If you’re on the hunt for a great, classic chocolate cake recipe – this is it! My Best Ever Chocolate Layer Cake with Fudge Frosting is moist, tender and fluffy and the fudge frosting is smooth, creamy, silky and utterly perfect!
I never used to think I was a chocolate cake person.
I know – I was a disturbing child.
I just always felt as if I liked vanilla cake more than chocolate. Maybe because the chocolate cakes I’ve had in birthdays past have been dry and crumbly, AKA, blasphemy for any cake, but especially chocolate. I just kinda wrote off all chocolate cakes to be sub-par.
This Chocolate Layer Cake is supremely moist and tender with a fluffy crumb and that stick-to-your-ribs quality every self-respecting chocolate cake must possess. It’s rich and complex, fudgy and dreamy. When I think of the perfect chocolate cake, I think of this recipe!
And the Fudge Frosting is actually a fudge frosting – I’m not just saying that! It starts with chopped chocolate bars – I like bittersweet or semi-sweet for a seriously chocolaty hit – and butter that gets melted together until smooth and glossy perfection. Then you just whip it up with a bunch of confectioners’ sugar until it turns light and fluffy. It’s kinda like a ganache meets frosting and it’s heavenly!
Obviously, sprinkles are not optional when it comes to cakes. I don’t know why, but if a grocery store cake doesn’t have sprinkles, it just tastes boring. Sprinkles are the spice of life. < that’s going on my tombstone.
This cake recipe is pretty straight-forward, so even novice bakers will be able to follow along. It has a few crucial components to take it from regular ol’ cake to an amazing, best-ever cake, so read up!
- I recommend using a high-quality baking cocoa for this recipe rather than your standard grocery-store cocoa. Why? Because it’s a chocolate cake, and you’ll want the best, purest chocolate flavor for it. I really like Rodelle’s baking cocoa for its superior flavor!
- Second, the key to a delicious and moist chocolate cake is a hot liquid entering the batter at the final mixing stage. Because chocolate and coffee pair so beautifully together, I call for hot, strong, black coffee. The cake will not taste mocha-like and you won’t even know the coffee is there… instead, as it mixes with the other ingredients – especially the cocoa powder – it will enhance and deepen the chocolate flavor. You can omit the coffee and use hot water, but I love the extra oomph the coffee gives the chocolate.
- The frosting has a LOT of confectioners’ sugar in it. That’s because I doubled my original recipe and because there’s a lot of liquid in the frosting from the melted butter, melted chocolate, and milk. Remember, the frosting won’t taste overwhelmingly cloying because it’s being spread out around two thick layers of cake. You can try to omit some of the confectioners’ sugar, but the frosting is already softer rather than stiff so I’d fear it would be a gloopy mess.
One bite of this rich, moist chocolate cake with that silky, divine fudge frosting and you’ll be in heaven. No other recipe compares!
*Adapted from my recipe
The Best Chocolate Layer Cake with Fudge Frosting
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder I like Rodelle Baking Cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup STRONG hot brewed black coffee
- FOR THE FUDGE FROSTING:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter cubed
- 8 ounces (Two 4-ounce each bars) bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped
- 32 ounces (Two 16-ounce each boxes) confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- Sprinkles for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease two 9" round baking pans with cooking spray; set aside. I like to also add in a round piece of parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add in the oil, vanilla, buttermilk and eggs and beat on low speed until combined. Gently and slowly pour in the hot coffee until the batter comes together. Batter will be quite thin; this is okay.
- Pour the batter evenly into the pans. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, not wet, crumbs. Cool completely.
- Make the frosting while the cake cools: In a large bowl, combine the cubed butter and chopped chocolate bar. Microwave on HIGH power for about 30 seconds, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and beat it on HIGH speed for 5-7 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy. It's easiest to do this in a stand mixer. Frosting may be a little runny; this is normal. Refrigerate frosting for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
- Place a cake layer top-down on a cake stand or plate. Spread with 1/3 of the fudge frosting out to the edges. Top with remaining cake layer and frost the remainder of the cake. Top with sprinkles if desired.
You’re going to love this fudgy cake masterpiece!
Have a super sweet day!
Disclaimer: this post contains an Amazon affiliate link. If a purchase is made using my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Sharon Soloway says
I am definitely going to try your cake. My recipe that I use is similar, but uses 1 cup of boiling water. Want to try it with the coffee instead. Have been looking for a good chocolate icing, so will be trying out yours for sure. Thanks for all the great recipes you put out. Have a good day and happy Halloween.
Hi Sharon! Yes, the coffee definitely makes the chocolate flavor deeper and more rich. I love it!
My center dropped! Could that possibly be because I used espresso instead of just coffee? Outside of that it cooked all the way through and the flavor is amazing.
Hi Julie, so I’m wondering if you used the full amount of coffee in the recipe? I don’t think switching to espresso would have changed anything, but using too little moisture may have resulted in a sunken cake. Some other culprits: too much leavening agents (were they correctly measured?), and incorrect oven temperature/underbaking. Sorry this happened!
WOW!!!! I made this cake over the weekend, and let me just say, it DOES NOT disappoint!!! One of the best chocolate cakes I have tasted!!!!
April, so happy you loved it!
Rachel Bass says
For the frosting ingredients, does you mean two 4 ounce boxes of chocolate or just two boxes which is 4 ounces?
Hi Rachel, two boxes – 4oz each – for the frosting!
Hello, for the frosting its saids 16 oz for icing sugar would it be 2 in cups?
Hi Ellika, yes, about 2 cups.
Wowie!!!! I made this for my husband’s 40th birthday. We are still quarantined for the pandemic with a newborn and toddler – no family/friends/visitors. This cake was AMAZING and brought so much happiness to our quarantined birthday celebration… and for every day after. Seriously delicious! Super moist, so chocolatey, rich and decadent – this will surely be my go-to chocolate cake recipe for years to come!!
Ali, I am so glad you and your family enjoyed this birthday cake! Happy Birthday to your hubby!
is the recipe works if we don’t use the coffee?
Hi Dominique, replace the hot coffee with hot water!
Delicious! First time baking a cake, second time baking ever and this cake came out amazing! Made it for just me and my boyfriend for his quarantine birthday and holy crap is it good!!! Thank you!
Can I make cupcakes with this recipe? If so what’s the temperature and bake time?
Hi Barb, same temperature but bake time would be around 15-18 minutes I’d think!
Thanks. My cupcakes are perfect. Awesome recipe and turned out just as you described. Perfect directions and easy to follow. Love this recipe. Thanks.