Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro
Makes about 8 1/2 cups

This smooth and creamy chocolate velvet cake batter is the basis for many of our most beloved and delicious layer cakes.

How to Make It

Step 1

Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.

Step 2

Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

Step 3

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately, following directions for desired cake.

Chef's Notes

The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake.

Ratings & Reviews

December 15, 2015
Same here

December 25, 2016
I'm wondering the same thing.

February 17, 2017
Agreed. And the cake is too sweet too. It's brownie batter. 

playedwithfire's Review

March 14, 2014
Perfectly moist and just the right amount of chocolate! I've made this cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting and it was perfect. I also made a Chocolate Mocha cake, replacing the water with hot, strong coffee and frosting with Espresso Buttercream Frosting. This cake is my go to recipe when I want to make a chocolate cake!

Missing directions

March 17, 2015
Where is the last half of the directions?  There is no time or temp or cake pan size.  It just says to follow directions for desired cake?  

inkwell35's Review

July 14, 2013
If you want to kick this up a notch, use a cup of strong coffee instead of water at the end. Use shortening and parchment paper for easy release. I bought the strips at Hobby Lobby in their cake decorating department that you soak in water and straight pin around your cake pans before baking. These strips make for level cakes. All these go towards making a perfect homemade cake

nooshin's Review

February 19, 2012
What a great cake! I bake a lot, and have made numerous chocolate cakes, and I must say this is right up there with the best of them. Used the batter to make chocolate velvet pound cake, and it is so tasty and sooooo soft! Love the texture. Instead of powdered sugar, I used a chocolate glaze made of melted semi sweet chocolate chips and butter. May experiment next time and add some cocoa powder to the hot water in the last step for some extra depth of flavor. Outstanding.

anniehoppy050's Review

November 09, 2010
I bake A LOT and this chocolate cake recipe is my 'go-to' for any chocolate cake I need to bake. It turns out perfectly every time, and everyone loves how moist and dense it is. I have tried most of the various cakes listed in the Chocolate Velvet Cake Batter recipe -- the Mint is delicious and very different! -- and they are all very good. Try it! You'll like it! :o)

Marilyn0904's Review

February 14, 2010
I read a lot of the reviews and then made this cake. I bake A LOT so I am not a novice. The cake was easy to make, and is soooo delicious. I used about 1/2 cup less sugar and it still turned out perfect. I had no trouble getting it out of the pans (I used a heart shaped pan that usually holds 1/2 box cake mix and a large round pan that holds an entire cake mix). Just make sure they are greased and floured well. I iced it with a 1/2 recipe of the cream cheese and pecan frosting from the same recipe group and it is really delicious! I have been searching for a cake that is this moist and delicious for a long time and will definitely be using this recipe as my go-to chocolate cake recipe. Don't let the bad reviews scare you or you will miss out of one fantastic cake!

Nana2Livi's Review

October 31, 2009
I don't understand the negative reviews. I have used this batter with the Turtle Cake recipe many times and it always comes out wonderful! Everyone agrees that it is the best ever. Complete baking instructions are included with the Turtle Cake recipe including the caramel filing and ganache recipes. I always follow the recipe exactly and never have had anything but a beautiful excellent cake.