This Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting has the perfect moist crumb, intense chocolate flavour, and melt-in-your-mouth texture. I made this chocolate cake with the addition of Laban and Labneh for my chocolate-loving soul's 36th birthday!
I know you don't need an occasion to bake a chocolate cake but the occasion is that we baked a chocolate cake, frosted with chocolate buttercream and more chocolate as garnish. Now, call your friends or not, slice and take a bite to transform into the chocolate heaven.
If you are looking to recreate the famous Devil's food cake, then this recipe will serve you. I also have a chocolate beet cake with cream cheese frosting based on this recipe.
I have baked this for Z's farewell and Aysha's kids and both times it was a hit! Being the host, I didn't get to relish the cake as much as I wanted to. So, I decided then to bake a full-on two-layered chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and more chocolates for my next birthday. I am not lying - F and I ate the whole cake in three days.
Let me share how I made the best chocolate cake recipe! First, here are the list of ingredients you will need.
- all-purpose flour: aka plain flour or maida.
- cocoa powder: I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder.
- baking soda
- baking powder
- instant coffee powder
- laban: buttermilk
- labneh: hung curd
- vanilla essence
- hot water
- unsalted butter
- icing sugar (aka confectioners' sugar or powdered sugar)
- cocoa powder
- whipping cream
- vanilla essence
Instant coffee powder: Coffee enhances the chocolate flavour but the cake will not taste like coffee. If you don't have, you can replace it with some brewed espresso or skip it.
Buttermilk: I always use the bottled Laban that is easily available here. The moisture and acidity from the buttermilk make the cake taste better. If you don't have buttermilk in hand, mix equal portion of yoghurt and water and use that instead.
Labneh: This is arab world's hung yoghurt that is thick and spreadable like cream cheese. You may replace this with equal amount of sour cream or hung curd. You may also skip this ingredient and add more buttermilk instead. But, I highly recommend that you add labneh or sour cream for the best texture!
In case you don't have buttermilk, laban, labneh, sour cream, hung curd, etc. Just skip the buttermilk and labneh and use only ½ cup of well-whisked yoghurt.
How to make it?
I love recipes that don't call for creaming butter and sugar. Now, you know why this is my favourite recipe. Make sure your ingredients are all room temperature! All you need is two bowls and a whisk or a handheld electric whisk.
Whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then add the hot water. Whisk everything together one last time.
Divide between two 8-inch cake pans. Bake for approx 25 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test in the centre of the cake. I have provided the details in the recipe section.
the chocolate buttercream
My recipe for the chocolate buttercream frosting is half of Sally's recipe and was enough for us. Considering that we are the only two souls to consume the cake, I spared us some sugar by reducing the frosting. But if you want a thick layer of frosting, then please double the recipe.
To make the frosting, ensure to use softened butter and store-bought icing sugar — this will yield creamy buttercream.
reasons for grainy buttercream:
- If you use butter that is not softened to room temperature, then you will get grainy buttercream.
- If you powder sugar at home, you have to sieve it to make sure there are no grainy granules.
- Also, if using whipping cream, do not over-whip - it will make the buttercream very light in weight and colour.
This is how I divided the task:
- Day 1 - baked two cakes, cling-wrapped individually and refrigerated
- Day 2 - prepared the frosting and assembled the cake
- Day 3 - celebration cake cutting at 12am
- Day 4 - devoured the cake 😋
If your cooled cakes are domed on top then use a serrated knife aka bread knife to slice off a thin layer to create a flat surface. Don't discard them - it is your treat. A flat surface will help frost the cake neatly. My cakes did not dome so I didn't have to do it. But ovens are different and you might end up with one and it is normal too.
all measurements are made using measuring cups where 1 cup = 250ml and used the fluff, scoop and sweep method.
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Dry Ingredients - Large Bowl
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder Hershey's
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee
- 1 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients - Medium bowl
- ½ cup sunflower oil or any neutral cooking oil
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup laban (buttermilk) room temp (see notes)
- ¾ cup full-fat labneh room temp (see notes)
- ½ cup hot water
For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 145 grams unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 180 to 200 grams icing sugar 1½ cups
- 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (6 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons full-fat milk or whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C with the rack in the middle.
- Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with baking paper.
Prepare the batter
- Take a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients through a sieve and whisk to combine.1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups sugar, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons instant coffee, 1 teaspoon salt
- Take a smaller bowl and whisk the oil, eggs, and vanilla together until combined. Add the laban and labneh and whisk until combined.½ cup sunflower oil, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup laban (buttermilk), ¾ cup full-fat labneh
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water, and whisk until the batter is completely combined. The batter will be thin. Divide the batter evenly between the two 8-inch pans.½ cup hot water
- Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan itself. Once cooled, cling wrap the cakes and keep it aside or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Prepare the chocolate buttercream frosting
- Add the room-temperature softened butter into a large bowl. Beat the butter with an electric handheld mixer on medium speed until creamy, for about 2 minutes.145 grams unsalted butter
- Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder, whipping cream (or milk), salt, and vanilla extract. Beat this on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for one minute.180 to 200 grams icing sugar, 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons full-fat milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of salt
- Adjust the consistency. If the frosting is too thin then add more icing sugar or cocoa powder. If the frosting is too thick, then add another tablespoon of cream.
- You may use it immediately to frost the cooled cake or refrigerate it for up to 2 days. To use, bring to room temperature.
Assemble and frost the chocolate cake
- If your cooled cakes are domed on top then use a serrated knife aka bread knife to slice off a thin layer to create a flat surface.
- Place a knob of buttercream in the centre of your serving plate - this will help the cake to adhere to the plate. Place one cake layer, flat side facing down.
- Spread some buttercream to cover the top of this cake evenly - use the blunt side of the bread knife or an offset spatula to level the frosting.
- Now, place the 2nd cake with the flat side facing the top - this will make frosting easy and neat.
- Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Use an offset spatula to level the top and push the excess towards the edge. Use the blunt side of a bread knife or rubber spatula to spread the frosting on the sides. You may watch this video for visual help.
- Garnish the cake as you like - unleash your creativity!
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before slicing to firm up the frosting which will help make a neat cut while slicing.
- Store any leftover cake covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For garnishing the cake I used:
- Little Hearts biscuits
- Lotus Biscoff Rolls Belgian chocolate
- Loacker chocolate wafers
- Diary milk chocolate
This recipe is adapted from my favourite baker, at Sally's Baking Addiction!