Joanne Weir Follow @ChefJoanneWeir

Mom's Best Chocolate Cake

Mom's Best Chocolate Cake

I LOVE this cake recipe!  Maybe it's because it's from my mom, who was the BEST baker on the planet, or maybe it's just that good. Or both!  Either way, I featured this recipe in two of my books, and now, you'll see me make it on the show!!  Tune in to watch episode #301 of Plates & Places, coming to your local public television station in 2020!!

Oh, and this was also featured in the nicest article about me and my mom on SFGate here.

Back to the recipe:) Here are some important tips to review when making this delicious cake:

  • Butter and flour the pans
  • Use deep 8-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep is fine)
  • YES you do mix the 1 cup boiling water with the unsweetened chocolate and butter over the heat or over a double-boiler and melt until smooth as directed in the recipe.  It may look curdled. That is fine.
  • Do not overmix the batter. Especially when adding the dry ingredients. Overmixing will create tunnels in the cake and that could make it too crumbly.  Alternatively you can sift the dry ingredients onto the top of the batter and fold until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Fold in the dry ingredients by hand to ensure best results.  My mother says a mixer is fine as long as you don't overmix the batter.
  • Frosting quantity specified in the recipe is only for the middle and top of cake.  Double frosting recipe if you want to cover the entire cake (see inset image).

Serves 8 to 10



1 cup boiling water
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup leftover hot coffee

Chocolate Meringue Buttercream Frosting



Place the boiling water, chopped chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over medium high heat.  Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.  Butter and flour 2 deep 8-inch cake pans, tapping out the excess flour from the pan.  With an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a bowl until foamy, 15 seconds.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until creamy, 15 seconds.  Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and mix together.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. 

Add the dry mixture to the chocolate mixture and mix until almost incorporated.  Add the coffee and mix until well combined but do not overmix.   Pour into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 25 to 30 minutes.

In the meantime for the frosting, place the butter, cream or milk, confectioner's sugar, melted chocolate and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.

When the cake is done, remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan and invert the cake onto the rack.  Cool completely.  Using one-half of the frosting spread it onto one of the cakes.  Top with the other cake and frost the top.

To serve, cut into wedges.