Craving chocolate? Get your intense chocolate fix through this Death by Chocolate Cake, a double chocolate three-layer masterpiece.
This cake makes me so, so happy.
Why? Because just a few weeks ago, I could not for the life of me create a proper layer cake. Forget about the Pinterest-worthy, adorable creations that seem to spring so easily from the blogs of fellow dessert lovers. No, I was a cake-making failure, doomed to be faced with uneven layers and leaning towers of cake forever.
Until I realized something obvious: Be patient.
That’s the lesson in today’s Death by Chocolate Cake post; patience. Sure, you can throw together a 9×13 sheet cake and slather frosting on it in a heartbeat, but if you’re sold on making a beautiful layer cake, you need to take your time. And most importantly, don’t get frustrated.
When I used to make layer cakes, I’d give up after a few minutes of endless apply frosting, smooth, scrape, try again motions. I thought that the bloggers who created these perfect-looking cakes did so effortlessly. While they may be pros, certainly they weren’t always like that. They practiced and perfected their art until it became second nature. And I’m sure many of them will tell you they still run into problems!
Once I gave myself the time needed to assemble and frost this Death by Chocolate Cake, I found my frustration slipping away. The layers were flat and even, the frosting thick and smooth. While it’s not the most perfect cake in the world, it looks good. Even better: it tastes good.
There’s a reason it’s called Death by Chocolate Cake. It is the most chocolatey, rich cake you’ll ever enjoy. The chocolate cake layers are thick and fudgey, while somehow managing to be fluffy and moist at the same time. The frosting is a creamy chocolate buttercream that is so addictive that I’m pretty sure I ate a cup or two myself while applying it. Plus, just to make it even MORE chocolatey, I created a dark and white chocolate cake topper. Because there wasn’t enough chocolate before this.
So please: Make this Death by Chocolate Cake. Feed it to your favourite friends and family. Show tempting photos of it to your dieting co-workers that you hate.
Then slip into a chocolate coma.
Check out CK on Instagram! If you try out one of my recipes, tag @CrumbKitchen so I can see your delicious creations. 🙂
Total Cost = $6.67 (Budget breakdown below recipe)
- 1 and ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
- 1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 and ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 1 and ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup almond milk*
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1.5 tsp. vanilla
- ¾ cup strong brewed coffee, hot
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 3 to 3.5 cups confectioners' sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ cup heavy cream**
- 3.5 oz. dark chocolate, chopped small
- 1 oz. white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 6-inch cake pans and dust with extra cocoa powder. Cut out three parchment paper circles to fit in the bottom only of the pans and press down. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-low until yolks and whites are combined but not over-mixed. Add in the almond milk, oil, and vanilla and mix. Slowly pour in the dry ingredients while mixer is on low speed. Once cohesive, slowly add the hot coffee and mix on low, being careful not to splash yourself. Once the batter is smooth and thin, stop mixer.
- Using a kitchen scale (or a very sharp eye if you don't have one), pour batter evenly among the three pans. Tap lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles. Wrap baking strips around the sides of the pans if you have them.
- Bake in preheated oven for 32-35 minutes, or until centres are set and cake is springy when touched. Once removed from oven, using a clean tea towel, press lightly but evenly over the cake tops to encourage flatness. Let sit in pans for 5-10 minutes, then carefully flip over and let cool on wire rack.
- In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 minutes on medium speed until lighter and fluffier. Pause mixer and add 3 cups of the confectioners' sugar and all the cocoa powder into the bowl. Mix on lowest speed until combined well.
- Turn mixer to medium speed and add vanilla, salt and cream; beat for 30-60 seconds or until fully absorbed and creamy. Add more powdered sugar or milk if needed. Set aside.
- Before frosting the cake, prepare the chocolate topping as a decorative piece. Place a small saucepan filled halfway with water over low-medium heat. Once the water boils, place a heat-proof glass bowl on top, ensuring the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Add in the small chopped dark chocolate and stir until almost completely melted (this may take a few minutes), then remove from heat. Stir well to break up remaining chunks.
- Meanwhile, add white chocolate chips to a bowl and microwave on medium power for 25 second intervals or until almost completely melted; stir well to break up remaining chunks.
- Place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and spread the dark chocolate evenly (any shape will do, the more abstract the better). Using a spoon, flick and drizzle the white chocolate over the dark chocolate randomly to create an interesting pattern. Let harden at room temperature.
- To frost the cake, place a small dot of frosting on your cake stand, plate or whatever you're using to hold the cake. Put one cake layer on the dot and press down lightly to stick. Take slightly less than ⅓ of the frosting and spread evenly on the top of the layer only (not down the sides). Place the second cake layer on top and repeat. With the remaining frosting (a bit more than ⅓ of the total amount), frost the top and sides of the cake evenly. I used an offset spatula to get a smooth layer. (This will take a while, don't get frustrated!)
- Once chocolate has hardened (you can put it carefully in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to harden up if need be) and cake is frosted, use a sharp knife to cut chocolate into random, jagged pieces, reserving one large piece for the cake topper. With your knife, cut a slit in the top of the cake and push the large jagged chocolate piece into the cake. Use the small jagged pieces to cover the bottom of the cake, gently pressing into the frosting to stick.
- Serve immediately. If serving later, I recommend saving the application of the chocolate toppings until just before serving. You can refrigerate the cake, covered, for a few hours in the meantime.
** Use heavy cream, half and half, or full-fat milk.
Chocolate frosting recipe from Savoury Sweet Life. Cake, topping and idea are Crumb Kitchen originals.
1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour = $0.15
2/3 cup cocoa powder = $0.52
1.5 cups granulated sugar = $0.45
1 and 1/4 tsp. baking powder = $0.07
1 and 1/4 tsp. baking soda = $0.02
3/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
2 eggs = $0.30
3/4 cup almond milk = $0.48
1/3 cup vegetable oil = $0.13
1.5 tsp. vanilla = $0.10
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee = $0.10
1 cup salted butter = $0.92
3 to 3.5 cups confectioners’ sugar = $0.92
1/2 cup cocoa powder = $0.52
1/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
2 tsp. vanilla = $0.14
1/4 cup heavy cream = $0.25
3.5 oz. dark chocolate = $1.33
1 oz. white chocolate chips = $0.25
Why it’s Cheap
While this cake focuses on the presentation aspect of decorating, don’t be fooled: it’s only a 6-inch cake, meaning you save a bit of money this way than making a similar three-layer cake with 8 or 9 inch pans.
Make it More Budget-Friendly
If you don’t want to buy heavy cream for just 1/4 cup, use full-fat milk. Forgo the chocolate topping if you’re really watching your money, and instead pipe on some fun frosting swirls or flowers with the remaining chocolate frosting.