Believe me when I tell you this is the BEST Chocolate Cake you will ever make! Moist and fudgy dark chocolate cake layers paired with a rich and silky fudge frosting! Consider this the ultimate cure for when that craving hits!
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Another #Choctoberfest recipe today! I’ve been dying to post a pure chocolate cake recipe for a while now! I’ve used this chocolate cake recipe in my Sundae Birthday Cake and Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake, so I figured it was time for me to create an independent post for the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made!
Just take a look at this cake and tell me you don’t wanna dive face first into its moist and fudgy layers? I wanted the actual cake to be the focus of this recipe, so I kept things simple this time.
There are only two parts to this rich chocolate cake:
- Moist Dark Chocolate Cake
- Fudge Frosting
These 2 components alone will make you feel like you’re in the VIP section of chocolate heaven!
The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe
Before developing this recipe, my chocolate cakes were the typical simple recipe using the same method I use in these chocolate cupcakes. For that method, we just whisk the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together and add some boiling water to moisten the cupcake and deepen the chocolate flavour.
That recipe is great, of course, but I prefer it more as a cupcake or sheet cake recipe, rather than a layer cake. As moist and fluffy as that chocolate cake recipe is, it just isn’t sturdy enough to be a layer cake, in my opinion.
Ok so let’s talk about this upgraded perfect chocolate cake recipe! Start off by creaming the butter and sugar together. This step adds gives the cake its fluffy texture and also provides structure and stability.
You’ll need to beat the butter and sugar for at least 4-5 minutes. The mixture needs to be super fluffy and pale before you move on to the next step. Add the eggs, one at a time, then some sour cream to create a soft and tender crumb.
To enhance the chocolate flavour, I dissolved some instant coffee granules in an equal amount of vanilla. You won’t taste the coffee in the cake, but it does heighten the chocolate so you can leave it out if you want, but I don’t recommend you do.
Next, alternate between adding the dry ingredients in thirds and the buttermilk in 2 parts. I usually stick with adding all regular unsweetened cocoa powder, but this time, to deepen the cholatey-ness even more, I replaced some of the unsweetened coca with black cocoa powder! It also gives the cake layers a super dark and gorgeous appearance!
And feel free to fold in a cup of chocolate chips if you want an even chocolatier cake! P.S. Look how gorgeous this batter is!
How Many Layers Can I Make?
I made 4 layers of the cake, but you can easily cut that down to 3 or 2 thicker layers. There’s no need to change the recipe, just adjust the baking time a bit. The 4 thin layers I made baked for about 25 minutes each, so start with that time, test the doneness. Then if it’s not done continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes until it’s done.
Silky Fudge Frosting
I wanted to pair the decadent cake layers with something light, so instead of making my dreamy chocolate buttercream, I made a silky fudge frosting instead.
To make the frosting, you’ll need 9 simple ingredients:
- Bittersweet chocolate
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Regular unsweetened cocoa powder
- Dutch process OR black cocoa powder
- Hot water
- Sour cream
Start by melting the chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave, then set it aside to cool. Then whip up the butter for at least 5 minutes until it becomes pale and fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered (icing) sugar and both cocoas, then add the hot water, sour cream, vanilla and salt.
The hot water in the frosting has the same role as it does in chocolate cakes, it heightens the chocolate flavour! The sour cream also provides a ton of flavour and makes the frosting super glossy. Finish the frosting off by pouring in all that yummy melted chocolate and you’ve got super silky fudge frosting!
This frosting wasn’t meant to be pipeable, but you can still pipe on a poof border on top of the cake if you’d like. I kept things simple , no crumb coat or anything, just covering the cake in frosting and swirling it with the back of a spoon.
You can also run a straight cake decorating spatula around the sides and on top of the cake, or even use an icing comb to create beautiful designs! For the top of the cake, I added a border of mini chocolate chips because you could never have too much chocolate.
You can top the cake with fresh fruit, though. Fruit and chocolate make such a delicious pairing!
Can this be made into cupcakes?
Absolutely! This cake bakes up flat, which is perfect since it gets rid of the need for trimming, but it shouldn’t matter much as cupcakes. I’m currently testing this recipe as a cupcake recipe I’m sharing soon, so I’ll definitely come back to tell you how it works!
Did you make the Best Chocolate Cake? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating!
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Let’s get baking!
Chocolate Cake Layers:
- 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup black cocoa powder (can substitute with unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 and 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp instant coffee granules
- 2 and 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 12 oz. bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Mini chocolate chips or fresh fruit
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350° F (177°C). Prepare four 8-inch round cake pans with parchment rounds, and grease the sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to combine, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Lower the speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the vanilla and instant coffee granules. Add the sour cream to the batter along with the vanilla coffee mixture and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Alternately add dry ingredients in thirds and buttermilk in 2 additions to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat each addition just until combined. Divide batter equally between the cake pans, a little over 2 cups per pan.
- Bake two layers at a time for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting. Or at this point, you can wrap all the cake layers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate until ready to assemble.
For the Fudge Frosting:
- Put chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. \
- Turn the mixer to low, and gradually add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, along with the cocoa powders.
- Once incorporated, add hot water, sour cream, vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Pour in cooled melted chocolate and mix on low to combine.
- Once the chocolate is combined, increase mixer speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Once cake layers are completely cooled, place one layer on a turntable. Using an offset spatula, spread about 1 cup of the fudge frosting on top. Repeat with all layers, placing the final layer upside down.
- Frost the entire cake in a thick layer of fudge frosting. Use the back of a spoon to create swirls in the frosting. Top with mini chocolate chips of fresh fruit. Enjoy!
- Make ahead: cool cake layers to room temperature, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before continuing with the decorating. Frosting can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and re-whip on high speed for 1-2 minutes before using.
- Amount of Cake Layers: you can divide the entire cake batter between 2 cake pans or 3 to make less and thicker layers. You won’t have to adjust the recipe, but the baking time may be a bit longer so I recommend testing it at the 25 minute mark, then continuing to bake and check every 2-5 minutes if it isn’t done yet.
- Storage: Store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
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Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Decorating Stand, 12" Round, Cast Iron Base with 1/8" Aluminum Top
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red
KANA Parchment Paper Baking Circles - 100 Pre-cut 9 Inch Round Parchment Sheets for Baking Cakes, Cooking, Dutch Oven, Air Fryer, Cheesecakes, Tortilla Press
Wilton Aluminum 8-Inch Round Cake Pan Set, Multipack of 2
Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder 100% Cocoa Extra Brute, 2.2 lb
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