If you are at all familiar with Robyn’s chocolate cake recipe over at Add a Pinch you may be wondering why the hell I’m even reviewing it. It has over 1000 votes yet still rates an absurdly high 4.8! And don’t get me wrong—it’s not absurd because the cake sucks, it’s absurd because it’s difficult to get 1000 people to agree on anything.
With that being said, given how many times I’ve used this recipe I feel like I have a lot to say about it that isn’t already covered in her lengthy blog post. So let’s get started!
Homemade cakes are different from box mixes. Homemade cakes aren’t as soft and fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth. Depending on the recipe they may be dry and need the help of a simple syrup. They can be dense, crumbly, or taste sort of egg-y. But this has been my (very limited) experience with all of the cake recipes I’ve tried. When you’re used to box cake mixes you’re sort of always on the hunt for that one recipe that is like a box mix without actually being a box mix.
So many people claim that their cake recipe produces a moist cake, but with that comes an expectation that the cake will be as fluffy as a box mix. That’s not usually the case though. They are moist but also have a larger crumb that is indicative of a homemade cake.
Onto my point (About time, right?) Robyn’s chocolate cake recipe seriously fits the bill of being moist, fluffy cake that is similar in texture to a box mix but infinitely better. And that’s what we all want!
It is the perfect cake recipe for anyone looking to make a 1-2 layer cake and slather it with buttercream. Maybe add a few sprinkles or candles. For most people that is really all that is needed! For those who wish to do a bit more decorating though, this may not be the recipe for you.
When she describes the cake as moist she is not kidding around. The cakes themselves are very fragile, just like a box mix. You’re not going to be able stack layers upon layers or carve them into any specific shape. This is in part due to the fact that the recipe uses oil instead of butter.
I have torted this cake recipe in the past, but it was very difficult and I ended up breaking some of the layers so I don’t recommend it. What I would suggest instead is just baking each layer separately, or pouring the whole batch of batter in an 11×13 baking tray and then stamping out your layers (You will have to reduce baking time by like 10-15 minutes).
Let’s talk about the batter. I mean, it couldn’t be easier to put together but it is fricken weird, right?
It starts out like a regular cake: mix the dry ingredients then add the wet ones and combine. The last picture shows a nice, thick, brownie-like batter.
But then you add a full cup of boiling water into the batter and the whole thing turns into a liquid chocolaty soup. At this point you’re like, WTF AM I DOING IT WRONG? WHY IS IT LIKE THIS AHHHH! and you check the directions again. Then she tells you to mix it for a minute or so on medium speed to “put some air into it,” so you do, just to see that there are a bunch of air bubbles in your soup now.
But you press on. It’s almost as if she’s right there whispering in your ear, “Trust meeeeee!” (but not as creepy of course) and when the cake comes out it is fricken PERFECT.
The recipe is essentially idiot-proof, which is great because I am known to be an idiot. For example, I only have one six-inch pan (seen above) and so I have to keep reusing it if I want more than one cake. I would just add air into my chocolate soup again each time, which probably goes against every baking rule ever. But the only difference I noticed between each cake (I made 3 six-inch cakes using her recipe) is that the dome got higher and each time. Ideally you should use the batter right away and not just let it sit there.
Another thing I want to say about this cake recipe is that the quality of your ingredients matters, at least when it comes to the cocoa powder you use. Think about it this way—the cocoa powder you choose has direct influence on how “chocolatey” your cake ultimately turns out, so don’t skimp here. Get the good stuff!
I’ve used this recipe to make a regular cake with chocolate frosting, a peanut butter cup cake, and just recently, my marshmallow blackberry cake. Whatever you do with it, there is no doubt that it will please everyone at the table. 🙂
Until next time! <3