Triple Chocolate Layer Cake.

My favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe. And it’s the fudgiest! 

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

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.

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

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.

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

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.

Don’t have buttermilk?  You can make your own.  Measure 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 cup.  Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes.  The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

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 unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT dutch processed), 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 your cake will rise properly. The warmer temperature of the eggs will also allow them to be dispensed evenly when mixed with the other wet ingredients.

*Using cold eggs will ruin your cake.

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!

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

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.  2.5 sticks of softened butter – not cold and not melted in the slightest, 4 cups of powdered sugar, 3/4 cup of cocoa powder, heavy cream (or half-and-half), and salt.  Start by creaming the butter for a good 3-4 minutes with your hand mixer or stand mixer.  Luckily, I’m giving a stand mixer away right now!  Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3/4 cup of cocoa.  Add 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.  Add more heavy cream is the mixture is too thick. Add more cocoa powder if the mixture is too buttery tasting. Add salt if the mixture is too sweet.

The frosting recipe is very forgiving; add more/less of each ingredient to obtain the consistency and taste you desire. 

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

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! 

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever!

*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.


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Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

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.

Yield: Serves 12


Devil's Food Chocolate Layer Cake

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (350 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil (or canola oil, or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) freshly brewed strong hot coffee

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 1.25 cups (2.5 sticks or 290 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3-4 cups (360-480 grams) powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-5 Tablespoons (45-75 ml) 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


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour two 9 inch round cake pans, or use non-stick spray.
  2. For the cake: Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. For the frosting: Cream the butter with a hand mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. This will create a nice creamy base for the frosting. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3/4 cup of cocoa powder. Mix on low. Add 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. If your frosting is too thin, add up to 1 more cup of powdered sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add up to 2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Add at least 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Taste the frosting and add more salt if the frosting is too sweet. Add more cocoa powder if the frosting is not chocolate-y enough. _Frosting recipe is forgiving. Add more/less of each ingredient to obtain the consistency and taste you desire._
  6. 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.
  7. Cake stays fresh, moist, and soft at room temperature (covered) for up to 4 days. Cake may be refrigerated (covered) for up to 7 days.

*Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You may make your own buttermilk at home 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 homemade “buttermilk” 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.


Cake adapted from Ina Garten, frosting by

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


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451 Responses to “Triple Chocolate Layer Cake.”

  1. #
    Eileenposted April 11, 2014 at 4:16 am

    Hi Sally, it’s me again… successfully baked your very vanilla cupcakes and it’s a hit! My family loves it. Now, I’m planning to bake this Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. However, I have a few questions and hope you could advise me.

    1) If I only have 1 cake pan, can I bake one layer at a time and keep the balance batter in fridge till it’s ready for baking?

    2) Or can I just put everything into one cake pan and sliced it into halves when it’s cooled?

    Happy to take on any suggestion if you have any. Thanks.


    • Sallyreplied on April 11th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Eileen! I would just bake the cake one layer at a time – and yes, keep the batter in the refrigerator in between. Love those vanilla cupcakes. So happy you and your family do too! Enjoy this cake.


  2. #
    Candaceposted April 12, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Hi there! I wanted to make this cake for my brother’s graduation celebration and I was wondering if it’s ok to use dutch processed cocoa. I know regular cocoa reacts with baking soda to get the red tint, but CAN I use dutch processed? Thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on April 13th, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      No, you cannot. This recipe is developed for natural.


  3. #
    Adelineposted April 14, 2014 at 10:58 am


    I really love this recipe & tried out a few times with a few glitches, don’t know where I’ve gone wrong.

    Hence, I would like clarify the step (3) which I combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs & vanilla. How long will I need to beat this with a mixer? What kind of consistency should I be looking for?


    • Sallyreplied on April 14th, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Simply mix until combined – takes about 20-25 seconds.


  4. #
    Maryposted April 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I made the Triple Chocolate Cake—only I made cupcakes instead of a cake. They were fabulous! I sent some to work with my husband and every the office “foodie” loved them!!


  5. #
    Maleehaposted April 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Would it make a difference if I don’t add eggs to this ?


  6. #
    Meriamposted April 19, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I made this cake and I loved it! and so did my family :) I was wondering however can I make them into cupcakes instead?
    Thanks :D


    • Sallyreplied on April 20th, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Definitely! I believe the baking time is around 18 minutes.


      • Meriamreplied on April 21st, 2014 at 7:49 am

        Alright thanks Sally! I will be making them to raise money for a youth program so they will be going to a good cause :) thanks again :D

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