Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This chocolate cake recipe is wonderfully moist and tender; it’s filled and frosted with a silky smooth chocolate frosting.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting | browneyedbaker.com

Are you a cake person? Are you a decidedly white, yellow or chocolate cake person? I absolutely adore chocolate cake, and I’ve certainly made my fair share of both simple and extravagant chocolate cakes throughout the years. However, only once (once!) have I made a classic chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting. It was quite a long time ago, and I have been on the hunt for a fantastic chocolate/chocolate cake combination that was fairly simple in taste, not overly sweet or rich, and that could stand on its own (i.e. no huge scoops of ice cream necessary!). THIS IS IT!

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting | browneyedbaker.com

I love having Sunday dinners each week if for no other reason than to have an excuse to try a new dessert and have a gaggle of people ready and willing to eat it :)  I’ve had chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on the brain, and thought Sunday would be the perfect opportunity to make one.

I typically find that cakes made with vegetable oil come out much more tender and moist than those that rely on creaming butter and sugar. I was eager to try this recipe given that there is no vegetable oil, but instead of the butter being creamed, it is infused into the egg, sugar and chocolate mixture. It totally works – the chocolate cake is the perfect texture – it’s super moist and has just the right amount of chocolate flavor.


Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting | browneyedbaker.com

The cake is topped with a frosting that tastes like a velvety smooth chocolate whipped cream; it’s lush and buttery and not at all sickeningly sweet. I wanted to eat it by the spoonful.

This chocolate cake was a huge favorite… it’s a simple classic that works for lunch with friends and family, as well as the fanciest of dinner parties. It’s the perfect dessert for making people feel comfortable and special all at the same time.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Bars
Five years ago: Dutch Apple Pie
Seven years ago: Chocolate Biscotti

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Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

A wonderfully rich and tender chocolate cake recipe filled and frosted with a silky smooth chocolate frosting.


For the Cake:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, very soft
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream (cold)


  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. Combine the chocolate, cocoa powder and hot water in a medium heatproof bowl; set the bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water. Stir the mixture occasionally with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add ½ cup of the sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir until it is thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined. Add the remaining 1¼ cups sugar, increase the speed to high, and whip until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to egg mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add the softened butter one piece at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition.
  6. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Add one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (the batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add the remaining flour mixture; reduce the speed to medium-low and mix until the batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Mix the batter a few times by hand with a rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth the batter in an even layer.
  7. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn them onto wire rack to cool completely before frosting. (Don’t make the frosting until you are ready to frost the cake.)
  8. Make the Frosting: Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  9. Empty the water from the saucepan and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Heat the butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium; add the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt, and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add the melted chocolate, butter mixture, and heavy cream to the bowl of a standing mixer and stir with a spatula to thoroughly combine.
  10. Place the mixer bowl in an ice bath and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the frosting is thick and beginning to harden against the sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes (the frosting should be 70 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Place the bowl on the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula by hand until completely smooth.
  11. Assemble the Cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread 1½ cups of the frosting evenly across the top of the cake. Place the second cake layer on top, then spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of cake. Leftover cake (or cake made ahead of time) should be refrigerated and brought back to room temperature before serving.

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(Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated)

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