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Perfect Triple Layer Chocolate Cake

This Triple Layer Chocolate Cake is simple to make, doesn’t require fancy equipment, and delivers an intensely chocolatey taste. With a super moist texture and rich ganache frosting, it’s the perfect dessert for any occasion!

slice of chocolate cake.

Who doesn’t dream of the perfect slice of cake that’s rich, chocolatey, and super moist? If this has been your lifelong search, you’ve landed on the right page. It is made with simple ingredients and it requires no fancy equipment, ensuring an easy baking process. Filled with a rich chocolate ganache, this Triple Layer Chocolate Cake is every chocolate lover’s dream come true.

Chocolate cake is always a favorite. Whether it’s for birthdays, anniversaries, or the holiday season, a chocolate cake is perfect for any occasion. For more chocolate desserts, check out our one layer chocolate cake and our moist chocolate cake with fudge frosting.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • No Fancy Equipment Needed: You don’t need a stand mixer or electric mixer, making the process simpler and accessible.
  • Perfectly Moist: The addition of buttermilk and brewed coffee ensures a moist cake texture.
  • Triple the Indulgence: Because why settle for one when you can have three layers of chocolate goodness?
  • Versatile Ganache: Our chocolate ganache can also be used as a frosting for cupcakes or topped on brownies.
  • Impress Your Guests: This cake looks sophisticated but is surprisingly easy to make.

Ingredient Notes

  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides structure to the cake.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the cake.
  • Cocoa Powder: Gives a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: Leavening agents that help the cake rise.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness.
  • Buttermilk: Adds moisture and a slight tang.
  • Brewed Coffee: Enhances the chocolate flavor.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture.
  • Eggs: Provide structure and stability.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a sweet aroma and flavor.
  • Dark Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate: For a luscious chocolate ganache.
  • Heavy Cream: To create a smooth ganache.
chocolate cake ingredients

Be sure to check out the recipe card for the full ingredient list below

Step by Step Instructions

chocolate cake dry ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

chocolate cake batter

To the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk, hot coffee, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

chocolate cake batter in pans

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

chocolate chips with cream in a bowl

Ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let it stand for a few minutes to melt the chocolate.

chocolate ganache

Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow the chocolate ganache to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

slice of chocolate cake

Place one of the cool chocolate cake layers on a cake stand. Spread a generous amount of the chocolate ganache over the top using an offset spatula to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining layers and top it with the remaining chocolate ganache, spreading it evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

Tip: Don’t have any brewed coffee? You can use espresso powder instead of brewed coffee in your recipe. Just dissolve a tablespoon of espresso powder in warm water. It’s a secret many bakers swear by for the perfect chocolate cake! Looking for a top-quality espresso powder? Check out our favorite pick here!

Substitutions

  • For a dairy-free version, substitute the buttermilk with a plant-based milk mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice, and use dairy-free chocolate and cream.
  • For a gluten-free option, replace the all-purpose flour with your favorite gluten-free flour blend.

Equipment

  • 8-inch cake pans: Essential for creating the layers of the cake. If you use a different size, you may need to adjust the baking time.
  • Large mixing bowl: For combining the ingredients.
  • Offset spatula: Helps in spreading the ganache evenly.
  • Wire rack: For cooling the cake layers.

How to Store

The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Ensure it’s covered with plastic wrap or kept in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

How to Freeze

Freezing Individual Cake Layers:

  1. Cool Completely: Before freezing, ensure your cake layers have cooled to room temperature. This prevents condensation from forming when they’re wrapped, which can make the cake soggy when thawed.
  2. Wrap Tightly: Using plastic wrap, wrap each cake layer securely. It’s essential to ensure that no part of the cake is exposed to avoid freezer burn.
  3. Protection Layer: After wrapping in plastic wrap, add an additional layer of aluminum foil. This not only offers an extra layer of protection but also helps retain the cake’s moisture.
  4. Label: Using a permanent marker, label each layer with the date and type of cake to keep track, especially if you freeze various baked goods.
  5. Store: Place the wrapped cake layers in the freezer. They can be stacked on top of each other once they are fully frozen. For best results, use within three months.

Freezing Assembled Cake:

  1. Set the Ganache: Before freezing the assembled cake, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. This helps the ganache set and keeps it from getting squished during the wrapping process.
  2. Freeze Uncovered First: Place the assembled cake on a cake board or plate and freeze it uncovered for about 2-3 hours. This step ensures the ganache and decorations, if any, don’t stick to the wrap.
  3. Wrap: Once the cake is slightly frozen, take it out and wrap it securely in plastic wrap. Just like with the layers, make sure no part is exposed.
  4. Protection Layer: Add a layer of aluminum foil over the plastic wrap for additional protection.
  5. Label and Store: Clearly label the cake with the date and type, then return it to the freezer. A fully assembled cake is best enjoyed within a month for optimal freshness.

How to Prepare Ahead of Time

  • The chocolate cake layers can be baked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month. Ensure they are well wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • The chocolate ganache can also be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Simply bring it back to room temperature and stir it well before using.

Thawing

When you’re ready to serve, remove the cake or cake layers from the freezer. For individual layers, let them thaw at room temperature for several hours. For the fully assembled cake, consider thawing it in the refrigerator overnight to ensure the ganache maintains its structure. Always unwrap cakes while they’re still frozen to prevent any ganache or decorations from sticking to the wrap.


expert Tips

  • Use room temperature ingredients: Ensure that your eggs, buttermilk, and other ingredients are at room temperature for the best texture and flavor.
  • Don’t overmix: Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined to ensure a tender crumb.
  • Use high-quality cocoa powder: For the richest chocolate flavor, opt for a high-quality cocoa powder.
  • Don’t skip the coffee: The brewed coffee enhances the chocolate flavor without making the cake taste like coffee.
  • Let the cake cool completely: Ensure the cake layers are completely cool before assembling to prevent the ganache from melting.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m out of buttermilk. Is there a homemade alternative?

