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asked November 3rd 2014

Chocolate in the Chocolate Cake

I have made this cake and followed your instructions but the cake is very dry. I first made a 10" and then yesterday I made 6" cake but still same results. The question I would like the answer to is (1) What brand chocolate do you use? and (2) What brand Cocoa Powder do you use? Thank you. I would appreciate this as I need to make a chocolate handbag cake next week.


Hello Sky Cakes

The brand of chocolate Paul uses is Belcolade, see the packaging in this ganache video:
The cake uses dark chocolate with 45 - 50% cocoa solids. If you've been using chocolate with a higher % cocoa solid this may account for some of the dryness. Other things which can cause dry cake is insufficent liquid, too much leavening, oven heat too high and over baking. Sometimes our ovens can be slightly off kilter and baking a little higher than what the external dial reads. An oven thermometre would soon let you know if this was the case by showing the internal oven temp reading.
It isn't necessary to use that particular brand, the cake can be made using any chocolate which you enjoy eating as long as it has the said quantity of cocoa solids. Paul doesn't state in this tutorial the brand of cocoa powder he is using. It is best to use a cocoa powder with high cocoa content and not drinking chocolate. Green and Black is a good brand, also Sainsbury's fair trade cocoa powder in the red tub, not the one in the brown box. It can be found in the top shelf of the baking aisle with the baking chocolates.
Could you please say whether it is definitely a dry, as in a sandy cake crumb or you just feel it isn't moist enough. I bake this recipe a lot and find the cake becomes very moist after a couple of days keeping wrapped up in cling film. I haven't experienced the cake to be dry. I hope you have a better bake next time.


Hi, I had used the following:

(1)Cadburys Bournville Cocoa FairTrade Powder (red tub)= not sure of cocoa solids - it does not say.
(2)Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate = milk solids 20% and Cocoa solids 20%.
(3)You mention insufficient liquid - not sure what this means when I followed the recipe?
(4)Too much leavening - followed recipe.
(5)Had an oven thermometer in place.
The cake is dense but tastes stale/dry. Also the top section of the cake cracked.
Your assistance would be appreciated.



Cadbury's Bournville is drinking chocolate and has very little cocoa content and the cadbury dairy milk is eating chocolate also with minium cocoa content. This wouldn't necessarily produce a dry cake but it will make some difference to the overall depth of taste.
I wasn't suggesting that you have not followed the recipe, just merely indicating other factors which could produce a dry cake crumb. I have also read in other forums that fan assisted ovens are not suitable for this type of chocolate cake. There are many helpful member hints and tips in the following threads which may be useful.

‘Paul’s moist chocolate cake’ My feed back

Paul’s chocolate cake – timing

I'm not able to say why your cake is dry, all ovens are different so it may be a case of either experimenting with the oven temperature or perhaps tweeking ingredients as other members have done. I get a small amount of sinking and a little sugary crust which I cut off. The cake other wise is lovely and moist even though my oven is fan assisted. I am unable to assist you more than what is within my own experience of this recipe. I hope some of the information in the threads can be of help.


Guess what I baked this cake again and changed the chocolate and followed this recipe to the core and it worked; thank you. Now my next question is i need to bake a 12" round and 12" square cake and I would like to know how long to bake each cake?


All ovens are different so I can't say how long each size would take to bake in your oven. I have baked the 12" round in my fan oven for 2 hrs 40 mins, even then it can fluctuate. I used 3 upturned metal royal icing nails in the batter to act as heating cores. I haven't baked it in a 12" square and wouldn't like to hazzard a guess. Best thing to do is keep any eye and nose on the baking and bear in mind that there is 25% more mixture in the square so naturally it will take longer. I'm not sure how this will turn out in the 12" square. I would definitely recommend using the metal royal icing flower nails and also baking strips. If you go ahead with your cakes, your feed back on results and timing would be most welcome.


The tins are 12" x 3" square and round. If I use these tins would the depth be too small? Do you think I should bake each cake in 2 batches? If so, what would the cooking time be, please?


My tin is 12" x 3" deep. round. The cake comes out approx 2.5" deep, I trim off the crust but hang on to it because it does soften. This I combine with some ganache and use it to give the cake a little extra depth. I've never baked the recipe in two batches and really cannot suggest a bake time. I don't know how it would turn out. If you decided to bake in two batches I would suggest to keep an eye on the cake from beginning to end until done and make a note of the time and the temperature at which you baked. Good luck with your bake!

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