Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake

This recipe is my new favourite chocolate cake recipe. Chocolate cake with mousse-like chocolate frosting and dark chocolate ganache drizzled on top. I think I’ll tweak the recipe a little further but it’s pretty darn good just the way it is.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.


For the classic chocolate cake

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1  ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

For the chocolate frosting

180 grams dark chocolate, chopped
180 grams milk chocolate, chopped
1  ½ cups heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup or golden syrup
1  ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, chopped into 1 inch pieces

For the chocolate glaze

180 grams good quality (60-72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2 inch pieces


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 ¼ cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture. Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Make the chocolate frosting

Place the chopped chocolate and milk chocolate in the bowl of am electric mixer. In a small saucepan bring cream and syrup to the boil, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, gradually add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth. Chill frosting for a few minutes until it can hold its shape.

To assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help you keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.) Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm it up.

Make the chocolate glaze

Place the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the glaze to release excess heat. Cool until it is still pourable but not hot to the touch. Otherwise you may melt your frosting right off your cake. Drizzle glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake about 15 minutes to set the glaze before serving.

Glaze the cake

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet. Slowly pour about 3/4 of a cup of the glaze over the cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the glaze. Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake. It should run down the sides in thick streams. You should be able to control the size and length of the streams by the pour. Feel free to experiment, and have no fear in playing around. This is the fun part, and there is no right or wrong way. Chill the entire cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until glaze is set, then transfer to a cake plate. Serve at room temperature.

The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature for up to 3 days


Filed under Cake, Chocolate, Recipe

37 Responses to Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake

  1. That looks amazing – whenever I make layer cakes I end up with a “leaning tower of piza” effect :/ yours is beautifully shaped

    • katiec

      Hi there,
      I think the secret is to trim the dome-shaped tops off your layers before assembling the cake. Having said that, this cake was a bit top heavy and hard to slice. Hubby and I just shared the last of it – it really was delicious!

  2. That looks absolutely divine! I would so devour it in one sitting!

  3. OH MY WORD! this cake looks amazing. I want it NOW!

  4. Kristin

    Make sure you read the instructions right! Haha! Instead of reading 1 and 1/4, I read 11/4. Sure I thought that was a strange number, but you never know! Also, my frosting turned out darker than this one, so it blends with the glaze. I’m sure the recipe is much better than what I made because I am still new to the baking world. I’ll just have to try again sometime!

    • katieskitchenblog

      Hi Kristin,
      I can see that would be confusing! I’ll find a way to alter the font so it is clearer. I hope you enjoyed the cake anyway.

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  6. That looks amazing! I’ll add it to list of ‘to-makes’ 🙂

  7. Danielle Kovalsky

    Just finished making it! Took a long time but looks great! Can’t wait to cut into it!

  8. Brooke

    Hi there,
    Thank you for sharing this looks so ummy. I am in the middle of make the cake and saw that the frosting need 18og of chocolate. Is that 18 oz of chocolate? Sorry, I cant find anything about og unless Im making beer.

    Thanks for the help?

    • katieskitchenblog

      Hi Brooke,
      That’s 180 grams which is a pretty standard size block of chocolate here in Australia. I’ll edit the font for you. Hope this helps!

  9. LissetteP

    Amazing! I made this cake for a friends birthday. Perfect for any chocolate lover! The only thing I did differently was the glaze. Instead of doing that recipe, I did a ganache, which is equal parts heavy cream and chopped bittersweet chocolate and about 1 tbls. corn syrup for extra shine. It was so rich and moist! Definitely making this one again! If you don’t want to make a ganache or a glaze, you could also buy Hershey’s hot fudge, follow the heating instructions, let cool for a bit, then poor over cake just before serving. So yum!

    • katieskitchenblog

      Isn’t it great Lissette? I wonder if you can buy Hershey’s fudge in Australia. Glad you enjoyed!

  10. Jerrie

    Goodmorning, just repinned and printed out this chocolate cake recipe. Planning on making it for my son in laws birthday, he loves chocolate so should be a big hit. Is there an easier way to print the recipe out? I did print it out by emailing it to myself but it was 8 pgs, only 4 of which I really need to make the cake. Thanks for any hints.

  11. Liz

    This cake looks amazing. I want to make it for my moms birthday but I have to adjust for high altitude (7000+ feet) do you know by any chance the adjustments for high altitude???

    • katieskitchenblog

      Hi Liz,
      I’m sorry I’ve not done any high altitude baking before. I remember reading about it in Joy of Cooking but have never had to apply to the principles. If you have success let me know and I will share it here.
      Best of luck,

  12. Larissa

    Hi there, I got this off pintrest. I made it for my husbands birthday, it turned out amazing, thank you so much. My icing was a little darker then yours, and I by accident used light brown sugar, it this was still amazing!

  13. Carol

    I am not sure if I did something wrong but my icing was dark and never did get quite firm enough to spread and was not very sweet. So, I added about a pound of confectioners sugar and it made a lovely frosting. We are eating it tomorrow so I will let you know how it tastes then.

  14. Sophiabella

    Hi, this looks amazing but I am wondering if anyone would have a clue how to do this gluten-free??

    • katieskitchenblog

      Hi Sophiabella,
      You could replace the cake recipe with a flourless chocolate cake made with almond meal. I haven’t tried this recipe using GF flour.

  15. Jennifer

    I just made the cake portion of this and they totally flopped 🙁 I have NEVER flopped a cake before. When I rotated them halfway through I knew they were going to go. Maybe I should have just left them?

  16. Lora

    Can you repost in us measurements. The font is difficult to read for the chocolate chocolate cholocate cake. Thanks.

  17. sharron

    hi! you didn’t say what to do with the butter mixture of the cake… I assume it supposed to go into the cocoa mixture..?

    • katieskitchenblog

      It’s in the fourth line – Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  18. This cake looks so lovely, but my frosting came out completely different from the beautiful fluffy frosting shown in your pictures! I, like Carol, ended up adding confectioner’s sugar to make it more frosting-y. Is there by chance something missing in the recipe? Was the cream supposed to be whipped, perhaps?

    • Dani

      I feel the same way. The frosting in her picture looks as though the cream should have been whipped. I was hoping for that mouse like frosting 🙁

      • katieskitchenblog

        It is whipped, with a whisk attachment on the Kitchen Aid mixer.

        • katieskitchenblog

          It’s not whipped separately.

          Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

          With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, gradually add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth.

  19. Dani

    Can I make this cake with (2) 9″ round pans? It looks delicious!!

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