Perfecty Delicious Three Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe

A delicious recipe for a Three Layer Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing.


3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
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
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup cocoa powder
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, more or less as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Prepare three 9-inch square cake pans. Grease the bottoms with butter, line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium-sized heat resistant mixing bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In another large 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 the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes.

Cool the layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool the layers completely. Before frosting the cake, use a large serrated knife and carefully level off the top of each layer so they are completely flat.


Beat butter in a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add cocoa powder and beat until incorporated. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. As frosting thickens, add a few tablespoons of cream as needed.

Depending on the temperature and consistency of your frosting, continue alternating adding cream and powdered sugar, then continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.


Level each cake layer by cutting off the domed top with a long serrated knife. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake plate.

Spread on about 1/2 cup of frosting onto cake using an offset spatula. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of frosting, and then position final cake layer, flat side up.

Cover the entire cake with a just a thin layer of frosting, reserving the rest of the frosting.

Place the cake into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set this thin layer of frosting.

Remove cake from refrigerator and cover with remaining frosting. You will find that it will be easier to spread onto the cake now.

Reserve some of the icing for piping decorative details if desired. Very nice served with ice cream.