Fun chocolate cake flavours you should try

20 Jan 2021

Chocolate Knowledge

Oh chocolate cake. A classic baked good that we all know and love. The light and fluffy sponge, lusciously smooth filling and, of course, the mouthwatering chocolate aroma and taste makes chocolate cake simply delicious. But there are so many more chocolate cake flavours to discover!

Of course, you may be tired of baking the same recipe, so we’ve put together some of our very favourite chocolate cake flavours for you to up your baking game. We’ve taken inspiration from the imaginative flair of our chocolatiers, who whip up daring (and delicious) flavour combinations for our Selectors. It’s time to reevaluate what you know about chocolate cake flavours.

What flavours go well with chocolate cake?

Before we dive into the good stuff, we need to think about the science behind chocolate cake (we’ll be brief, we promise!). The type of chocolate you use to complement your chocolate cake flavours can make all the difference. The better quality the cocoa, the better your cake tastes.

classic chocolate cake with a slice missing

This is because high-quality chocolate or cocoa powder often has little or no additional sugar added. Look for chocolate that is high in cocoa: our 100% dark has zero sugar, boasting an intensely rich and deep cocoa flavour. Or, if you’re opting to use cocoa powder, ours is non-alkalised, meaning it’s packed full of cocoa health benefits without losing any of its flavour. 

The reason why you want to avoid chocolate with too much additional sugar added is because it risks making your mixture too sweet. Your cake batter will, after all, call for sugar to be added as well. Not only can this alter the overall taste of your chocolate cake flavour, but it puts your baked good at the added risk of catching and burning.

With the additional sugar, you may find that your cake browns a lot quicker in the oven. Considering that your mixture is already dark in colour, it can sometimes be difficult to spot this, meaning you may find that the dominating chocolate cake flavour is ‘burnt!’

Baking with chocolate may seem easy, but there is a knack to getting it right. To help you, we’ve discussed cooking with chocolate more thoroughly here.

Now that we’ve run through the technical stuff, let’s sink our teeth into some tasty ideas; what kind of chocolate cake flavours are there?

Rum

When adding rum as a chocolate cake flavour, you’ll want to have a steady hand. A boozy chocolate cake flavour can be delightful – as long as it doesn’t blow your head off!

If you’re dropping in a few spoonfuls of rum into your cake batter, you’ll probably find that you can’t taste it so much in the cake itself. However, the rum does add extra moisture, making it difficult to end up with a dry and crumbly cake.

For those who really love a hit of booze in their food, we suggest adding it to the icing. The oaky, subtle notes of rum pair beautifully with an indulgent dark chocolate icing. Just remember that none of the alcohol content is burnt off as you cannot cook your icing, so go steady with the measurements.

To complete your rum and chocolate cake flavour, we couldn’t think of any better decoration that our Rum Selectors. A generous glug of rum paired with a caramel cream and sealed in 40% milk chocolate makes these Selectors irresistible. Dot them evenly around the cake so that everyone gets their fair share. And save one for yourself – you are the cook, after all!

Coffee

coffee and chocolate cake flavour viewed from above on a white background

Smokey, roasted coffee notes, paired with moreish cocoa flavours. Coffee and chocolate go together like two peas – or should we say beans – in a pod. Because coffee can have a fairly savoury flavour, it works well with both white and dark chocolate cake flavours.

Mix and match with your baking technique: perhaps you opt for a white chocolate sponge, iced with a not-too-sweet coffee buttercream. Or perhaps you go for a classic coffee sponge cake, piped with a mocha filling.

For us, coffee and chocolate is a no-brainer when it comes to chocolate cake flavours. Our Chocolate Latte lets you enjoy both aromas in a smooth and creamy cup of heaven. Why not turn your mocha into something you love to eat as much as you love to drink?

Peanut Butter

A peanut butter and chocolate cake flavour is well-loved by many. This nutty-cocoa-combo should be in the recipe books of peanut butter-lovers nationwide. And, with National Peanut Butter Day fresh on the horizon, what better way to celebrate this national event than by whipping up your own peanut butter chocolate cake?

