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My Chocolate Cake for the UK

Dec 31, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose

Recently, Green & Black's Chocolate has published its second recipe book and publisher Kyle Cathie, who was my dear editor for the UK edition of The Cake Bible, once again asked me for a contribution. I offered one of my favorite chocolate cakes, hoping that it would work well with the UK flour which is always unbleached.

On a recent visit to Kate Coldrick in Devon, England, I spied a copy of the book and quickly turned to my recipe. To my delight, there was a gorgeous photo of the cake and the crumb looked absolutely perfect, but when I scrutinized the recipe I saw that self-raising flour replaced the cake flour but there was still the 4 teaspoon of baking powder. I was certain that this excess of leavening, together with the unbleached flour, would cause the cake to fall, but then discovered the addition of melted 70% chocolate. Ah ha! Could that solve the structural problem resulting from unbleached flour and so much leavening.

Knowing that Kate is in the middle of a move I hesitated to ask her to take on another task but thankfully fellow blogger Catherine Mason, who had come down to visit us all the way from Gloucester, offered to try out the recipe with all UK ingredients and it worked!

Here is the recipe as I wrote it originally and the changes for the UK are at the end. You can use your favorite buttercream or ganache. The one in the Green & Black's Book is for my Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Buttercream also in Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

Serves about 16

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake 30  to 40 minutes

Makes:  A 1-3/4 inch high cake

The Batter







Green & Black's unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalized)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (sifted before measuring)

3 ounces

85 grams

boiling water

1 cup/235 ml

8.4 ounces

236 grams

4 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces)

7 ounces

200 grams


6 tablespoons/85 ml (3 fluid ounces)

3 ounces

88 grams

pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon



bleached cake flour

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (sifted into the cup and leveled off)

11 ounces

312 grams

superfine (caster) sugar

2 cups

14 ounces

400 grams

baking powder

4 teaspoons




1 teaspoon



unsalted butter (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C)

16 tablespoons (2 sticks)

8 ounces

226 grams

canola, safflower, or sunflower oil, room temperature

1/4 cup

2 ounces

56 grams

For the UK bakers: It is best to use the weights as our cup sizes and fluid ounces are different from yours. Use self-raising flour instead of the cake flour. Also, melt 3.5 ounces/100 grams of 70% chocolate and allow it to cool until no longer warm to the touch. Have this ready to beat into the finished batter until evenly incorporated.

Two 9 by 2-inch/23 by 5 cm cake pans, encircled with cake strips, bottoms coated with shortening, topped with parchment rounds, then coated with baking spray with flour.

Preheat the Oven
20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175˚C.

Mix the Cocoa and Water
In a medium bowl whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a separation and cool to room temperature (about an hour). To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

[For UK bakers: melt the chocolate and allow it to cool until no longer warm to the touch. Set it in a warm place so it remains fluid.)

Mix the Liquid Ingredients
In another bowl whisk the eggs, the 6 tablespoons of water, and vanilla just until lightly combined.

Mix the Batter
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter, oil, and the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two batches, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides. [For the UK bakers, scrape in the melted chocolate and beat until evenly incorporated.]

Bake the Cake
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces with a small offset spatula. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the centers comes out clean and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cakes
Let the cakes cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert them onto wire racks that have been coated with cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cakes so that the top sides are up, and cool completely.


Hi mariam,
Yes. This cake is the revised UK version of the All-American Chocolate Cake, which we revised in Rose's Heavenly Cakes of with the oil substitution.
Rose & Woody


I noticed this post of my chocolate cake for the UK is this related to the chocolate butter cake which we are talking about here? Shall I try to add the melted chocolate as suggested unfortunately my client are complaining about the crumbly cake specially when using different sizes


Hi mariam,
Wow, you are quick to try.
Yes, you can use the ratio you used for the butter and oil for the Rose factors.
So just replace one quarter of the butter for the 10 inch base batter with oil.
Rose & Woody


