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.

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.

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 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!

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. 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.

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

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

Print Recipe

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


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour two 9 inch round cake pans4, or use non-stick spray. See note about 9x13 pan option.
  2. Make 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Additional Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

© 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.


Do you like chocolate? Is that even a question? Chocoholics unite!

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See all of my chocolate recipes.

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





615 Responses to “Triple Chocolate Layer Cake.”

  1. #
    Michelleposted April 2, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Hi Sally, Is it okay to use 8” pans, I don’t have 9” pans. Also if i do use the 8″ does the baking time differ?
    Thanks :)


  2. #
    Pennyposted April 7, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I made this cake for my daighter’s 6th birthday party. She loved it!!! The only thing I changed was that I used the milk chocolate frosting in between the layers, and made some simple whipped cream frosting for the outside to eliminate some of that decadence for the kids lol. Every component of this cake was pure heaven. So good!!!! And it is still moist and delicious the next day, after a night in the fridge. Definitely my go-to chocolate cake recipe from now on!!!!!!!!


  3. #
    Kwaevyonnposted April 12, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Made this cake today as 12 cupcakes and one 8 in round (I only have one cupcake pan). Didn’t use the chocolate frosting recipe as my family doesn’t like things too sweet so I paired it with a light whipped cream frosting…super yummy and really highlighted the taste of the chocolate cake.


  4. #
    Joanneposted April 14, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    i made this cake today & it was awesome. My 5 yr old snarfed the whole thing! He usually just eats the icing or 2 bites and is done.


  5. #
    Andreaposted April 14, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Hello Its ok if i replace dthe oil for butter?


  6. #
    juliaposted April 16, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Hi Sally,
    First just let me say that I love your recepies!! And this cake in particular was a big hit on my daughters 1st birthday!!
    Im about to the bake this one again but I have now a 26cm round baking tray. Which is bigger than the used on the recepie, how can I make a bit more batter so it is still nice and “high”.
    Thank you so much. 😉


  7. #
    Teganposted April 22, 2015 at 7:56 am

    hey sally, i just made this cake today for a birthday . . . and as always ur recipe was super tasty!! I love everything u share, and every one of ur recipes i have made have always been delicious.
    Thanks so much


  8. #
    abeer nomaniposted April 23, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Hey sally is it OK if I replace the sugar with brown sugar? Will it make a difference?


  9. #
    abeer nomaniposted April 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Each one of your recipes is mindblowing. You’re such a genius! I absolutely love your blog Xoxoxo


  10. #
    Veebohposted April 28, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Absolutely divine! best cake I have ever made and eaten! you are a genius!


  11. #
    serenaposted April 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I don’t usually leave comments on recipes but I was compelled to this time. This chocolate cake is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten in my life. Thanks for posting this! Will never use another recipe again!


    • Albitareplied on May 22nd, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      The same here Serera ! Definitely the best cake EVER!


  12. #
    Sabahposted May 9, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Hi Sally. Loved ur brownie recipe. So I decided to try this one. However I do not have baking soda. Is there any substitute for it ?


  13. #
    vanessaposted May 21, 2015 at 6:00 am

    hi sally! how much batter do you think i need for a 3 layer chocolate cake of urs? and baking time? 


  14. #
    Albitaposted May 22, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    This is by far the BEST FROM SCRATCH chocolate cake I’ve ever bake!!! Sooo moist and sooo chocolaty Im in love with this recipe!!!


  15. #
    concettinaposted May 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

    made this for my daughter that is a big chocolate lover and it was the best thing ever..defiantly the only chocolate cake recipe that ill use from now on.


  16. #
    D Pittposted May 25, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    My daughter and I made this cake. It was good and chocolaty but not very sweet. The chocolate frosting could be a bit sweeter. 


  17. #
    marposted May 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Best chocolate cake ever. I made 2 9 by 13 inch cakes (added 10 min to bake time) because I needed more servings. Everyone loved it. It was moist and chocolatey. I added Coffee to the frosting too. Saving the recipe for sure.


  18. #
    Rebeccaposted May 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

    OMG!!!  This cake is amazing.  I made it for my Mom’s Bday.  Huge Hit.  I should have made two cakes.  Thank You!!


  19. #
    Olivia Marcinoposted May 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Hey Sally! Happy happy birthday! I just wanted to say that I check your blog every single day, and you have definitely inspired me and made me a better baker, so thank you so much! Anyway, if i were to use 8 inch pans instead of 9 inch pans and just made a 3 layer cake, would the baking time differ? Thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on May 28th, 2015 at 7:54 am

      The baking time would be only slightly longer. Thank you for the bday wishes!


  20. #
    Courtneyposted May 28, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I just made this for a friend’s birthday and it was a huge hit! This is the fourth or fifth recipe of yours I’ve tried and each comes out better than the last. Thank you for such a clear, easy to follow recipe and the beautiful pictures! I made my own buttermilk and used hot water because I had no coffee in the house and it came out beautifully! I found that about a half teaspoon of salt was perfect in the frosting. Thank you so much!


  21. #
    Romzsposted May 29, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Hi Sally! Do you think this cake would hold up when covered with fondant?


