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Chocolate Cake

High Altitude Chocolate Cake

This moist and fluffy chocolate cake was tested at 7200 ft.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16 slices


  • ½ cup canola oil 107g
  • cup sugar 347g
  • ¼ cup sour cream 57g
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • cups flour 300g
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder 75g
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk 240mL
  • ¾ cup very hot water 174mL


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Butter and flour 2 9-inch pans, 3 8-inch or 1 9×13 pan. Line bottoms with parchment paper. (Not necessary for the 9×13-inch pan unless you are going to remove the cake from the pan. See Note 1.)
  • Beat sugar and oil until combined. Scrape down bowl sides.
  • Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium until combined. Scrape down bowl sides.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the flour and buttermilk one third at a time, starting with the flour and ending with the buttermilk. Beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down bowl sides.
  • Add hot water. Beat on stir until just mixed. (Be careful—the hot water may splash.)
  • Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes for 9-inch pans, 30-35 minutes for 9×13-inch pans, 20-25 minutes for 8-inch pans until the tops of the cakes spring back when gently touched.
    Do not overbake. Do not open oven until just before testing cakes. Opening the door too soon may cause the cakes to fall in the middle.
  • Cool 10 minutes in pans. Gently remove and allow to cool completely before adding desired frosting.



  1. For chocolate cakes, you can use cocoa powder to flour pans to avoid white blotches on the edges. Coating a greased cake pan with a thin dusting of flour creates a barrier between the grease and the cake batter, which prevents the grease from melting and disappearing into the batter as the cake bakes, allowing it to do its job in the end, after the cake is baked. The flour helps the cake batter grip the sides to help with the rise.
  2. Substitutions for lower elevations if the above recipe doesn’t work:
    • Reduce flour to 2.25 cups
    • Increase sugar to 2 cups
    • Increase baking soda to 1 tsp
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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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