Recipe: The only chocolate cake you’ll ever need

Every ice cream maker has a go-to chocolate cake recipe. This is Jeni’s. A rich, dark chocolate cake that melts in your mouth. Really all it needs is a little powdered sugar for dusting. But it’s especially impressive as a layer cake with fluffy white frosting — and served with a scoop of ice cream, of course.

To do this, double the recipe, slice each round in half and double (or triple!) the marshmallow frosting. Ice, slice, and enjoy. (You can also find the cake recipe on page 98 of Jeni’s second book and the frosting on page 191.)

A Wiseman’s Chocolate Cake

Makes 8 to 10 servings

  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4½ ounces unsweetened chocolate (99% cacao), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Fluffy white frosting for serving
  • Ice cream of your choice for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Place a round of parchment in the bottom and butter it, then dust the pan with flour, and shake out the excess.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Combine the chocolate and cocoa. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Stir the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Invert the cake and remove the parchment. A dusting of powdered sugar is all this cake needs. Or try it topped with a layer of fluffy white frosting and served with a scoop of Wildberry Lavender ice cream.


Fluffy White Frosting

Makes about 2 cups

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup marshmallow cream
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (seeds scraped out) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the butter and the marshmallow cream in a large bowl using a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add one-third of the sugar, beating on low until well mixed and all sugar is incorporated; repeat with another third. Repeat with the rest of the sugar, beating until all is combined. 

Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the milk and continue beating on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat for another 30 seconds until fluffy. Add a little more milk, just a dribble at a time, until you get the consistency you want. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature before using.