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The classic Chocolate War Cake baked on the Grill- cut in pieces

The classic Chocolate War Cake Baked on the Grill


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I’m going to show you how easy it is to cook a cake on the gas grill using wood chunks for added flavor. I simply love how chocolate reacts to smoke vapor and this chocolate recipe of mine is simply outstanding for the grill.

The gas grill was originally intended to provide for a quick cook method but I view this as an extension of the indoor kitchen as the grill really is an oven. I’m going to turn my grill into a wood-burning oven by incorporating a smoker box that I’ve added cherry wood chunks too.

simple ingredients for this recipes

Why is this referred to as a “war” cake? During World War I and II, eggs, butter, and milk were rationed. Although I am including one egg in this recipe, I still consider this a variation of the “war” cake. You certainly can make any variation you find as there are lots of options available online.

Let’s gather our simple ingredients, heat up the grill, and make perfection in a chocolate cake!


Chocolate War Cake- Two-Zone Cooking

If you follow my gas grill recipes, then you know I am a fan of the two-zone cooking method. By lighting the burners on only half the grill and placing the food on the unlit side, I can guarantee controlled temperature that allows me to walk away like I do with my indoor oven.

I start by adding two cherry wood chunks to a metal smoker box. I place this box under the grill grate, directly on a burner heat shield. Next, I turn those burners on to medium and allow the grill to warm up while I make my cake batter.

Chocolate War Cake- The Unusual Batter

The Chocolate Batter mixed and ready for baking

First, I butter an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside (you can use the non-stick cooking spray if you prefer). I start with the dry ingredients: 1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon table salt. Whisk all this together in a large bowl and set aside.

With the dry ingredients prepared, it’s time to start on the wet. In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 2 ounces high quality, bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine. Pour over the chocolates 1 cup of hot coffee, whisking to aid melting. Allow cooling then whisk in 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Tasting Notes: Whenever you bake on the grill, it is important to use a two-zone cooking method rather than direct heat cooking. This will reduce the risk of burning the batter or producing off flavors, especially if you use a charcoal grill.

Chocolate War Cake- Grilling the Cake

With the beautiful chocolate batter finished, it’s time to pour this into the prepared dish. Note you can use disposable pans or glass, ceramic – any high heat pan works just fine.

I check the cake about ½ way through the 35-minute cooking time. If I see that there is some uneven cooking occurring, I simply rotate the pan and position where there are no cold spots. An infrared thermometer will help locate any cold/hot spots.

grilling two zone with wood chunks

After grilling until firm to the touch or, you can do the toothpick test – insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, the cake is done – I remove the pan from the grill and let cool for 2 hours untouched. After the cooling time, I invert the cake onto a cutting board. At this point, you can sift some powdered sugar over the top of the cake or serve with a side of whipped cream. Any way you serve this, it is going to be loved, with the serving plate cleaned quickly. Baked on the Grill is fun!

Tasting Notes: This cake can also be served with some additional fruit flavoring pairings like cherries, figs, raspberry, pear, and strawberry. You still will maintain a 350°F grilling temperature.


SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to

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Additional reading:


-Our Smoked Carrot Cake


Dr. Smoke Baked on the Grill the classic Chocolate War Cake is a real keeper of a recipe!

Dr. Smoke Baked on the Grill, the classic Chocolate War Cake is a real keeper of a recipe!