Easy Homemade Triple Chocolate Cake Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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You know what’s even better than chocolate? More chocolate, duh. Why not go all in with my baking and cram as much chocolatey goodness into the cake as humanly possible?

triple chocolate cake

And let me tell you, it was a stroke of genius. Everyone who has a bite of my chocolate layer cake can’t stop talking about it for days.

Why A Simple Chocolate Layered Cake Recipe Has Us That Obsessed

triple chocolate cake recipe
  • Oh boy, if you’re a chocolate fanatic, this cake is your dream come true! There’s cocoa powder in the cake, plus rich chocolate frosting, PLUS chocolate chips. Talk about a chocolate sensation in every mouthful.
  • Their recipe often calls for buttermilk or sour cream to give the crumb a moist, slightly dense texture – almost like biting into a brownie. That hint of tang is the cherry on top, perfectly complementing the chocolatey vibe! Look for a fruity freshness? Try whipping up dark chocolate raspberry cakes!
  • Plus, we’re talking about using extremely quality chocolate here, whether in cocoa powder or melted into the cake batter, which takes the flavor to a new level.
  • Like chocolate chip loaf cake, its richness and stunning look make it a go-to for birthdays, anniversaries, or any event that calls for a jaw-dropping dessert. And hey, since it’s so decadent, pairing it with lighter sides like fresh berries, vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream can help balance that intense chocolate flavor!

How To Make Triple Chocolate Cake


Let’s break down each simple ingredient in this chocolate recipe. And hey, no substitutions here if you want the best results!

All-purpose Flour: All-purpose flour gives our cake its structure. Unlike confetti cakes, where we can switch it up, don’t even consider using cake flour with this recipe. It’s too fine when paired with the cocoa powder!

Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder: Here comes our star ingredient! Make sure it’s the natural stuff, not the Dutch-process kind. 

Baking Soda and Baking Powder: We use both leavening agents to give our cake the perfect lift.

Salt: A pinch of salt is very important for balancing out all the flavors. Trust me, it makes a difference.

Oil: Cocoa powder can feel a bit drying, so oil is our moisture friend here. Skip the butter!

Espresso Powder (optional): This guy can sit out, but I still highly recommend it to amp up that chocolatey goodness. Don’t worry; I promise your cake won’t taste like instant coffee! 

Eggs: Eggs, preferably at room temperature, help bind everything together. A quick tip: if your eggs are cold, pop them in warm water (8-10 minutes) to quicken the warming process.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk adds acidity and moisture. In recent months, I’ve been experimenting with a buttermilk/sour cream mixture for even more richness!

Vanilla Extract: Who doesn’t want an extra flavor boost?

Hot Coffee/Water: The hot liquid deepens cocoa powder’s taste and helps it bloom properly. If you’re not a coffee person, hot water works just fine. But I still go for the coffee for a deeper, richer flavor; decaf is cool, too!


Step 1.

First, preheat your oven to 350°F or 177°C. Then, grab two 9” pans (if you feel fancy, up the game to three 8” pans for a three-layer cake) and grease them well. 

Line the bottoms with some parchment paper rounds, and don’t forget to grease those, too. Trust me, the parchment paper will make sure your cakes pop out of the pans like a breeze!


Step 2.

Make Strawberry Shortcake

In a big ol’ bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder (optional) and salt. Set it aside for a second. 

Next, grab your mixer – stand or handheld, your call – and whip up a storm with the eggs, oil, and vanilla at medium-high until they’re all cozy. Pour in the buttermilk, then give it another whirl until everything’s blended.

Now, it’s time to combine our wet and dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add hot coffee or water, and give it a good beat or whisk on low until everything’s mixed to perfection. The batter will be pretty thin – that’s totally normal.

Step 3. 

Divide the batter between your pans, then pop them in the oven. Bake them for 23 minutes to half an hour or ’til a small toothpick poked in the middle comes out mostly clean. 

Keep a close eye on them since baking times can vary depending on your oven. Oh, and don’t panic if they sink a tad in the middle once cooled – that’s just cocoa powder being cocoa powder. Let the moist cake chill on a rack until it is completely cool!


Step 4. 

Let’s move on to our delicious buttercream! You can go wild with other versions like chocolate cream cheese or chocolate fudge frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream complete

Grab your handheld or electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat butter at medium speed for 1.5-2 minutes until it’s nice and creamy. 