Yes after the substitution of oil it is less crumbly and it tasted so yummy however if I need to bake it in different sizes can I use the rose factory which originally in cake bible although I am not sure how to substitute the oil percentage for ie in 10 inch and sheet size


Yes I am weighing my ingredients and using gold metal bleached all purpose flour. I assume by cake bible is the UK addition. Yes I have just baked the chocolate layer cakes in rose heavenly cakes looking forward for the result however please let me know if I want to use this recipe in different sizes can I use rose factor in cake bible I. E. 3.5 for 8 inch


Hi mariam,
Couple of questions we need to ask.
1. What flour are you using?
2. Are you weighing your ingredients?
3. Are you baking form the UK Cake Bible?

We have had comments about the All-American Chocolate Cake being either dry or crumbly. In "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" we revised the recipe to substitute oil for some of the butter. We replaced about one quarter of the butter by weight with the oil. This made for a moister and less crumbly cake.
Rose & Woody


Chocolate butter cake in cake bible taste is out of this world but too crumbly can't even take a slice out


Hi Karlie,
Adding the chocolate compensates for the extra leavening.
We suggest to look at the blogsite " A Merrier World" under SITES I LIKE. Kate lives in Devon, England and has developed a "bleached" all-purpose flour that we call Kate's flour.
Rose & Woody


I just wonder: Why can the addition of 100gr 70% Chocolate balance the extra leavening from the self-rising flour? I always thought that cocoa butter in the chocolate is tenderizer...


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Jmk
05/25/2015 09:51 AM

Hi Jmk,
We corrected our typo. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
30 to 40 minutes are the baking times.
Rose & Woody


It says 35-45m at top but 30-40m in recipe. Typo?


Thanks again. I love all the math involved, makes everything so precise!

So I am basically taking my 9" cake recipe and multiplying all ingredients (except baking powder) by 0.43 to take me to the 12" size?


Hi Holly,
You are correct with using the Rose factor chart, however you need to multiply all of the ingredients, except the baking powder, by 43% as the 9 inch is at the 4 factor level and you are only increasing to the 7 factor level for the 12 inch. The baking powder for the 12 inch layers is level 3, which from the base recipe is 2 tablespoon+2 3/4 teaspoons.
You will find most of the ingredients should be the same as the recipe for the two 12 inch layers for the 3-tier chocolate wedding cake.
Rose & Woody


question about the conversions. If I am using the 9" x 2 (2 inches high) pans recipe and want to convert the recipe to a 12"x 2 (two inches high) size, is there a base recipe I multiply my factor by?

Or do I take my 9" x 2 (two inches high) recipe and multiply it by the rose factor of 7? and baking powder is a level 3.



Perfect, thanks!


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from holly
04/17/2014 09:29 PM

Hi Holly,
This recipe is the UK version of "Rose's Heavenly Cake's" Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache, which is a revised version of the All-American Chocolate Cake in "The Cake Bible". The replacing of some of the butter with oil adds moistness to the cake and a better texture.
Yes. You can use the chocolate conversion factors.
Rose & Woody


Is this the recipe that should replace the original chocolate cake recipe in the cake bible that normally turns out too crumbly?

Can I use the chocolate conversion factors from the cake bible on this recipe as well?

I also have Rose Heavenly cakes but couldn't find the updated Chocolate cake recipe. Any suggestions as my chocolate cake from the Cake bible comes out moist but crumbly.



Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Michelle
03/31/2013 10:21 PM

Hi Michelle,
When we state cake flour, we are recommending bleached cake flour such as Soft as Silk or Swan's Down bleached cake flour. These have a protein content around 8%. Most pastry flours will have a higher protein percentage, which can make the cake a bit drier.
We suggest that you confirm if your flour is both bleached and around 8%. If it is a bleached all-purpose flour, you can make a pseudo bleached cake flour with a combination of 85 grams sifted all-purpose flour and 15 grams of corn starch or potato starch. To see how different flours work in whole egg, egg white, and egg yolk cakes, please read our Power of Flour postings.
Rose & Woody


I made this yesterday and the flavor was wonderful, and it had a really nice crumb. However, the cake was a little bit dry. I am in Canada, and I wonder if the cake & pastry flour I used is different enough from US flour to make a difference. Any suggestions for when I make this again? Thanks


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Pearl
02/25/2013 12:57 PM

Hi Pearl,
We do not advise bakers to bake layer cakes in 3 inch high pans unless the recipe specifically specifies the pan as most cakes will overbake on the bottom and sides before the center can bake to the right texture.
We suggest that you use two 9 by 1.5 inch tins by placing your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Place your pans off center (to provide more space between the pans) and bake the cakes for half the baking time. Then exchange the pan's positions and continue baking until they are baked.
Alternatively, divide the recipe in half and make two separate cakes.
In Rose's Heavenly Cakes, we have only one cake baked in a 6 by 3 inch pan, the Miette's Tom Boy chocolate cake. Caitlin William's intention was for a dense and fudgy chocolate cake.
Some bakers will bake in 9 by 3 inch pan and use a metal heating core to direct heat to the center of the cake.
Rose & Woody


Please could you tell me if I can bake the Downy yellow Butter cake as one whole Cake or does it have to be in two layers (my husband loves it!). I have a 9x3inch deep cake tin and find I am unable to bake two 9x1.5inch tins in my oven at the same time as I have not enough oven space on the same shelf, I am in the Uk and would appreciate your advice, I have just bought both your books and I am really enjoying them, perhaps you could also tell me what would be the UK version of corn syrup please

Many Thanks


For your information, UK self-raising flour does not contain salt.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Swati
02/21/2013 06:23 PM

Hi Swati,
You are doing the correct ratio of all purpose flour and cornstarch, however this ratio is for using bleached all purpose flour. We suggest that you look at our article posting on The Power of Flour in which we tested cakes using bleached cake flour, bleached all purpose flour, and unbleached all purpose flour and adding cornstarch and potato starch.
SInce you may not beable to purchase bleached cake flour, you may want to look at Rose's posting on "Kate's Flour" which Kate Coldrick from England developed a "bleached" all purpose flour using her microwave. You can also get more details by looking at her linked blog, A Merrier World, under SItes I Like.
Rose & Woody


Am a new entrant in to the joys of baking and I had the honour of learning from the best....Rose! Am from India and I make cake flour by adding cornstarch to all purpose flour as has been given by Rose in the cake bible. 85gms all purpose flour plus 15 gms cornstarch to make 100 gms cake flour. Am I doing it right....would someone please guide?


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Bee
11/20/2012 04:17 PM

Hi Bee,
We recommend if you have The Cake Bible to look at the Wedding and Special Occasions chapter, in which Rose gives formulas and calculations for butter cakes for: scaling up or down from a given cake pan size, baking time guidelines, servings, approximate batter weights, and baking powder adjustments. There are also base batter formulas for butter, genoise, and cheesecakes.
We have found that the formulas and calculations will give you a starting point for working out favorable results through testing. For our new book we had some cakes that only took one try and another fifteen tries to formulate the ingredients for the wedding cakes.
If you do not have The Cake Bible, you will need to adjust the ingredients by the percentage of pan's volume's increase or decrease. Except, leavenings which are slightly decreased for larger pans and increased for smaller pans in respect to the other ingredients. You can use all purpose flour, but it will not perform as well. You may want to our Power of Flour postings on this blog. We also recommend to look at Kate Coldrick's website "A Merrier World" for her developing a "bleached cake flour" named Kate's Flour.
Rose & Woody


How should I adjust this recipe for other pan sizes? Also, we don;t get cake flour in India, can I use AP flour or do a cornflour substitution? Please let me know.


Thank you, Woody.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from RJ
01/27/2012 09:08 AM

Hi RJ,
Yes. We recommend that you omit the salt.


