chocolate-chocolate-cake-final-3Chocolate on chocolate is the most classic cake I’ve made yet, but also one of my favorites for its rich flavor and timeless recipe. It’s perfect with a glass of milk, or cabernet sauvignon if you’re feeling grown up. This chocolate chocolate cake the one of the only dairy-containing cakes I’ve made in the last couple of years (here is the other one) so starting out I was quite nervous I would botch this up given me being relatively out of practice working with dairy products.

Thankfully this cake reminded me that I love all things creamy whether dairy or not, and creamy things are actually pretty similar all around. There are still some desserts that can only be made well with dairy products, in particular whipped cream frosting – I tried whipping coconut cream two weeks ago and it the cream melts expeditiously fast compared to regular whipped cream making it impossible to pipe neatly or even frost if you actually wanted it to decorate a cake. There are also a number of faux heavy creams that claim to be “dairy free” like Pastry Pride and Buttercream (both avail only at Smart & Final) and do taste like regular whipped cream once whipped, but there is actually dairy derivatives if you read the ingredients label carefully (eg sodium caseinate) ! Perhaps a more fitting name for these faux whip creams is “lactose free whipped cream”  instead of “dairy free.”

non dairy faux whip cream, actually have dairy!!ingredients list pastry pride

The top of this cake is decorated with lindt chocolates sliced in two, and with the extra frosting I made three frosting trees in the back. I just happened to have sugar eyes I got from my local cake decorating store, and it was certainly on my mind to stick them on to make the poo emoji! But that seemed kind of inappropriate for such a timeless cake. Though the idea is planted, and I think some poop emoji cupcakes are in order soon.

When making this cake I experimented with not using a parchment paper round to line the cake pan before pouring in the batter. For some people this works well (they probably were more generous when buttering the pan than I was), but for me it actually took off the top centers of my cake (see fourth picture below) and I had to scrape the stuck part off the pan and press it back into the hole to make the cake whole again. Since the cake is moist, it wasn’t hard to press the stuck part back and seal it with frosting, but next time I will use parchment rounds again so my cakes slide right out of the pan.


This is the crumb coat (Below). It seals in the crumbs and doesn’t need to look nicely frosted. You will go over it again with the final coat.


Now that the final coat of frosting is on the chilled crumb coated cake, it looks much smoother!


Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe makes a three layer, 8 inch diameter cake. It feeds 16 people if one person eats once slice.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
3 layer cake
  • 3 sticks butter (each stick has 8 tablespoons)
  • 6 heaping tablespoons of coca
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups boiling H2O
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 whole eggs beaten, room temp
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 tablespoons melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Use your 8 inch cake pan to trace out circles on parchment paper, one for each of the pans ( 3 total)
  3. Rub butter on the inside of each cake pan (don't forget the walls). Put in the parchment round. Re-butter the parchment round, then dust off the inside of the pan with cocoa powder so the entire inside is covered in a light layer of cocoa powder.
  4. In your largest mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Boil some H2O as you do the next step (I used an electric tea kettle so I can set it to boil and go do the next thing, but stovetop works too)
  5. In a pot, melt the butter in your microwave, then add cocoa powder. Now add boiling H2O and let the mixture of water and butter boil 30 seconds. Then turn off the heat and remove from the burner.
  6. Pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture, and mix well. Let cool a few minutes.
  7. In a third mixing bowl, beat eggs, then add buttermilk, vanilla, and baking soda Mix well. Pour this mixture into the butter+flour mixture. Mix well.
  8. Pour batter evenly divided into three pans. I used a 1 cup size measuring cup to do one cup at a time, and doing each of the three pans before adding the second cup, to make sure each pan got about the same amount of batter.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes. Start checking at 20 minuets by inserting a toothpick or small knife into the center of the cake and seeing if it comes out clean. If clean, stop baking.
  10. Cool on cooling racks completely.
  11. Remove the cake from the cake pan by dumping it on a flat surface (cutting board works). Since you put parchment on the bottom it should come out easily without sticking to the bottom, and the parchment will peal easily off the bottom.
  1. Cube the butter and then melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave. Stilr to mix well. Let cool a few minutes.
  2. Blend in sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix till well combined.
  3. Sift (yes make sure you sift for the smoothest frosting!) in powdered sugar. If you want softer frosting add 5 cups instead of 5 and ½ cups. I chose to do the full 5 and ½ cups in order for the frosting designs to stay in place.
  1. Use a cake leveler, flat long knife, or even a piece of floss, to slice the rounded part off your cake (like the muffin top of the cake).
  2. Put 3 tablespoons frosting on your 8 inch diameter cake board and smear till flat on board. Then place the first layer of cake, cut side facing down to the board.
  3. Add frosting on top (about ¾ up), and then add your second layer. Repeat for your third layer of cake. The last piece of cake goes bottom up (the side that was in the pan faces up, because it has less crumbs and is easier to frost)
  4. Crumb coat the cake by applying a thin layer of frosting all over to seal in the cake. Refrigerate 20 min for the frosting to harden and seal in crumbs.
  5. Now frost the remainder of your cake, starting at the top and working down the sides. For this step I like to use a small angled spatula for the top, a large flat spatula and large angled spatula for the sides. Then I like to go over the cake with a cake scraper (make sure you get a plastic one instead of a metal one) for ultimate smoothness of frosting. If the frosting gets kind of hard while you frost (due to exposure to air), you can re-beat it with your electric mixer for 30 seconds. You should also dip the spatula in warm water in between frosts to clean the spatula and so that the heat on the metal will melt frosting as it goes to create the smoothest finish.
  6. After you frost use a large closed star tip to pipe swirls along the sides on the bottom and top of the cake. For the top I like to dreate one flat swirl and taper the edge along the side of the cake.
  7. Now take the same tip an pipe three "trees" by applying pressure long enough to create a "tree" with frosting and lifting off for the tip.
  8. Decorate with small sugar balls and medium size sugar balls. Finish off with some silver stars and Halved lindt chocolate for the finished look
This cake is essentially a combination of the Big Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe by Ree Drummond for the cake base, and the chocolate frosting recipe from Sandy's chocolate cake recipe. I made a few changes here and there, and the measurements have been adjusted for a 3 layer, 8 inch cake.

Images of pastry pride, bettercream in this post are courtesy of google images. 1, 2, 3



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