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4.67 from 6 votes

Death by Chocolate Cake

I wouldn't mind a Death by Chocolate Cake! Ultra-moist, rich chocolate cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with silky ganache. It's the perfect surprise for the chocolate lover in your life!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, chocolate, chocolate cake, death by chocolate cake
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 1181kcal
Author: Nicole Beaulieu


Chocolate Cake

  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder*
  • 1 cup water hot
  • 2 cups flour all-purpose
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups butter unsalted, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3-5 tbsp milk

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whipping cream


Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare two 8 or 9" round cake pans by spraying them lightly with cooking spray, and lining them with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
  • Whisk the instant espresso powder and hot water in a large mixing bowl, then add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until you no longer see flour.
  • Disperse the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely to room temperature.

Chocolate Buttercream

  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa to the bowl and, starting on LOW speed, beat until just combined.
  • Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the cocoa and sugar are well combined. Add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Add the chocolate chips to a small bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just bubbles around the edges. Remove from the heat and pour over the chips. Let it stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.


*You can replace the instant espresso and water in this recipe with 1 cup of brewed coffee.
Nutritional information is calculated based on this cake being divided into 8 slices.
Nutritional information is an estimate and may vary depending on the ingredients you use.
How to assemble your cake like mine: 
  1. Let the cake cool down FULLY! This is so important. It will melt the buttercream otherwise. You can even let the cake cool fully in the fridge to be safe. Once it has reached room temperature, cover it with plastic so that it doesn't dry out if you aren't going to decorate right away.
  2. Remove the cakes from their pans and peel the parchment paper from the bottoms of the cake. Use a bread or cake knife to slice the dome off the cakes. Work slowly to make sure the cake stays level.
  3. You can keep this cake in two layers, or four like mine. No matter how many layers you end up with, make sure to layer it as such: Place a round of cake with the smooth, bottom side DOWN and the sliced side UP. Smooth a level layer of buttercream over the cake.
  4. If you're making two layers, the top layer should be flipped upside down to the smooth, uncut side is facing UP. To make 4 layers, layer the inner pieces of cake with buttercream and finish with the bottom, smooth round facing UP. This will ensure your cake is perfectly smooth and level.
  5. Cover the entire cake with a layer of buttercream. Use a cake spatula or even a butter knife to smooth the buttercream as you see fit.
  6. If the ganache has hardened a bit, you can microwave it for 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until it is warm, not hot. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and carefully to the edges just until you get a few drips. Work around the edge of the cake until you are happy with the drips.
  7. Optional: I had some extra buttercream so I added it to a piping bag and added some decoration on top with chocolate chips.
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Calories: 1181kcal | Carbohydrates: 154g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 42g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 803mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 118g | Vitamin A: 1627IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 4mg