Category Archives: Chocolate High-Ratio Cake

Making High Ratio Chocolate Cake

For those looking to imitate the sort of chocolate cake you get from a boxed mix, or you want a chocolate sheet cake like like you’d get from a larger commercial bakery, this is your ticket. This cake has the tight crumb and relative durability you want, plus it bakes up well in broad cake pans. This formula is enough for one 11″ x 14″ x 2″ sheet cake pan or three 8″ x 2″ round layer pans. It can be easily scaled up or down depending on your needs.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your pan(s). Here’s I’ve also lined this big 11″ x 14″ with parchment for easy extraction. I recommend it.

To begin your batter, bring the water to a simmer and combine it with your cocoa powder:

…and whisk it thoroughly. Allow that to cool, then add the vanilla.

Next, sift the cake flour into a large bowl.

Add half the sugar, the salt and the baking soda and baking powder.

Whisk it. Whisk it good.

Next combine the other half of the sugar and the shortening in the bowl of a mixer.

Beat that for 2-3 minutes on medium-high until it is extremely light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down…

…and start adding your eggs one by one, then your yolks. Beat thoroughly after each addition and scrape regularly. If the batter develops a clumpy or curdled look, fear not and press on.

Once everything is beaten and scraped, add a third of the flour.

Stir that in on medium-low, then add half the chocolate mixture. Yours will be thinner than this (I added more liquid after the fact because I didn’t have enough in there). Stir, add another third of the flour, stir and scrape. Keep going in this manner until everything is incorporated and the batter is smooth (you don’t want to over mix, so don’t go hog wild on the stirring).

Scrape the batter into your pan(s) and spread it around evenly.

Bake on a middle rack for 35-40 minutes until it looks about like this.

Allow it to cool about ten minutes, then place a cooling rack on top and flip everything over. The layer will drop out. Place another rack on the bottom, flip everything back again and remove the rack from the top. Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating. The top of the cake probably won’t be perfectly even. I like to trim off the outer half inch completely, then shave any bulges off the top with a serrated knife before I start to frost it.

Filed under:  Chocolate High-Ratio Cake, Pastry | 31 Comments

High Ratio Chocolate Cake Recipe

As with the high ratio yellow cake recipe, emulsification is king here. The recipe is built accordingly, making a process allowance for the cocoa powder. An interesting feature of cocoa powder is that it delivers double the chocolate flavor if you combine it with boiling milk or water before you add it to your mix (another trick from the world of box cake formulators). Since I can’t abide wasting perfectly good chocolate flavor, I’ll be doing that.

I should add that this cake can be made with butter if you wish. As it is it won’t be exactly like a commercial cake because most of us don’t have access to emulsified shortening or high ratio flour, which are usually used to make high ratio cakes. But butter will work here. For more moisture you can substitute oil for some of the fat (olive oil is best since it also adds emulsifiers and tightens the crumb. This recipe will make three 8″ round layers or one 11″ x 14″ x 2″ sheet cake (I should add that if you’re baking in a pan of that size, but the soda back by 1/4 teaspoon to help ensure the cake doesn’t fall in the middle)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) boiling water
1.65 ounces (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
15 ounces (3 1/3 cups + ) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (1/4 tsp. less if you’re making a large sheet cake)
15 ounces (2 cups, 2 tablespoons) sugar
6.75 ounces (1 cup) shortening
3 eggs
6 egg yolks

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour the water into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cocoa powder until it’s completely incorporated and allow the mixture to cool. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and HALF the sugar. Set that aside also. Next, combine the remaining sugar and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (beater) and cream them thoroughly, about two minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the yolks all at once. Stir in about a third of the flour, then half the chocolate mixture, another third of the flour, etc. until everything is incorporate. Scrape the mixture into a greased, parchment-lined cake pan and bake on a middle rack for about half an hour until the cake springs back in the middle when touched.

Filed under:  Chocolate High-Ratio Cake, Pastry | 37 Comments