Chocolate Pinwheel Cake Recipe -
Chocolate Pinwheel Cake Recipe

Chocolate Pinwheel Cake

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"This cake has chunks of dark chocolate in a pinwheel shape after baking. Frosting is not necessary - it has a rich fluffy chocolate filling. The best! From my mom's mom."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 - 9 inch four layer cake Change Servings


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two 9 inch pans with parchment paper. Cut 9 inch circles, so bottoms will be smooth. Springform pans are preferred.
  2. Melt 2 squares chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and soda.
  4. In a large bowl, with electric mixer, blend 1/2 cup shortening, 1 1/4 cup evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat with mixer 2 minutes at medium speed.
  5. Add 2 eggs and mix until eggs are just blended. Add the melted 2 squares of chocolate (drizzle in while blending). Beat 1 minute at medium speed. Divide batter into two 9 inch pans.
  6. Melt remaining 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolate in ring shape onto batter, about 1 to 2 inches from edge. Using a butter knife or thin spatula, swirl chocolate into pinwheel pattern with a large circular motion. Don't swirl too much as you want chunks to remain. Press knife or spatula all the way to bottom of pan as you swirl.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
  8. To make the filling: Melt 1 square of chocolate. In a large bowl, combine 2/3 cup shortening, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup evaporated milk 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and water. Add melted chocolate and beat on high speed for 10 minutes.
  9. Using a long serrated knife, divide each cooled cake into 2 layers. Spread filling between layers. Use prettiest pinwheel layer as top layer.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Aug 18, 2010

There is a mistake in this recipe! It should be 2 teaspoons (tsp) of baking powder, not tablespoons. Maybe that is why some people have complained about the texture of the cake... I make this cake for my mom's birthday every year - it's been her favorite cake since she was a kid. The dark chocolate swirls are a nice contrast to the sweet, fluffy chocolate filling. It is best served cold, and we think it gets even better a day or two after it is made. To answer another reviewer's question, yes, it should read 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk in the cake itself and another 1/4 cup evaporated milk in the filling. I buy a regular 12oz can of evaporated milk, measure out 1/4 cup milk for the filling, then dump the rest of the can into the cake batter. I have measured it, though, and it ends up being just about 1 1/4 cups.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Aug 18, 2010

Something is wrong with this recipe. My grandmother use to make this cake. It was a favorite. I didn't have her original recipe, so I looked on the internet to make it. I made this recipe, but made it with butter instead of shortening. It was a flop. It raised then, fell in the center. It was dry, not moist like I remember my grandmother's. Also, it fell apart when I tried to cut the layers. This recipe calls for two tablespoons of baking powder. I think this is part of the problem. I'm wondering if anybody else has had a similar experience with this recipe. Also, my grandmother didn't make the filling like this recipe called for. I know that she changed it. She would whip cream, add cocoa powder, vanilla and sugar. I'm not sure if she added fine granulated sugar or confectioners sugar. I am still trying to perfect this recipe.


10 Ratings

May 20, 2003

we have been making Pinwheel Cake for Walker family special occasions for almost 50 years, my mom got the recipe from a magazine. Serve it really cold, in small servings. The bits of bitter chocolate and the fluffy filling are a great contrast. Bad for you, but oh so good.

Sep 18, 2009

This has also been a favorite in our family. But we lost the recipe from the original chocolate wrapper. I've made the cake before from a hand-me-down hand-written recipe with uneven success. The issue is the quantity of two ingredients. Specifically, is it really 2 TABLESPOONS of baking powder? Or 2 teaspoons? 2TBS sounds like too much. Also, I understood that the total evaporated milk was 1 1/4 cups, divided between the cake (1 cup) and the filling (1/4). Please confirm that it is really 1 1/4 cups of evaporated milk in the flour mix; and another 1/4 cup later in the filling. My concern is that with the ingredients as now listed the cake mix will be too wet (that extra 1/4 evaporated milk) and might rise so high (2 TBSP baking powder) as to flop.

Aug 29, 2002

dry and the bits of chocolate are bitter.

Sep 15, 2005

Wow, this cake is for real chocolate lovers. Very chocolatey! It has a fine old-fashioned texture (not greasy like cake-mix cakes) and holds together really well, considering you have to slice it crosswise. I thought that was the trickiest part. You can control how bittersweet the decoration is, by how much you swirl the pinwheels. I found I had to drizzle the chocolate fairly close to the pan edge, otherwise the pinwheels shrink toward the center; and cut the chocolate deep into the cake as I swirl or else it forms a bitter crust.

Aug 16, 2008

This cake has been our family favorite since my Mom started making it 40 years ago. Now my Dad, my sister, my daughter and I all make it for special occasions. The little chips of unsweetened chocolate balance the fluffy shortening filling beautifully!

Aug 29, 2002

Looked like a good cake recipe but was very dissapointed. The cake was dry and the filling was much too sweet. Other problems were the pinwheel design was hard to see and there were no chocolate chunks.


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  • Calories
  • 497 kcal
  • 25%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 57.1 g
  • 18%
  • Cholesterol
  • 40 mg
  • 13%
  • Fat
  • 29.4 g
  • 45%
  • Fiber
  • 2.3 g
  • 9%
  • Protein
  • 6.4 g
  • 13%
  • Sodium
  • 561 mg
  • 22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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