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Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

This is the deepest, darkest Devil's Food Chocolate Cake you'll ever eat. From The McCall's Cookbook circa 1963, it is so impressive I've never had reason to search for another chocolate cake recipe. Hard to improve upon perfection.....but, I've tried and think I've succeeded. The original recipe calls for cocoa and I opt for the deepest, darkest 75% cocoa powder processed in Belgium. Our popular domestic supplier has a variety in a silver can. I'm using cocoa powder with a European label from a local specialty food shop. I call it "black gold". Forget crude's all about chocolate. My recipe also uses pareve unsalted margarine and organic soy milk. No one misses butter and real milk. No one. The mixing technique is the standard 'dry ingredients in 4ths, liquid in 3rds' that many American cakes use. It can't be simpler.

I've also frosted this cake with a pareve chocolate frosting. Easy; confectioner's sugar and non-hydrogenated margarine, real vanilla extract and soy milk. It mixes up quickly and spreads easily. Having a little extra, I get a bit carried away with decorating. I enjoy decorating chocolate on chocolate employing texture and light to create the design. Pickup a few decorating tips and 'practice' right on the cake ~ it is easy and you'll only gain confidence.

Please go to the Deep Dark Chocolate Frosting for the recipe.

Kosher Status: Parve
Number of servings: 12 - 16
Main Ingredient(s): Cocoa
Preparation Time: 01:00
Cooking Time: 00:30
Skill Level: 2 (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Estimated POINT value:


  • 9 tablespoons extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pareve margarine (or butter)
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or real milk plus 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice)
  • 1 cup boiling water


Mix the cocoa powder and oil until smooth. Set aside.

Sift flour with baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the mixing bowl, combine margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes.

Scrape down the side of bowl. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 more minutes until very light and fluffy. This is a very important step to ensure a light cake.

Add the chocolate and beat on low speed just until mixed.

Assemble remaining ingredients near the mixer.

Add 1/4th of the flour and mix on low just until combined.

Add 1/3rd of the soymilk and beat on low just until combined. Repeat dry ingredients and soymilk until all of it combined.

Boil water and measure 1 cup. Add carefully to batter.

Beat until low until blended. Beat on medium until smooth, about 1 minute.

Prepare three 8" round cake pans. Spray ONLY the bottoms with non-stick spray. Trim parchment paper and place into each pan.

Stand cake decorating nails in the center of each pan. These will help transfer heat to the center of the cake for more even baking.

Divide batter into the 3 pans. I use a scale to divide equally. These layers will look nicest in the finished cake if the layers are even.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed gently in the center. After baking, remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes.

Loosen cake layers with a paring knife and turn upside down onto a cooling rack.

To frost, trim the hardened edge of the cake layers by bevelling the edge slightly.

Set the layer onto the cake board or plate. Using the border tip, outline the edge of the cake.

Add frosting to the center of the cake layer.

Using a metal spatula, push the frosting almost to the ring of frosting. Leave a slight space. The weight of the next layer will push the frosting over. Having the space will prevent the frosting from bulging on the outside of the cake.

Repeat until the layers are used. Pile frosting on top of the cake and push it over the edge and down the sides, spinning the cake as you cover the side.

Push the frosting towards the edge and around the side.

Smooth the sides with a decorating comb.

Add the top and bottom borders.

Decorate as desired.

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Lisa: I love a rich very dark chocolate cake, and I have been searching for the perfect recipe to fulfil these ideals. I needed a pareve dessert for first night Rosh Ha Shana dinner and found your brilliant website Leah. Since then I have made this cake 4 times and it is THE BEST Chocolate Cake I have ever made and tasted and is now our family's personal favourite. It is light, moist, as dark as can be and truly delicious. I struggled to find a darker than normal cocoa powder that was Kosher in Australia, but then found one made by Nestle and it has made all the difference. The icing is a real treat too as it is yummy and doesn't leave this buttery film in your mouth as it is pareve. Every single one of my friends cannot believe that there is not an ounce of chocolate or butter in the recipe and that it is this delicious for something that is dairy free. What I would love to learn Leah if you would be prepared to do a video on this is how you ice the top of the cake so beautifully, from the circumference of the cake to that gorgeous flower, I would be most interested to learn. Thank you so much for this recipe Leah and you are right, now that I have this recipe I can throw out all the others I have for Chocolate Cakes. So thanks to you; as far as I'm concerned this is THE ONE & ONLY Chocolate Cake Recipe for me.
Leah: Hi Lisa, Thanks for taking the time to write. It's great that you've gotten rave reviews. I'm thrilled that you share my opinion on this fabulous chocolate cake. I'll happily do the video the next opportunity that my catering schedule allows. It's fun for me to know that I can be helpful to someone so far away.
Dana: Can't wait to make this, but can't find the frosting recipe. Can you let me know where it is?
Leah: This is the easy chocolate frosting found in the recipe archive under frostings. It is at the bottom. Have fun!

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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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