Most layer cakes use 8-inch or 9-inch pans and can feed up to 20 people, depending on the cake. But what if you have a larger gathering? It’s not unusual to have an office party where you need dessert for 30 or more. This easy cake recipe makes a 12-inch cake that can serve 36 to 48 people, and it is based on our Easy Chocolate Cake and sports Fluffy White Frosting – a classic combo that is always welcomed.
Image: Peter Muka
We use a 12-inch by 3-inch deep pan and a baking core to encourage even baking. (In the above image, the cake has just been removed from the oven with the cake core in the center.) If you have two 12-inch pans, feel free to bake the layers separately; just reduce baking time. Reviewing Tips for Torting Cake Layers and 5 Best Tips for Frosting Cakes might be helpful. Make sure to plan ahead and have a 14-inch to 16-inch flat platter for the finished cake. (The image below shows the cake and “cakelet” from the cake core unmolded and ready to fill and frost).
Images: Dédé Wilson
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup sifted natural cocoa
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 cups room-temperature water
- 1 cup flavorless vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider or distilled white vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- Fluffy White Icing, prepared and ready to use (LINK)
- For the Cake: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the insides of a 12-inch by 3-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray, line bottom with parchment paper cut to fit, then spray parchment. Also coat the inside and outside of a baking core.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk together water, oil, vinegar and vanilla in medium bowl.
- Pour wet over dry and whisk until combined and smooth. Divide batter evenly in prepared pan. Firmly tap bottom of pan on work surface to dislodge any bubbles. Insert baking core into center of cake, open end up. Scoop a little bit of batter and place it inside the baking core; it should be level with the rest of the batter in the pan.
- Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pan on rack for 15 minutes. Dislodge baking core (pull up and out), pop out the tiny cake inside and use it to plug up the hole. If the tiny cake plug is too tall for the larger layer, simply trim it so that the plug fills up the hole flush with the larger cake.
- Unmold the cake onto rack, peel off parchment and cool completely. Cake is ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layer on cardboard round and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature and assemble within 24 hours.
- For Assembly: Have the Fluffy White Icing prepared and ready to use. Place the cake on a 12-inch cardboard round. Torte the cake in even halves, horizontally. Fill and frost with the Fluffy White Icing using whatever icing spatulas help you get the job done. We like to use a large offset for filling the layers and switch to a straight edge for the sides and top. Make attractive swirls using your icing spatula or the back of a spoon. For tips on how to cut such a large cake, refer to How to Cut and Serve Large, Round Cakes.