Moist Chocolate Cake Layers

We all love homemade cakes.  Some of my favorite types include those made with delicious chocolate layers.  For me, a good chocolate layer cake has to be exceedingly moist and fudgy.  While it may seem easier to use a prepackaged cake mix for most people, there really is no need to when you have a good, simple, workable recipe.  The one I'm about to show you makes layers with a velvety, well-formed crumb and a lot of chocolate flavor.  After one bite of this cake, you're going to want to bookmark the recipe, because you'll be returning to it again and again.  What's more, preparing the cake requires a minimum of fuss in the kitchen!     

The Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or safflower)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups strong black coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), spooned & leveled
  • 3/4 cups dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (vanilla sugar is perfect!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt (I use sea salt)
Preheat your oven to 350°F 
The oven rack should be placed in the lower middle tier.

Butter your cake pans well and line them with parchment paper.  Instead of adding flour to my pans, I sprinkle the same type of cocoa powder.  A Good Thing I learned from Martha.
Cake Pans
  • three 6" round cake pans
  • two 8" round cake pans
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are broken up.  Add your buttermilk, vegetable oil & extract.  Mix this well.

Note: You can prepare all of this with a handheld or stand mixer.

Add the cooled coffee and blend this thoroughly.

I measure my cake flour by scooping it into a measuring cup and leveling it off with a straight edge.  This gets placed into a bowl. 

Measure all of your dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl (foreground). 

Carefully pour the dry ingredients a little at a time, through a fine mesh sieve, and sift into the bowl with your liquid ingredients.  

It's always important to sift cocoa powder as well as cake flour, because they do tend to clump.  Do this carefully or you will have a snowfall of cocoa if you are too vigorous.


Gradually begin to stir the dry and wet ingredients together.


I like to switch to a whisk.  This will get rid of any lumps in the batter; whisk until smooth, about one minute.


Divide your batter evenly into your prepared pans. 
  • Bake the 6" layers for approximately 25-30 minutes.
  • Bake the 8" layers for approximately 30-35 minutes.

The layers will begin to pull away from the sides of the  pan when they are done.

They will also feel springy to the touch.  This is a well made layer.  Let them cool in the pans set over a cooling rack for approximately 15 minutes.

Quickly release the cakes from the pan and invert them top-side up to cool completely.

The finished layers.  Dark, chocolaty & very rich.

This moist chocolate cake can be iced with a number of frostings.  What are among my favorites?  The obvious choice would be my Delicious Chocolate Frosting, but how about a billowy seven minute frosting or a bittersweet ganache?  Any type of buttercream or some simple whipped cream would also be perfect!  Perhaps you don't want the hassle of an icing and prefer to cover it with a bit of confectioner's sugar sifted through a beautiful stencil.  Whatever you decide, you're all going to agree that the cake itself takes center stage.  If I haven't mentioned it yet, these layers can be baked a day in advance and be kept at room temperature (wrap them well).  You don't need to wait for a special celebration to bake this fast, easy & delicious cake.  Why not surprise a friend or family member today?  Have fun making it.


  1. Hi David,

    Last night I made these chocolate layers along with your chocolate frosting. completely delicious! my birthday cake was the talk of the night. of course I gave your blog complete credit. Thanks for your awesome recipes!

  2. OMG, AWESOME!!!!!!! I love it!!!! You rock dear friend!


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