The Ultimate Pareve Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Ray Kachatorian / Getty Images

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 12 to 14 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
444 Calories
27g Fat
46g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 14
Amount per serving
Calories 444
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 369mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 5g
Calcium 80mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

My friend Sharon Friedman Paley is a fabulous cook, and her homemade birthday cakes are among her claims to fame. (Seriously―the local press once covered the meticulously hand-decorated confections she turns out for family celebrations.) This recipe is the foundation of many of those cakes, and ever since she shared it with me, it's been my go-to as well.

Moist, rich, and intensely chocolatey, this isn’t just the ultimate pareve chocolate cake, it’s the perfect choice for dairy meals, too. The versatile batter is so easy to make―since there’s no need to cream butter or margarine, you can mix it by hand. And the cake works as brilliantly in a Bundt pan as it does in layer cake pans or cupcake tins.


  • 1 1/2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso granules
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. (If you are using a dark or nonstick pan, reduce the heat by 25 F).

  2. Lightly grease and flour a Bundt pan, making sure to tap out any excess flour. Or, grease 2 9-inch (23 cm) layer cake pans, and line the bottom of each with a parchment paper circle.

  3. Grease the parchment circles.

  4. Set aside.

  5. In a double-boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate. Alternatively, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and set it over a small saucepan of gently simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should rest in the saucepan, but should not touch the water).

  6. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts, then remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside.

  7. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant espresso, and salt.

  8. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, water, eggs, and vanilla.

  9. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix just until combined.

  10. Add the melted chocolate, and stir just until it is well incorporated and the batter is smooth.

  11. Pour the batter in to the prepared pan(s).

  12. Bake in the preheated oven until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean–about 50 to 60 minutes if using a Bundt pan, or 35 to 45 minutes if using layer cake pans.

  13. Cool completely on a wire rack.

  14. Glaze or frost as desired. Enjoy!