This French Silk Pie Cake is the dessert of your dreams!! Incredibly moist chocolate cake layers topped with an unbelievably silky chocolate frosting.
This French Silk Pie Cake is an homage to my very favorite cake from my childhood, and it’s still one of my favorite cakes today: the McCain Deep’n Delicious Chocolate Cake.
This cake is so good. SO. GOOD. We wouldn’t get it often when I was little, but when we did, it was the best treat. The cake itself is fine, basically good old chocolate cake. But the frosting… the frosting!! Where is the heart eyes emoji?? That stuff is like crack. I’d gladly take a bowl full of that frosting with a spoon and be happy.
I actually haven’t had this cake in decades (seriously), but over the holidays I got this inexplicable craving that just had to be satisfied. All the precious cakes lining my freezer were just not going to cut it. Ryan was all like — imagine if your followers knew what you were getting?? Blasphemy!
Little did he know I had already blasted my guilty pleasure to everyone on my Instagram stories. There were some closet Deep’n Delicious fans that came out of the woodwork, let me tell ya — this cake has a cult following. Rightfully so.
So twenty some odd years later, I am happy to report that it’s every bit as good as I’d remembered. Except it used to come with chocolate sprinkles. Where did the chocolate sprinkles go??
I am not kidding when I say I bought at least two (maybe three) of these cakes over the holidays and ate them all. Happily. Maybe it was that I needed a break from baking, or that I was tired of all my cakes, or I just wanted to relive some nostalgia. It was wonderful.
Over the course of discussing our mutual obsession with my friend Amy from Constellation Inspiration, I decided I needed to try and re-create this cake. A quick Google search led down a rabbit hole which eventually led me to French Silk Pie. Apparently the filling for this pie is what is used as the frosting on the Deep’n Delicious cake.
What is French Silk Pie?
It’s basically a mousse, but not made in the traditional way you’d make a mousse. The key difference with French Silk Pie is the way you whip the eggs. Or rather, how long you whip them for.
The recipe starts out with creaming butter and sugar together, then adding in melted chocolate. At this point you start adding cold eggs one at a time and whipping for 5 minutes after each addition. This part is critical. If you add the eggs all at once it will be a big soupy mess. If you don’t whip for long enough after each egg, the filling/frosting/mousse will be grainy. Trust me when I say not to rush this process.
When you’re finished whipping, the filling will be thick, fluffy, and silky… but a bit on the runny side. You couldn’t use it as a frosting in this state. All you need to do is pop it into the fridge for 20-30mins so that it starts to firm/set up a bit. I chilled mine for a total of 30mins, rewhipping every 10mins. It was still thinner than a normal frosting at this point, but totally worked for piping the dollops. You could chill it a bit longer if you prefer.
It’s important to note that I piped the dollops on each layer separately and chilled them again for 30mins before stacking. I wanted to make sure the frosting was firm enough so that it wouldn’t ooze out the sides. You could serve this cake stacked or as two individual layers. How you choose to serve it is up to you. Each is equally pretty in my opinion.
This French Silk Pie Cake recipe is simple, but a bit more time intensive (not THAT much more though). Decorating this cake is super easy, so the time spent on making/chilling the frosting balances out. And it’s worth it, I promise!! That frosting is pure heaven.
So, did my version of the Deep’n Delicious cake live up to my expectations?? I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty darn close. My cake layers are more dense and moist (which I like better), but the frosting is almost identical. Certainly in texture. I used unsweetened Baker’s chocolate in the frosting as that’s what most French Silk Pie recipes called for, but I think next time I’d try it with a high quality dark chocolate instead (Callebaut is my favorite). I am a chocolate snob when it comes to baking!
Does this mean I’ll stop buying the McCain cakes? Unlikely. But if you’re as big a fan of that nostalgic cake as I am, you will love this homemade version!
Tips for making this French Silk Pie Cake :
- This recipe uses raw eggs for the frosting. If you’re uncomfortable eating raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs or try one of my other chocolate frosting recipes.
- Raw eggs should not be consumed by pregnant women, small children, or anyone with health issues.
- Do NOT skimp on the whipping time for the frosting. You really need to whip for 5 minutes after each egg so that the sugar dissolves completely and the frosting is light and fluffy.
- I used caster sugar as it’s super fine and will dissolve quicker, but good old granulated sugar will work just fine. Just make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. If not, keep whipping until it is.
- I used Baker’s chocolate in the frosting, but next time I think I would try it with a really good quality dark chocolate.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my Flat Top Cakes post.
Looking for more Chocolate Recipes??
