Perfect Chocolate Cake


This Chocolate Cake is seriously a chocolate lover’s dream! The combination of Chocolate Ganache and Buttercream make the perfect pair for this recipe. You’ll definitely be sneaking late night slices of this fluffy chocolate cake!


Dark Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 cup (heaping) regular cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (heaping) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 5 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Espresso Buttercream*:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), slightly cold and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • ½ tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


Dark Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add all dry ingredients (cocoa powders, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, white sugar, brown sugar) and mix on low-medium speed until combined.
  3. Add the eggs+ yolk, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix on low-medium until fully incorporated and there are no big lumps. Do not overmix.
  4. Divide batter evenly into three 8-inch cake pans and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the middle is mostly set. Use a toothpick to test; if it comes out with a few crumbs then it is ready.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool. Transfer to countertop covered with parchment paper by running a knife around the cake edges, then turning the cake pan upside down to release the cake. Once completely cool, you can wrap these in saran wrap and place in a gallon size freezer bag; you can freeze the cake layers for about 2 months. When ready to fill the cake, use frozen cake layers to prevent the cake from crumbling while decorating.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  1. Add chocolate to mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Add heavy cream to a saucepan, and heat on medium until it just starts to boil around the edges and center (be careful as this can boil over very quickly).
  3. Remove cream from heat and slowly pour over the chocolate. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then use a whisk to stir the chocolate/cream mixture until fully incorporated and smooth.
  4. Let sit at room temperature, or refrigerate, until it is the same consistency as peanut butter. This makes it easy to fill the cake layers.

Espresso Buttercream (adapted from Cake By Courtney’s Latte Frosting):

  1. Combine instant coffee granules and water in small dish and let dissolve.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium/high for 3-5 minutes until light in color and smooth.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low-medium and slowly add the coffee and vanilla extract; continue beating for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar (one cup at a time), heavy cream, and salt. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.


  1. Note: I covered this cake with a Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. But if you prefer to cover it in espresso buttercream, double or triple the recipe above.
  2. If the cake layers do not bake evenly, you can use a bread knife to trim the top off and make it flat which is easier for decorating. You will need to let the cake layers thaw just a bit before trimming.
  3. Start with the frozen chocolate cake layers, and place one layer on a cake board. You can use a spoonful of buttercream as “glue” between the cake layer and cake board if you like.
  4. Spread an even layer of espresso buttercream over the top of the 1st cake layer. Pipe a circle of buttercream around the perimeter of the cake layer to create a barrier before adding the chocolate ganache (this will prevent the ganache from spilling over the edges of the cake).
  5. Spread an even layer of chocolate ganache over the espresso buttercream.
  6. Repeat with remaining cake layers and frost the outside with either the swiss meringue buttercream or espresso buttercream.