Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

This is my favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe. With a super moist crumb and fudgy, yet light texture, this chocolate cake recipe will be your favorite too. Top with chocolate buttercream and chocolate chips for 3x the chocolate flavor. You can also prepare this chocolate layer cake as a sheet cake too. See recipe note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This is my favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe. With a super moist crumb and fudgy, yet light texture, this chocolate cake recipe will be your favorite too. Top with chocolate buttercream and chocolate chips for 3x the chocolate flavor. You can also prepare this chocolate layer cake as a sheet cake too. See recipe note.


Chocolate Cake

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 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) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (or canola oil, or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) freshly brewed strong hot coffee*

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 1.25 cups (2.5 sticks or 290g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 34 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)*
  • 35 Tablespoons (45-75ml) heavy cream (or half-and-half or milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/23/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • optional for decoration: semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour two 9 inch round cake pans, or use non-stick spray. See note about 9×13 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.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Cocoa Powder: Use unsweetened natural cocoa powder in the cake, not dutch process. Here’s the important difference between natural and dutch process cocoa powder. Since there is no leavening in the frosting, you can use either natural or dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder.
  3. Buttermilk: 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.
  4. Room Temperature Ingredients: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  5. Coffee Alternatives: 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.
  6. 9×13 Inch Pan: You can bake this cake in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Same oven temperature, about 35-40 minutes bake time.
  7. Chocolate Cupcakes: Here is my favorite chocolate cupcakes recipe. Same unbelievable texture as this cake!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Keywords: cake, chocolate cake

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


  1. Hi Sally- For my question, I did look through some of the comments and I found one that possibly answered my question, but I want to make sure.

  2. Sorry- I didn’t finish my above comment. :-/. I need to make (2) 9 x 13 layers and I would love for them to be around 2″ tall, or close to that mark. As Wilton says to add 7 cups of batter to achieve this, would you recommend doubling this recipe (as I think it makes under 5 1/2), or making it individually a few times? Thank you.

      1. Hi Sally! This cake is marvelous. So….I have decided to make 2 10″ rounds instead of the 13×9. Regardless, do you feel that this recipe should be made individually a few times or is this one OK to double? Thank you.

      2. No need to double the recipe for 2 10-inch rounds. This cake will work perfectly as is. The layers will just be a little thinner since it is pictured baked in 9-inch pans.

      3. Thank you Sally. I am just concerned that I won’t have enough with the short height, as I need to serve approx. 23 people. I believe this recipe makes just over 5 cups of batter. Is that correct.?

  3. I love baking, however I’ve never had the guts to bake a real homemade cake before. Let me say, this is by far the best cake I’ve ever eaten. I’m a true chocoholic and this is amazing—Restaurant  quality! The cake itself is not too sweet and the frosting matches perfectly. I will never buy a store-bought cake ever again. I reviewed so many compliments and many asked for the recipe 😉 Thank you for sharing this recipe!!!! 

  4. Hi,
    Is it possible to make a basic  plain sponge cake using oil and buttermilk? Have tried the above recipe with great results. Hence was interested in making a basic sponge cake  with fresh cream icing. Would you please let me know if and how could the above recipe be adapted for a basic sponge cake. Thanks a ton.

  5. Hi Sally, I was planning for my sisters birthday to add your chocolate chip cookie cake as a layer in the middle (since everyone loved it the last time) do you think this would work? 
    Thanks Kate 

  6. Hi Sally, could you please tell me if the above recipe could be adapted to make a plain sponge cake. Plan to bake the cake on Sunday. The above recipe being great, wanted to make a plain sponge using buttermilk and oil. Eagerly awaiting your reply.

  7. Hi!  I just tried this recipe and it is by far the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve found (and I have been searching for a long time!).  I’ve had problems in the past with cake that has a crumby, dry, cornbread like texture but this recipe is incredibly moist, airy, and packs a ton of chocolate flavor.  I used it for cupcakes and I filled the liners 3/4 of the way full and it made 30.  Baked at 350 and they came out perfect after 14 minutes.  For the frosting I used 3 cups of powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream and it came out just how I like it.  This is definitely my new go-to chocolate cake recipe!! XOXO

  8. Love love love this recipe!!! I made cupcakes instead of whole cake and turned out beautifully..they were moist n soft..definitely the best choc cake recipe ive found! Thanks sally n keep baking 🙂

  9. Fabulous Chocolate Cake, another great recipe Sally. I grated in the rind of 2 large oranges and the taste was sensational. Did a 1 layer cake and the rest cupcakes so guests could take some home. Not a big Frosting fan, I am a whipped cream lover. Planning on baking this today with fresh raspberries thrown in and Chambrod liqueur. Raspberry whipped cream would be good with it. Many thanks!

