Triple Chocolate Layer Cake.
My favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe. And it’s the fudgiest!
This is not a Monday post. I wish I could say sorry for sharing this chocolate monstrosity with you today, but I’m not. I mean, look at it. Ain’t she a beaut? Chocolate to the max.
The cake hidden under that fabulous milk chocolate frosting is a mock-devil’s food cake. You know the Devil’s Food chocolate cake you get in a box? I made a homemade version that’s infinitely better. And I know this because I made THREE chocolate cakes this weekend and finally came out with a winner. I only give you the best of the best.
So you have a dark devil’s food chocolate double layer cake with a rich, decadent milk chocolate frosting. It’s a similar milk chocolate frosting that I used for my first Homemade Funfetti Cupcake recipe. I decorated the chocolate layer cake with chocolate in its cutest form – chocolate chips. I chose to use dark chocolate chips as the cake’s decor, but you may decorate the cake however you like.
The chocolate chips kind of looks like little spikes, don’t they? This chocolate cake certainly generated a buzz this morning when I brought it into work. Cake for Monday breakfast? Why not.
Let’s discuss how this cake came to life.
Attempting a chocolate cake three times this weekend, I finally perfected the recipe. Chocolate cake is not something you mess around with. It should be extra moist, rich, decadent, with an honest chocolate taste and a smooth velvety crumb. Today’s recipe embodies all that – and then some.
You’ll need 1 cup (8 oz) of freshly brewed strong black coffee. The cake will NOT taste like coffee. Rather, the coffee will accentuate the chocolate flavor, sort of like how Guinness deepens the chocolate in my Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes (posted on Bed Bath & Beyond’s blog last month). You’ll also need 1 cup (8 oz) of buttermilk. Buttermilk is one of the culprits for how moist the cake’s crumb is. Trust me, you can’t leave it out! Sadly, I know from experience. It’s required for this recipe – the lactic acid present is what will allow the baking soda to react and leaven the cake.
Notice the reddish tint to the cake? That’s where the name Devil’s Food comes from. The baking soda in this recipe reacts with the natural unsweetened cocoa powder, which results in the red hue. Do not use dutch processed cocoa for this recipe.
The fat in this cake? Oil. I’ve mentioned it a lot recently, but I prefer to use oil in certain cake recipes because it makes cakes more moist than butter. I used oil in my Super Moist Carrot Cake recipe (rave reviews from all of you on that). The reason I used oil today and not butter is because I didn’t need a buttery taste in this recipe. This cake’s taste is pure chocolate and the cocoa powder would overtake the butter flavor if I used butter instead of oil anyway. Another moistening agent (besides the buttermilk and oil) are the two eggs. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. Room temperature eggs whisk to a higher volume and ensure the cake batter is emulsified properly and that the cake will rise properly.
How to bring your eggs to room temperature quickly? I always use this trick: Place eggs in a bowl of warm/hot water for 5-10 minutes as you get your other ingredients ready. Easy!
I played around a lot with the flour and sugar ratios in this recipe as well. I settled on equal amounts of both (1 and 3/4 cup), which resulted in the winning recipe. Yes, I had a lot of cake lying around the apartment this weekend.
The frosting? Easy peasy. Softened butter – not cold and not melted in the slightest, 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar, 3/4 cup of cocoa powder, heavy cream (or half-and-half), and salt. The decor? Use whatever you wish! I have a plethora of dark chocolate chips on hand, so I used 1.5 bags to line the cake. Use sprinkles, candy bars, M&Ms, Oreo crumbs or leave the cake plain.
I am in LOVE with this chocolate cake. By far the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten before. And you are getting that from a gal who baked three chocolate cakes this weekend, two chocolate cupcakes last month, and whose favorite dessert was chocolate cake when she was little. If chocolate cake was on the menu (and I was well behaved), I got it for dessert.
Trust me on this: you have to try this recipe. Soft, moist, tender, intensified with chocolate flavor, creamy frosting, velvety smooth texture – everything is working in its favor. This cake is a chocoholics dream!
*If you are making this cake, I strongly urge you to read the text above about why certain ingredients are used and how certain ingredients may not be replaced.
Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
Yield: serves 12
A double layer homemade devil's food chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting and chocolate chips on top. Why do I call it triple chocolate layer cake but only has two layers? Well, chocolate is used three times: chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, chocolate decoration.
Devil's Food Chocolate Layer Cake
- 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk1
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (or canola oil, or melted coconut oil)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature2
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) freshly brewed strong hot coffee3
Milk Chocolate Frosting
- 1.25 cups (2.5 sticks or 290g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3-4 cups (360-480g) confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3-5 Tablespoons (45-75ml) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 15 oz (1.5 bags) chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour two 9 inch round cake pans4, or use non-stick spray. See note about 9x13 pan option.
- Make the cake: Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer on high speed, mix the buttermilk, oil, room temperature eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee. The batter will be VERY thin. This is ok.
- Pour the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes took exactly 24 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.
- Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 2 full minutes. This creates a creamy base for the frosting. Turn speed to LOW and slowly add 3.5 cups of confectioners' sugar and the cocoa powder. Beat until sugar/cocoa are absorbed into the butter, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla and cream. Once added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add up to 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar if you'd like to increase the frosting's thickness. Taste, and add salt to taste.
- Assemble the cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chocolate chips or as desired.
- Make ahead tip: Cake stays fresh, moist, and soft at room temperature (covered) for up to 4 days. Cake can be refrigerated (covered) for up to 7 days. Cake can be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk by measuring 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring glass. Add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) in the same measuring glass to reach 1 cup. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The soured milk will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.
- Cake will not set up properly if using cold eggs. Please see note in the text of the post for a shortcut to bring eggs to room temperature.
- Instead of hot coffee, try hot water or hot chai tea. You can't taste the coffee; it simply brings out more deep chocolate flavor.
- A 9×13 pan will work since it takes approximately same amount of cups of batter as 2 round cake pans. However, I am unsure of the baking time.
Devil's food chocolate cake adapted from Ina Garten
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