Chocolate Layer Cake

Total Time:
1 hr 10 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
50 min
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
  • Frosting:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup cooled coffee
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut 3 circles of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the pans, then press them in.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and eggs and mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix. Add 1/2 of the flour, then 1/2 of the sour cream and mix. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream. Drizzle in the hot coffee and mix until smooth. The batter will be thin. Pour into the prepared pans and bake until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay), about 35 minutes. Halfway through the baking, quickly rotate the pans in the oven to ensure even baking, but otherwise try not to open the oven. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Drizzle in the melted chocolate and mix. Add the coffee and vanilla and mix. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix until well blended and fluffy. To frost the cake, use a spatula to cover 2 of the cake layers with frosting. Stack them together. Flip the third cake layer over and rest it on the top to create a very flat top for the cake. Frost on the sides and top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


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4.7 61
Hi, can this cake be refrigerated 2+ days before serving?  Does it still taste fresh? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was so excited to make this cake, but something went wrong!  I followed this recipe exactly EXCEPT I didn't have sour cream.  I had read on several websites that plain greek yogurt could sub well for sour cream, so that's what I used.  The batter tasted great, the cakes baked up nicely in the oven, but while cooling they flopped into flat pancakes.  I frosted it and hoped for the best, but the texture was unbearable - dense and almost rubbery.  Was the greek yogurt to blame?  Don't try to sub yogurt for sour cream in this recipe!!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe makes a nice, big, moist, cake.  I'm not a baker, and it still turned out perfect.  <div><br /></div><div>The frosting was a little too sweet for my tastes... and the recipe makes quite a lot of it.  So, if you're a frosting lover... go for it.   Otherwise, I might go with a lighter frosting next time. <div><br /></div><div>I was expecting a more prevalent coffee/mocha flavor in the end... but it's still a delicious cake.  </div></div> item not reviewed by moderator and published
Has anyone made this cake with gluten free flour? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Awesome! Have made it many times. Always ended up with too much frosting so now I cut the frosting recipe by 1/4. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Question about traveling with this cake: I want to make this for my DIL's birthday and will be going to their home out of state. I'm wondering if I should make the cake &amp; the frosting but wait until I get there to assemble it. Any thoughts? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
One word: amazing. Made the recipe as is. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is perfect - exactly as written . Follow the directions and it will be fabulous. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow! This is a tasty, moist, and perfect texture. I added about 1 tbls of roasted Saigon cinnamon to the coffee while brewing, lent it a nice subtle cinnamon taste to the cake. This is my always chocolate cake recipe. I made the frosting this morning and had a cupcake with the frosting...Oh My Oh My!!!!! Thank You! item not reviewed by moderator and published
tasty batter, the recipe did not specify that it is THREE layers, and I over-filled the pans and it overflowed all through my oven. they should say that you need THREE pans up front and not way down in the bottom of the icing directions! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have tried this cake for my brothers 9th birthday because he loves chocolate and coffee !!! So far it is in the process of baking but the batter is delish and the consistancy is amazing! the batter seems to have turned out perfectly. Responding to other reviewers who asked if it was too much coffee, it wasnt. just enough to taste it and to enhance the chocolate flavor!!! Loved It item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake yesterday for a Kwanzaa celebration and everyone loved it!! The cake was super moist and sliced well. I substituted a buttercream frosting. I will be making this cake again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is definitely a keeper! First time making this cake and it turned out GREAT!!! I will make this again and again. Very moist cake, just the right amount of frosting. It does take some work to do only because its like making a cake and a half worth of batter. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made this yesterday for my hubby's birthday. It was so moist and delicious ... everyone at the party wanted the recipe. All were shocked that it was so moist. What a HIT! