My “Go To” Chocolate Cake Recipe

Everyone has their “go to recipes” so I’m posting my chocolate recipe first. Overall, I use both doctored cake mixes and scratch recipes depending on the flavor cake I’m making. My go to Chocolate Cake Recipe is from the  the Cake Mix Doctor….one of my favorite recipe book.

I prefer Devil’s Food cake to regular chocolate cake but I’m sure you can adjust using the chocolate cake mix you prefer.


1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I like Duncan Hines)
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I use the Hershey Dark which is a dutch processed cocoa)
1 1/3 cup of buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract*

*Almond extract  is not in the cake mix doctors original recipe. I really love chocolate cake with a little bit of almond flavoring. I also love chocolate cake paired with an almond buttercream.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Traditionally you bake cakes at 350 degrees but I find you get a more even cake and less of a dome at 325.

Put the wet ingredients in the bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients. This prevents you from having to scrape down the very bottom of the bowl as you mix.  Blend all the ingredients together for 1 minute on low , scrape down sides then mix for  2 minutes on medium speed.  

By the way I use powdered buttermilk because it keeps longer in the fridge than regular buttermilk and I always have it on hand.  

You can grease and flour your pans but I prefer homemade cake release (recipe at the end of this post). Prep two 8 inch  pans. Fill each pan about 2/3 of the way full. This recipe makes 2 8 inch rounds with a few cupcakes left over.  

Bake at 325 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean. Ovens do vary so you want to watch your cakes but try not to open the oven all the time. This can cause the cakes to sink in the middle. I usually check my cakes around 30-35 minutes and they’re usually finished around  40 to 45 minutes.  Mine do take longer than some because I bake at 325.

Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out on a cooling rack and leave them until they are completely cooled.

Homemade Cake Release
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup flour

Mix until completely combined and looks kind of like paste. Use a pastry brush to apply to the pans. Be sure to coat the corners well.  This is much easier and much less messy than the grease and flour method.  I store my cake release in a squeeze bottle from Michael’s that I got in the candy making section. It keeps on the shelf for several months but it rarely lasts me that long. If you need a larger quantity just be sure you use equal parts shortening, oil and flour.

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