This scratch made three layer best Chocolate Cake recipe, is frosted with a creamy chocolate sour cream frosting. It’s the kind of cake that’ll turn any occasion into something extra special.
The Joy of Making the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe
Just the mention of the phrase “chocolate cake” and it sends hearts aflutter. I can relate, trust me. Included in this layer cake, is just enough espresso to intensify the dark chocolate flavor without turning it into a mocha cake. In fact, it’s designed to be a background flavor enhancement so, for those who don’t like coffee, it’s not an issue. That would be me, by the way. I’m not a coffee drinker at all so, with that in mind, the flavor of this cake is pretty much perfection for me.
How to Make Easy Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe
Once you master making a chocolate layer cake recipe from scratch, the sky’s the limit with frosting choices. You may enjoy a strawberry or dulce de leche cream cheese frosting or a vintage fluffy seven minute frosting. You just can’t go wrong.
- Ingredients you’ll need to make a homemade Chocolate Layer Cake: Butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, vanilla, large eggs, all purpose flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and buttermilk.
- To make the homemade Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting recipe you’ll need: Butter, cocoa, sour cream, powdered sugar, almond extract and heavy cream or milk to thin to spreading consistency. Use a mixer to blend the ingredients together adding just enough heavy cream at the end until it’s smooth and easily spreadable.
- I used Dutch process cocoa for this cake batter and frosting, which gives it a more intense chocolate flavor. You can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder in the same amount, with no other adjustments needed.
- The cake layers can be baked, cooled and wrapped in plastic wrap ahead of time. Store them chilled in the fridge for up to 2 days before frosting. They also freeze well for make-ahead baking.
- For the frosting, use 5 cups of powdered sugar and all of the sour cream. Only after all of the sour cream has been added, test the consistency. For a thinner frosting add milk or cream 1 tablespoon at time. For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar mixing until combined.
- Cut strips of wax paper and arrange overlapping to keep the cake stand clean while frosting the cake. Gently tug and remove when finished.
- Chocolate nonpareils, or jimmies, make a pretty trim to the edge of this cake. Use a spoon to gently press into place, while the frosting is still wet. This is optional, of course.
- Store this cake chilled in an airtight container for up to one week.
More Southern Style Chocolate Dessert Recipes to Make
While chocolate may be associated closely with Valentine’s’ Day or Mother’s Day there’s simply no occasion where it wouldn’t steal the show. For the chocoholics in your life, you may also like to try my recipes for:
- German Chocolate Cake is frosted with a caramel like coconut pecan icing.
- Double Fudge Mississippi Mud Cake topped with marshmallows and a fudgy frosting is irresistible.
- Flourless Chocolate Cake for the gluten free dessert lovers.
- Mini Chocolate Cakes from Celebrating Sweets
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Best Chocolate Cake Recipe with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (not fat free)
- Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 1/3 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 8 oz full fat sour cream
- 1/8 tsp almond extract optional
- heavy cream or milk to thin frosting, as needed
- Chocolate nonpareils for decorating optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 3 (8) inch round cake pans or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Cream for 2-3 minutes until combined. Add the eggs 1 at a time beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, use a whisk to sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk beginning and ending with flour.
- After all of the dry ingredients have been added, stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat the batter for 30 seconds on medium-high just until creamy. Divide evenly between the pans.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool in the pans on a cooling rack just until warm to the touch. Remove from the pan and cool completely.
- To make Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting: In a medium size saucepan over low medium-low heat, melt together butter and cocoa. Once smooth, remove from heat and scrape into a mixing bowl.
- Use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, to gradually add powdered sugar alternately with sour cream. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Test spreading consistency then add milk or cream 1 Tbsp at time to thin further, if needed.
- Place cooled layers on a cake stand or platter covered with strips of wax paper. Frost between layers, top and sides of cake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
- Store chilled in an airtight container.
- I used Dutch process cocoa for this cake and frosting which gives it a more intense chocolate flavor. You can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder in the same amount, with no other adjustments needed.
- For the frosting, use 5 cups of powdered sugar and all of the sour cream. Only after all of the sour cream has been added, test the consistency. For a thinner frosting add milk or cream 1 Tbsp at time. For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar mixing until combined.