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Baking an easy dessert like this chocolate cake can be almost as thrilling for a birthday girl or boy as blowing out the candles.  

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Spring 2005
Total Time Prep Yield



Try These Variations -- They're a Piece of Cake

Cook's Notes

Tools and materials: two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, parchment paper, flour sifter, electric mixer and bowl, rubber spatula, long serrated knife.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • loriscott0365
    23 FEB, 2019
    I have made this recipe at least a dozen times. I follow it PRECISELY. It comes out perfect every time. I looked at some of the other reviews. I cannot understand what went wrong. This is the most delicious cake I have ever made. I almost know the recipe by heart.
    • alinesygal
      10 APR, 2019
      I think people are either not buttering and dusting with cocoa powder, or skipping the parchment, or not allowing the cake to fully cool for 20 minutes prior to inverting it out of the pan. The cake is so delicate that I can see how it would fall apart if takenout of the pan while still hot.
  • CKL18447516
    4 OCT, 2018
    This recipe makes 3- 8” cakes, not 2 as it states.
    • loriscott0365
      23 FEB, 2019
      I always use 2 8" pans without a problem
    • alinesygal
      31 JAN, 2019
      Could it be that it depends on the depth of the pans? I made two 8” layers and had no spills...
    • mikewb36
      15 OCT, 2018
      @CKL18447, Yes! Thank you. It makes 3 cakes. The first time I tried the recipe I couldn't figure out why so much batter overshot and ran out of my pans (which created quite a messy headache and smoke, tbh). Tried it again with same results and concluded that it's DEFINITELY enough for 3 cakes.
  • ALR12200422DW
    16 FEB, 2019
    I have made this cake twice now. It is very good. I can't imagine why it only has an overall rating over 3 stars, its a 5 start recipe!
  • MS10806205
    28 JAN, 2018
    All 3 layers of the cake came apart in pieces. Evidently the recipe needs more eggs to hold it together. I had to make a trifle with the pieces. I wanted a layer cake and the cake did have a nice taste but I was disappointed it didn't hold together
    • alinesygal
      31 JAN, 2019
      Did you let it sit in the pan over a cooling rack for 20 minutes before inverting it? I’ve had this happen in the past with other cakes when I have skipped this step and inverted them while still hot. I was worried about it happening to this cake since the batter was so runny, but it turned it perfectly. I think waiting the 20 minutes is crucial... also lining with parchment.
    • TiffanyPrice99
      25 JUN, 2018
      I assumed the One Tablespoon of Baking Soda was a typo....try one teaspoon instead, it's a wonderful cake!
  • amybflea
    25 NOV, 2018
    Turned out terrible. Adding hot water? Turned it into liquid mush and made WAY more than the recipe indicated. Something is simply incorrect across the board on this recipe. I just burned 3 pans and nearly burned my house down. Absolutely disappointed.
    • alinesygal
      31 JAN, 2019
      I agree that the batter has a watery consistency... I didn’t encounter the same problems you did with the baking process. Did the batter spill for you? I made two 8” layers and had no issues.
  • alinesygal
    31 JAN, 2019
    I was really concerned regarding the consistency of this cake after I added the hot water and it became very liquid. But I stuck with it and I’m glad I did! I used two 8-inch cake pans, buttered and dusted with cocoa powder and lined with parchment as the recipe suggested. Then I let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes as instructed. The result was a lovely, delicious cake with a delicately soft and moist texture. I wish the recipe addressed this point, because if you follow the instructions to the tee this cake will be a hit. Yes, the batter was more watery than expected, but the result was phenomenal.
  • MS10819883
    9 OCT, 2018
    It is an easy recipe and the cake is delicious, even without the frosting.
  • mutanunzue7
    21 SEP, 2018
    I used one 9" pan and the cake did not rise
  • eddiebarroso
    28 AUG, 2018
    I will be inspired by your recipe to put in my blog here in Brazil. But I will give you full credits.
  • MS10384595
    28 JAN, 2018
    This is such a delicious cake. We did not have buttermilk but read somewhere to add lemon juice to your milk if you do not have buttermilk. You can google the ratio on that...but it was delicious!
    • dcamp94
      20 APR, 2018
      What recipe did you use for the buttercream?

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