How to Make Portillo’s Chocolate Cake






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Are you a chocolate lover? Do you crave a delicious and moist chocolate cake that melts in your mouth? Look no further because Portillo’s chocolate cake recipe is exactly what you’ve been searching for! This iconic and legendary dessert originated from Portillo’s restaurant in Chicago, and it has become a favorite across the United States. This rich and decadent cake is made with premium cocoa powder, fresh ingredients, and a secret blend of flavors that creates an unparalleled taste. You don’t have to go to Chicago to enjoy this scrumptious cake because we will guide you through the simple, yet precise steps to make it in the comfort of your own home. So, put on your apron and let’s get started with the recipe that will steal the show at any gathering or celebration.


Portillo’s chocolate cake is a classic dessert and a must-try for any chocolate lover. The ingredients used in this recipe are easy to find and relatively simple, but the key to making the perfect cake lies in getting the ratios right. Here’s what you’ll need:


Flour is one of the most important ingredients in any cake recipe, and Portillo’s chocolate cake is no exception. All-purpose flour works best for this recipe as it has just the right amount of gluten to give your cake structure.


Sugar adds sweetness to your chocolate cake recipe, but it also plays an essential role in tenderizing its texture by interacting with proteins that make up flour. Granulated sugar works best for this particular recipe.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is responsible for giving Portillo’s chocolate cake its rich, dark color and decadent flavor. Unsweetened cocoa powder is recommended as it provides the purest form of cocoa flavor without adding any additional sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Baking Powder & Baking Soda

Baking powder and baking soda are both leavening agents that help your cake rise during baking. In Portillo’s chocolate cake recipe, these two ingredients work together to create a light and fluffy texture while ensuring that your cakes rise evenly.


Salt may seem like an unusual ingredient when making desserts; however, it helps balance out all other flavors present in the mixture while enhancing them at the same time.


Eggs add richness to your batter by providing fat and protein content which gives structure during baking while keeping everything moist at once.

Butter & Oil

Butter adds flavor richness whereas oil contributes moisture to baked goods; therefore both ingredients are required when making Portillo’s Chocolate Cake

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract enhances all other flavors present in baked goods by adding its unique aroma thus we recommend using pure vanilla extract rather than the imitation one.

Boiling Water

Boiling water is a unique ingredient in Portillo’s chocolate cake recipe. It helps to bring out the full flavor of cocoa powder and allows all other ingredients to merge correctly, which ultimately results in a rich, moist, and chocolaty cake.


Once you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to start preparing your Portillo’s chocolate cake. This recipe is relatively simple and easy to follow, but it requires some careful attention to detail to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.

Making Portillo’s chocolate cake requires simple ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. The key to achieving the perfect texture and flavor is by paying attention to details and being patient through each step. Baking the cake should be done in a preheated oven set at 350°F and rotating cake pans halfway through cooking. The frosting is simple to make and can be decorated with extra frosting layers, chocolate shavings, powdered sugar, or fresh fruit. Overall, it’s a straightforward recipe for a decadent chocolate cake that is sure to impress any chocolate lover.

Preheat Your Oven

The first step in making Portillo’s chocolate cake is preheating your oven. Set it at 350°F (180°C) for optimal results.

Grease & Flour Cake Pans

To prevent the cake from sticking to your baking pan, use butter or cooking spray evenly on a 9-inch pan; then dust with flour and shake off any excess flour before you pour in the batter.

Mix The Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and baking powder until well combined.

Mix The Wet Ingredients

In another mixing bowl add eggs one at a time while beating them till they are fluffy. Add melted butter with oil mix thoroughly using an electric mixer.

Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients

Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients mixture while whisking until everything is incorporated. At this point add boiling water slowly while whisking continuously until everything has mixed properly

Pour Batter into Prepared Pans

Pour batter evenly into previously greased/floured pans and level them using a spatula so that there are no air pockets present.

Bake The Cake

Place pans in preheated oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean when removed from the center of each cake.

Once done remove pans from oven let cool for about ten minutes before transferring cakes onto wire racks for further cooling; this helps avoid cracking due to temperature differences between hot cakes versus cold counters/plates.

Baking the Cake

Baking the Portillo’s chocolate cake is the final step in this recipe. While it may seem like a simple task, there are a few things to keep in mind to achieve perfectly baked cakes that are moist, rich and chocolaty.

Making Portillo’s chocolate cake requires a few simple ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. The key to achieving the perfect cake lies in getting the ratios right. This legendary dessert is rich, decadent, and chocolaty, making it a must-try for any chocolate lover. The steps may seem intimidating; however, by following the precise measurements, ratios, and instructions, you can achieve perfect results every time. Don’t forget to decorate your cake with extra frosting, chocolate shavings, powdered sugar, or fresh fruit for an aesthetically pleasing presentation.

Check Your Oven Temperature

Before you start baking your cake, double-check that your oven temperature is set at 350°F (180°C). Use an oven thermometer if needed for accuracy.

Place Cakes in The Center of The Oven

Place your prepared pans with batter on the center rack of your preheated oven for optimal results. This ensures even heat distribution throughout baking time.

