Chocolate cake is almost always number one on everyone’s list of favorite desserts, let alone comfort foods. Try one of these irresistible 11 for Valentine’s Day or that most special of birthdays.
Photo and recipe for Mexican Devil’s Food Cake from CHOW

1. Chocolate-Honey Ganache Layer Cake

A whole cup of honey makes this chocolate cake mildly sweet and incredibly moist. Butter, in addition to vegetable oil, also helps keep the crumb soft and spongy. The chocolate-honey ganache is as tasty as it looks; try using a local honey or one with a strong flower flavor that complements the chocolate (like clover, alfalfa, wildflower, or tupelo).
Photo and recipe from Fine Cooking

2.  Desert Island Chocolate Cake

This is a classic, simple cake recipe that’s incredibly consistent. Cocoa powder lends a subtle chocolate flavor and the one and a half cups of milk make for a delicate crumb. You can use a rectangular pan or make it a double layer cake for a more impressive presentation.
Photo and recipe from Nellie Bellie

3. Chocolate Cake with Whipped Fudge Filling

Our recipe for chocolate cake with whipped fudge filling and a rich chocolate buttercream is a labor of love. This cake is a process: Don’t try to make it all at once unless you have a serious block of time. You can bake the cake layers up to a day in advance and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to keep them fresh. And don’t skimp on the whipped fudge filling—it’s worth your while to make it yourself.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

4. Cherry Chocolate Cake

Garnished with chocolate curls, this cake is a masterpiece. The cherry flavor is multidimensional, with canned cherries, kirsch, cherry juice, and cherry jam combining into a luscious filling. As the photo suggests, don’t frost the sides of the cake, for a simple presentation that showcases the filling.
Photo and recipe from Fine Dining Lovers

5. Chocolate Pound Cake

Our recipe for chocolate pound cake is a classic, perfect for afternoon tea and easy to whip up. The glaze is what makes it really special: The combination of semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, and just a touch of light corn syrup makes for a smooth, shiny glaze that looks beautiful drizzled on top of the cake.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

6. Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

This is my favorite tried-and-true recipe for chocolate cake, created by the infamous Ina Garten. This cake is a star: I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t blown away by the rich chocolate flavor, and you can change the flavors of the frosting to suit the occasion. Buttermilk and vegetable oil contribute to the moist texture, and a whole cup of freshly brewed coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor. Don’t worry if it looks a little soupy when you’re mixing the dry and wet ingredients together—it’ll turn out just fine.
Photo and recipe from the Food Network

7. Chocolate Lava Cake

One of the most common (and consistently delicious) restaurant desserts is the chocolate lava cake, which is actually really easy to make at home. CHOW’s recipe for molten chocolate cake is made in tiny soufflé ramekins, and is easy to scale up for a party. Be careful to cook the cakes until the tops are no longer wet but still jiggle when you shake them.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

8. Spicy Mousse Chocolate Crepe Cake

If you’re tired of sweet chocolate cakes, this recipe for spicy mousse chocolate crepe cake will come as a delightful change of pace. It looks incredible when the crepes are piled on top of each other interspersed with layers of ginger-anise-infused chocolate mousse. Top with pieces of crystallized ginger and shaved chocolate for a truly spectacular garnish.
Photo and recipe from Food52

9. Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake

Every baker needs a flourless chocolate cake recipe that they can whip up at a moment’s notice. This cake has an entire 18 ounces of chocolate packed in, not including the ganache glaze, made from heavy whipping cream and more chocolate. With only a handful of ingredients that you normally have in the pantry (butter, sugar, eggs, heavy cream) you can easily make this recipe last minute for an impressive end to a meal.
Photo and recipe from The Answer Is Cake

10. Chocolate Fudge Cake

This is a dense, deeply chocolaty cake that is absolutely over the top when you add the fudge frosting—a real chocoholic recipe. Sour cream and a whole cup of buttermilk in the batter make for a soft, spongy crumb that begs for a glass of milk. Try this recipe with a vanilla, mocha, or coffee frosting to tone down the rich chocolate flavors; but then again, why would you want to do that?
Photo and recipe from For the Love of Dessert

11. Triple Malt Chocolate Cake

If you like malted milk balls, you’ll love CHOW’s recipe for triple malt chocolate cake. Malted milk powder is easy to find at your local grocery store, normally in the baking aisle. That combined with vanilla malt frosting and a garnish of a whole cup of chopped-up malted milk balls makes this a malt-lover’s dream. Use up any leftover malted milk powder in malted milkshakes to serve alongside a slice of this cake for an old-fashioned soda fountain experience you’ll never forget.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.
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