How to bake moist chocolate cake

Updated February 21, 2017

Tender, moist and rich: the hallmarks of a good chocolate cake. The ingredients and baking method used for a chocolate cake determine whether the resulting cake bakes to a moist treat or a dry, crumbly mess. Using two steps to mixing the ingredients rather than one yields a denser, moister cake than those mixed in a single step since the butter mixed with the flour coats the individual pieces of flour, preventing them from creating cake-toughening gluten. Ensure all of your future desserts come out of the oven perfectly by learning the techniques needed to bake moist chocolate cake.

Heat the oven to 175 degrees and prepare the cake pan by spraying the inside with the baker's cooking spray. Alternatively, rub a thin layer of oil on the bottom and sides of the pan and dust lightly with flour.

In one mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream and honey.

Hold the colander over a large mixing bowl and pour the cocoa powder through the colander. Shake the colander to sift the lumps out of the cocoa powder. Repeat with the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Use the stand mixer to mix the butter, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate into the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Turn off the mixer, pour in one half of the egg, honey and sour cream mixture and beat for 1 minute to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the centre of the oven at 175 degrees C for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out without crumbs.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning the pan upside down over the cooling rack to remove the cake from the pan. Let it completely cool before frosting or serving with a dusting of icing sugar.


Dutch cocoa powder has a darker colour and higher pH (more alkaline) than natural cocoa powder. If you cannot find it, substitute 80 ml (1/3 cup) natural cocoa powder and subtract 1.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of baking powder from the recipe. No toothpick but you need to test the cake? Use a raw strand of spaghetti, a fork, skewer or a knife.

Things You'll Need

  • 23-cm (9-inch) cake pan
  • Baker's cooking spray (or flour and oil)
  • Two large mixing bowls
  • Stand mixer
  • 240 ml (1 cup) sour cream
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) mild flavoured honey (i.e., light in colour)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) Dutch cocoa powder
  • Colander
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) pastry (or cake) flour
  • 4.5 ml (3/4 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) baking soda
  • 3 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) oil
  • 18 ml (1 tbsp) vanilla extract
  • 30 g melted baking (bittersweet or unsweetened) chocolate
  • Toothpick
  • Cooling rack
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