Avoid Opening The Oven Door

Avoid opening the oven door too often during baking as this can cause fluctuations in temperature resulting in unevenly baked cakes or sinking centers. Only open when necessary to avoid any mishap

Rotate Cakes Halfway Through Baking Time

Rotate cake pans halfway through baking time (after about 15-20 minutes) to ensure even cooking and prevent one side from browning more than others

Test For Doneness

To test whether cakes are done, insert a toothpick into their centers; if it comes out clean without any wet batter sticking onto it, then they’re ready. If not bake for an additional five minutes before rechecking again.

Cool & Remove From Pans

Once done remove pans from oven let cool completely at room temperature before transferring cakes onto wire racks for further cooling; this helps avoid cracking due to temperature differences between hot cakes versus cold counters/plates.

Making the Chocolate Frosting

Portillo’s chocolate cake is not complete without its signature chocolate frosting. This frosting recipe is incredibly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. Here’s how to make it:

Making Portillo’s chocolate cake requires a few simple ingredients, but the key to a perfect cake lies in getting the ratios right. All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, butter, oil, vanilla extract, and boiling water are required to create a rich, moist, and chocolaty cake. Following the recipe closely by using precise measurements and ratios for each ingredient is essential to achieve perfect results every time. Baking the cake at 350°F (180°C), placing it in the center of the oven, avoiding opening the oven door too often, rotating it halfway through baking time, and testing it for doneness with a toothpick are also crucial steps. Finally, making the signature chocolate frosting and decorating the cake with extra frosting, chocolate shavings, powdered sugar, or fresh fruit is the fun and creative way to add a personal touch to this classic dessert.

Melt Butter & Cocoa Powder

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, add cocoa powder stirring continuously until well combined.

Add Milk & Vanilla Extract

Once the mixture has combined, reduce heat and add milk slowly while whisking continuously till everything is incorporated. Finally, add vanilla extract and keep stirring until you get the desired consistency.

Gradually Mix in Powdered Sugar

Continuing with low heat setting gradually mix in powdered sugar using an electric mixer or whisk until smooth; start with small amounts at first while testing for desired consistency before adding more.

Beat The Frosting Until Fluffy

Beat on high speed setting with your electric mixer or hand mixer until the frosting becomes fluffy and lightens in color; this should take between 2-3 minutes of mixing.

Apply Frosting On Cakes

Apply your homemade chocolate frosting generously on top of each cooled cake layer; spreading it evenly using a spatula or piping bag if preferred

And voila! You now have delicious homemade Portillo’s Chocolate Cake ready to be enjoyed by all.

Decorating the Cake

Decorating your Portillo’s chocolate cake is a fun and creative way to add your personal touch to this classic dessert. Whether you’re decorating for a special occasion or just for fun, there are plenty of ways to make your cake look as good as it tastes.

Add Extra Frosting

One easy way to decorate your Portillo’s chocolate cake is by adding extra frosting onto the sides of the cake. You can use a piping bag with various tips to create different patterns or simply spread it evenly using a spatula.

Use Chocolate Shavings

Chocolate shavings added on top of frosting can give an elegant and sophisticated look that complements the rich flavor of Portillo’s chocolate cake. To make them, use a vegetable peeler on a block of dark chocolate at room temperature, creating thin shavings that can be sprinkled over the top of each layer before stacking them together.

Sprinkle With Powdered Sugar

Another simple yet elegant decoration option is sprinkling powdered sugar over the top layer; this will provide an aesthetically pleasing contrast between white powdery surface versus brown chocolaty goodness below which makes it perfect for any event/occasion ranging from casual gatherings up until formal events like weddings!

Add Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit not only looks beautiful but also adds natural sweetness and color variations which complement well with portillos’ rich chocolaty texture. Some popular options include strawberries, raspberries or even cherries on top which gives balance between sweet and tart flavors .


What ingredients do I need to make Portillo’s chocolate cake?

To make Portillo’s chocolate cake, you will need all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, and hot water. It’s important to use high-quality ingredients to ensure the best results.

Can I substitute some of the ingredients in Portillo’s chocolate cake recipe?

While it’s possible to substitute certain ingredients, keep in mind that it may alter the taste and texture of the cake. For example, you can use butter instead of vegetable oil, or sour cream instead of buttermilk. However, make sure to adjust the measurements accordingly and use only ingredients that are suitable for baking.

What is the process to make Portillo’s chocolate cake from scratch?

To make Portillo’s chocolate cake from scratch, you’ll need to first preheat your oven. Then, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and slowly pour them into the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Finally, add in the hot water and mix once more. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

How can I ensure that my Portillo’s chocolate cake turns out perfectly?

To ensure that your Portillo’s chocolate cake turns out perfectly, make sure to measure all ingredients precisely and mix the batter thoroughly. Also, don’t overbeat the batter as this can cause the cake to be tough. Once the cake is in the oven, resist the urge to open the oven door until it’s done baking. Lastly, do a toothpick test to check if the cake is fully cooked. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.

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