Hi Rose or Woody,

I live in Canada and I'm curious to know if the UK version would work for me here. I'm planning on making the cake and was wondering if I should omit the salt since self-raising flour already contains salt. Thank you in advance.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from CharlesT
01/20/2012 11:46 AM

Hi Charles,
Green & Black made their modifications specifically for this recipe, but you can always experiment to see if you prefer a modified recipe.


Hi Trish,
We suggest adding another tablespoon of canola oil. If it is still crumbly, try adding a bit more.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from OB
01/20/2012 11:39 AM

Hi OB,
This is something we are working on for the next book which is scheduled for release in 2015.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Aileen
01/20/2012 11:26 AM

Hi Aileen,
There is a difference in the outcome of cakes depending on the flour you use for a recipe. We always recommend to use bleached cake flour if it is listed. We generally only use UNbleached flour in specific recipes. We suggest you look at our "Power of Flour" blog article where we tested and show pictures of our results with most types of flours. We are also amazed why very few authors include weight measurements for their ingredients.


I have both books and have tried some of the choc cakes from RHC but not from the G&B one. I wonder, if one wanted to try the G&B recipe as is but substitute the self-raising with regular flour, how much baking powder / soda would one have to add to the recipe. I looked in RHC for general substitutions of this sort but could not find any.


3.5 ounces/100 grams of 70% chocolate

I wonder why this works? And I wonder if making similar adjustments in the US would allow unbleached flour to be used for Roses' recipes. I wonder if adding some amount of liquid fat would accomplish the same thing?


Trish Young
Trish Young
01/ 9/2012 08:49 PM

Since my last comment I have baked the cake. It makes a very large mixture so I used four 8" tins, two were deep and two were shallower. I filled all four halfway. They all baked perfectly even and flat and they taste lovely. I used Lindt 70% chocolate. My only problem is the cake is it extremely crumbly which makes it difficult to cut and eat in one piece(as my husband likes to do), although it improved slightly the next day. The SR flour I use is 11%. Would you have any suggestions please.
Thank you so much for your time.


It seems easier to substitute apf for plain flour and achieve good results but not necessarily the same, the other way around. The protein and gluten content and texture is different. I've been weighing my ingredients for a while now. You can find conversion charts/websites online.


Puzzled by a couple of things. I am British but live in NJ. Plain flour is available in the UK so I am wondering why they did not just use that. Also, here in the US I always use unbleached flour and have never found any difference - should I? I have always wished recipes here were by weight because cup measures, especially flour, are so variable depending on whether you dip and scoop with the cup or spoon into the cup, and there seems to be no consensus even with professional bakers.


Thank you for the adaptations! I moved from Canada to the UK last year and have had very disappointing baking results, especially with cakes. Been baking for decades and have never had a cake flop until coming here! Quel horreur! After trying a few of your 'heavenly cakes' recipes over here and getting the same rubbery results, I gave up. Now I'll give it another go! Thanks Rose!


Trish Young
Trish Young
01/ 6/2012 09:30 PM

Hello, I was very excited to see your chocolate cake adapted for the UK. I live in New Zealand and as we only have unbleached flour I am looking forward to trying it. As I mostly just bake for my husband and myself, I like to use my 21cm x 3cm (approx 8.25" x 1.25") tins as it doesn't make such a large cake and also it fits nicely in my glass cake stand. Are there any special changes I should make to the recipe other than just fill the tins to half or could I just half the recipe. Would I have to use the baking strips and what temperature should I have.


rookieqookie, that is so very beautiful. i am proud to be one of the chosen authors together with much admired nigella lawson. thank you. and i encourage everyone to check out this link!
happy new year!


I was suspicious of this self raising flour/leavening too, and left well alone! but now i will give it a go... thanks! and happy new year to you Rose and all readers!


How interesting that the 70% chocolate and the extra leavening balance each other! Sounds like a delicious cake, can't wait to try it.



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