Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

Bake my super moist chocolate cupcakes next!

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

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. Just watch:

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. You’ll also need 1 cup (8 oz) of buttermilk. Buttermilk helps achieve that moist crumb. Trust me, you can’t leave it out! Additionally, the lactic acid present is what will allow the baking soda to react and leaven the cake. It’s quite important!

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 process cocoa for this recipe.

The fat in this cake? Oil. 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. Also, 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? Place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes as you get your other ingredients ready. Easy!

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake. The fudgiest homemade chocolate cake ever! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

MORE chocolate cakes to love:

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened natural 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 pure 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 pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • optional for decoration: 15 oz (1.5 bags) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  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.

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.

Recipe 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. You can bake this cake in a 9x13 inch baking pan. Same oven temperature, about 35-40 minutes bake time.

Devil's food chocolate cake adapted from Ina Garten

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© 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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There’s plenty more where this came from! See all of my chocolate recipes.

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

661 Comments

Comments

  1. Naomi on December 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I have to say this, I fall in love with this recipe, and I tried it and it deflated (KEEP READING PLEASE), so I was so dissapointed. I read almost all the comments none of them said that it deflated. I bake cakes from scratch quite often. So I went again, read the instructions, I followed them to the t’s. After scratching my head for a while I discovered that I use the wrong recipe from another Site that has a similar name. 🙁 ohhhh welll. I will try yours this coming weekend. : -) thanks for all your recipes, great ones always!

  2. Bianca on December 29, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Does this work well as a cupcake recipe? I have used this recipe twice before and we absolutely love it but i am looking to make these as cupcakes for my son’s 6th birthday, as he requested. 

    • Liz on June 4, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      did you try this? how did it go? looking to do it this weekend @bianca!

      • Stephanie on June 6, 2018 at 11:12 pm

        I’ve made this recipe as cupcakes many times, they always turn out great! Just watch the time because the cooking time is a little different.



  3. Sharon on December 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I love this recipe. I have made it almost a dozen times and it is my go to chocolate cake, but every single time I have made it, the center has fallen. Every. Single. Time. Do you have any suggestions on making the center not fall?

  4. Leighton on May 16, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    I LOVE this recipe! Always a big hit. It really is so chocolatey and moist. I’m planning on making a multi-tiered cake and wondering if I can double this recipe?

    • Sally on May 17, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Hi Leighton! You can double the recipe, but I suggest making two separate batches. It’s safer to work with less batter at a time. More batter risks over or under-mixing, spelling disaster for the baked cakes!

  5. Laura on May 18, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Hello, this recipe looks delicious. I was wondering if there would be any way to adapt this recipe to fit a 2lb loaf tin? Thanks, Laura

  6. Meredith on May 26, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I’m not typically one to leave neither a comment nor a review, however, I LOVE this recipe!!!
    I’ve now made this recipe half a dozen times – all without fail – and every time, it’s been a huge hit. Although I can slightly taste the coffee, even the coffee haters in my family and group of friends become infatuated with this cake; I have a family member who absolutely despises cake, and he ate 1/4 of it.
    A few things I would like to mention is that I don’t use the chocolate icing attached to the recipe. Instead, I make a cream cheese buttercream because it is a family favorite. Also, I’ve recently used this recipe for a birthday party and made cupcakes rather than a tiered cake. They turned out equally as yummy, light, and rose beautifully. I baked them for the same 350 degrees, but shortened the time to 15-20 minutes.

    Rating: 5
  7. Madeline on May 29, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Has anyone made this in 6″ layer pans?? Does the recipe make 2 or 3 of these size layers?? Thanks – want to make a 6″ cake for our family to have right after my daughter’s high school graduation.

  8. Pamela Luna on May 30, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Hello Sally,
    I must tell you that this recipe has been a success among my family and friends. I baked this recipe 4 times in a 8 inch x 3 inch round pan cake, and everything went well. I wanted to know if I can bake this recipe in a 10 inch x 3 inch round pan cake, or do I need to prepare more dough?
    Thank you.

    • Sally on May 31, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Hi Pamela! For the best results, I recommend making the batter twice and filling your pans halfway. You can use any extra batter for cupcakes.

  9. Tracy on May 31, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    This recipe is fantastic! I’ve made it several times and people always rave about it! Can the frosting be made in advance? If so, how should it be stored? Thanks!

  10. Krista on May 31, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I’ve made it several times for cake and cupcakes. The only challenge I’m having is that it always deflates and looks “montainess” after it cools (for both cake and cupcakes). Do you know how I can prevent that? I follow the recipe to a T.