- Chocolate Truffle Cake
- Mocha Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake
- Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart
- Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Bundt
This recipe uses raw eggs which may be an issue for some. You can use pasteurized if you prefer. Raw eggs should not be consumed by pregnant women, small children, or anyone with health issues.
French Silk Pie Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder sifted
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
French Silk Frosting:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened, but still cool
- 1 cup caster sugar superfine sugar (granulated ok, not powdered)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 oz unsweetened Baker’s chocolate melted and cooled completely
- 3 large whole eggs cold
- chocolate flakes or sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350F, grease two 8″ round baking pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment.
- Place all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine.
- In a medium bowl whisk all wet ingredients (pour hot water in slowly as not to cook the eggs).
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.
- Pour evenly into prepared pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed.
- Bake for 45 mins or until a cake tester comes out mostly clean.
- Cool 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
French Silk Frosting:
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until pale & fluffy (approx. 3 mins). Ideally use a a chilled bowl*. Scrape bowl as needed.
- Add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla, whip until combined. Scrape bowl as needed.
- Switch to whisk attachment. Add eggs one at a time, whipping for 5 mins after each addition. Scrape bowl before adding each egg.**
- Frosting will be fairly runny. Place entire bowl with whisk into the fridge to chill for 30mins (take out to whip every 10mins).
- Place each layer of cake on a cake board or plate. Using a French star tip, pipe dollops on top of each layer then sprinkle with chocolate flakes.***
- You can either serve them like this, as two separate cakes, or place both in the fridge to chill for 1 hour, then carefully remove one from the cake board stack on top of the other.
** Do not skimp on this! It takes a long time, but this is what helps give it the proper texture.
*** You will have a bit of frosting left over. You can use this to add more frosting to the cake if desired, or spoon into small bowls and serve as mousse. French Silk Pie filling recipe from Martha Stewart.
Brendan Mainusch says
I followed the Instructions and sadly my icing didn’t set. Even let it sit for 3 hours. And did all the correct steps 🙁
Hi Brendan! It sounds like something went wrong. Did you make any ingredient substitutions? Did you whip long enough after each egg addition?
I’ve made this cake three times now and every time it turns out amazing. The frosting is the best part, some people may be squeamish about raw eggs so make sure you are buying good quality eggs. The cake is moist and fluffy.
Hi Kat! The frosting is soooooo delicious. I’m glad you like it too!
Sorry forgot to do the rating,
Hi I want to make this for my girlfriends daughters birthday. Would you be able to use the icing to frost the cake in a rough pattern (not smooth?
Hi Denise! The frosting is really very soft, I can’t say for sure if it would work well to frost the cake. If you want to try it I would definitely chill it first to firm it up, but that will also make it more mousse like.
Thanks. I did end up using it as a frosting. Simply added a bit of corn starch to stiffen it. And added a chocolate cage. It turned out so great and tasty. I have been asked to make another one for a Halloween party. Thought to share how the last one turned out but I don’t know how to post a pic. It was beautiful!
So happy to hear it worked out! I would love to see a picture. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
Dawnyelle Z. says
How long did you whip the frosting every 10 minutes while cooling??
Hi Dawnyelle! Just for a minute or two. You’ll quickly be able to tell if its still too soft and needs more chilling.
I made this cake for my boyfriends birthday on Sunday. I’d it okay to keep in the fridge till or should I leave it out ??
Hi Ashleigh! The cake must be refrigerated due to the raw eggs in the frosting. It’s fine at room temp for an hour or so, or to come to room temp, but otherwise should be refrigerated. I hope you guys love it!
Melinda A says
I’ve made this cake probably 5 times with different frostings/toppings but- I want to make it as a bundt cake! Any recommendations on changes to swap the recipe to 1- 10cup bundt pan? I’m also debating a drizzle vs a marshmallow meringue frosting…. just wanted to pick another baker’s brain!
Hi Melinda! I don’t think I’ve tried this particular recipe in a Bundt pan but it should work fine. Be sure to grease and flour your pan well (I use cake release: https://livforcake.com/homemade-cake-release/). Typically I’d say not to fill the pan more than half full as the batter rises a lot but I’m not sure if that’s the case for a Bundt too — probably? In any case, maybe bake it with a tray underneath in case there is any overflow.
This is the best frosting I have ever made. Easy, silky and delicious. Thank you so much
Hi Sheryl! I’m so happy you love it. It’s a favorite of mine too 🙂
what if you don’t have a stand mixer with a paddle
Hi Lydia! It should work fine with a whisk attachment.
So this is a weird question and I think I already know the answer but could this cake, with frosting, be frozen? I am making one for a friend’s birthday and well, life. If i could make it ahead it would really help me out, but I’m guessing the French Silk frosting doesn’t agree with the freezer?
