Chocolate Blackout Cake, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.
Recipe courtesy of Chelsey White

Chocolate Blackout Cake

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (includes cooling and chilling times)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: about 24 servings
This chocolate blackout cake is a chocolate lover's dream! It's made with soft, incredibly moist cake layers that are filled with chocolate pudding, then filled and frosted with milk chocolate ganache.


Chocolate Cake Layers:

Milk Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

Chocolate Pudding Filling:


  1. For the chocolate cake layers: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on high speed until light in color, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the eggs, 2 at a time. Mix on medium-high speed after each addition until fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the hot water and buttermilk. Add the black cocoa and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add 1 cup of the cake flour to the mixture in the stand mixer and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary, until the flour is fully incorporated.
  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk-cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (or you'll end up splattering it all over your kitchen!). Repeat with 1 more cup of the cake flour and the remaining cocoa mixture. Add the remaining 1 cup cake flour and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  7. Pour an equal amount of the batter between the prepared cake pans. (I weigh the pans on a kitchen scale to ensure each one has exactly the same amount.)
  8. Bake 2 pans on the upper rack and 1 on the lower rack, switching and rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 31 to 33 minutes.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of each pan to help release the cake.
  10. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes to speed up the cooling. Once the cakes are fully cooled, carefully invert each cake onto a plate and remove the parchment.
  11. Use a serrated knife to level the top of each cake and place the trimmings in a small bowl. Break up the trimmings into small crumbs with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and reserve to decorate the cake.
  12. For the chocolate ganache frosting: While the cake layers bake and cool, place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside.
  13. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until it begins to bubble. Pour over the chocolate, making sure all the chocolate is submerged. Let sit for about 2 minutes, letting the heat from the cream melt the chocolate.
  14. Carefully stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the ganache is silky smooth and all the chocolate is melted. (If any bits of chocolate still aren't melted, microwave the ganache for 30 seconds at a time, until the cream and chocolate are fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  15. For the chocolate pudding filling: Combine the instant pudding mix and cold milk in a medium bowl. Whisk until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  16. To assemble the chocolate blackout cake: Add a dab of ganache to a greaseproof cake board to help the first cake layer to adhere. Top with 1 cake layer. Spread an even layer of ganache over the top with an offset spatula. Using a rubber spatula, spread 1/4 of the chocolate pudding over the ganache. Top with the second cake layer and repeat spreading the ganache and pudding. Finally, top with the third cake layer. Reserve the remaining pudding for decorating the cake.
  17. Cover the top and sides of the cake in a thin coating of ganache, then smooth with a bench scraper. Refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes, until the ganache is firm to the touch.
  18. Cover the cake in a second, thicker coating of ganache, then smooth again with a bench scraper. If desired, use an icing comb to create ridges around the sides of the cake.
  19. Decorate the cake, as desired. I cover the top of the cake with some of the reserved cake crumbs and pudding then place some more crumbs around the base. I also add a ganache drip around the top for fun!

Cook’s Note

The cake layers can be made in advance. Wrap each in plastic wrap, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. This cake can also be assembled and decorated in advance. Once frosted, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.