The Best Chocolate Layer Cake recipe has silky smooth chocolate swiss meringue buttercream frosting and a dark chocolate cake dotted with chocolate pieces.
I just celebrated my birthday and I this is the cake I made myself. I’m calling it THE BEST CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE. Claiming that something is the best is a pretty big claim, although people use those words all the time. And let’s be realistic, I’m not going to turn down any chocolate cake and most of them are downright delicious.
But when it’s your birthday, not just ANY birthday but THE BIG ONE, you have to make a cake that is above average. This cake has the right combination of chocolate cake dotted with chocolate pieces and is covered with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream frosting that is smooth with just the right amount of sweetness.
This cake was inspired by the Baker’s Man cake from Yum Kitchen and Bakery in Minneapolis. Three of my friends have told me about this cake and two of them are pretty much obsessed with it. I saw the cake and to tell you the truth it didn’t look that amazing. Finally, after several visits to the restaurant, I decided to listen to my friends and try a slice of the cake…and it changed my life. Actually, it didn’t really change my life but the cake really was as good as they said it was and I had to figure out how to make it.
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Where is the Best Chocolate Layer Cake recipe? In this post, I will share step-by-step instructions with photos for how to make the cake, as well as answering FAQs about the recipe and sharing a short video showing the recipe in motion. But you can go directly to the recipes by scrolling down to the bottom of the post.
How To Make The Best Chocolate Layer Cake:
Step One: Bake
To assemble this cake, you will need three 9-inch chocolate cakes. Divide chocolate cake batter between three 9-inch cake pans that have been greased, lined with parchment and floured. (You can use cocoa powder to flour the pans if desired.) Bake and allow the cakes to cool for 30 minutes in the pans, remove the cakes from the pan, peel off the parchment and cool completely on wire racks.
If you are one of my regular readers, you already know how much of a frosting lover I am. So, I’m excited to share this recipe for chocolate swiss meringue buttercream that is so smooth and silky. It melts in your mouth without being overly sweet.
Swiss meringue buttercream has a meringue base made of egg whites and granulated sugar. To dissolve the sugar and to make the egg whites safe for eating, it is slowly heated using a double boiler.
Step Two: Make The Meringue
Put the granulated sugar and egg whites into a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk or stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached 160°. The mixture should be smooth, with no graininess when you rub it between your finger and thumb.
Pour the egg white mixture into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat the whites until stiff peaks form or for about 10 minutes and the meringue has cooled. If meringue or mixing bowl are still warm, continue whisking at a low speed until cool.
Step Three: Add Butter and Chocolate
Switch to the paddle attachment and slowly add one tablespoon of butter at a time until fully incorporated.
Stir the melted and cooled chocolate slowly, into the meringue. Scrape bowl, add the vanilla and stir until none of the white meringue remains.
Step Four: Decorate
Place one of the cooled cakes on a 9-inch cardboard cake base and top with frosting. Spread out the frosting with an offset spatula. Continue with the two remaining cakes. Next, frost the sides of the cake. Use an icing smoother or an offset spatula to smooth the sides of the cake and remove the excess frosting.
Slowly turn the cake while pressing the tip of an offset spatula gently into the frosting on the top of the cake to create a swirl. Watch the video above to see how I did it.
Best Chocolate Layer Cake FAQ’s
1. What can I use if I don’t want to add coffee? You can substitute with another kind of liquid such as water. An equal amount of water will work but the coffee enhances the chocolate flavor in this cake.
2. Can I make this in a 9×13 inch pan? Yes, you can! Increase the temp to 350˚ and cook for 35-40 minutes.
3. Can I make this ahead of time? Yes, it will last 2-3 days in the fridge.
4. How should I store this cake? Wrap it loosely with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
More Great Cake Recipe’s To Try:
Showstopping S’mores Cake with tender layers of chocolate cake, and fluffy graham cracker buttercream with chocolate ganache and toasted meringue on top.
This Chocolate Mint Layer Cake recipe has tender layers of chocolate cake with fluffy mint buttercream and smooth, melt in your mouth chocolate mint ganache.
An Easter Cake recipe that’s easy to make and so beautiful to serve! This spring layer cake is covered with fluffy vanilla bean frosting and topped with cake crumb sprinkles.
This adorable Watermelon Cake is frosted with buttercream to look like a watermelon and it actually has watermelon baked inside it!
Best Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Pour the cake mix into a mixing bowl. Add eggs, cold coffee, vegetable oil, and milk. Mix for thirty seconds on low and beat for two minutes on medium. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- Divide between three greased, lined and floured pans. (You can use cocoa powder to flour the pans if desired.)
- Bake at 325°F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 30 minutes in the pans, remove the cakes from the pan, peel off the parchment and cool completely on wire racks.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- Chop six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool.
- Pour granulated sugar and egg whites into a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk or stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached 160°. When you rub the mixture between your finger and thumb, it should be smooth with no graininess.
- Pour the egg white mixture into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with a whisk attachment for about 10 minutes until stiff peaks form and meringue has cooled. If meringue or mixing bowl are still warm, continue whisking at a low speed until cool.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and slowly incorporate one tablespoon of softened butter at a time.
- Slowly add the cooled chocolate, stirring it into the meringue. Scrape bowl, add the vanilla and stir until none of the white meringue remains.
Layer Cake Assembly:
- Place one of the cakes on a cake round and top with frosting. Spread out the frosting with an offset spatula. Continue with the two remaining cakes.
- Frost the sides of the cake. Remove the excess frosting and smooth the sides of the cake.
- Press the tip of an offset spatula gently into the frosting on the top of the cake while turning the cake to create a swirl.
- Use a small round tip to pipe chocolate dots around the cake.