Definitely! Making a buttermilk substitute is simple and effective. For every cup of regular milk (whole or 2% works best) add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to it. Stir the mixture and let it sit for about 5 minutes. You’ll notice the milk will begin to curdle slightly, mimicking the tang and acidity of buttermilk, which is perfect for this recipe.


Will the cake have a strong coffee taste because of the brewed coffee ingredient?

Not at all. While the recipe does incorporate brewed coffee, its primary role is to amplify the depth and richness of the chocolate flavor. Instead of a pronounced coffee taste, you’ll find that the cake has a more intense chocolatey profile, which many chocolate lovers adore.

I’ve heard about Dutch-process cocoa powder. Can I use regular cocoa powder instead in this recipe?

Yes, you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder as a substitute. Both types of cocoa powder will impart a chocolate flavor to the cake. However, Dutch-process cocoa powder is treated with an alkalizing agent, giving it a darker color and a milder, more mellow chocolate flavor. If you opt for regular cocoa powder, the cake might have a slightly different, more robust chocolate taste, but it will still be delicious.

Do I need to refrigerate cake with ganache?

Yes, it’s recommended to refrigerate cakes covered or filled with ganache to ensure they remain fresh and to prevent the ganache from melting or becoming too soft, especially in warmer conditions. However, it’s advisable to take the cake out of the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before serving. This allows the ganache to soften slightly and the cake to come to room temperature, enhancing its flavor and texture.

slice of chocolate cake

If you make this recipe, take a photo and tag #bakedambrosia on Instagram and Facebook so that I can see your creations and feature them on Instagram! To stay up to date with the latest recipes, follow Baked Ambrosia on PinterestFacebookInstagram, and Youtube. ♡

slice of chocolate cake.

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe

Angelina Papanikolaou
This Triple Layer Chocolate Cake is simple to make, doesn't require fancy equipment, and delivers an intensely chocolatey taste. With a super moist texture and rich ganache frosting, it's the perfect dessert for any occasion!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 495 kcal

Ingredients 

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions 

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly dust three 8-inch cake pans with cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to dry ingredients and whisk until well combined and smooth.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake layers to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them onto a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

Ganache

  • Place the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl.
  • Heat the cream, being careful not to let it boil over. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stand for a few minutes.
  • Mix until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool completely until it is a spreadable consistency.

Assemble

  • Once the cake layers and ganache have cooled it is time to assemble the cake! Place 1 layer on a cake stand and spread a layer of chocolate ganache on top. Use an offset spatula to even out the ganache. Add the second cake layer and spread an even layer of ganache on top. Finally top with the remaining cake layer and top with a final layer of ganache.

Notes

Buttermilk: If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by mixing 1 1/4 cup whole or 2% milk with ¾ tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes before using it in your recipe.

CAN YOU MAKE CHOCOLATE CAKE AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes, the cake layers can be made ahead of time. Once the chocolate cake layers have cooled completely, wrap them in plastic wrap and place each layer in a freezer bag. Freeze the cake layers for up to 1 month. When you are ready to assemble the cake, remove the cake layers from the freezer and bring them to room temperature. Then, frost the cake.

HOW DO I STORE CHOCOLATE CAKE?

To store this chocolate cake, cover with a cake keeper or plastic wrap. The cake can be kept on the counter for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When storing frosted cakes in the refrigerator, I always chill them for about 15 minutes to harden the frosting. Then, I loosely cover the cake in plastic wrap or place it in a cake keeper.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 495kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 7gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 200mgFiber: 3gSugar: 50g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was and tag @bakedambrosia on Instagram

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28 Comments

  1. Hi I’d like to make this cake but problem is I don’t have a hand mixer will it be okay if used the normal hand whisk?

  2. This is The Most Delicious chocolate cake I have ever eaten. You can’t make boxed cake ever again after trying this.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi! I’ve made this cake so many times and I have to just say that this is the best chocolate cake recipe ever!

  4. Is this chocolate cake have a coffee taste or it *dissappears”? It looks so delicious, but I’m not a big fan of coffee Maybe it’s possible to swap this ingredient to another one?

    1. No, the cake will not taste like coffee. The coffee is there to compliment the chocolate flavor. If you don’t want to use coffee, you can use water instead.

  5. 5 stars
    having never baked a cake before, i was a little intimidated but this seemed relatively simple and straightforward. ended up being a big hit!! it was so delicious, perfect level of moistness and fluffiness — my friends went back for several more slices! i couldn’t believe how easy the chocolate ganache frosting was to make either. i used 100% unsweetened cocoa powder and didn’t notice any difference in the taste/flavor. we’re normally not huge fans of artifical/overly sweet cakes, so this dark chocolate cake hit the spot without being overly heavy/dense. thank you!!

  6. Good morning, my nephew is getting married and has asked me to make the wedding cake. I am a home baker and have made other wedding cakes but not a chocolate one. Will this cake hold up to a three tiered cake. With each tier being three layers. They want chocolate on the bottom white for the second tier and strawberry for the last tier.
    Thank you so much for your time. Your cakes look wonderful.

    1. Hi Diana! Congratulations for your nephews wedding!! From my experience, butter-based cakes hold up better when they are stacked. Since this chocolate cake recipe is oil-based and is pretty light and fluffy in texture, I am not sure that it will be able to hold up the weight of 2 tiers.

    1. If you are using a 9-inch cake pans, it will be better if you bake 2 layers instead of three. Bake at 350 degrees F for about two 25-35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

    1. Hello, I want to try this recipe and make four layers in 9 inch pans. Should I double the recipe. Thanks.

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