Classic Chocolate Layer Cake
July 1, 2014
DessertsFood & Drinks
I'm of the firm belief that everyone should be equipped with a recipe for the perfect chocolate cake. Not long ago, I was under the impression that I had found mine, but after testing out Cacao Sweets And Treats version we may have a new contender! And today is our lucky day as they've so kindly agreed to divulge their top secret recipe. Are you ready for the ultimate in classic chocolate cake?
From Candice Hunsinger (owner and head baker for Cacao Sweets & Treats)... Chocolate layer cake is one of the greatest inventions of all time! If I ever have a sweet attack, all I can think about is a double chocolate cake. Super moist chocolate cake with chocolate frosting... total perfection! Here is our top secret chocolate cake recipe. Feel free to pretend it's yours!

As always, when it comes to baking, makes sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature for full incorporation. The better the ingredients, the better the result - so make sure to bring out the top shelf eggs, butter and cocoa powder!
Classic Chocolate Layer Cake
Prep Time
30 Minutes
Cook Time
35 Minutes
Total Time
65 Minutes
FOR THE CAKE: 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 c. granulated sugar 2 tsp salt
1 TBS vanilla extract 4 large eggs
1 cup dark cocoa powder 2 cups buttermilk (make your own! Pour 1 TBS lemon juice or vinegar into your measuring cup, top off with milk, stir and magic happens!)
3 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water FOR THE FROSTING:
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: 2 cups (4 sticks), VERY room temperature butter
12 cups (2 lbs) powdered sugar 1 cup cocoa powder
1 scant tsp salt 1 TBS vanilla extract
1/2-1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 (or 4) 8" cake pans. Set the pans on trays and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Cream, at medium speed, for 3-5 minutes or until super light and fluffy. On low speed, add your eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in cocoa powder on the lowest setting. Stop the mixer, give a good stir with a spatula, and mix on low speed again.
Pour in 1 1/2 cups flour and the baking soda. Turn the mixer to low speed and start drizzling in the buttermilk.
Once almost incorporated, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour. Turn the mixer to low speed and drizzle in the boiling water. Mix until smooth.
Evenly distribute the the batter into the pans and bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the pans and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Check the cakes with a skewer or small knife - there should be no residue left when the cakes are completely baked. Make sure to check for additional time if you only use 3 cake pans. Cool for at least 2 hours, in the pan, on a wire rack.
Place the butter, cocoa powder, half of the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add half of the milk.
Pulse mixer to low speed several times until the ingredients are mixed.
Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk and pulse again.Once fully incorporated, turn the mixer to medium speed for 1 minute.
Turn the mixer up 1 more notch at a time until it hits high speed. Mix for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
Remove the cakes from the pans.
Using a large serrated knife, trim your cakes so that they are as flat as possible. Set 1 of the cakes on your tray or platter of choice.
Fill a piping bag, if handy, with enough buttercream that you are comfortable working with. If not using a piping bag, use a clean spatula.Pipe or spread a 1/2" layer of buttercream on the first cake layer. Smooth it out.
Repeat with the second, third, and fourth cakes.
Chill the cake in the refrigerator (or freezer if you have space) for 30-60 minutes.
Pipe or smooth the exterior of the cake with the frosting, making sure to have a fairly thick layer.
With a clean small, metal cake spatula (or butter knife), run it along the cake starting from the bottom, to create the swirl. It may take a bit of practice, but don't worry. Smooth the frosting and try again!
Top with your sprinkles of choice and let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Bring to room temperature for at least an hour before serving.
NOTE: Because we are using a butter based cake, make sure not to store it in the refrigerator, which causes drying.