This indulgent triple chocolate layer cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true! It features moist and fudgy chocolate cake layers, generously covered in rich chocolate buttercream, and topped with a luscious dark chocolate ganache. Whether it’s a special occasion like a birthday or Valentine’s Day, or simply a craving for a delicious cake, this triple chocolate delight is the perfect centerpiece!
Why You’ll Fall in Love with This Cake
- The Ultimate Birthday Treat – Surprise the chocolate enthusiasts in your life with this heavenly cake!
- Better Than Box Mix – Bid farewell to store-bought chocolate cake mixes forever!
- Decadent Chocolate Buttercream – Experience the smooth and velvety texture of the whipped chocolate buttercream.
- Effortlessly Impressive – With a stunning chocolate ganache drip, this cake is remarkably easy to make and impress your guests!
If you’re a fan of all things chocolate, you might also enjoy our black forest cupcakes or chocolate French silk pie recipes!
Essential Ingredients to Create Chocolate Bliss
To make this divine chocolate layer cake, you’ll need a few key ingredients, including chocolate galore! Here’s what you’ll require:
- Vegetable oil – We use oil instead of butter to ensure a moist and delicious cake. Canola oil or neutral olive oil can also be used.
- Cake flour – For incredibly soft and tender cake layers. All-purpose flour works well too.
- Cocoa powder – Our favorite cocoa powder is the King Arthur Flour Triple Cocoa Blend, which combines natural, Dutch-processed, and black cocoa. However, you can easily substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa. If you prefer natural cocoa, please see the notes below.
- Espresso powder – Optional but highly recommended for enhancing the chocolate flavor. We love the high-quality espresso powder from King Arthur.
- Brewed espresso – Adds depth to the chocolate flavor and helps dissolve the cocoa powder. If you prefer not to use coffee, hot water can be substituted.
- Dark chocolate – Opt for dark chocolate baking bars instead of chocolate chips, as they melt more smoothly. Milk chocolate can be used if desired.
- Heavy whipping cream – Essential for creating the rich ganache. No substitutes here!
For the complete list of ingredients and their quantities, refer to the recipe card below.
Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder vs. Natural Cocoa Powder
Dutch-processed and natural cocoa powders differ in acidity levels due to their distinct processing methods. Consequently, the leavening agent used in a chocolate cake recipe can vary. For this cake, which calls for Dutch-processed cocoa powder or a cocoa blend (primarily Dutch-processed), along with baking powder, the following adjustment is needed if using natural cocoa powder:
To use natural cocoa in this cake: Instead of 2 teaspoons of baking powder, use 1 teaspoon of baking powder + ½ teaspoon of baking soda.
Creating Your Chocolate Masterpiece
Let’s dive into the process of making this triple layer chocolate cake!
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
- Slowly drizzle in the hot espresso while continuously whisking. Take care to pour gradually, allowing the eggs to come up to temperature gradually and prevent scrambling.
- Gently mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, resulting in a thin batter.
- Spray each cake pan evenly with an oil-based pan spray. We recommend avoiding butter, as it can cause the cake to stick.
- Pour ⅓ of the batter into each cake pan, filling them about halfway.
- Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Invert the pans onto a cooling rack, allowing the cakes to slide out cleanly.
- Let the cakes cool completely to room temperature before trimming.
- Once fully cooled, use a sharp bread knife to trim the cakes, ensuring even layers. Note: Trimming may not be necessary, as these cake layers bake quite evenly.
- Wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze them overnight. This step is optional, but it makes frosting easier and prevents crumbs from mixing into the frosting.
Assembling Your Exquisite Creation
Now it’s time to bring all the elements together and assemble your three-layer chocolate cake!
- Remove the frozen cake layers from the freezer. Place the bottom layer on your cake stand and spread about ¼ of the chocolate buttercream evenly over it.
- Repeat this process with the next layer, and then place the final cake layer upside down to achieve a smooth top.
- Apply a thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Place the cake in the freezer for around 20 minutes. This initial layer, known as the crumb coat, ensures a smooth final layer of buttercream.
- Smooth the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry if it’s not flawless, as the chocolate ganache will cover any imperfections.
- Return the cake to the freezer for another 20 minutes before pouring the ganache on top. This step is essential for allowing the ganache to solidify while creating elegant drips.
Achieving the Perfect Chocolate Ganache Drip
The finishing touch to this indulgent cake is the dreamy chocolate ganache drip. Here’s how to make it:
- Finely chop the dark chocolate and place it in a large bowl.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the heavy cream for 1-2 minutes until hot to the touch but not boiling.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for approximately two minutes.
- Gently mix with a spatula until the chocolate is fully melted and the ganache is smooth and well combined.
- The ganache should have a smooth, pourable consistency.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and pour the ganache on top. Use an offset spatula to create a beautiful drip effect by gently pushing some chocolate off the edges.
- Place the cake back in the freezer for another 10-15 minutes to allow the ganache to set completely.
- Store the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve and savor every delightful bite.
Tips for Picture-Perfect Cake Layers
Achieve flawlessly even cake layers using these tips and tricks:
- Invest in good nonstick cake pans and pan spray. We highly recommend using three 6×2 inch Fat Daddio’s layer cake pans for their perfectly straight sides. Our preferred pan sprays are Everbake Pan Spray and Baker’s Joy.
- Master the art of trimming the cake layers. Let them cool completely, then use a large bread knife to slice off the top, ensuring an even layer.
- Freezing the layers before assembly is key. Wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap and freeze overnight. This ensures a smooth application of frosting and prevents crumbs from mixing into the frosting.
Elevate Your Cake Decorating Skills
Here are a few tools and techniques that will help you create a stunning cake:
- Rotating cake stand: Treat yourself to a rotating cake stand; it makes frosting a breeze!
- Offset spatula and icing smoother: These tools are essential for achieving smooth, flawless frosting on the outside of the cake.
- Use a 6-inch cake board to transfer your cake from the turning cake stand to a stand ideal for photographing.
- The beauty of this triple chocolate layer cake lies in the simple elegance of the dark chocolate ganache drip!
Frequently Asked Questions about the Recipe
More Irresistible Chocolate Delights!
If you’ve fallen head over heels for chocolate, feast your eyes on more delectable recipes:
- Recipe 1
- Recipe 2
- Recipe 3
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