I do not throw around ‘the best’ title, but this chocolate layer cake recipe is more than deserving of it! This is truly the best chocolate layer cake recipe you’ll ever make!!Everyone who has tried this cake has asked for the recipe, and it’s just such a great recipe to have in your recipe box (whether that’s a pinterest board or a list of posts you come back to…this one is definitely one for keeping that will stand the test of time.)
This chocolate layer cake is a labor of love. There are a few steps in it, and it does take a little bit of time for it all to come together.
But the end result…oh my goodness.
I have made fancy layer cakes before (like this chocolate raspberry layer cake or this DIY wedding cake) but I never really had a staple. A recipe for a simple – and omg delicious – chocolate cake that I could make over and over and bring to every occasion.
The ingredients are surprisingly simple, and there’s nothing unusual, so everything can be picked up from the grocery store.
The combination of the simple ingredients takes this chocolate layer cake recipe flavor to the next level.
There’s a layer of thick chocolatey-fudgy fosting in the middle. And then the same chocolatey – fudgy frosting is used on the top and drips down the sides.
I gave my babysitter a piece of it to take home and she came back the next day and exclaimed “this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, in my entire life!” Which is the same response family and friends have said!
Trust me, this cake is worth making!
This cake is a recipe I’ve had and modified for years. I saw a super similar one in Jessica Seinfeld’s latest cookbook: Food Swings: 125+ Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue & Vice (the book was on super sale on Amazon for $8 when I looked this weekend). If you’re doing a double take and the name Seinfeld thinking that name sounds familiar, you’d be right. Jessica Seinfeld is Jerry Seinfeld’s wife! I got her spiral bound cookbook called Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food way back in 2008! I’ve been a fan of hers ever since, her recipes are really good!
The chocolate fudge cake recipe was in the vice section lol. The description is simply “The perfect chocolate cake.” I couldn’t agree more.
The next time you’re going to any sort of party that needs a dessert – or if you’re just in the mood to bake, I’d highly recommend making the best chocolate layer cake recipe…because it truly is the best!!
Other recipes you might enjoy:
- 5 Ingredient Dessert – Chocolate Cake for Two
- 5 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake
- Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies
The best chocolate layer cake recipe you'll ever make!
- For the cake:
- Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or instant espresso granules
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the frosting:
- 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Preheat the oven (with the oven rack in the middle) to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 or 9-inch cake pans (these cake pans are my favorite) with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper (I did this by tracing the bottom of the cake pan on parchment paper and the cutting out the circle and putting it in the bottom of the cake pan. Don't skip this step, it'll really get those cakes out perfectly without sticking to the bottom!)
- For the cake, in a small saucepan, combine the butter and 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon instant coffee over medium heat. Heat until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter mixture. Use an electric mixer on low speed to mix until just combined. On medium speed, mix in the sour cream mixture.
- Dividing evenly, scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Place the pans on a wire cooling rack and let cool for 25 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge of each cake to loosen it from the pan. Then invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool completely.
- For the frosting, put the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream until it is hot. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Now gently whisk until creamy and smooth.
- Scoop out 3/4 of the chocolate mixture into another bowl and set aside the remaining frosting for now Let the 3/4 cup of mixture cool, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until it is spreadable, creamy, and holds its shape.
- Place one cake on a serving plate, bottom side up. Spread the top with the frosting in an even layer all the way to the edge. Top with the other cake, bottom side up.
- If the remaining frosting is still pourable, pour it over the top of the cake and gently spread it around so that it slowly drips over the edge. If the frosting is not pourable, reheat it. Gently reheat the remaining frosting by filling a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and placing over medium heat. Let come to a low simmer. Place the bowl of frosting over the water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Stir until it is melted and pourable. Immediately pour the frosting over the top of the cake.
- With a metal spatula, quickly spread it to evenly cover the top and let the frosting drip down the sides. Once the frosting is set, slice and serve.
This cake lives up to its name in every way… I have been asked for this recipe many times!
Oh my goodness, YAY, best comment ever, thank you for sharing!!!
Kelly Head says
I’d love to make this but I’m in the UK, I need measurements in grams or ounces…. trying to convert online and each site gives a different weight for cups!
I might suggest searching/googling ‘baking conversion chart’ hope that helps
This IS the best chocolate layer cake I have ever made or eaten… and I have given this out countless times !!!
So happy to hear this Karen, thank you so much for the comment!!!
Im not a coffee drinker and know nothing about it. Im confused if you actually Brew the coffee or just use the grounds? Could I just run to McDonald’s and buy a cup of coffee and use a tablespoon of that ..lol?
I love your question! Ok, so the recipe calls for espresso grounds (they’re finer than coffee grounds) and it’s for the grinds themselves to be put in (it essentially brews when you’re adding it with the melted butter). You can either omit that ingredient, or yes, you can add a tablespoon of brewed coffee. It’s a small amount, but it really amps up the chocolate flavor. If using fresh brewed coffee, I’d say to use 2 tablespoons. Hope that helps!
Patty Baker says
What can be confusing is the term, “coffee grounds”. For some that means ground coffee beans that have already been processed with hot water and ready to toss in the garbage can. Perhaps using the term “Instant Coffee” granules or instant espresso powder, might not be as confusing. Hope this helps.
That’s a great suggestion, thank you so much for your feedback!
Is this cake good to use for a tall 2 tier cake?
Yes, I think that would work. It is honestly the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!
I anticipate with glee you your blog entries! May I substitute ground coffee instead of instant coffee granules?
Can’t stand instant coffee, so it’s banned from my home!
Hi Elizabeth, first off, your comment TOTALLY made my day, thank you SO much, that is so sweet of you to say, so happy to have you as a reader!!! YES, you could totally substitute coffee grounds instead of instant coffee. But the way I’d do it is I’d brew a cup of coffee and then use that instead of the cup of water plus instant coffee grinds, that way there is no grinds left over. That’s such a good thing you brought up, that i’m going to go and edit the recipe with this note in case there are other instant coffee haters lol.
shawnna Griffin says
hey girl- this looks so yummy! I love chocolate!
Thank you so much!! This is such a delicious cake 🙂