Add the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream (3 tablespoons), cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Whip it at low speed (about 30 seconds), then crank it up to a higher speed and cream it for a full minute. Just make sure not to over-whip the mixture! 

Is your layer of frosting a bit too thin? Add an extra ¼ cup of cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar. If it’s too thick, 1-2 tablespoons of cream will do the trick (I usually go for just one more tablespoon.) Give it a taste, and add more salt if you’re feeling it.


triple chocolate cake decorating

Step 5.

My cooled cakes usually have a little dome on top. I grab a big serrated knife and slice off a paper-thin layer to make it nice and flat – we call it “leveling” our cakes! You can toss the trimmed bits away or crumble them over the finished cake for a little extra pizzazz. 

Place one of your cake layers on your serving plate or cake stand, then slather on some delicious frosting. Pop the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the entire cake – sides and top included. I like using a bench scraper (+ icing spatula) for this part. 

And hey, if you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle some semisweet chocolate chips on top for a finishing touch (just like with chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes). 

Step 6.

Here’s a pro tip: put the uncovered cake in the fridge for half to one hour before slicing. This helps it set up nicely. 

Then, you can dig in your three-layer chocolate cake right away or keep it chilling for 4 to 6 hours. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer your cake chilled or at room temperature; it will blow everyone’s mind away!

triple chocolate cake final


1. Want a richer, more refined frosting? Try a chocolate ganache! Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and let it sit until melted. Whip it until smooth.

2. If you want to make sure your cake layers bake evenly, gently tap the cake pan on the counter after pouring the batter to release any air bubbles. I even bake a test cupcake alongside my main cake whenever I have time to observe its doneness!


Can I Substitute Buttermilk?

Absolutely! Use sour cream, or create a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

What Is The Best Way To Store Leftover Triple Chocolate Cake? 

Store the leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Want to play the long game? Then, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Have fun with my recipe for triple chocolate cake!

Discover More Unique Cake Recipes:

triple chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate Cake

This recipe is a chocolate lover's dream come true! Its moist, dense texture, rich chocolatey flavor, and creamy frosting make it the ultimate dessert for anyone who can't get enough chocolate goodness.
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 16
Author: Brenda Maher



  • 1 ¾ cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup natural cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ⅓ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ⅓ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup canola oil (or vegetable oil/melted coconut oil)
  • 2 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup decaf or regular coffee, hot, freshly brewed
  • (optional) 2 tsp espresso powder

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 ¼ cup softened, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ cup natural cocoa powder (or dutch process), unsweetened
  • 4 tbsp heavy cream (or milk or half-and-half), room temperature
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • (optional) chocolate chips, semisweet


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F or 177°C, then grease two 9” pans (or three 8” pans). Line the bottoms with some parchment paper rounds and grease those, too.


  • Dump in flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder (optional), cocoa powder, and salt in a big bowl. Whisk them and set the bowl aside.
  • Whip the eggs, oil, and vanilla at medium-high mixer speed. Pour in the buttermilk and give it another whirl.
  • Mix wet ingredients into dry, add hot coffee or water, and give it a good beat or whisk on low. The batter will be pretty thin.
  • Divide the batter between your pans. Bake them for 25-30 minutes or ’til a small toothpick poked in the middle comes out mostly clean with very few moist crumbs.
  • Let the moist chocolate cake chill on a rack until completely cool.


  • Beat butter at medium mixer speed for 1.5-2 minutes.
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream (3 tablespoons), cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Whip it at low speed (about 30 seconds), then cream it at high speed for 1 minute. No over-whipping.
  • Add an extra ¼ cup of cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar (for too-thin frosting) and 1-2 tablespoons of cream (for too-thick frosting). Add more salt if necessary.


  • Level the dark chocolate cake with a big serrated knife.
  • Place one of your cake layers on your serving plate, then slather on some delicious frosting. Do the same with the second chocolate cake layer. Sprinkle some mini chocolate chips (optional).
  • Refrigerate for one hour before slicing. You can dig in right away or keep it chilling for 4 to 6 hours.


  • Try a chocolate ganache: pour hot cream over chopped chocolate, let it sit until melted, then whip it until smooth.
  • After pouring the batter, gently tap the cake pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. 
  • (If possible) Bake a test cupcake alongside the cake to determine doneness precisely.


Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 81g | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @cakegirls or tag #cakegirls!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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