  11. Leah Rosenberg on June 1, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Sally, this is seriously the most delicious chocolate cake!! Your recipes are always my go to, because I know I can trust everything will turn out just as I expect it to. This cake is incredibly fudgy and moist. Perfect amount of chocolate flavor.

    Thank you for sharing your passion and talent with us!

  12. Joyce on June 2, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Would this freeze well to be thawed and assembled next week, Sally? I have a lot to, including baking at least 2 batches if your Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes, so every bit helps. Would I be able to freeze those cupcakes too? If so, how should I store them?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Yes of course! The baked cake (layers or assembled!) freeze beautifully. Thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter. When I freeze cupcakes, I like to wrap each individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place in a large ziplock bag. Wrapping each individually is optional, but it does help protect from freezer burn.

  13. Seema on June 5, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Sally, I made this cake and it was awesome but the top of the cakes are very sticky, can you help with what would hv gone wrong? Also would this cake pair well with plain chocokate ganache? Or would you suggest some other cake to go with ganache filling and frosting?

    • Sally on June 5, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Did you spray the pans before making the cake? Perhaps it was just too much spray that caused them to be sticky. You can certainly frost it with ganache if you want a super chocolatey dessert!

  14. Elena Ramirez on June 14, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Is there a reason you used all-purpose flour and not cake flour for this recipe?

    I made your strawberry and yellow cakes the last couple of days and they were excellent. I’m trying out new recipes for a wedding cake I’m making in a couple of weeks. Do you have any advice or tips for mixing large batches (largest tier will be 14″)?

  15. Julia on June 17, 2018 at 2:46 am

    Hey Sally, I haven’t tried your recipe yet (but I’m planning to) but it looks and sound AMAZING!!!
    I have a suggestion for a cake kinda like this. I think you should make chocolate strawberry frosting cake. The cake can be chocolate with chopped strawberries and the frosting is strawberry and it is all covered with strawberry frosting so it looks like a strawberry cake but SUPRISE! It’s chocolate cake! I think it would be a combo of you triple chocolate layer cake and your homemade strawberry cake.
    Thanks for taking your time reading my comment!

Reviews

  1. Meredith on May 26, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I’m not typically one to leave neither a comment nor a review, however, I LOVE this recipe!!!
    I’ve now made this recipe half a dozen times – all without fail – and every time, it’s been a huge hit. Although I can slightly taste the coffee, even the coffee haters in my family and group of friends become infatuated with this cake; I have a family member who absolutely despises cake, and he ate 1/4 of it.
    A few things I would like to mention is that I don’t use the chocolate icing attached to the recipe. Instead, I make a cream cheese buttercream because it is a family favorite. Also, I’ve recently used this recipe for a birthday party and made cupcakes rather than a tiered cake. They turned out equally as yummy, light, and rose beautifully. I baked them for the same 350 degrees, but shortened the time to 15-20 minutes.

    Rating: 5

Questions

  1. Leighton on May 16, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    I LOVE this recipe! Always a big hit. It really is so chocolatey and moist. I’m planning on making a multi-tiered cake and wondering if I can double this recipe?

    • Sally on May 17, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Hi Leighton! You can double the recipe, but I suggest making two separate batches. It’s safer to work with less batter at a time. More batter risks over or under-mixing, spelling disaster for the baked cakes!

  2. Pamela Luna on May 30, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Hello Sally,
    I must tell you that this recipe has been a success among my family and friends. I baked this recipe 4 times in a 8 inch x 3 inch round pan cake, and everything went well. I wanted to know if I can bake this recipe in a 10 inch x 3 inch round pan cake, or do I need to prepare more dough?
    Thank you.

    • Sally on May 31, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Hi Pamela! For the best results, I recommend making the batter twice and filling your pans halfway. You can use any extra batter for cupcakes.

  3. Joyce on June 2, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Would this freeze well to be thawed and assembled next week, Sally? I have a lot to, including baking at least 2 batches if your Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes, so every bit helps. Would I be able to freeze those cupcakes too? If so, how should I store them?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Yes of course! The baked cake (layers or assembled!) freeze beautifully. Thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter. When I freeze cupcakes, I like to wrap each individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place in a large ziplock bag. Wrapping each individually is optional, but it does help protect from freezer burn.

  4. Elena Ramirez on June 14, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Is there a reason you used all-purpose flour and not cake flour for this recipe?

    I made your strawberry and yellow cakes the last couple of days and they were excellent. I’m trying out new recipes for a wedding cake I’m making in a couple of weeks. Do you have any advice or tips for mixing large batches (largest tier will be 14″)?

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