Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Sprinkles.

If you asked one hundred people what kind of cake they want for their birthday, 75% will say “chocolate” – or some variation of that.  Chocolate fudge, chocolate mint, chocolate peanut butter.  Chocolate.  You can never have too many chocolate cake recipes in your repertoire, right?  Consequently, I’m always looking for a good one and this Double Chocolate Layer Cake is a winner!

dry ingredients

This simple Double Chocolate Layer Cake starts by mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients separately, then beating them together. It’s really easy and the toughest part for me is waiting for the cake layers to cool before frosting them with a rich chocolate buttercream.

wet ingredients

This one has quickly risen to the top of my list!  It is everything that chocolate cake should be, with a deep, rich chocolate flavor and a moist, tender crumb, not to mention velvety swirls of intensely chocolate buttercream.  

I can’t take credit for it because it’s Ina Garten’s recipe – but I knew I had to share it with you!

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I splurged on some heavy duty round cake pans {affiliate link}. These pans have higher sides than normal and they’re thicker than the usual cake tins, assuring the cakes bake evenly with no cracking or domes (easier for stacking the layers).

baked cake

There’s coffee in the batter and espresso in the frosting – which just intensifies the chocolate flavor and makes it impossible to resist having just one more slice.  

unsweetened chocolate in a bowl
melted chocolate

And this recipe makes plenty of icing for a two layer-cake, so you can either be extra generous when your icing the layers, or be a little selfish and reserve some as a reward — just for you — to indulge when no-one is looking.  I won’t tell.

adding melted chocolate
frosting cake

This particular layer cake was destined for a birthday party (not at my house) — and I thought it would be rude to follow it to the party and set up a photo shoot in the middle of the celebration.  

So, unfortunately, I only have pictures of the cake as a whole and no slices so you can see the moist, tender crumb.  You’re just going to have to trust me on that!

Stacking the Double Chocolate Layer Cake
swirling frosting on Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Emily helped me decorate – and though I’m not a pastry chef by any stretch, I was pleased with the end result.  

overhead shot of Double Chocolate Layer Cake

She picked dinosaur sprinkles and went to town with them.  I don’t blame her — what’s a birthday without sprinkles… and chocolate?

Adding sprinkles to Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Double Chocolate Layer Cake ready for the birthday boy!

More easy cake recipes:

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Double Chocolate Layer Cake | Garlic & Zest
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5 from 1 vote

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

An intensely chocolate layer cake with a shot of espresso and swirls of fudgy buttercream! A simple, but decadent cake perfect for birthday celebrations!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword birthday cake, cake, chocolate
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12



  • cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk shaken
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 extra large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coffee strong brewed


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in two teaspoons hot tap water
  • Sprinkles optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two 9-inch pans with vegetable spray. Cut two rounds of parchment to fit easily into the bottom of the pans. Line the pans with the parchment paper and spray again with vegetable spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together until well combined.
  • In a small bowl, or two cup measuring cup, add the buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  • With your mixer on low-medium speed, slowly add the liquids to the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the coffee, scraping the bottoms and sides to make sure everything is well combined.
  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool to room temperature.
  • While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Add the chocolate to a small bowl and microwave in 15-20 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate has melted and is glossy and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and airy. Beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and the espresso concentrate and beat until well combined.
  • Remove one of the cakes from the pan and place upside down on a cake platter. Add about 3/4 cup of icing to the center of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the surface of the cake. Top with the second tier (upside down again) and add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Scatter your favorite sprinkles or other cake decorations if desired.


Calories: 609kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 550mg | Potassium: 284mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 560IU | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3.2mg

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The best chocolate cake recipe is this Double Chocolate Layer Cake! It's intensely chocolatey with a shot of espresso and swirls of fudgy buttercream! A simple, decadent dessert! #chocolate #cake #chocolatecake #layercake #chocolatefrosting #fudgefrosting #espressofudgecake #espresso #coffee #chocolateicing #fudgeicing

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  1. I’m making this cake today but I realized I forgot the instant espresso for frosting. Do you think I can substitute the espresso or will it still be as good if I omit it?

    1. It should be fine, Kasey. The espresso just deepens the chocolate flavor.

  2. I love how silky this frosting looks. And you can never really go wrong with double chocolate!

    1. No, you can’t go wrong with double chocolate!!!

  3. Lisa this is my favourite chocolate cake recipe too! I’ve never tried it with the chocolate icing you used but know I have to now – it looks so dreamy and creamy!! I’m sure it’s hard not to lick the spoon when frosting the cake 😛

    1. Yeah, well, I might have licked that spoon. I might have licked the bowl too!

  4. 5 stars
    This is the best cake I’ve ever made. Like… wow. I made a cream cheese frosting to put in between the two layers, then covered the outside with the chocolate buttercream. And it was so easy! I was a bit concerned at how liquidy the batter turned out, but it baked up perfectly moist and ahhhhmazing!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it — and WOW! cream cheese frosting in the middle? I’m coming to your house!

  5. I may have missed it but how much butter for the frosting? I don’t see it in the ingredient list.

    1. Oops, my bad! Thanks for the catch Juli! It’s two sticks of butter (1 cup). I fixed it in the recipe.

  6. You can’t beat a moist chocolate cake. This looks delicious. Love the swirls of buttercream on top too!

  7. Can I pretend it’s my bday?? I’m a sucker for anything chocolate! Looks so rich and delicious!

  8. The Purple Ladle says:

    What a fabulous chocolate cake, love the coffee in the recipe, I bet it adds to the flavour really nicely!

  9. So perfect for National Chocolate Day! The cake looks great – I love swirly frosting. Although I will confess to being in that minority who would most definitely not say chocolate cake. 😉

  10. That close up shot of the frosting swirls has me salivating! What a gorgeous cake and wonderful recipe!

  11. You’ve done it again! Beautiful cake, pictures and recipe. Double chocolate? I’m in. Thanks.

  12. Elizabeth @ says:

    This is my idea of a perfect birthday cake! Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate–I love it! Can’t go wrong with an Ina recipe!

  13. I never say no to chocolate! And I love coffee in my chocolate baked goods – makes them even more flavorful. Love those little dino sprinkles too!

  14. I think it would’ve been hilarious if you’d forced everyone at the party to wait on you to photo the sliced cake hahahaa…
    This sounds amazing! Ina Garten is a genius 😉

  15. John @PreppyKitchen says:

    This cake looks delicious! I love your frosting technique on the top. Good job!