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Chocolate Butter Cake


For approximate batter amounts and baking times for the different tier sizes for this chocolate butter cake (shown at the bottom), see below; you will need to make enough batter to fill each cake pan three-quarters full. The batter can be made in separate batches for the larger cake layers.

  • Yield: Makes 6 cups batter

Source: Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes


  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for the pans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the cake pans with butter. Line each with parchment paper; butter the parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out any excess; set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Stir together the milk and vanilla; set aside. Beat the butter on medium speed in a mixer bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar in a steady stream; mix until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; mix until just combined.
  4. In a clean mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites just until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three batches. Divide the batter among the prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Firmly tap the pans on a work surface to release air bubbles.
  5. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean and the tops are springy to the touch. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; turn out onto racks to cool completely, top sides up.

Cook's Notes

Approximate batter amounts and baking times for 3-inch-deep round pans: 6-inch: 3 cups, 30 minutes; 8-inch: 5 cups, 40 minutes; 10-inch: 8 cups, 1 hour 5 minutes; 12-inch: 11 cups, 1 hour 15 minutes.

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