This past weekend, I celebrated my 27th birthday. So naturally, I had to make a chocolate cake to celebrate.
And before you go thinking “omg she made her own birthday cake that’s so sad,” no, my mom made me the best carrot cake in the world. So this girl actually got two cakes.
I’ve been a fan of chocolate cake ever since…well to be honest it was probably since I watched Matilda and saw that sinfully rich chocolate cake Mrs. Trunchbull made Bruce eat (yes, it was a horrific scene, but can anyone deny that that cake will go down in history as one of the most salivating chocolate cakes ever?).
Even though growing up I preferred cookies and brownies to cake (I know, I should’ve been checked out by a doctor, what was wrong with me?!), homemade chocolate cake was always the one exception. I just loved chocolate cake. So every year for my birthday, I ask for a chocolate cake.
Now. This chocolate cake is special for a few reasons.
It’s a Blackout Cake. Meaning it is made with dark cocoa for that super rich look.
It’s sky high, but only has 2 layers, making it easy to assemble.
It’s made with brewed coffee for added richness and depth of flavor.
It’s moist as heck.
The homemade chocolate frosting has cream cheese in it (seriously, you’ll never want to make another frosting again once you have it so hear me out), which imparts just a subtle tanginess and adds to the creamy factor.
Basically, it’s a Blackout Chocolate Cake fit for a queen. Which, on one’s birthday, one should be.
But even if it’s not your birthday, I know you can find some excuse to make this joy of a cake soon. Because you ARE a queen and you deserve it 🙂
Tips for making this blackout cake
This chocolate cake is super easy to make, but you have to use the ingredients I specify (i.e. don’t use regular cocoa powder instead of dark cocoa powder, etc). To make a true blackout cake, you need that blend of ultra rich cocoa powder and coffee. Omit either of these ingredients, and you’ll be left with a regular chocolate cake! (Totally fine on a normal day, but for your birthday you need the real deal). If you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t fret. This blackout cake doesn’t taste much like coffee, but it does make this cake super flavorful.
Real buttermilk is another key ingredient in this cake recipe, as it makes the cake extra moist and adds a subtle tang to the batter. If you’re in a pinch, a buttermilk substitute will work, but the real stuff is preferred!
How to make chocolate frosting
Don’t be scared of homemade frosting! To make a truly epic chocolate cream cheese frosting, you need to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Set everything out on the counter while your cake is in the oven, and by the time you’re ready to make the frosting the butter and cream cheese should be the perfect temperature! Also make sure your coffee is room temp, as it’d otherwise make an absolute mess of your chocolate frosting.
You’ll know the cream cheese frosting is ready when it starts to fluff up in the mixing bowl. And, you know, when you taste it and think it’s amazing…
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, eggs, and buttermilk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until no lumps remain. Pour in brewed coffee, mixing until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
To make the frosting, place butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (an electric hand mixer also works). Cream on high speed for 1 minute, then turn speed to low and add in cocoa powder. Mix until combined, then add in powdered sugar, brewed coffee, vanilla extract, and salt. Cream on high speed for 1 minute, until mixture has lightened slightly and is fluffy.
Frost cake by placing first cake layer onto a cake stand. Top with a healthy dose of frosting. Spread evenly, then repeat with second layer. Use remaining frosting to frost sides of the cake. Last, use the back of a spoon to create a large swirling pattern all around the cake!
Leave a comment and rate this recipe!
This recipe looks delicious! I’m from Brazil and here we don’t use buttermilk, it’s very difficult to find. How could i replace?
You can use regular milk and lemon juice!
Looking forward to making this for a special birthday! Can it be made ahead of time and if so does it need to be refrigerated or kept at room temp?
Hi Allison! You can make the cake layers up to 3 months in advance and freeze them! You can also make and assemble the cake up to 2 days in advance! Just keep it covered in the fridge until ready to serve!
Hi Sofi, how would I change this recipe to make a layered cake in 3 four-inch pans?
Hi Monica! How deep are your 4 inch pans? If they’re at least 3 inches deep I would halve the recipe and divide it between the 3 pans!
Can I make cupcakes instead of a layered cake? If so what would you suggest for baking time and any other recipe changes?
Absolutely! You can use the recipe as stated, but divide the recipe between 24 cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean!
Something about the frosting doesn’t look right, the amount of cocoa seems excessive. It is calling for 3 and 1/2 sticks of butter. I am using different cream cheese chocolate frosting.
Hi Jacqueline! This frosting recipe as written just makes a lot of frosting (because thats how we like it), but you can feel free to use whatever recipe you prefer!