Chocolate Cake

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Quick Summary

Chocolate Cake- this rich, moist, and decadent layered chocolate cake with smooth chocolate buttercream frosting is the BEST chocolate cake! It's the perfect dessert for birthdays or any celebration!

It's no secret that chocolate cake is my favorite cake. I love my chocolate bundt cake, flourless chocolate cake, and easy chocolate cake. They are all AMAZING!

But whenever I am celebrating something special, I like to make this layered bakery-style Chocolate Cake. It is the perfect dessert for any celebration!

The cake is super moist, super chocolaty, has the perfect crumb, and the chocolate buttercream frosting is incredible!

If you like chocolate, you will LOVE this cake. There is nothing better than slicing into the thick layers or chocolate and enjoying a piece of this decadent cake. It will transport you to chocolate heaven!

It's the perfect birthday cake, top with candles and you are set! It also makes a great dessert for holidays, parties, and potlucks. It is always a crowd pleaser.

And the best part? It is easy to make. Sure, baking, assembling, and frosting the cake takes some time, but it isn't hard. The cake is made with basic ingredients and the steps are easy to follow.

And let me tell you a little tip, you can make the cake layers in advance. You can put them in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to assemble. I love doing this so it breaks up the work and frosting a cool cake is actually easier!

Homemade cake is SO much better than store bought and worth the extra effort. If you like chocolate, you have to try this cake. It will be your go to dessert for special occasions…or for whenever you are craving lots of chocolate. This cake is a chocolate lover's DREAM!

Cake Ingredients

  • Flour– use all-purpose flour.
  • Granulated sugar– to sweeten the cake.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder– sift before using so there are no lumps in the cocoa.
  • Baking soda & baking powder– make sure they are fresh!
  • Kosher salt– to enhance all of the flavors.
  • Espresso powder– optional, but I love adding it. It intensifies the chocolate flavor.
  • Buttermilk– at room temperature.
  • Oil– to keep the cake moist. I recommend canola, vegetable, or avocado oil.
  • Pure vanilla extract– always use pure vanilla, not imitation.
  • Eggs– use large eggs that are at room temperature.
  • Hot water– make sure the water is HOT. Bring to a boil and then use.

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients

  • Butter– use unsalted butter that is at room temperature.
  • Confectioner's sugar– sifted!
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder– sift before using! You can use regular unsweetened cocoa or Dutch processed for a deeper, darker frosting.
  • Heavy cream– I like to use heavy cream for a rich and luxurious frosting!
  • Pure vanilla extract– I like to use vanilla in the cake and frosting.
  • Kosher salt– to balance out the sweet.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips– melted and slightly cooled! Guittard is my favorite brand.

How to Make Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pans with parchment paper, then spray the pans again. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder, if using.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  • With the stand mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined.
  • Slowly add the hot water and stir just to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Briefly mix again. The batter will be thin and that is ok.
  • Dive the batter evenly among the prepared pans. You can use a scale to get them exactly even or do your best to guess.
  • Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes. Remove the cakes from the oven and set them on a wire cooling rack.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Never frost a warm cake!

Make the Cake Layers in Advance

You can make the cake layers in advance, which is a lifesaver when making a layered cake. It helps break up some of the work.

  • Let the cake layers cool completely.
  • Carefully wrap the cooled cake layers in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • You can also freeze the cakes for up to 2 months. Wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place them flat in the freezer.
  • Before assembling the cake, let the cake layers sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Never decorate a frozen cake.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

  • To make the frosting, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and lighter in color, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
  • With the mixer on low, add the confectioner's sugar, 2 cups at a time, and then the cocoa powder.
  • Pour in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the melted chocolate. Mix for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. If the consistency of frosting is too thin, gradually add a little more sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add heavy cream a teaspoon at a time until frosting is desired consistency.

Assembling the Cake

  • To assemble the cake, first make sure the cake layers are flat and don't have a rounded dome on top. If they do, carefully level off the top with a sharp serrated knife. You want the cake layers to be as even as possible. Don't forget to eat the scraps:)
  • Place the first layer bottom side up on a flat plate or cake stand. Using a knife or offset spatula, spread the top of the cake evenly with buttercream.
  • Place the second layer on top, top side up, and spread more buttercream evenly over the top. Repeat with the third layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.

Decorating and Serving

  • To decorate: You can leave the cake plain or decorate it with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or chocolate chips. You can even top the cake with fresh berries, flowers or, candles! I don't do anything fancy, simple is pretty! I do find that a few tools come in handy: straight and angled spatulas and turntable. This cake decorating set is also great!
  • To serve the cake: Use a large, sharp knife to cut the cake into slices. The layers are thick and the cake is rich, so this cake will feed a crowd. You can serve the cake plain, with a scoop of your favorite ice cream, or with a glass of cold milk!

How to Store & Freeze

  • Storing Cake: Store the cake on the counter not in the refrigerator, the refrigerator will dry out the cake. The frosting protects the cake and helps keep it moist, but you still need to cover the cake. I recommend using a cake dome or cover. If you plan on transporting the cake, you can use a cake carrier. If you don't have a special cake cover, you can use a large bowl or gently cover the cake with plastic wrap. The frosted cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing Cake: I like to freeze individual slices of cake. Wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer container or freezer bag. The slices will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw and enjoy!

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Chocolate Cake

This rich, moist, and decadent layered chocolate cake with smooth chocolate buttercream frosting is the BEST chocolate cake! It's the perfect dessert for birthdays or any celebration!
4.60 from 10 votes

Ingredients
  

For the chocolate cake:

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pans with parchment paper, then spray the pans again. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder, if using.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  • With the stand mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined.
  • Slowly add the hot water and stir just to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Briefly mix again. The batter will be thin and that is ok.
  • Dive the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 22 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes. Remove the cakes from the oven and set them on a wire cooling rack.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. You wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator or freezer. See note.
  • To make the frosting, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and lighter in color, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
  • With the mixer on low, add the confectioner's sugar, 2 cups at a time. You can start with 6 cups and add more later, if necessary. Add the cocoa powder.
  • Pour in 6 tablespoons of heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the melted chocolate. Mix for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. If the consistency of frosting is too thin, gradually add a little more sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add more heavy cream, a teaspoon at a time, until frosting is desired consistency.
  • To assemble the cake, first make sure the cake layers are flat and don't have a rounded dome on top. If they do, carefully level off the top with a sharp serrated knife. You want the cake layers to be as even as possible.
  • Place the first layer bottom side up on a flat plate or cake stand. Using a knife or offset spatula, spread the top of the cake evenly with buttercream. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and spread more buttercream evenly over the top. Repeat with the third layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.
  • Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or chocolate chips, if desired.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the cake into pieces. Serve.

Notes

You can make the cakes in advance. Carefully wrap the cooled cake layers in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the cakes for up to 2 months. Wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Remove the cakes from the freezer about an hour before you plan to decorate so they can mostly thaw out. You don't want the layers to be completely frozen, but chilled cake layers are easier to assemble and frost.
You can use two 9-inch round cake pans to make a two layered cake. You might have extra frosting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 692kcal, Carbohydrates: 91g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 351mg, Potassium: 271mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 73g, Vitamin A: 850IU, Vitamin C: 0.03mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 3mg
Keywords cake, chocolate

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