How should I alter a chocolate cake recipe to make plain/flavoured cake?

  • How should I alter a chocolate cake recipe to make plain/flavoured cake? Yolanda

    I have a really good chocolate cake recipe. It's so good that I want to use it as a base for all my cakes. How do I alter this recipe to make different cakes like vanilla, lemon, coconut, etc.?

    I tried converting it to a vanilla cake last night, but it came out too floury. All I did was replace the cocoa with flour.

    Here are the recipe ingredients.

    • 2 cups raw sugar
    • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 cup boiling water

  • The usual method for converting a chocolate cake to a plain cake is, as you have done, replace the cocoa with flour. However, if you find this makes the cake too floury, try using perhaps 1/2 or 1/3 cup instead - you may even need to omit the extra flour altogether.

    Once you have found the right proportion of extra flour you will have a basic white cake. To make the other variants you would start with this and just add a few things. For example:

    • Vanilla: increase the amount of vanilla extract to 2tsp
    • Lemon: add the zest of one lemon to the mix
    • Coconut: add a couple of ounces of dried coconut to the mix

  • I agree with some points that ElendilTheTall has highlighted but I would like to add several different tips on converting the chocolate cake to a different flavored cake.

    First, instead of substituting the cocao powder with more flour, I would instead substitute a packet of instant pudding mix that matches the flavor of the cake you are trying to convert to. There are definitely vanilla and lemon flavored pudding mix but not sure about coconut. They add great flavor and moisture to your cake. If there isn't the flavor of pudding that matches your cake, than it is safe to replace with just more flour.

    Second, I would probably take out coconut milk and replace it with cow milk except for the coconut flavored cake. Chocolate has a strong flavor and can withstand being paired with coconut milk. But I am not sure a vanilla cake can be considered vanilla cake if there is actually coconut milk in it.

    If you follow the above tips as a base and then add additional flavor extracts or zest to your cake, you can effectively convert your chocolate cake into whatever flavor cake you want.

baking cake
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