Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate Layer Cake is the BEST chocolate cake you’ll ever taste! A rich chocolate cake with ganache frosting. This recipe also works so well with gluten free flour!

chocolate layer cake slice from the side

This post was originally published on March 9, 2009. It was updated with new photos and additional commentary in October 2020.

I first heard about this cake last year on the Today Show, where they reported that it was the most popular recipe at  I made it for my sister’s birthday, and we loved it!  My dad said it was one of the best chocolate cakes he’s ever had.  He doesn’t often give out compliments, so it means a lot.  

Original Photo from 2009 Post:

Original Commentary from 2009 Post: The picture is really unfortunate looking – I apologize.  I made it at my parents’ house, and my mom didn’t have any 10-inch pans, so I used two 8-inch pans and a 9-inch pan, which explains why the cake is a little bottom-heavy.  I just made the normal amount of frosting, so it didn’t cover completely, but it was still good!  I’m sure it would be even better made the right way.  Looking back, I probably should have just done two 9-inch pans and used the leftover batter to make a few cupcakes!

chocolate layer cake on a plate with a fork
chocolate layer cake slice

Gluten Free Chocolate Layer Cake

This cake is GREAT made gluten free!! I recommend a measure for measure flour such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour in place of all purpose flour.

chocolate layer cake PIN

Looking for More Cake Recipes?

Check out my favorite Cake recipes:
Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Cake
Mocha Cream Cake
Samoa Bundt Cake
Rich Chocolate Bundt Cake
Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake Bundt Cake
Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Coffee Buttercream

chocolate layer cake on a plate with a fork

Chocolate Layer Cake

The best chocolate cake you'll ever make or taste! This recipe takes the classic Hershey's Black Magic Cake and adds in extra chocolate for the most decadent and moist cake.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 or more


  • Two 10-inch round cake pans or three 9-inch round cake pans


For Cake Layers:

  • 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate (such as Callebaut or Ghirardelli)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk (see note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For Ganache Frosting:

  • 1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate (such as Callebaut or Ghirardelli)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)


Make Cake Layers:

  • Preheat oven to 300°F and grease pans.  Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper or parchment paper and grease paper.
  • Finely chop chocolate and combine with hot coffee in a bowl.  Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  • In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).  Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate coffee mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture on medium speed until just combined well. Batter will be very thin.
  • Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until tested inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  • Cool layers completely in pans on racks.  Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert layers onto racks.  Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely.  Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make Frosting:

  • Finely chop chocolate.  In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved.  Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted.  Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
  • Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
  • Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides.  Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days.  Bring cake to room temperature before serving.


For a gluten free cake: Use a measure for measure gluten free flour in place of all purpose flour.
Substitute for buttermilk:  1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes.
Source:  Adapted from
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword cake, chocolate, dessert, gluten free

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