Double Chocolate Cake with Honey-Rosemary Syrup | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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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

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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Double Chocolate Cake with Honey-Rosemary Syrup

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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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