The best chocolate cake is made from scratch with easy homemade chocolate frosting. Rich and decadent 3 layers of chocolatey goodness!
Welcome to My Kitchen Serenity! You're going to love this triple layer chocolate cake with buttercream frosting! It's the perfect cake for any special occasion such as birthdays, holidays, family get-togethers, or office parties.
This easy homemade chocolate layer cake recipe is moist and delicious. Rich chocolate layers are frosted with decadent chocolate buttercream frosting.
Time-Saving Tip: Make the cakes the night before and cover the baking pans with foil or plastic wrap once cool to the touch. The cake layers will be extra moist and ready to frost the next day.
If you have a moment, check out my White Forest Cake! It has cherries in the middle of a vanilla cake; it's simple, fluffy, and made in a bundt pan!
If you're a big fan of blueberries, my famous Blueberry Pound Cake is now published on the blog!
Let's take a quick look at the ingredients for the cake (see recipe card for measurements):
- Unsalted butter (room temperature)
- Granulated sugar
- Large eggs (room temperature)
- Pure vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Unsweet cocoa powder
Be sure to also check out my old fashioned apricot nectar pound cake. This easy cake recipe is a tried and true classic southern dessert.
- Unsalted butter (room temperature)
- Unsweet cocoa powder
- Powdered sugar
- Whole milk
- Pure vanilla extract
As long as we're talking about real comfort food, try this easy chicken and pasta dinner recipe Easy Rotel Chicken Spaghetti. It's the most popular recipe on my blog and for good reason!
Three 8" round cake pans
Large mixing bowls
How to Make the Cake
For the absolute best results, please follow the actual recipe card!
(1) Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.
(2) In a separate large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
(3) Mix the cocoa powder and boiling water in a medium bowl until well combined and no lumps remain.
(4) Alternating between the two, slowly add dry ingredients and chocolate mixture to the bowl with the butter and sugar. Mix on low speed to incorporate ingredients.
(5) Divide the cake batter evenly between the three 8-inch round cake pans and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake 22-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (not ooey gooey with cake batter).
(6) Remove from oven and set aside to cool for approximately 10 minutes before transferring the cakes from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely, approximately 20-30 more minutes. (Cakes should no longer be warm to the touch before frosting).
How to Make the Frosting
(1) Mix the butter and cocoa powder in a large bowl until well blended.
(2) Add the powdered sugar and mix on low-speed until all of the sugar is combined.
(3) Stir in milk and vanilla extract, if using, to reach desired consistency.
(4)To assemble the cake, place the first layer top-side down on a cake plate. Add ⅓ of the frosting to the top of the cake layer and spread it out evenly. Take the second layer and level off the rounded top with a knife or cake leveler. Place the second layer on top of the first layer, top-side down. Add frosting to this layer and spread out evenly. Repeat this with the 3rd layer, and spread the remaining frosting out on the top layer. Slice, eat, repeat!
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:
For the cake: Use unsweet almond milk. Use oil instead of butter. For the frosting: use vegetable shortening.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:
Used an equal amount of all-purpose gluten-free flour instead of the all-purpose flour.
Freezing the Cake
Make the cake layers but don't frost them. Once the chocolate cake layers have completely cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and place each layer in a freezer bag. Freeze the cake layers for up to 1 month. When you are ready to assemble the cake, remove the cake layers from the freezer and let them thaw on the countertop. Then, make the frosting and frost the cake layers.
Store any leftover cake on your kitchen counter. Plastic cake holders work best by not only keeping the cake fresh and moist but also keeping the frosting from getting destroyed if the cake were only covered with plastic wrap or foil. The plastic lid is tall enough to not touch the frosting.
Yes! Pour batter into muffin pan(s) with cupcake liners that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full. Bake at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean (no gooey batter attached). This recipe will make about 25-30 cupcakes.
Alternative Baking Pans
Of course. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean (no gooey batter attached). Cool for 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before releasing the cake from the pan.
Pour the batter into a 9" x 13" cake pan sprayed with non-stick baking spray and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (no gooey batter attached).
More Cake Recipes on the Blog
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If you tried this recipe, please rate it and leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you!
Easy Homemade Chocolate Cake
- Three 8" round cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Electric mixer
- Large mixing bowls
- measuring cup(s)
- measuring spoons
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2-½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2-¼ cups boiling water
FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 16 oz powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix the cocoa powder and boiling water in a medium bowl until well combined and no lumps remain.
- Alternating between the two, slowly add dry ingredients and chocolate mixture to the bowl with the butter and sugar. Mix on low speed to incorporate ingredients.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool for approximately 10 minutes before transferring the cakes from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely, approximately 20-30 more minutes. (Cakes should no longer be warm to the touch before frosting).
WHILE THE CAKE IS COOLING, PREPARE THE FROSTING:
- Mix the butter and cocoa powder in a large bowl until well blended.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix on low-speed until all of the sugar is combined.
- Stir in milk and vanilla extract, if using, to reach desired consistency.
AFTER THE CAKE HAS COMPLETELY COOLED, FROST:
- To assemble the cake, place the first layer top-side down on a cake plate. Add ⅓ of the frosting to the top of the cake layer and spread it out evenly. Take the second layer and level off the rounded top with a knife or cake leveler. Place the second layer on top of the first layer, top-side down. Add frosting to this layer and spread out evenly. Repeat this with the 3rd layer, and spread the remaining frosting out on the top layer. Slice, eat, repeat!
This recipe was originally published in 2020 and was updated in 2022.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.
Is it possible to get the ingredients in weight please?
Hi Chandra. Thanks for your question. I don't have the means to automatically convert to weight, sorry. I did, however, find a handy weight conversion article on The Spruce Eats website entitled "Weight Conversions for Recipes." I wish you luck - again, I'm sorry I don't have the tools to that automatically.
Could you substitute buttermilk for the water?
Hi Erma! Thanks for your question. Yes, you can use buttermilk! In order to keep the liquid ratio intact, I would add 3/4 cup buttermilk in Step 2 of the recipe card. Then, I would decrease the boiling water to 3/4 cup. The boiling water really helps to keep the cocoa powder from being lumpy. Keep in touch and let me know how it turns out!
I made this cake for my son’s 5th birthday. Made recipe as is. He loves it and it was a great hit at his party!!
This makes me so happy! I'm so glad he liked it! Happy birthday to him 🙂 Thank you for letting me know, Tracy.
Should I double or triple the frosting recipe to have enough to ice the entire cake?
Hi Michael. If you double the frosting recipe you should have plenty to generously cover the sides, too. Thanks for asking! Hope you enjoy ☺️
This was the best cake I’ve ever made from scratch. I had all the ingredients on hand. I did add extra milk to the frosting.
Hey Diane! Thank you so much for letting me know. This makes me so happy
Great recipe for the cake and frosting. I made a 6 layer cake and it came out great. Definitely keeping this one for the books.
My only complaint is you can't post a picture of your creation.
Thank you so much for letting me know, Darrell! I would have loved to see a photo of your cake; I'm sure it was a work of art! Are you on Instagram? If so, Mention me @mykitchenserenity or tag me #mykitchenserenity with your cake photo. Too bad Pinterest doesn't allow photos anymore; I used to love going through all the photos people took of when they made one of my recipes 🙂