Favorite Chocolate Layer Cake #chocolatecake #cakerecipes

Well this is actually my favorite chocolate layer cake recipe.

Aside from it being prone to sinking in the center, it is always SO delicious and moist! The cupcakes were no exception.

They did sink slightly in the center though… but if you are going to frost them or just don’t care too much then it’s really not a big deal. Either way, the cupcake was so yummy! Moist and fluffy.

A little bit too delicate to be eaten as a cupcake rather than with a fork as a layer cake, but it still works. The flavor was a fantastic balance between chocolate and sweetness. And again, there was quite a bit of coffee used so you can easily sub out some of that for hot water if that might bother you. I really do LOVE this cake : D It won’t make the most attractive cupcakes, but it tastes incredible!

You’ll Need:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cups good cocoa powder
  • 1¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Buttercream:
  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line muffin tin with paper cups.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Fill cups ⅔ way full and bake 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  4. For Buttercream: Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.
  6. For two 8" round cake pans or 9" x 13" pan- bake 35-40 minutes.


* UPDATE * After much research and deliberation I have found a solution to the “sunken” cake problem. There are a couple of reasons that the cake may be doing this- not baked through completely, oven temperature too high, or too much leavening. I knew that I had been baking the cake through completely since it always tasted perfect, without any underdone “goo”. As far as the temperature…. maybe my oven was too hot? So I decided just in case I would turn it down a touch to 325°F. BUT! I think the real trick to solving this problem comes from too much leavening. The theory is that it “over-stretches the glutens in the flour, making the cake rise higher than it should during baking. The gluten can’t hold the structure as the cake cools, which leads to a sunken cake with a moist and dense center.” That excerpt comes straight out of the Martha Stewart Magazine, but I have further researched it online and it seems to be a universal truth when it comes to baking. The magazine also states that for most recipes, this guideline applies: For every cup of flour there should be one teaspoon of baking powder or a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. When I looked at this recipe, I didn’t know how to apply it since it uses both baking soda and baking powder- does that still apply when both are used? Regardless, the recipe did seem to ask for a lot of baking soda, so I decided to see what would happen if I just decreased it slightly from 2 teaspoons to 1 3/4 teaspoons. SUCCESS! Absolutely NO sinking : D And that was in a 9″ x 13″ pan! Which would be all the more likely to sink since the surface area is much greater. I really think that the decrease in leavening has truly provided a solution! I am just so happy that one of my most favorite chocolate cake recipes now has no flaws!!