Last Updated on July 17, 2021 by laurenpacek
Is there such a thing as a perfect chocolate cake?
This chocolate layer cake is (dare I say) perfect. It's moist, perfectly chocolatey, and not overly sweet. Hands down, it is my all-time favorite. Any time I make a chocolate cake (or cupcakes), I use this recipe.
Chocaholics, look no further
This cake is perfect for the chocaholic in your life. My husband is a serious chocolate-lover. I made this cake for his birthday one year and he. loved it.
I highly recommend that you make it next time you need a chocolate fix. You won't regret it.
The recipe is pretty versatile, too!
This chocolate layer cake recipe is fairly versatile, too. Though I used regular cocoa powder in this rendition, you can definitely use dark, too. Want to toss some mini chocolate chips in there for texture? Do it.
What inspired this recipe?
These recipes come from Joy Wilson's new cookbook, Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats.
For the chocolate cake
- 3 cups cake flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 16 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups buttermilk
For the chocolate buttercream frosting
- 48 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (see notes)
- 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6-8 cups powdered sugar
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 4-6 tbsp milk/heavy cream
To make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9-inch round baking pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper (trace the pan and cut out the circle) and grease the sides. Set the pans aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a minute or so after adding each egg. Add the vanilla extract.
- Lower the speed of the mixer to low, add half of the flour mixture, and beat until it is well-incorporated. Slowly stream in the buttermilk until it is all combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until it is just combined. Finish stirring everything with a spatula, if necessary.
- Divide the batter between the 3 pans. I recommend using a small kitchen scale to weigh the pans to ensure even amounts of batter in each.
- Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted into the center. Rotate the pans about halfway through to ensure even baking.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to finish cooling completely.
- You can double-wrap the cakes in plastic wrap or foil and store them in the freezer if you aren't going to frost them immediately.
To make the chocolate buttercream
- Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat it on medium for about 1 minute.
- While the butter is being beaten, whisk together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
- Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar/cocoa powder mixture, the kosher salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated.
- Add another 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat on low speed, and add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar as needed to thicken the frosting. Use the milk/heavy cream to thin things out as needed and the remaining cups of powdered sugar to thicken if needed.
- Once the frosting is as stiff as you’d like it to be, beat it on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.
- Frost the completely cooled cakes however you'd like. I went with rosettes all over.
- I can't recommend this Homemade Pan Release from I Am Baker highly enough. It's easy to make, lasts in the fridge for like 6 months, and works so, so well.
- You can use this cake recipe to make cupcakes, too. It makes like 2.5-3 dozen cupcakes, depending on how full you fill up the cupcake liners.
- Yes, this is an obscene amount of butter. But if you're planning to decorate the cake with rosettes, like I did, you're going to need it.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2708Total Fat: 67gSaturated Fat: 40gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 732mgCarbohydrates: 528gFiber: 4gSugar: 480gProtein: 12g
What gear should I have on hand to make this recipe?
- Joy the Baker's 2nd cookbook, for sure
- 9-inch round cake pans
- Spatulas, measuring cups, and measuring spoons