Portillo Chocolate Cake Recipe | Radio WGN 720


With “insider info,” Tony Rican, the average Guy Gourmet, whipped up what followers say is a perfect copy of Portillo’s secret recipe.

If you search for “Chicago’s favorite chocolate cake” it will likely show Portillo’s as the first result. For good reason: it’s delicious. It’s also a secret recipe that Portillo’s won’t share. But Tony Rican of Bartlett, Illinois, tinkered with the recipe until he – with the help of a former Portillo manager – developed what he says is as close to the original as possible. He spoke with Steve Alexander about the secret ingredients (it’s more than mayonnaise) and how he became the Average Guy Gourmet. The imitation recipe for his Portillo is below.


  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  3. 1-1/4 tsp. Baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1 C. Instant coffee
  6. 1 C. salt
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 1 cup mayonnaise
  9. 1 cup of sugar
  10. 1 1/4 cup water
  11. 1 C. Vanilla
  12. 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter 2 round cake pans (the 9-inch ones) and line them with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, coffee and salt in a bowl. Put aside.
  3. Add the eggs, mayonnaise, sugar, water and vanilla to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended, but do not over mix.
  4. Add the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The oven temperature varies, so adjust the time accordingly.
  6. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack. Cool cakes completely before adding chocolate topping and frosting.


  1. 1 cup butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  3. 5 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1 C. Vanilla
  5. 3 tbsp. Milk (if needed for consistency)


  1. Whisk butter and cocoa together until smooth in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Slowly stir in milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Scrape down sides and whisk again until light, fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

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