Hi Maddy! The frosting should be fine in the freezer. I’m pretty sure I froze some slices to eat later! Let me know how your friend likes it 🙂
The cake turned out great. The frosting doesn’t seem to be working even though I followed the instructions and whipped 5min with each egg. I left it in the fridge in hopes it would firm out but still pretty watery.
Hi Sandra! Strange about the frosting, it should firm up quite a bit in the fridge due to the chocolate. It should become almost mousse-like and totally delicious. Did you make any changes or substitutions? And did you use a stand mixer?
Is this cake supposed to be served chilled or at room temperature?
Hi Kristin! Either way works. The frosting will be quite soft at room temp so keep that in mind especially if you’re doing a stacked cake.
Ashli DeJong says
Do you think you could frost a whole cake smoothly with this icing? Thanks!!
Hi Ashli! No, the frosting is really quite soft so I don’t recommend that.
I’m back for more of your tasty recipes! Since this recipe was a HIT I wanted to use your chocolate cake recipe above and add Bailey’s to get some of that flavor. I looked at your Coffee and Bailey’s cake and was wondering what suggestion you’d have if I wanted to make this cake with Bailey’s or your Bailey’s cake with chocolate in terms of substitutions and measurements.
I wasn’t sure which recipe to comment on but since I’m hoping to use this cake recipe specifically, thought it was more fitting to put it here.
Always appreciate your response!
Hi Nick! Nice to hear from you again 🙂 Did you want Baileys in the actual cake layers? I’m not sure how strong it would come through with the chocolate but here’s what I’d try: Change 1 cup hot water to 1/2 cup hot water and 1/2 cup Baileys (room temp or warmed, not cold). You could also do a Baileys Simple syrup to drizzle over the cakes once they are cooled. I find if you trim the top crust it helps it absorb more. I wouldn’t try to add Baileys to this frosting here as it’s already on the softer side (I don’t think you intended to). For an extra Baileys kick you could add some to an American or meringue buttercream and/or add it to a chocolate ganache. Let me know what you try and how it turns out!
Frances S. says
Oh my goodness! Okay so I made this cake for two reasons: one, because I ate McCain’s Deep Dish Chocolate Cake growing up in Vancouver, Canada… and two: it was our best friends wedding anniversary and I wanted to make them a special cake. Enter Pinterest and this awesome recipe.
Followed the recipe to the tee and really made sure to follow the directions for the French silk frosting. After beating in the first egg, I tasted the chocolate frosting and it was still grainy. But then I beat in the 2nd and 3rd egg at 5 minutes each (with a hand mixer mind you lol) and it turned out PERFECT! So worth it and best chocolate frosting I’ve ever tasted.
Needless to say, our friends absolutely LOVED it and so did my hubby. It was such a hit, and truly a labor of love. Thank you for this awesome recipe!
Hi Frances! The frosting is SO good right?? So happy that everyone loved it and thank you for the wonderful feedback!
Stace Neuf says
Amazing!!! Tastes like McCain from when I was a kid.
Hi Stace! So happy to hear you loved it 🙂
Making this as we speak!! I’m not sure if you’ve already answered this question, but would I be able to make the frosting in advanced and keep it in the fridge to pipe tomorrow?
Please let me know, thanks so much! Can’t wait to see how this turns out 🙂
Hi Frances! It will firm up too much in the fridge I think. Let me know how it turns out! This is one of my fave frostings 🙂
Erin Finley says
I made this for my sister’s 34th birthday. It was amazing!
Hi Erin! So happy you loved it 🙂
Can you PLEASE come up with a recipe for the vanilla McCain Deep n Deliciois cake? I have yet to taste a vanilla cake that tastes as good as that!
Hi Dina! You know I don’t think I’ve ever had the vanilla one!! I can’t get myself to buy anything other than the chocolate because it’s SO good. I’ll have to buy both next time!
Hi Olivia I can’t wait to make this on February 10 but I just want it to come out perfect. I have a 9 by 13 nonstick. Does it cook faster and is there anything else I should know? Thanks so much
Hi Carm! I think the cake layer might be thinner which would make it cook a bit faster. Just keep an eye on it 🙂 Otherwise everything else should be the same. Let me know how it turns out!
Hi Olivia so that answers my question about once I cut the cake in half I was going to separate the layers so I’d have 4. I was thinking if I had lots of mouse left over then it would be ok. What do you think or I’ll have to see how thick the layers come out?
I would see how thick the layers are. I worry that it will be too thin to cut in half. The cake is more on the delicate side. If you do cut it in half horizontally, chill the cake layers first so they are firm. I also worry that if the layers are too thin the structure might not be very good if you try to stack them and the mousse, etc.