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is the best chocolate cake recipe I've ever made. Absolutely delicious! The addition of the coffee makes this cake amazingly chocolaty. I bake occasionally and this recipe was easy to follow. I actually didn't use the frosting recipe that came with this cake, but a different, chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe that I found here on FN. I used choc cream cheese for the outside and the same choc cream cheese recipe, but substituted melted caramel for the choc for the interior layers. The cake was just mouthwatering! This is my new go to choc cake recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am thinking of trying this...but does anyone know if I use Splenda brown sugar if the taste will be the same? I have to make a cake for a diabetic...would appreciate any feedback! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is INCREDIBLE! I don't usually bake or cook, so it was amazing that this cake came out so delicious! I've made it three times and made small mistakes the first 2 times. However, all 3 versions were so yummy. Just avoid my mistakes: 1) To anyone who doesn't know... there's a difference between normal sugar and "confectioner's sugar." Confectioner's sugar is powdered sugar....so be sure to use that instead of granulated. I made this mistake the first time I made it, and ended up with grainy (but delicious!) frosting. 2) Be sure to use cream cheese in the box, not the plastic container. I used cream cheese from a plastic container the second time I made this cake and ended up with thin frosting that wouldn't hold the 3 layers together well enough. The cake kept sliding apart! If you can avoid making small mistakes like this, it's delicious! Even with these minor boo-boo's, this is BY FAR the best, easiest cake around :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my the first time trying this recipe and I am not an avid baker, but I chose this recipe because of the reviews and it seemed simple enough for even me to follow. The cake turned out perfect. It is scruptuously delicious! The most moist chocolate cake I've ever had. This is definitely a keeper. Thank you! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very nice cake. The texture was moist and springy. The flavor was nothing special. Next time I'll try using more cocoa powder. I'll definately use again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am using this recipe for cupcakes right now and I am at 36 with batter still left. Perfect for when you have to bake a LOT of goodies. As cupcakes they are not quite as rich as a full slice of cake; you can use less frosting for each one. I have used this recipe over and over again and it is a big hit every time. I will never use another chocolate cake recipe. This one is gold. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I haven't baked the cake yet but have a question. Does the cake have a heavy taste of coffee or how would you rate it. Our family is not used to the taste of coffee, but all the reviews are so good I'm tempted to try it. I'm giving it a 5 even though I didn't try it yet because everyone else thinks its so good. Thanks for any info. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this recipe. I've made it 3 times. The cake is delicious - chocolaty, light, and not too sweet. And the frosting is great too. The full recipe makes 3 9" layers or I used it successfully to make 2 9" layers (24 oz of batter ea) and 2 6" layers (12 oz of batter ea) and make a two tiered cake. I made another 1/2 recipe for another 6" cake with two layers and 9 cupcakes. A single frosting recipe was enough to frost all of that easily. A second day I made a 1/2 recipe of frosting and cake which made 21 cupcakes with plenty of frosting left over. To make the frosting pink I used white chocolate and subsitituted raspberry juice for the coffee. Definitely one to try. Enjoy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am a pretty good cook, but a great baker. I have made this cake dozens of times. My husband and my best friend's hubby request this cake all the time. Moist, and almost too rich to eat a whole slice. The perfect chocolate cake. However, if you prefer a milk chocolate buttercream, the icing is not for you. I don't usually post reviews, but I read the negative review below and can only say that they must have been having an off day. Incredible cake!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was really skeptical considering im 19 i usually can't even bake the cakes that come in the box haha but i found this super easy to make and it came out PERFECT.. it melts in your mouth and tastes absolutely amazing. I didn't make the icing but i would DEF DEF DEF recommend this as the best and easiest chocolate cake ever!! :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe. Its really moist and delicious! It came out really really good, I used room temp coffee cause I didn't want it to mess up the eggs you can use vanilla yogurt instead of sour cream if you want. Don't try to take it out without letting it cool completely. item not reviewed by moderator and published
