Mary Herbert's Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

December 13, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8 generously
Author Notes

One of my oldest and dearest friends in the world makes this cake for Groom every year on his birthday. Or if someone just needs a lift. Or if she just needs a lift. The chocolate buttercream is lucky to make it onto the cake. Add this one to your repetoire. It's a showstopper. Everytime. —Feeding Groom

What You'll Need
  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2-½ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1-1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2-¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp real vanilla extract
  • 1-½ cups boiling water
  • Chocolate Buttercream
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Chocolate Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Cut three pieces parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pans, place in pans and spray with vegetable spray, like Pam.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Blend well with electric mixer on low speed. While on low, add eggs one at a time until mixed well. Slowly add milk, oil, vanilla and put mixer on medium and blend well. Put speed on low and add boiling water in slow stream.
  4. When combined, pour into the prepared cake pans and bake 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool then remove from the pan. You can wrap these individually in saran wrap and freeze for later use.
  1. Chocolate Buttercream
  2. Place butter and the cocoa powder in large bowl. Blend on low with electric mixer til soft and well combined. That takes about 30 seconds. Stop mixer. Put the confectioner's sugar, milk, vanilla, salt in bowl and beat with mixer on low speed til the frosting lightens and is fluffy. Add more milk if it’s too thick and more confectioner’s sugar if too thin. Makes plenty to fill and frost the three layer cake.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • belen

9 Reviews

patty R. January 29, 2018
OK, just making this now for the first time. Read the recipe 4X before starting bcs I am NOT a baker.
When adding ingredients for the cake, they omit " add cocoa powder"
I just added after the boiling water. Did I miss something?
Eva January 1, 2014
This cake is fabulous. I bake a lot of cakes and love all kinds; this one really impressed me! Very simple to put together, and it has a deep, rich chocolate flavor without being too dense and torte-like. Great birthday/celebration cake!

The icing is basically a homemade version of that slightly-crunchy stuff in a tub (naming no brand names, ahem) that I adored as a kid but swore off upon realizing how long the ingredient list is. This version is obviously better. Next time I'll skip adding the salt directly to the icing and sprinkle the cake with flaky sea salt. I suspect the icing would pipe beautifully because it hardens/"crisps" enough to tolerate plastic wrap over it.

(This first time, I made 1/3 the recipe and 1/2 the icing for a smaller cake. The cake was definitely sturdy enough for a tall layer cake, so I look forward to that soon!)
Paul,Rybarczyk December 10, 2013
This virtually the same as the recipe on the Hershey"s Cocoa box!. The frosting is EXACTLY the same, except for the addition of salt, and basically the cake ingredients have been increased by one third to make three layers instead of the two in the cocoa box recipe. Nevertheless, both are delicious and my chocolate cake of choice!
crispylikechicken June 12, 2013
This was AMAZING. A gorgeous, simple recipe. I did double the frosting though O:-)
ehrrin October 12, 2011
I made this a couple days ago for a kid friend's birthday (but used Smitten Kitchen's instant fudge frosting), and it was a hit! So moist! I'll be adding this one to my definitely make-again file!
Toonces W. May 1, 2011
I too count myself a true connoisseuse of the chocolate cake, and this has been my favorite since i tried it in the fall!
nankae December 31, 2010
This is bar none the best chocolate layer cake (that's not a ganache or something on the fancier side) that I have ever tasted. The texture is perfect. We made it and decided that it will be our go-to chocolate cake from now on. Fantastic recipe!!
belen December 26, 2010
This was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted and my family thinks so as well. This recipe was the biggest hit for dessert we have ever had at Christmas. Thanks you so very much for introducing me to such a delectable and moist cake, Feeding Groom!
KLL5 December 14, 2009
I love making chocolate cakes... this one looks perfect to add to my Christmas Eve menu!