Whether you’re a crunchy or smooth sort of person, we promise you the salty, moreish flavours of peanut, paired with the richness of chocolate won’t disappoint. Not convinced? Try our Peanut Butter Chocolate Selectors for inspiration.

Nuts

At Hotel Chocolat, we always go a little nutty with our chocolate and nut combinations. The diversity of nuts make them a no-brainer when it comes to chocolate cake flavours. There are endless nuts to choose from, each with their own distinctive flavor profile, but our favourites include: peanuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios. We’ve even got a blog exploring which nuts go best with chocolate as well, so have a read and find your favourite.

A dense chocolate loaf cake benefits from chopped chunky nuts, whilst a sandwich cake can be lifted with a homemade praline, made by blending caramelised nuts into a chunky powder. You can even add ground almonds to your cake batter in substitute for flour to make your chocolate cake flavour gluten free. Ground almonds add a wonderful moistness and pair beautifully with rich cocoa flavours.

For more inspiration, explore our Nut Chocolate selection and see just how nutty you can get with your chocolate cake flavours in the kitchen.

Chilli

chocolate and chilli cake with piped chocolate icing

Although you may approach the concept of chocolate and chilli with care, we promise you it works. In fact, we love it so much that we’ve used this chocolate pairing in our very own recipes.

Adding a few drops of chilli oil into your cake batter or infusing your buttercream with chilli results in a chocolate cake flavour which ticks all the boxes. The gentle tingle of chilli works beautifully with the depth of a dark chocolate cake, although it works equally well in a light and creamy white chocolate cake batter. If you’re wary about a chilli and chocolate cake flavour then start off by adding small amounts. With chilli, less is always more.

Courgette

We promise you that this one works. Think of it as a chocolate carrot cake, made with courgettes instead. Don’t worry – neither the taste or texture of courgette comes through when baked. Instead, you get a moist and light cake mixture which isn’t too sweet. We suggest adding dark chocolate drops to the batter to add a depth of flavour.

If the little ones aren’t so good at eating their greens, we’re sure they’ll be tempted to a few servings of courgette if you present it in cake form.

Lavender

Fragrant and delicate, lavender is a tricky taste to get right. But, when done well it can elevate your chocolate cake flavour to the next level. We suggest opting for a white chocolate cake flavour to make sure you don’t overpower the lavender taste. Either use lavender essence or infuse your buttercream with lavender for best results.

Salt

Salted caramel may be a firm favourite, but have you tried salted chocolate? There’s something about the savoury-and-sweet combination that we just love. Dark chocolate cake flavours tend to work best with salt: we use 70% dark in our recipe. Be careful: like chilli, a little goes a long way with salted chocolate. Although you want to be able to taste the salt, too much risks your cake bordering on a salty savoury baked good.

Red wine

The deep, berry tastes of a bottle of burgundy might not be the most obvious chocolate cake flavour pairing, but we promise you it works, if done right. When it comes to pairing red wine with chocolate, you’ll want to avoid anything too sweet: rich and dark chocolate cakes can be lifted with the fruity notes of red wine, meaning you’ll want to go light on the sugar. To sample these flavours before committing to the kitchen, try our Red Wine Selector.

Fruit

chocolate cake with strawberries and other fruit on it

Fruit and chocolate is a combination which needs little explaining. Our Fruity Collection is abundant in a wide range of flavours: cherry, orange, strawberry, blueberry, banana, raspberry, mango and more.

Adding either fresh or dried fruit to your chocolate cake flavour adds an extra layer of flavour to your baked delight. Fresh fruit adds moisture to the batter, whilst dried fruit makes for a beautiful decoration and offers a contrasting texture. With fruit and chocolate cake flavours, there really is no end to your imagination.

We hope that we’ve inspired you to try out some new chocolate cake flavours. Chocolate cakes can come in many different forms, from a light sponge to a rich and dense torte. Choose the right type of chocolate for your cake and get experimenting with some new chocolate cake flavours for you and your loved ones to enjoy.