YOU REALLY DIDN'T TRY THIS DID YOU . IT SERIOUSLY WAS A BIG FLOP. I SPENT MY WHOLE MORNING MAKING THIS CAKE AND IT JUST FELL APART , YOU NEED TO GO BAK-CK TO THE DRAWING BOARD ON THIS ONE. I HAVE NEVER MADE ANYTHING FROM FOOD NETWORK THAT TURNED OUT SO BADLY. I FOLLOWED THE DIRECTIONS TO THE T item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've spent years searching for a chocolate cake recipe to satisfy that longing for a good "old fashioned" chocolate cake. This cake is not deep, dark, gooey, or any of that stuff. Gale gives a recipe for a very tender crumbed, well balanced chocolate tasting cake! I could use this recipe for so many occasions! The recipe did not specify what kind of cocoa to use, so I used a dutch processed, Valrhona cocoa and a medium bodied coffee (Gevalia to be exact) as I did not want to overwhelm the flavors of the cocoa. The frosting was good but not what I was looking for in a frosting. I went with an Italian Butter Cream instead. BUT THE CAKE ITSELF WAS REALLY GOOD! Thank you Gale Gand! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake has flavors and textures. Outstanding. Play with your frosting but encourage everyone to keep Gale's cake as the basis for all future. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Oh. My. God! This is the best chocolate cake EVER for REAL chocolate lovers. Try replacing the chocolate in the frosting with part or all milk chocolate, or all white chocolate. Also, a little dark caramel in between the layers won't go amiss. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am not a great baker, especially when baking for an occasion, but the reviews convinced me to try this one for my chocolate loving daughter on her 9th birthday. The cake itself is delicious and the icing is sublime. I was worried about the icing being too rich for my daughter, so I used 4 oz unsweetened chocolate and 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate. I will never make another chocolate cake recipe again. The comments had me concerned about the coffee making the icing too thin, but I did not have that problem. Thank you, Gale Gand for this recipe. I definitely impressed my family with this one!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My daughter made me this cake for my birthday, She put pecans in between the layers of cake and frosting. It was so good. I love it. However the frosting was a little runny. I suggest adding less coffee to start with and add up to the correct point. Wonderful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Try it!!! Really easy!!!! I made with a chocolate mousse and rasberries.... Yum Yum Yum!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for the guys at the fire station when I was doing a twelve layer cake for my mom. They loved it. Just be sure the cake is completly cooled before even trying to ice it.. Or you will have it like mine.. the great leaning tower of three layer cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was afraid to make this recipe because of the horrible reviews but after scouring the internet and finding nothing else in the way of a layer cake I decided to make it anyway. I followed the recipe exactly except I made it with 3 layers instead of 7. I turned out great. The cakes, if you don't heavily grease the pans, will stick and fall apart a little. Also, make sure you meticulously line them up before they fall out of the pans...my cake was a little lopsided. As far as the frosting-if you keep it heated when pouring it onto the cake it isn't hard to spread. It will not look as pretty as the picture but everyone thought it tasted great and was perfectly moist. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is wonderful. It will feed a large group. Many people asked for the recipe. I will make this again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is awesome. I don't really like chocolate cake (or coffee) that much and I still loved it. I made it for my mother in law's birthday and it was a hit with everyone. When I stacked the layers two of them fell apart, but I think this was due to my lack of experience (this was my first cake from scratch and only like my third layer cake). So it ended up being a one layer cake and two layers in a big bowl. :) But it was still yummy! My only warning is to watch out because you can't stop eating it and you won't want to share. So you should probably go ahead and make two. :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake is quite good- moist, rich, and very chocolaty (and I'll admit it, I used cheap cocoa). The frosting, however, is far too rich for this cake, and the recipe makes far too much of it. Even frosting such that I had about 3 cups of frosting left over, the frosting made the cake far too rich. I think I'll try this cake again, with a lighter (maybe a vanilla buttercream) frosting. I made this cake for a small party, and ended up throwing half of it away. item not reviewed by moderator and published
THE BUTTER, SOUR CREAM, COCOA AND COFFEE ADD SUCH A LIGHTNESS TO THIS CAKE, BUT YET IT IS STILL VERY CHOCOLATEY. IT IS WORTH MAKING! I MADE THIS FOR MY PASTOR'S BIRTHDAY AND HE EVEN MENTIONED HOW DELICIOUS IT WAS DURING A SERVICE! IT IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE I EVER MADE. GOOD JOB GAIL. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made this frosting and OH MY GOODNESS!! It is divine. I did not make the cake but I will as soon as the chance presents itself. It has a "grown up" taste but my kids love it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was amazing...simple and tasty. I will be throwing all other chocolate cake recipes away! item not reviewed by moderator and published
this is probably my favorite cake recipe its so moist and delicious item not reviewed by moderator and published
I inadvertently omitted 2 cups of the sugar (yikes!) and thought I would have ruined the cake, but although it baked much quicker, with the frosting on ~ it still tastes good (and moist!). I will make it again another time correctly. It is the most moist chocolate cake I have had. Definitely a chocolate lover's dream. Not difficult to make at all. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is the BEST ever chocolate cake! I'm a cake designer and only bake from scratch. I have tried several chocolate cake recipes and I'm always trying new ones. This will become my new recipe for my chocolate cakes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made the frosting, I needed a good chocolate frosting for a yellow cake. This is great! Easy, Yummy and so speadable. I did use a 2lb bag of conf sugar and make sure you do the last step--best until fluffy. Then it is ready to go or put in frig and let come to room temp before using. Thanks for the tip on cooling the cakes in the frig--I'll do that from now on!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe made a huge beautiful layer cake. It was delicious. The recipe does have alot of steps though, it's not a quick recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
