Skip to Content

Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

This Decadent Chocolate Cake is dedicated to all the chocoholics who appreciate the sweeter things in life.  It’s three layers of chocolate cake goodness topped with homemade chocolate buttercream icing.

How To Make Chocolate Cake From Scratch

As with all recipes, be sure to read all of the instructions before beginning.  Then begin by assembling all of your ingredients together.  There is nothing worse than getting halfway through the instructions and then realizing that you are missing some key ingredients.

layered chocolate cake with chocolate icing

For this recipe, you need the following ingredients:

  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • boiling water

Just as there are multiple layers to this cake, there are multiple steps that you must take.

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare 3 8-inch cake pans.

2. There are three components of the cake batter.  The first is a creamy mixture that is made of butter and sugar.  I like to make my creamed mixture look nice and fluffy.  While you can overbeat cake batter, you don’t have to worry about over-mixing this mixture.

creamed butter and sugar

3.  The next component is the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder), and salt.

4.  And finally, to make it chocolatey, there is cocoa.  To bring out the best of the cocoa, add boiling water and whisk to make sure that there are no clumps.  (If you want to add more oomph to your cake, add a tablespoon of instant coffee or espresso now.)

pouring boiling water into cocoa

5.  Now it’s time to combine all three – the creamed mixture, the dry ingredients, and the chocolate mixture.  The best way to do this is to alternate them.  This is the step in which you do NOT want to overmix the batter.

6.  Divide the cake batter between the three cake pans and bake for 22 – 28 minutes.  Use a toothpick to determine if the cake is done.  You want to be able to insert it into the middle of the cake and to withdraw it and not see any batter on the toothpick.

chocolate cake batter

7.  Once the cake is done, remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes.  Next, run a knife around the edge to be sure that the cake is loosened from each pan and then invert them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Print Pin
4.5 from 2 votes

Decadent Chocolate Layer Cake

This Decadent Chocolate Layer Cake is dedicated to all the chocoholics who appreciate the sweeter things in life.  It's three layers of chocolate cake goodness topped with homemade chocolate buttercream icing.
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cake, chocolate, desserts
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Additional Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 13 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 479kcal
Author Jane Smith


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cups boiling water
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 8” round cake pans, then line bottom with round parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Mix the cocoa powder and boiling water in a medium bowl until well combined and no lumps remain.
  • Alternating between the two, slowly add dry ingredients and chocolate mixture to the bowl with the butter and sugar. Mix on low speed to incorporate ingredients.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the three cake pans and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake 22-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and set aside to cool for approximately 10 minutes before transferring the cakes from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely, approximately 10-15 more minutes. (Cakes should no longer be warm to the touch before frosting).
  • To assemble the cake, place the first layer top-side down on a cake plate. Add 1/3 of the frosting to the top of the cake layer and spread it out evenly. Take the second layer and level off the rounded top with a knife or cake leveler. Place the second layer on top of the first layer, top-side down. Add frosting to this layer and spread out evenly. Repeat this with the 3rd layer, and spread the remaining frosting out on the top layer. Slice and serve immediately. Enjoy!



Serving: 1 | Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 368mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 44g

How To Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Now this chocolate cake would not be complete without a homemade chocolate buttercream frosting.  It’s so much better than the stuff you find in a can on the grocery shelf.  Trust me.  And it is not difficult to make.  The results are worth a few minutes to whip it up.

The secret to making buttercream is to beat the butter first until it is light and fluffy.  Next, add cocoa powder to the butter and mix until it is well blended.

butter and cocoa

Now it’s time to add powdered sugar to the cocoa-butter mixture.  Be SURE that there are no clumps of powdered sugar.  Tip:  Shake the powder sugar through a colander with small holes.  This will help catch any clumps and prevent you from having white spots/clumps in the frosting.

butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar

Use a mixer to combine the powder sugar.  You should achieve the perfect consistency after about 3-4 minutes of beating it at medium speed.

homemade chocolate buttercream
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Buttercream

Rich, creamy, and delicious!
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Keyword Buttercream, chocolate, desserts, frosting, icing
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 299kcal
Author Jane Smith


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 16- oz. powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract


  • Beat the butter at high-speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Mix the butter and cocoa powder in a large bowl until well blended.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix at low-speed until all of the sugar is combined.
  • Stir in milk and vanilla extract, if needed, to reach desired consistency.



Serving: 1 | Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 4mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g

And finally, it’s time to ice the cake.  Don’t worry if you cannot make roses out of frosting or don’t know who to pipe icing.  Thankfully today one of the trends is a “bare” cake.

What is a bare cake?

A bare cake is one that is minimally iced or frosted.  That means that you can spread frosting between each layer and on top.  If you get a bit too much on the sides, you can just smooth it out for a wispy and trendy look.

If you want to add more to the cake, you could add the following:

  • sprinkles
  • strawberries
  • chocolate curls
  • chocolate-covered coffee beans.
chocolate layer cake with chocolate buttercream

How do you like your chocolate cake topped?

There is nothing better than a friend – unless it is a friend with chocolate.

Can’t get enough chocolate?  Be sure to check out these other recipes with chocolate:

  • Paleo Chocolate Ice Cream – Another name for this sweet dessert is NICE CREAM.  It’s dairy-free and delish!
  • Nutella Bread – Homemade sweet dough enrobing creamy Nutella.  It can be a breakfast treat or dessert.
  • Chocolate Walnut Brownies – These rich brownies are loaded with chocolate and walnut-y goodness.
  • Creamy Chocolate Mousse – This luscious chocolate mousse is creamy and velvety and made with only four ingredients.
  • Homemade Chocolate Syrup – This recipe tastes just as great as store-bought.  Best thing about it is that it is made using all-natural ingredients.

Sharing is caring!

bowl of shrimp jambalaya
Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe
basil chicken stir-fry in a pan
The Best Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Stir-Fry
Recipe Rating