  22. #
    Rhondaposted June 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Its been an hr and my cake is still soft what’s going on????


  23. #
    Jenny Cantrellposted June 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Hey Sally!  This is my go to recipe when making my kids birthday cakes.  Love it!  I will be using the chocolate frosting  but I also need to have a white buttercream icing that I can add a natural green powder to so I can pipe grass around the cake.  My son wants a Minecraft cake!  Do you have a good buttercream icing recipe foe piping?  I only have a handheld mixer. 


  24. #
    Ashleyposted June 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Hello:) I was wondering if I could make this cake in a large cupcake pan! I’m trying to make my daughters birthday cake but would like something more fun! Thank you :) 


    • Sallyreplied on June 13th, 2015 at 9:09 am

      If the cupcake pan holds the same amount of batter as two 9-inch cake pans or a 9×13 cake pan, it should be just fine!


  25. #
    Kayleighposted June 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Hi Sally,

    I only have one deep 9″ pan, so would half the batter be okay to sit on the side whilst the other half cooks? Or would I be able to just put it all in the pan and cook at a lower temperature for longer?


    • Sallyreplied on June 17th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      I would just bake one layer at a time and let the other half of the batter sit at room temperature.


  26. #
    Tessaposted June 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    thanks for this recipe. I saw it on Pinterest and just made it tonight. Soooo delicious! I subscribed to your email list and can’t wait to read, bake, and taste more yummy creations. 


  27. #
    Jenniposted June 21, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    This chocolate cake was soo perfectly moist and delicious! I made it for my 21st birthday yesterday but filled it with chocolate chip cookie dough. Everyone loved it! Thanks so much for the recipe!


  28. #
    Kristinposted June 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Sally!!! I am making my grandma’s 80th birthday cake which will have six layers. I am using 6×2″, 8×2″, and 10×2″ pans. How do you suggest I make this recipe for the 10×2″ so that it is still 2″ thick like the others? Thank you for all that you do! I can honestly say I get on your website AT LEAST once a day! Hope to meet you on your book tour!! :)


    • Sallyreplied on June 25th, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Hey Kristin! Here’s something I do when I’m nervous I won’t have enough cake batter for certain pans: I make two batches of the batter. So, make this cake batter and then make it again (or you can double the recipe). Then, fill your cake pans evenly. If you have extra batter, make some cupcakes (about 20 minutes bake time for cupcakes). Enjoy!


  29. #
    Mistyposted June 28, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    This is my new go-to everything cake!  It’s absolutely amazing!


  30. #
    Zuzanaposted June 29, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Sally, I love your recipes! I’m looking for a cake recipe for my son’s birthday and I want to make a chocolate- berries type of cake. But I love this recipe! Do you think I could add some berries to the frosting in between the layers and also for decoration? Thanks! Zuzana


    • Sallyreplied on June 29th, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Absolutely! I think raspberries or strawberries would be wonderful.


  31. #
    Triciaposted July 7, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Hi Sally! I recently just found your website and have been using it nonstop; however, this is my first comment. I made this cake and instead of the frosting I made a nutella ‘sauce’ with just evaporated milk and nutella. Now, my dad usually loves my baking, but he always has something to say..”too much sugar”,”too cakey”, “too chewy”,”its okay..” This is the first dessert where he has nothing to say but “I want this as my birthday cake until the day I die!”

    Thank you for your recipes and tips!! Trust me, it is greatly appreciated in this family!!


  32. #
    Robbieposted July 9, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Hi Sally, quick question – once baked, can the cake layers be kept in the fridge overnight and then assembled the following morning?     Love the site and all its deliciousness


    • Sallyreplied on July 10th, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Absolutely! I usually keep them covered tightly at room temperature instead of in the fridge.


  33. #
    Summer Morningposted July 13, 2015 at 12:34 am

    I bake once a year, for my fiance’s birthday, that’s it. This cake is what I bake, and this recipe is so wonderful even I don’t mess it up.


  34. #
    Jeanette Linkposted July 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Do you think this would work out if I used gluten free flour?


    • Jeanette Linkreplied on July 15th, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      I went ahead and made it with the gluten free four. Right now the cakes are over flowing and after 25 minutes are still very under cooked, even thought I measured out the ingredients correctly. :(


  35. #
    Prathiposted July 23, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Perfect recipe but I’m bit confused with the amount. All purpose flour and sugar are given same amount as 1 and 3/4 cups but gm are different  220 and 350.  Also assuming 1 cup as 200 gm, the cocoa powder amount is 3/4 cup ie 150 gm but it’s given as 65 gm. Am I getting it completely wrong??


  36. #
    Tatyanaposted July 24, 2015 at 9:08 am

    This is my first time making a chocolate cake from scratch and it turned out to be my favorite! Took it to a birthday party and everyone loved it! 


  37. #
    Najiaposted July 27, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Hey Sally, every singleast recipe that I’ve made of yours have been nothing but a success. I was reading step 3, and noticed it’s just a 2 step process. Mix the wet ingredients then mix the dry into the wet. Could I just use a big mixing bowl and a wisk?


  38. #
    Michelle carrollposted July 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Hi have u got recipe for toffee flavoured sponge cake please 


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