this cake was delicious!! just the right amount of chocolate-y sweetness. it is VERY tall and has that "wow" factor. i had trouble icing b/c the layers kept sliding around. finally, i put skewers through the cake to hold in place. worked great! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I use this recipe for wedding cakes and everyone says it is the best chocolate cake they have ever tasted. I pair it with a white chocolate mousse flavored with blood orange puree and it is out of this world. Always a real winner. Also, use bittersweet ganache as a filling, Italian Meringue Butterceam Frosting with ganache, espresso and Kahlua added. Just the best cake to combine with any filling. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The best chocolate cake ever....! A must try, you won't be disappointed! item not reviewed by moderator and published
We tried this recipe for a baby shower and was blown away with how light, moist and yummy the cake was. The frosting was an immaculate touch. We were worried that the frosting was too thin to hold the layers but it held up beautifully. The flavor is just sweet enough that it keeps you wanting another bite but not too rich. the coffee adds a surprising bitter hint that compliments the cocoa. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I blow people away when I make this it is the most unbelibable cake ever. Moist and soooo goooood! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this cake! Just follow the instructions and you will be satisfied. The layers bake up nice and TALL and the frosting goes on perfectly. I did level my layers with a cake leveler to ensure a nice even cake (no leaning tower of cake here!) *Note - I like to chill my cake layers on a wire rack in the fridge for a few hours before frosting. This makes them much easier to handle, and easier to frost. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is very aesthetically pleasing and, more importantly, delicious. The cake is extremely moist and very rich. I highly recommend this dessert for any chocolate lover. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Lets just say that this cake is so fantastic, that i renamed it to the "Heaven Cake" because I dont think heaven can be much different. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is fabulous. I loved it and do did everyone else. I was a little concerned about the frosting after reading everyone's reviews. I made sure not to heat up the chocolate very much when I melted it, and actually let it hang out a little bit before I poured it in, I didn't want to melt the butter/sour cream mixture. It was a little messy when I beat the coffee into the butter/sour cream, watch out (I was using a hand mixer). I'm not very good at frosting but I ended up putting a thin layer of frosting on the cake (like a crumb coat) then I stuck the whole thing in the fridge and put another layer of frosting on a couple hours later. The only change I made to the recipe, I just added the entire two pound bag of powdered sugar in the frosting instead of measuring out 6 cups. mmmmmm. I had a little bit left over, and it kept well in the fridge. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was an absolute dream. The coffee and sour cream give it layers of flavour. I did have a problem with the consistency of the icing, but after refrigerating it for a couple hours, it thickens up nicely. Will make this again and again. Thanks Gale! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake itself is definitely five star. My problem has been with the frosting. While I could never imagine myself saying this, I didn't enjoy the flavor of the cream cheese mixed with the chocolate. However, each time I've made it, the frosting has been much too runny, and has made frosting the cake very difficult. I have reduced the amound of coffee in the frosting, to no avail. Wonderful cake... frustrating frosting. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was amazing! Not only did it look fantastic (especially when sliced), it was moist &amp; delicious. I'll definitely be making this again soon. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I get many request for this. I have used this paired with the Chocolate Fudge Frosting and German Chocolate filing. Delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
OK item not reviewed by moderator and published
Unbeliavable!!! So smooth and moist... Sometimes all chocolate cakes are too chocolaty, but the touch of coffee, gives it the perfect balance. It was like magic: it dissapeared minutes after I put it on the table!!!.... item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe clearly states to butter and flour 3 (9inch) cake pans in the top of the directions - the second sentence in. It is unfair to give this five star recipe only two stars because you didn't read the directions correctly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Its also a layer cake so its implied item not reviewed by moderator and published

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