A moist, rich, triple layer chocolate blackout cake with a chocolate cream cheese frosting. Warning: for extreme chocolate lovers only!
This is the third time we’ve made this chocolate cake. Yes, we’ve made this HUGE cake three times now!! The first time I made it was for a birthday party, a risky choice, but it totally paid off. Everyone loved it! We also made it again for Valentine’s Day so I could snap a few process photos. Sometimes being a food blogger is rough ????! This cake requires a bit more prep work, but it tastes amazing and can be decorated however you like. I stuck with a pretty simple design (just classic chocolate buttercream frosting), however, you can add sprinkles, chocolate, fresh fruit or salted caramel. It’s bound to be a hit!
Grab three 9-inch cake pans and butter/flour them. If you plan on doing a ‘naked’ cake, I’d suggest using cocoa powder instead of flour, that way the edges of the cake won’t look white and dusty. If you’re going to frost the edges, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Bake the cakes in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until set. The tops should look glossy and the center should be set. You can insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cake to check for doneness. 2 out of the three times the center of the cake was slightly sunken (about ¼ inch or so), so don’t worry if that happens. You can use a sharp serrated knife to level the cake. You can also use baking strips (soak them and wrap them around your pans before filling them with batter) to create evenly baked layers. Over-baking will result in a dry crumb, so keep an eye on them around the 27 minute mark.
As soon as the cakes have completely cooled, make the frosting. This is a simple chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe, nothing overly fancy. Whip it up until it’s light and creamy, then spread between the layers of cake, and around the outside edges. You can save a little frosting to pipe on top or around the bottom edges, that’s totally up to you. I’ve done chocolate sprinkles around the top edge and it looked really pretty too.
I prefer to allow the frosting to set and the layers to firm up a bit before serving. I generally refrigerate my cake for 1-2 hours before I plan on cutting into it. FYI: the images seen in this post were taken before it was refrigerated.
Our family loves this chocolate blackout cake! It’s rich, decadent, and incredibly moist. It can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, and can easily feed a crowd. Attention all chocolate lovers- this cake is for you!!
Chocolate Blackout Cake
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 c. granulated sugar
- 1½ c. quality unsweetened cocoa powder - I prefer Scharffenberger or Guittard Cocoa Rouge
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- 1½ tsp. coarse kosher sea salt - not fine
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 1½ c. warm water + 1/2 tsp. espresso powder - espresso is optional
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- For the frosting:
- 1½ c. 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz 1 block cream cheese, softened
- 1½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder - same as above
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 7 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 c. heavy cream - more if needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray or butter/flour three 9-inch cake rounds.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
- Add eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on a medium speed until smooth, about a minute.
- Divide batter evenly between the three pans (about 3 cups of batter per pan).
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Keep an eye on it, you don't want to over-bake this cake!
- Remove from the oven and allow to the cakes to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully add in the cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, beat until combined.
- With mixing speed on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. When all of the powdered sugar has been added, beat in heavy cream, then add more to create a spreadable consistency. The frosting should be on the thicker side, however, it will thicken even more when the cake is refrigerated.
- Spread the frosting in between the cooled layers, then on the sides and on top. Spread into a smooth, even layer, using an offset spatula. Decorate as desired. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour before serving.