difference is not enough to affect the outcome of the recipe, for baking recipes, it can mean the difference between success or an epic fail. I always test my cakes and cookies using both Australian (rest of world) and US cups to ensure it works for both. Usually it's fine, such as this Chocolate Cake (either recipe has enough flex and/or difference is relative across the ingredients). 

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