Decadent Dirt Cake: Signature Groom's Cake or Special Occasion Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 16 to 20 servings
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1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups good quality dark chocolate (recommended: Guittard)

2 tablespoons extremely strong coffee

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

2 cups very hot water

3 large eggs, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (recommended: Nielsen-Massey)

1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows, optional

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

1 cup good quality dark chocolate (recommended: Guittard)

1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature salted butter

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla (recommended: Nielsen Massey)

1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)

1 pound sifted confectioners' sugar


  1. Grease and lightly flour a large Bundt pan or alternatively use a vegetable release spray. 
  2. Place the rack at the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. 
  3. Melt, do not boil, butter, sugar, chocolate, and coffee in a medium-sized saucepan with the hot water, until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely and pour into a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Set the mixer on slow to medium speed. 
  5. Sift together the combined flours and cocoa. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs, vanilla, and coffee-flavored liqueur. 
  6. Add the flour mixture alternately with egg mixture to the basic chocolate mixture. This is a thin mixture do not over beat. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place into the preset oven. 
  7. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees F. 
  8. Check with a skewer to be sure the cake is cooked through. 
  9. Cool the cake for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Barely melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gentle heat. Remove from the heat source and pour into a large mixing bowl then cool for five minutes. Add the butter, cream, vanilla, coffee-flavored liqueur, and mix on medium speed until the mixture thickens. Finally add the confectioners' sugar in small batches until the mixture holds a medium peak. If the kitchen temperature is warm, and the icing is not of spreading consistency place the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes, then recommence mixing. Slather the icing over the cake with an offset palette knife. 

Cook’s Note

The recipe can be frozen, triple-wrapped, for up to three months. Adding 1/2 to 1 cup of roughly chopped toasted walnuts or pecans can also add punch and a change of pace to the recipe. Serving suggestions: The cake may be iced with chocolate butter frosting or alternatively simply sift confectioners' sugar 'snow' onto the cake top after cooling or place a slice of cake into a pool of commercial raspberry puree then for decoration add whole fresh raspberries. Top with a dollop of whipped heavy cream.