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A honey-soaked cake balances sweet-and-savory with an herbal infusion
Milk Street Bowtie Double Chocolate Cake with Honey-Rosemary Syrup

Double Chocolate Cake with Honey-Rosemary Syrup

1 hour 40 minutes 40 minutes active, plus cooling

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Double Chocolate Cake with Honey-Rosemary Syrup

Free

This unique syrup-soaked chocolate cake is our adaptation of a dessert by Briana Holt, who flavors her cake with piney, peppery juniper berries. We opted for herbal, resinous (and more readily available) fresh rosemary. Either is a delicious match for chocolate. If you’d like to try juniper, in a small skillet over medium, toast 2 teaspoons dried juniper berries until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes; let cool, then pulverize in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Whisk 1 teaspoon of the ground juniper into the dry ingredients for the cake; use the remainder in place of the rosemary to make the syrup, but when transferring the syrup from the saucepan to a liquid measuring cup, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer. However you choose to flavor it, make the cake the day ahead, if you can; its texture improves as the syrup slowly soaks in. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

12

Servings

Tip

Don’t measure the ¾ cup water and then bring it boil it or too much will steam off as it heats. Instead, boil a larger quantity of water in a kettle or saucepan, then measure the ¾ cup. Don’t underbake the cake or it will sink as it cools. When testing doneness, make sure the toothpick comes out clean and dry from the cake’s center. Finally, to ensure even absorption, drizzle on the syrup in four applications, with a brief rest between each. If applied all at once, the syrup will pool on the surface and turn the top soggy.

1 hour 40 minutes

40 minutes active, plus cooling

130 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
113 grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
40 grams (½ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup boiling water
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) salted butter, room temperature
214 grams (1 cup) white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
71 grams (⅓ cup) white sugar
113 grams (⅓ cup) honey
3 sprigs rosemary
Pinch of table salt
For the cake:
  • 130

    grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼

    teaspoon table salt

  • 113

    grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  • 40

    grams (½ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ¾

    cup boiling water

  • 10

    tablespoons (1¼ sticks) salted butter, room temperature

  • 214

    grams (1 cup) white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

  • 4

    large eggs, room temperature

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

  • ½

    cup buttermilk

For the honey syrup:
  • 71

    grams (⅓ cup) white sugar

  • 113

    grams (⅓ cup) honey

  • 3

    sprigs rosemary

  • Pinch of table salt

Directions
  1. 01
    To make the cake, heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour; tap out the excess. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. 02
    In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa. Pour the boiling water over top, jiggling the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is submerged. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth; set aside.
  3. 03
    In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 214 grams (1 cup) sugar on low until just combined. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl once halfway through. Reduce to low, then add the chocolate mixture and vanilla; scrape the bowl. With the mixer running on low, add about a third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, then scrape the bowl. With the mixer running, add half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk, then finish with the remaining the flour mixture. Fold the batter by hand to ensure it is homogenous. The batter will be thick but pourable.
  4. 04
    Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until the cake forms a thin, crisp center crust and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
  5. 05
    Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, rosemary, salt and ⅓ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and cool to room temperature.
  6. 06
    When the cake is done, cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary from the cooled syrup, then drizzle about a quarter of the syrup onto the warm cake. The syrup will not be immediately absorbed; let stand for about 5 minutes to allow it to soak in. Drizzle on the remaining syrup in 3 more applications, allowing a 5-minute rest between each.
  7. 07
    Cool the cake completely in the pan, at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight (if storing overnight, wrap the pan in plastic and store at room temperature). To serve, run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, remove the sides of the pan and cut the cake into wedges.
Tip: Don’t measure the ¾ cup water and then bring it boil it or too much will steam off as it heats. Instead, boil a larger quantity of water in a kettle or saucepan, then measure the ¾ cup. Don’t underbake the cake or it will sink as it cools. When testing doneness, make sure the toothpick comes out clean and dry from the cake’s center. Finally, to ensure even absorption, drizzle on the syrup in four applications, with a brief rest between each. If applied all at once, the syrup will pool on the surface and turn the top soggy.
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Reviews
Anika H.