  10. I love this recipe… it was easy to follow and the cake came out super moist and chocolatey… love your recipes! one question.. would you happen to know how heavy this cake is? 

  11. Hi Sally made this cake month ago for my brother’s birthday and it turned out great! so thank you for that. Anyway I was wondering if I can just just one layer cake and put the whole batter the same spring for
     pan as  you use for your carrot cake? would that be big enough? if so what would be the bake time? thanks! 

  12. Another amazing recipe!  I added raspberries to the middle of the cake layers and on top, as well as some white chocolate shavings to the sides to hide my terrible frosting abilities. I should have taken pictures,  however the cake was gone by the time i got around to it. Thanks for helping me make the most amazing girl an awesome birthday cake.

  13. I loved this cake so much! It was the best cake I ever made and my whole family loved it! I added a little bit of heavy whipping cream and to replace 1/4 of the sugar, I used melted chocolate chips. This was a delight! Thank you for publishing this and making my dad’s birthday marvelous <3

  14. Hello Beautiful Sally ! Hope all is well ! I was wondering if you can assist me with a bit of a dilemma i’m in ! I’m looking for a chocolate cake recipe that is sturdy and firm enough to be covering in fondant. My chocolate cakes are usually moist and crumbly… But I’m baking a huge tiered cake and the bottom tier is chocolate and I have yet to find a recipe that makes me feel my cake will be safe because chocolate cakes aren’t as firm as vanilla cakes…
    any advice? Thank you <3

  15. Hi! While looking for chocolate cake recipes to use for my wedding cake, I came across this one and I think it’s a winner! 
    Has anyone tried this with another type of flour, notably cake flour or coconut flour? 

  16. Hi, Sally! My birthday is coming up and I wanted to make this cake. However, I may not bake it in the same size cake pans, so I was wondering if you could tell me how many cups of batter this recipe makes. THANK YOU!!!

  17. Hi Sally! 

    Thank you for the great recipe. May I know how long will this cake keep after assembling and frosting? 🙂 Thank you! 🙂

  18. This. Cake. Is. AMAZING. I can’t get over how delicious it is. Just wanted to drop a line to say thank you for posting it! It is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe!

  19. Hi Sally! I am planning on making this for my husband’s birthday. He specifically requested a “7-layer chocolate cake.” Aren’t layers made by cutting the cakes in half? So how do people get that odd number of layers?

  20. Hi Sally. Will this chocolate cake work for your pinata cake in the 4 layers? Do you know if its strong enough that the top layer wont collapse? We tried both recipes but prefer the taste of this one with the vanilla frosting. Thanks!

    1. Yes, it will– but this batter wouldn’t quite be enough for a 4 layer cake. The layers would be very thin. So, a 3 layer cake from this batter is best for the piñata cake. The bake time will be less since the layers will be thinner than this recipe as pictured.

  21. I made this cake for my son’s birthday. The instructions were easy to follow and the cake was excellent. Very moist. Everyone loved it. 

  22. Hi Sally,
    I am trying to make a 3 layered 8-inch cake?  Should I make 1.5 times this recipe or will 1 serving of this recipe be enough to fill 3 8 inch cake tins.

  23. Does cake get any better than this? My sister and aunt and I made this cake, and everyone was wowed. This chocolate cake is amazing; it is so delicious, sweet, moist, creamy, and chocolatey – it’s perfect. 🙂 Thank you for making this recipe! 

  24. Hi Sally, when I made this cake it cracked on top after I frosted it. Any ideas why this would happen? The cake was amazing otherwise!

  25. Awesome Cake Recipe. I subbed 1 Cup of gluten free AP flour and 3/4 C of coconut flour. This makes for a thicker batter more like cake batter which allows me to put chocolate chips into the batter. I also subbed 1C coconut milk with 1 T of ACV for the buttermilk. Makes an awesome gluten free triple chocolate cake. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Hello Sally,
    I have a quick clarification question. I can have the assembled cake with frosting and all sit overnight in a cake carrier and that would be okay/ kept fresh?

    Thank you!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally