The chicken soup made me feel better, so I made a chocolate cake.

A really yummy, strawberry-and-cream-filled chocolate cake.

The cake comes from Ina – the Barefoot Contessa.  Really simple.  It’s definitely my go-to cake.  It’s rich, moist, chocolaty, and the perfect recipe for making something dramatic and tall.  It calls for 8″ round pans and I do think it’s important to use them.   I have 3″-deep 8″ round pans that weren’t that expensive and really do make a difference when baking a cake.  Having some good quality cake pans really is the secret and if you’re going to spend the extra five minutes to make a cake from scratch, it deserves a good pan!

Ina’s Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.

I went a little overboard with the strawberries and cream.  I used a full two pounds of berries and 2 pints of whipped cream to put this thing together.  We’re gonna have cake for a week.

After splitting the layers I spread the bottom layer with whipped cram, arranged halved strawberries, covered with more cream, added another layer, and repeated.

Totally decadent and totally fun.

And if you’re looking for cake pans, try Fantes in South Philly.  They deliver.