I made this the other night. I had a couple of mishaps. I didn't have my springform pan latched correctly so batter was leaking out. It started a small fire in the bottom oven. Just to add insult to injury, either the oven automatically shut off because of the fire or I did in my haste to correct the situation but nevertheless the oven shut off and I didn't realize it. I checked back about 15 or so mins later and it looked the same. I then realized that the oven was off! I was about ready to through the whole thing out, including the pan lol! I persevered and finished the cake. It turned out pretty darn good. It was better the next day. The rosemary was a bit strong but it was a nice flavor. The texture was amazing. The chocolate flavor was rich but not too rich. I would like to try this again without the leak and the fire (totally my silly fault).

Jeanette H.

Wow, Anika— that is amazing it came out ok, and that you didn't have any damage to your oven or kitchen!

DELIAN S.

I made the Double Chocolate Cake with Honey Rosemary Syrup...simply heaven in my mouth I did a little twist and topped it off with smashed caramel that I made. Sooo good

Jeanette H.

I live near open space full of juniper trees, as are many people in CA, NM, AZ, NV, UT: I am in Colorado. I sure wish Milk St gave us the alternative to using juniper instead of rosemary! Not sure what quantities would be appropriate for the ground toasted juniper berries or for making the syrup. If anyone has ideas, please chime in...

Mady T.

Jeanette, the instructions for using juniper are in the print version, in the intro to the recipe. "If you'd like to try juniper, in a small skillet over medium, toast 2 teaspoons dried juniper berries until fragrant; let cool, then pulverize in a spice grinder to a fme powder. Whisk 1 teaspoon of the ground junipcr into the dry ingredients for the cake; use the remainder in place of the rosemary to make the syrup, but when transferring the syrup from the saucepan to a liquid measuring cup, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer. "

Jeanette H.

Thank you so much Mary T! I also found out in the meantime that many juniper plants produce berries that are not edible or tasty, so people need to do their research to figure out how they can safely harvest their own. I found a small bag of organic juniper berries at Natural Grocers for about $3 😉

Jeanette H.

Thank you so much Mary T! I also found out in the meantime that many juniper plants produce berries that are not edible or tasty, so people need to do their research to figure out how they can safely harvest their own. I found a small bag of organic juniper berries at Natural Grocers for about $3 😉

Diana L.

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Kelley W.

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Claudia B.

This is a wonderful chocolate cake! I let the syrup absorb overnight and the cake was so moist and delicious the next day. I like that this is a "make ahead" dessert and can be dressed up with whipped cream/scoop of ice-cream or simply served with a great cup of coffee.

William H.

Wow! This might be one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever tasted! It's not much of a looker with its rustic top, but damn it's good! The sides of my cake came out a bit craggy, as well. When I make this again, I'll try putting parchment paper on the bottom and sides of the pan to see if it comes out cleaner. I might also try serving the cake upside-down if the bottom looks presentable. Otherwise, I may reduce the sugar sprinkled on top before baking, and then serve it right-side (craggy side) up, but dust the finished cake with some confectioners' sugar to pretty it up. In any case, I highly recommend this cake and look forward to many decadent experiments with it in the future!

William H.

p.s. Using parchment paper on the bottom and around the sides of the pan was a success; it came out cleanly. I haven't tried serving it upside-down yet (I think you might lose some of the sugar-baked-on-top's crunchiness). In any case, I love this cake.

LINDA W.

I made this for my friend's birthday..they absolutely love it-finished in a flash they said. It will be in my rotation of cakes and specially for birthdays.

Debi H.

Sorry to say that my guests and I found this to be lacking in flavor and interest. The rosemary flavor was non existent and the chocolate flavor was bland. It was extremely moist but the texture wasn't all the pleasing. Darn, I was hoping to expand my chocolate cake repertoire with this recipe, but I guess I'll stick with my flourless chocolate cake which is easier and always a hit.

Scott P.

This cake was probably the moistest (and not coincidentally) delicious I've made. Rosemary makes it truly distinctive.

