Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 50m
  • Rating ****

Serves 12

This delicious layer cake is the essence of chocolate and would be welcome as the centerpiece of any party or gathering. The cake batter is versatile and can be used to make other desserts. Here, the layers are combined with a rich chocolate frosting.


  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • Garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups finely shaved bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for garnish, optional

Companion recipe: Chocolate Cream Frosting


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch high sides. Line with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour; tap out excess. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Cool to lukewarm, stirring often. Sift the cake flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.

Using an electric stand mixer with a flat beater attachment, beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add both sugars, beating until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the melted chocolate; blend well. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream in 2 additions, beating well after each addition. Add the dissolved espresso; blend thoroughly.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into center of the cakes comes out clean and the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in pans on racks for 5 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto the racks; peel off the parchment paper. Cool cakes completely.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Cakes can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip with 1/2 cup frosting; set aside. Slice each cake horizontally in half. Place one cake layer, flat-side up, on a 9-inch-diameter cardboard round. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over the cake. Top with the second cake layer, flat-side down. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over the top of the cake. Repeat layering with the remaining 2 cake layers and 1/2 cup frosting. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Press the chocolate shavings onto the sides of the cake. Pipe the frosting from the pastry bag decoratively around the top edge of the cake. Lightly sprinkle chocolate shavings over the cake. Cover the cake with a cake dome. Refrigerate 20 minutes before serving.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Assembled cake can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Recipe created exclusively for Cooking.com by Carole Bloom.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 6411

nutrition information per serving

976 calories; 57g total fat; 127mg cholesterol; 441mg sodium; 123g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 7g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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