classic chocolate layer cake

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Here’s to classic chocolate layer cake! This rich and fudgy cake tastes like the best Devil’s food chocolate cake layered with perfect chocolate buttercream frosting. Topped with swirls of buttercream, chocolate cake is perfect for birthdays, the weekend, and any occasion that calls for cake!

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

A variation of my easiest chocolate cupcake recipe, the one-bowl batter comes together in minutes. Whip up the chocolate buttercream frosting, and you’re ready to swirl away!

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

Easy Chocolate Layer Cake

I love this cake recipe because it comes together in minutes! Whisk up the batter in a large bowl, no mixer required. Room temperature eggs, milk, and Greek yogurt ensure an extra moist cake. Boiling water whisked into the batter blooms and dissolves the cocoa for a super rich, Devil’s food chocolate flavor. Instant espresso brings out the chocolate flavor even further (if you’re not a coffee lover, feel free to omit the espresso).

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

Baking Pans

This cake batter is divided between two 8-inch round cake pans for nice layers (and the perfect ratio of cake to buttercream frosting!). For a three-layer cake, divide the batter evenly between three 8-inch round cake pans and bake for 25 to 28 minutes. (Pro tip: For even cake layers, place your cake pans on a scale and weigh each pan as you add the batter.)

This cake can also be baked in 9-inch round cake pans. For a two-layer cake, divide the batter evenly between two 9-inch rounds and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. For a three-layer cake, divide the batter evenly between three 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 17 to 19 minutes.

Sheet Cake

Want a chocolate sheet cake? No problem! Pour the batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and bake for 24 to 26 minutes for an easy chocolate sheet cake!

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Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Author: Laura | Tutti Dolci
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 8-inch cake, serves 12
  • Category: Cake

Description

The BEST recipe for classic chocolate layer cake!


Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp instant espresso
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbsp heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350Β°F and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray.Β Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add sugars, eggs, egg yolk, milk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla to flour mixture; whisk in just until incorporated. Dissolve instant espresso in boiling water; add to batter and whisk in just until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  2. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles.
  3. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until cakes spring back to the touch, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, beat butter and salt in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add sifted cocoa, beating until incorporated. Mix in vanilla. Add powered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until light and airy.
  5. To assemble, place one cake layer on a rotating cake stand. Use an offset spatula to spread about 1 cup frosting over the layer. Add second cake layer and spread about 1 cup frosting over the layer, swirling the frosting generously over the edge of the layer. Use the offset spatula to apply frosting to the sides of the cake while you rotate the cake stand, then use a bench scraper to gently smooth the edges of the cake.
  6. Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

Cake Layers: You can bake this cake in either 2 or 3 layers. For 3 layers, divide batter evenly between two 8-inch round cake pans and bake for 25 to 28 minutes.

9-inch round cake pans:Β For a two-layer cake, divide the batter evenly between two 9-inch rounds and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. For a three-layer cake, divide the batter evenly between three 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 17 to 19 minutes.

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Pour the batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and bake for 24 to 26 minutes.

Instant espresso: I recommend Starbucks VIA

Keywords: Chocolate Cake, Cake, Layer Cake, Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, Chocolate Frosting

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

More chocolate recipes to try:

Caramel Fudge Layer Cake
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cups
Triple Chocolate Brownie Cups
Chocolate Pound Cake

20 comments
  1. My husband was going through withdrawals as I had no chocolate desserts in the house. You’ve come to the rescue with the perfect chocolate cake!

  2. YUM! Beautiful Classic Chocolate Cake, Laura! Love that you used brown sugar and yogurt and that you added espresso powder to enhance the cocoa for a nice, deep chocolate flavor. Cannot wait to try this recipe. Your Fudge Frosting looks divine! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Laura,

    Your chocolate cake looks and sounds like the perfect layer cake that I hope to bake very, VERY soon! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and I can’t wait to let you know how it turned out in my cucina!

    Grazie,
    Roz

  4. This recipe was very quick and simple to make, and was extremely luscious and delicious. I quickly made it after I put my infant to bed (I mention this, because it shows how simple it is!). It is the perfect specimen for chocolate cake with chocolate icing! I made it as a 9×13 cake and added Fancy Sprinkles on the top once it was frosted. It is a very rich cake, which is what I loved about it: moist, fluffy, fudge, chocolatey, I could go on and on! 100% recommend

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