Cakes & Cupcakes

The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

at a glance
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
5 from 1 vote

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This not-too-sweet chocolate cake is brownie-like, incredibly satisfying, and perfect for your next cake-worthy occasion.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever

I’ve tried many a chocolate cake recipes over the last several years, attempting my own gluten-free substitutions, and none of them really impressed me. So, I got to work and created my own! This deliciously fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cake, is everything I want in a chocolate cake. If you’re familiar with my recipes, you know that I have a strong bias for no-fluff, easy recipes. That said, this recipe does require a little extra love, but it’s worth it – I promise!

Ingredients

The ingredients below make enough for one round 9-inch cake. If you’d like to make a double-layer cake, simply double the ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need:

For the Cake

  • 2 cups of flour (we use this one for gluten-free)
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • ½ cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups of buttermilk
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of espresso powder
  • ⅓ cup of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 8 ounces of softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of cocoa powder
  • ½ tablespoon of vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

How to Make Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This process is easier than you may think! Here’s how you’ll bring this tasty, fudgy cake together:

Hand buttering round cake pan.
220622_Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream-34
Chocolate chips being poured into chocolate cake batter.
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Wet ingredients being poured into dry ingredients in a large metal bowl.
Chocolate cake batter being poured into a round cake pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom.
Dry chocolate cake ingredients being whisked together in a large, metal bowl.
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220622_Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream-11

To Make the Cake

  1. Prep – preheat the oven to 350°F, and prepare your cake pan by rubbing butter all over the sides and bottom. Then, cut a circular piece of parchment to place at the very bottom of the cake pan.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients – in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Set up a double broiler – prepare a double boiler by adding 2-inches of water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to keep the water at a slow simmer.  Add a large glass or metal bowl over top, making sure the fit is snug and the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. 
  4. Combine the wet ingredients – in the large glass bowl, whisk the butter and buttermilk together over the heat until the butter is totally melted. Add the espresso powder (or instant coffee), eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry – pour the wet, combined ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  6. Bake – pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until a knife comes out (from the center) clean.
  7. Let cool and then remove from pan – let the cake cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack (run a knife along the sides and then flip over to remove from pan).
  8. Let cool and then frost – let the cake cool completely on the wire rack, then ice or frost as desired.

To Make the Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Add ingredients to mixer – add all the ingredients to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  2. Blend until smooth – starting on low speed, mix the ingredients until combined.
  3. Increase speed – increase to medium-high speed and mix until smooth.
  4. Frost – use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Chocolate buttercream ingredients in a stand mixer bowl.
White bowl with chocolate buttercream

Best Frosting For Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is frosted with a luscious chocolate buttercream, but if you’re looking to change it up, you can absolutely frost it with whatever frosting you love most! Cream cheese frosting would also be really delicious here (find options for strawberry, chocolate chip, and peanut butter here).

Tips for Success

  • Don’t skip the double broiler – this is that extra love I was talking about earlier. Don’t skip this step to create the fudge, smooth texture of the cake.
  • Wrap to store – to maintain the most amount of moisture, make sure you wrap your cake to store it or store it in an airtight container.
  • Careful not to over-mix – when folding the wet ingredients into the dry, whisk until it’s just incorporated and smooth, careful not to overwork the batter.

Decorating Ideas

Decorate your cake to your heart’s content! We did a nice even coat of chocolate buttercream over the entire cake, but you can absolutely get creative with piping if that’s your thing! Some other ideas include:

  • Add sprinkles – after you’ve fully frosted your cake, add sprinkles for a fun twist! These are our favorites.
  • Add fruit – slice fresh strawberries and top your cake with that. Raspberries would also be delicious!
  • Add candy – add M&Ms, peanut butter cups, or any other candy you love to the top of the cake. 

How to Store a Frosted Cake

This cake is best stored in an airtight container on the counter for 3-5 days. If you’re making it ahead of time, we suggest wrapping the cake in plastic wrap to maintain moisture and frosting it just before serving.

Q Can I freeze this?
A

Yes, you can freeze this fudgy chocolate cake. We recommend slicing the cake and individually wrapping each slice in plastic wrap or parchment paper before placing them in a freezer bag, silicone bag, or airtight storage container to protect against freezer burn.

Q Can I make this dairy-free?
A

The cake can be made dairy-free by simply replacing the buttermilk for a homemade non-dairy buttermilk (whisk together 1¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of your favorite non-dairy milk + 2 tablespoons of either lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar), and use vegan butter instead of regular. For the frosting, swap the butter for vegan butter and the milk for a non-dairy milk.

Q Can I make this gluten-free?
A

This cake was actually created to be gluten-free! We used King Arthur’s gluten-free measure for measure flour.

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Homemade Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Servings: 12 Servings
This not-too-sweet chocolate cake is brownie-like, incredibly satisfying, and perfect for your next cake-worthy occasion.

Ingredients  

For the Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • cups buttermilk
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 8 ounces butter softened
  • cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and prepare your cake pan by rubbing butter all over the sides and bottom. Then, cut a circular piece of parchment to place in the very bottom of the cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Prepare a double boiler by adding 2-inches of water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to keep the water at a slow simmer. Add a large glass or metal bowl over top, making sure the fit is snug and the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  • To the large glass bowl, whisk the butter and buttermilk together over the heat until the butter is totally melted. Add the espresso powder (or instant coffee), eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the wet, combined ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until a knife comes out (from the center) clean.
  • While the cake is in the oven, make the frosting. To do this, add all of the ingredients to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, and, starting on low speed, mix the ingredients until combined. Then, increase the speed to medium-high and mix until smooth.
  • Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack (run knife along sides and then flip over to remove from pan).
  • Let the cake cool completely on the wire rack, then ice or frost as desired.
Meet the Author
Cassy Headshot

Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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