My Favourite Chocolate Layer Cake

The best chocolate layer cake - three layers of moist chocolate cake filled with smooth chocolate ganache, perfect for any celebration!

Everyone needs a go-to chocolate cake recipe, one that is guaranteed to work every time and is perfect for any celebration, this one is mine. Three layers of rich, moist, intensely chocolaty cake smothered with smooth chocolate ganache. Obviously what constitutes the ‘ultimate’ chocolate cake is fairly subjective and not everyone will agree; but I think that this one is pretty perfect.

The best chocolate layer cake - three layers of moist chocolate cake filled with smooth chocolate ganache, perfect for any celebration!

The best chocolate layer cake - three layers of moist chocolate cake filled with smooth chocolate ganache, perfect for any celebration!

In my opinion the best chocolate layer cake should have a very moist crumb, a deep chocolate flavor and be smothered in rich chocolate ganache; this cake fulfills all those requirements magnificently. The strong chocolate flavor is achieved by using a combination of both cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate in the cake batter, the addition of coffee helps to further enhance the flavor but don’t worry if you don’t like coffee – you can’t taste it, it just deepens the chocolate taste. If you are really worried about being able to taste it you can just use hot water instead.

Buttermilk and soft brown sugar ensure that the cake is perfectly soft and moist, it almost melts in your mouth! I iced the cake with a delicious chocolate ganache made using a mixture of milk and dark chocolates and double cream; using part milk chocolate rather than all dark makes sure that the ganache isn’t overly rich (so you can manage a larger slice!).

I didn’t decorate this cake as the recipe is about the cake itself rather than any decoration. However, it would both look and taste wonderful topped with an overflowing pile of fresh berries. Or if you want to go all-out chocolatey then a scattering of chocolate curls, truffles or chopped up chocolate bars (or all three!) would be perfect.

The best chocolate layer cake - three layers of moist chocolate cake filled with smooth chocolate ganache, perfect for any celebration!

I originally made this chocolate layer cake for DIYs, check them out for some awesome craft and recipe ideas.

The best chocolate layer cake - three layers of moist chocolate cake filled with smooth chocolate ganache, perfect for any celebration!
5 from 5 votes
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My Favourite Chocolate Cake


Servings 10 people

Ingredients

Cakes:

  • 110 g (3.8oz) dark chocolate chopped
  • 240 ml (1 cup) hot coffee
  • 45 g (5 tbsp) cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk
  • 280 g (2 + 1/4 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110 g (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 330 g (1 + 3/4 cups) light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Ganache:

  • 100 g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate chopped
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) milk chocolate chopped
  • 475 ml (2 cups) double (heavy) cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease three 18-20cm/7-8in round cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

  2. Melt the dark chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave, set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot coffee until smooth then whisk in the buttermilk, set aside. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, set aside.

  4. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking really well after each addition, then whisk in the melted chocolate.

  5. Fold in one third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk mix. Fold in another third of the flour, then the remaining buttermilk, then the rest of the flour.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the tins (I use a scale to get them exactly even) and level the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

  7. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.
  8. To make the ganache, place the dark and milk chocolates into a large bowl. Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat until it is just boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to sit for a couple of minutes then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

  9. Set aside until the ganache has cooled and become thick and spreadable, stirring it every now and again. This can take a while so don't leave it till the last minute! You can pop the bowl in the fridge to speed it up if you like but make sure that you keep a close eye on it and stir it regularly.
  10. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate and spread over one third of the ganache. Top with another cake layer and another third of ganache then repeat for the final layer and serve!

The best chocolate layer cake - three layers of moist chocolate cake filled with smooth chocolate ganache, perfect for any celebration!

14 Comments on My Favourite Chocolate Layer Cake

  1. Elinor Hill aka Beach Hut Cook
    June 5, 2017 at 6:41 pm (5 months ago)

    Oh yes buttermilk certainly does make a difference, doesn’t it. I’m a little late to the party on buttermilk but now I am fully on board! Elinor x

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      June 20, 2017 at 8:44 pm (4 months ago)

      Buttermilk really does give such a fantastic flavour and texture, I use it loads! x

      Reply
  2. Annie Allen
    June 5, 2017 at 7:43 pm (5 months ago)

    oh my god this looks totally incredible!!!! well, it’s also that your description makes it sound so irresistible! xxx

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      June 20, 2017 at 8:43 pm (4 months ago)

      Haha! Thanks Annie πŸ™‚ I’m glad my description got the message of how good it is across! πŸ˜› xx

      Reply
  3. Bethany
    June 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm (5 months ago)

    Oh! Nothing like a tall chocolate cake! Looks so delicious!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      June 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm (4 months ago)

      I looove tall cakes! Thanks Bethany πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Lucy Parissi
    June 11, 2017 at 9:48 am (4 months ago)

    Looks amazing Hannah – I have tried many chocolate cake recipes and buttermilk with real chocolate is my go-to but tends to be expensive. A special occasion treat πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      June 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm (4 months ago)

      Thanks Lucy, buttermilk and real chocolate really is the best!

      Reply
  5. Connie
    June 14, 2017 at 1:27 am (4 months ago)

    I made this cake on the weekend for my sons birthday, what a wonderful cake, and it tastes better as each day passes.

    thank you

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      June 20, 2017 at 8:38 pm (4 months ago)

      Oh that is wonderful to hear! I am so glad that you enjoyed it and I hope that your son had a lovely birthday!

      Reply
  6. kellie@foodtoglow
    June 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm (4 months ago)

    My grandmother made her own buttermilk (she had a farm in Tennessee) and used it in loads fo things. But obviously, we liked it best in baking. Everything is so feather-light with buttermilk. Hannah, your cake looks very delicious indeed. One to pin and make for a special occasion.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      June 20, 2017 at 8:09 pm (4 months ago)

      Oh that’s wonderful! I would love to have a farm and make all of my own buttermilk and cheese (I think I probably like the idea of it more than I would in practicality though!). I love baking with buttermilk, it gives such a lovely texture πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. Jane @ littlesugarsnaps
    June 26, 2017 at 9:47 am (4 months ago)

    This does look like the perfect chocolate cake to me. There’s nothing better than a choccie cake made with buttermilk and brown sugar but I’ve not heard of adding coffee to intensify the chocolate flavour before. I guess I’m just going to have to bake this to experience this for myself.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 11, 2017 at 8:10 am (3 months ago)

      You should definitely try coffee in chocolate cake – it really works! πŸ™‚

      Reply

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