Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

Last year for my birthday celebrate, Nate made one of the yummiest cakes I have ever eaten. He got the recipe for a chocolate peanut butter cake from smitten kitchen. The chocolate cake was so moist and the peanut butter frosting was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Topped with chocolate ganache. Perfection.

Well needless to say, after he made me such a delicious cake for my birthday, I knew that the stakes were very high and I would have to make him an equally delicious cake for his birthday too.



After a recommendation from a friend on facebook, I decided to go with America’s Test Kitchen Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. Unfortunately you need a subscription, so I did a free trial so I could get the recipe and then cancelled it right away so I wouldn’t forget! I made a few slight changes and the result was delicious! (maybe not quite as good as the chocolate peanut butter cake though – but I always have next year to make an even better one!)

Before I get into the recipe, let me complain for a minute. Cake pans that aren’t non stick, should never ever be  allowed to be sold. The stupid pan might say “non stick” and then you think spraying it with pam, even sprinkling it with flour, the cake will never stick to this pan. Well it did. So my recommendation is to always use parchment or waxed paper to line your pan, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it.  I know that from now on I will be.


Luckily I made this cake into 3 layers (even though 2 was suggested). So I was trying to take the first layer out of the pan and the bottom totally stuck to the pan. The cake cracked and it was about 5 pieces. I was mad. So mad that I decided to take one of the pieces and eat it. Well, the next 2 layers of cake stuck as well, but not quite  as badly and I just stuck the pieces together and hoped they’d stay that way once frosted. I probably could’ve done the same thing with the first layer but I’d already eaten some of it. So the cake ended up being a 2 layer cake instead of 3.

So please, please, please, line your cake pans with waxed or parchment paper!

Now onto the recipe.

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (I used the half dutch stuff)
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 TBS lemon)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1½ sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips or semi sweet chocolate chips
For the Frosting:
  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 8 oz milk chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 TBS corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cup heavy cream
  1. Simmer about 1 inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler (or a normal sauce pan).
  2. Put chocolate, cocoa powder and hot water in the top of the double boiler (or in a heat proof bowl).
  3. Stir often until chocolate is completely melted.
  4. Add ½ cup of sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir for about 2 minutes until thick and glossy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine flour baking soda and salt.
  6. In a small bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and egg yolks until combined (use stand mixer or hand mixer if you have it - on medium speed)
  9. Add remaining sugar, 1¼ cup, and continue to whisk until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (change speed to high).
  10. Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and mix until completely incorporated (switch to paddle attachment if you have it - on medium).
  11. Add softened butter, about 1 TBS at a time, mixing for a few seconds in between each addition.
  12. Add one third of flour mixture, mix to incorporate, then one half of buttermilk mixture, then repeat with flour, then buttermilk, then flour. Fully mixing after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  13. Add chocolate chips and stir them in to combine.
  14. Pour batter evenly into 3 prepared 8 inch round baking pans. (Remember. Line the pans with paper then spray the paper with non stick spray).
  15. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  16. Allow to cook in pans for 15 minutes then remove to wire rack to fully cool before frosting.
For the Frosting:
  1. Melt chocolate in double boiler with 1 inch of simmering water in the bottom, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat butter in a medium sized sauce pan over low until melted.
  3. Add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt and increase heat to medium. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Pour chocolate, sugar mixture and cream into a large bowl and mix to combine (use your hand mixer or stand mixer again if you can)
  5. Place bowl of frosting in the fridge for a few minutes to help cool.
  6. Place bowl over an ice bath and stir slowly, constantly until frosting starts to harden around the edges of the bowl. (I put ice in a ziplock bag and moved it around the bottom of the bowl, while mixing).
  7. Once frosting is cooled and thickening, beat until frosting is light and fluffy (use paddle attachment if you have it - on medium speed) about 2 minutes.
  8. Frost one layer of cake, then add another layer of cake and frost the top of the layer, then add the final layer and frost the top. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the sides of the cake.


This cake is great for birthdays and here you can find over one hundred (112 to be exact) birthday cake ideas boys will love from my friend Stephanie!



(sorry I didn’t get more pictures of the layers – we ate the cake too fast!)



  1. Christine Krause · · Reply

    I would like to try this, but the last 2 ingredients are confusing.

    “1 1/2 sticks tablespoon, softened” (this is probably for butter, but is the amount supposed to be 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks). Which measurement is correct?

    “1 cup milk or semi sweet chocolate chips.” There’s no mention of milk in the recipe, but although this is silly, that doesn’t mean if you don’t have chocolate chips, that you should use milk instead, does it?

    1. Sorry for the confusion, milk chocolate chips or semi sweet chocolate chips.

      And you are right 1 1/2 sticks butter, I’ll correct that in the recipe.

  2. You had me at TRIPLE chocolate. I’d like a slice of this for dinner please. And maybe even dessert. :) so much melted chocolate in the frosting – how can you go wrong?

    1. Thanks Sally. It sure is chocolatey but like you said “how can you go wrong?”. Chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner! :)

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