Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

This decadent cake has become our “go-to” chocolate cake for any occasion! It’s super easy to make, calls for no eggs, and can be dressed up or down. Sometimes we add Reese’s peanut butter cups to the batter and peanut butter to the frosting. Other times we leave it simply and divinely chocolate! It also makes a great batch of 2 dozen cupcakes!

You have so many options with this basic cake recipe, and we’ve made a lot of them from Reese’s Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Peanut Buttercream Frosting, to Black & White Cake with chocolate cake and white buttercream frosting, and even Mint Chocolate Cake with pieces of dark chocolate mint folded into the cake batter. 

And, you can make a 3-layer 8-inch cake, or a 2-layer 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes with this very same recipe. 

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Simply and Divinely Chocolate Cake



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder the better quality, the better the flavor
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cold water can use 1/4 cup strong coffee and 1 3/4 cup water to boost the chocolate flavor!
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 cubes unsalted butter 1 cup, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk plus or minus for desired consistency
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate shavings


    White Buttercream Frosting

    • 2 cubes unsalted butter 1 cup, softened to room temperature
    • 4 cups powdered sugar +/-
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons milk +/-


    • Grease, spray, or line with parchment paper, three 8-inch cake pans.
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Place all dries for cake in a large mixing bowl and blend well with a wire whisk. In a large measuring cup, mix oil, water and vanilla and add to dries, mixing thoroughly with a whisk or wooden spoon.
    • Divide batter evenly among the three cake pans. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the batter in each pan.
    • Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and remove from the pan. Spread frosting between each layer and cover the entire top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle top of the cake with dark chocolate shavings.

    For Frosting:

    • Place softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until creamy with an electric beater.
    • Sift cocoa powder into butter and cream together. (Beware … cocoa powder can fly right out of the bowl:)
    • Add powdered sugar alternately with milk, until you reach the desired spreading consistency. Reserve 1/4 cup powdered sugar for the last addition, in case you've added too much milk!
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