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Triple Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Buttercream

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What’s not to love about a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream? This chocolate cake is an all-purpose, everyday kind of cake and it solves all of your chocolate dessert cravings. It is an easy, adaptable recipe that is perfect for any occasion. 

All you need is one bowl and less than 10 minutes to mix the chocolate cake batter. This recipe is a keeper! Pin it, bookmark it, save it however you save things because you will want to come back to this recipe EVERY TIME you need a chocolate cake. 

A partially eaten slice of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream.

Simple Chocolate Layer Cake

This recipe is simply the easiest chocolate cake recipe ever. I have adapted it from our recipe for chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting but this recipe has sour cream in it which helps the cake stay moist even longer. 

The chocolate buttercream on this cake is another necessary addition to everyone’s recipe collection. It is a basic American buttercream with the addition of cocoa powder. Fast, easy, and delicious. 

However, you don’t have to stick to the chocolate buttercream in this recipe. This cake goes well with just about any frosting. Top it with our double chocolate cream cheese frosting or fill it with some homemade marshmallow fluff.

Serving a slice of a triple layer chocolate cake.

Why This Triple Chocolate Cake Works

Ridiculously Easy to Make: Forget dragging out your stand mixer. This cake is so simple you only need a bowl and a whisk. Mix everything together with minimal effort and get an impressive, bakery-quality cake without breaking a sweat. It’s the ultimate no-fuss dessert.

Moist and Tender Crumb: Sour cream and vegetable oil keep this cake moist and tender, even after a night in the fridge.

Versatile and Easy Frosting: Frosting can make or break a cake, and this chocolate buttercream means business. It is easy to make and spreads like a dream. The optional chocolate ganache drip? That’s just to show off, and it looks amazing with zero effort.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

Ready to whip up the best chocolate cake of your life? Check out this no-nonsense ingredient list. Everything you need is probably already in your pantry, fridge, or right on your kitchen counter.

  • Pantry: Cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, flour, baking powder, baking soda, powdered sugar, chocolate
  • Dairy and Eggs: Sour cream, butter, heavy cream, eggs
  • Other: Boiling water or hot coffee


  • Swap the coffee for boiling water if you’re not a coffee fan.
  • Replace the vegetable oil with melted coconut oil, which will give the cake a slight coconutty flavor.
  • Greek yogurt works just as well as sour cream.

Helpful Tips

Ready to nail this triple chocolate cake like a pro? These tips will make sure you don’t end up with a baking disaster.

  • Sifting the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda ensures a lump-free, smooth batter.
  • Use a kitchen scale to divide the batter evenly among the cake pans for even, uniform layers.
  • After frosting, chill the cake for at least 15 minutes before adding the ganache drip.
  • Use a toothpick to check if the cakes are done. It should come out clean or with a few crumbs, not wet batter.

Tips for the Ganache

Want to take your triple chocolate cake to the next level? Don’t forget the ganache. This rich, silky chocolate layer can be a stunning drip on top of the cake. And hey, if you’re feeling extra, double the ingredients and add some of that ganache between each layer!

  • Heat the cream just until it’s almost boiling. If it boils over, you risk burning it and ruining the ganache.
  • After adding the chopped chocolate to the hot cream, let it sit for about 5 minutes before stirring. This ensures all the chocolate melts evenly.
  • If the ganache thickens too much, gently reheat it in the microwave in 3-second intervals until it’s pourable again.
A 9-inch chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache drip.


Room Temperature: If you’re planning to serve the cake within a day or two, simply cover it and keep it at room temperature.

Fridge: For longer storage, place the cake in the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving to soften the frosting.

Freezing: You can freeze the cake for up to 3 months if stored in an airtight container. If you don’t have a large enough container, freeze individual slices. Thaw the chocolate cake in the fridge overnight and bring to room temperature before serving.

Two slices of triple chocolate cake on white plates.

More Recipes You Will Love

This chocolate Guinness cake is amazing. The secret to a rich chocolate stout cake is in reducing the Guinness stout.

This flourless chocolate cake tastes like a chocolate truffle. It is true decadence and it only takes 3 ingredients.

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A slice of triple chocolate cake with three layers and chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Ready to impress with minimal effort? This triple chocolate cake is your ticket. One bowl, a whisk, and a little elbow grease are all you need to create a rich, moist, three-layer cake that tastes like it came from a fancy bakery.
Use unsweetened cocoa powder for both the cake and the chocolate buttercream and dark chocolate for the ganache drip. Don't settle for anything less than chocolate perfection.
4.55 from 151 votes
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Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 12 to 24 servings depending on the baking pans used.
Calories: 410kcal
Author: Dahn Boquist


Chocolate Cake

  • 1-¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (100 grams)
  • 1-¼ cup boiling water or hot coffee (300 grams)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200 grams)
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil (150 grams)
  • 1-½ cups sour cream (337 grams)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-½ cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
  • 2-¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2-¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-½ teaspoon salt

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups butter softened (452 grams)
  • 6 to 7 cups powdered sugar* see notes (673 grams)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (80 grams)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Ganache (optional)

  • cup heavy cream (76 grams)
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (87 grams) (45% to 52% See Notes)


Easy Chocolate Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder and boiling water or coffee. Whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. 
  • Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and sour cream and whisk until well blended. 
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until completely incorporated.  
  • Sift the flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the batter. Whisk until there are no flour streaks. 
  • Divide the batter among the baking pans and bake for 28 to 35 minutes. (See the notes if you use different sized pans).
  • Let the cakes cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pans then run a knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cake. Invert the cakes onto a cooling rack and let them cool completely before frosting them.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes until it is smooth and creamy. 
  • Add 6 cups of the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Add the cocoa powder slowly and blend on medium speed until incorporated. 
  • Add 4 tablespoons of the milk (or cream), salt, and vanilla extract. Increase the speed and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Stop the beater and check the consistency of the buttercream. Add additional powdered sugar if it is too thin or add 16extra milk if it is too thick. 

Frost the Cake

  • Spread 1-¼ cups of buttercream between each of the cake layers and cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream (save a small amount of frosting if you want to pipe swirls on the top).
    Chill the cake for 15 minutes before adding the chocolate ganache drip.

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • Place the cream in a microwavable bowl and zap it in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds or until it almost boils. Don't let it boil over.
  • Add the chopped chocolate to the hot cream. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. If the chocolate isn't completely melted, zap the mixture in the microwave in 15 second intervals until melted. Set aside to cool slightly. If it sits too long, it will thicken and won't drip down the cake so keep an eye on it.
  • Add the ganache to a plastic bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Pipe the ganache around the top edge of the cake and let it drizzle down the sides.
    Spread the rest of the ganache over the top. Let the ganache firm up completely before piping rosettes on top.


For the buttercream:

  • Powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) is also called icing sugar in some countries. It has a very fine, powdery texture that dissolves instantly. Do not use granulated sugar that has a sand-like texture.
  • When you add the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder to the mixer, just add a little at a time so the powder does not fly all over the kitchen.
  • The chocolate buttercream recipe makes about 4-1/2 cups which is enough buttercream to frost a 3 layer round cake. 

For the chocolate ganache:

  • Use a dark chocolate that is between 45% to 52% chocolate. If you use a bar with a higher percentage of chocolate, you will need a smidge more cream.
  • Hershey’s Special Dark candy bar has 45% chocolate. Toll House and Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips also run in this range. 



Serving: 1 | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 271mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 46g

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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Thursday 20th of June 2024

Hey I see that you updated this recipe. Can you share the old one please? It was my go to recipe and I can't imagine changing it as we love it so much!

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