Diana L.

My comment above never appeared even so it was submitted on Feb 2021. This is the best chocolate cake ever. It is so good. The batter is amazing. The syrup is yummy. My son's favorite cake. I make it at least once a week.

Ricky B.

Made this for Christmas dinner at in-laws. It was a hit for each of nine guests. Cake was moist and flavorful. I typically think of rosemary as a savory herb, but it works very well here. Tip: make the cake a day or two before your event. This allows for flavors to meld and come together well. This recipe is going on my favorites list!

Jean Marie W B.

My son chose this for his eighth birthday cake, he loves chocolate, rosemary and honey and wanted to try them together. It turned out beautifully, though my top was not as crackly for some reason. The flavor was lovely, though next time I may make the syrup further ahead to let it steep longer for a stronger rosemary flavor (perhaps before I start the rest of the cake). For reference, I used ~2.5” sprigs fresh from the bush.


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Double Chocolate Cake with Honey-Rosemary Syrup

Get Ready to Cook

12

Servings

1 hour 40 minutes

40 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t measure the ¾ cup water and then bring it boil it or too much will steam off as it heats. Instead, boil a larger quantity of water in a kettle or saucepan, then measure the ¾ cup. Don’t underbake the cake or it will sink as it cools. When testing doneness, make sure the toothpick comes out clean and dry from the cake’s center. Finally, to ensure even absorption, drizzle on the syrup in four applications, with a brief rest between each. If applied all at once, the syrup will pool on the surface and turn the top soggy.

For the cake:
  • 130

    grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼

    teaspoon table salt

  • 113

    grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  • 40

    grams (½ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ¾

    cup boiling water

  • 10

    tablespoons (1¼ sticks) salted butter, room temperature

  • 214

    grams (1 cup) white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

  • 4

    large eggs, room temperature

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

  • ½

    cup buttermilk

For the honey syrup:
  • 71

    grams (⅓ cup) white sugar

  • 113

    grams (⅓ cup) honey

  • 3

    sprigs rosemary

  • Pinch of table salt

Step 1 of 7

Create Flour Mixture

130
grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1
teaspoon baking powder
½
teaspoon baking soda
¼
teaspoon table salt

To make the cake, heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour; tap out the excess. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Step 2 of 7

Melt Chocolate

113
grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
40
grams (½ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
¾
cup boiling water

In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa. Pour the boiling water over top, jiggling the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is submerged. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth; set aside.

Step 3 of 7

Prepare Cake Batter

10
tablespoons (1¼ sticks) salted butter, room temperature
214
grams (1 cup) white sugar
4
large eggs, room temperature
2
teaspoons vanilla extract
½
cup buttermilk

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 214 grams (1 cup) sugar on low until just combined. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl once halfway through.


Reduce to low, then add the chocolate mixture and vanilla; scrape the bowl. With the mixer running on low, add about a third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, then scrape the bowl.


With the mixer running, add half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk, then finish with the remaining the flour mixture. Fold the batter by hand to ensure it is homogenous. The batter will be thick but pourable.

Step 4 of 7

Bake Cake

2
tablespoons white sugar for sprinkling

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until the cake forms a thin, crisp center crust and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Step 5 of 7

Make Honey Syrup

71
grams (⅓ cup) white sugar
113
grams (⅓ cup) honey
3
sprigs rosemary
Pinch
table salt

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, rosemary, salt and ⅓ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and cool to room temperature.

Step 6 of 7

Drizzle On Syrup

When the cake is done, cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary from the cooled syrup, then drizzle about a quarter of the syrup onto the warm cake. The syrup will not be immediately absorbed; let stand for about 5 minutes to allow it to soak in. Drizzle on the remaining syrup in 3 more applications, allowing a 5-minute rest between each.

Step 7 of 7

Cool Cake and Serve

Cool the cake completely in the pan, at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight (if storing overnight, wrap the pan in plastic and store at room temperature). To serve, run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, remove the sides of the pan and cut the cake into wedges.

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