The Best Ever Moist Chocolate Cake
If you are a chocolate lover then this super moist chocolate ganache cake recipe is definitely the one for you! This cake features two layers of rich chocolate cake filled with a creamy whipped chocolate ganache filling. It’s then covered in a velvety chocolate buttercream frosting.
I am constantly getting requests for this cake from friends and family. It is an absolute favorite for parties, family get-togethers, and holiday celebrations. I like to double this recipe for a decadent 4-layer chocolate cake!
Chocolate Ganache vs Chocolate Frosting
For this triple chocolate ganache cake recipe, both ganache and frosting play important roles in creating a deliciously indulgent dessert. The ganache is used as a filling between the layers of the cake. It provides a rich and chocolatey contrast to the moist cake layers.
Meanwhile, the chocolate frosting covers the entire outside of the cake. It adds a sweet and creamy finish that balances out the intense flavor of the ganache.
Together, they create a perfect balance of chocolate flavors and textures that make this triple chocolate ganache cake recipe an irresistible treat for any chocolate lover. While they may seem similar, there are some distinct differences between the two.
Chocolate ganache is a mixture of chocolate and cream that is heated together until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. It can be used as a glaze or filling for cakes, or even as a topping for various desserts.
Ganache has a rich, velvety texture and a deep, intense chocolate flavor. This cake is filled with a whipped ganache which is slightly lighter and fluffier than a classic ganache.
On the other hand, chocolate frosting is a mixture of butter, sugar, and chocolate that is whipped together until light and fluffy. It's usually used as a frosting for cakes and cupcakes and can be infused with a variety of flavors. Frosting has a lighter texture than ganache and a sweeter taste.
Both ganache and frosting are delicious ways to add chocolate to your baked goods. If you're looking for a rich, intense chocolate flavor and a velvety texture, ganache is the way to go.
But if you prefer a sweeter, creamier frosting with a lighter texture, then chocolate frosting is the ideal choice. Luckily, this recipe contains both so you don't have to choose!
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
There’s nothing better than a classic chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. It’s a timeless and elegant dessert that everyone loves! Here’s why this extra rich chocolate cake recipe is the best ever.
- Triple chocolate goodness: This cake has chocolate cake, ganache, and buttercream, all in one delicious package.
- Perfect for any occasion: Whether you're celebrating a special event or just want to indulge in a treat, this cake fits the bill.
- Versatile decoration: You can decorate the cake however you like, from simple to elaborate.
- Easy to make: With just a few ingredients and basic baking skills, you can create a stunning dessert.
- Double the recipe: Make a perfect double-layer chocolate cake for a small gathering or double the recipe for a four-layer showstopper.
- Rich and moist: The ganache and buttercream frosting help keep the cake moist and add to the richness of the chocolate flavor.
- Stores well: This cake keeps very well in the refrigerator or freezer. You can either store the individual unfrosted cake rounds, or store it fully assembled and frosted for an easy ready-to-eat treat.
How do you make the best ever chocolate cake? It all starts with the right ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe.
for the chocolate cake
Cake flour: Cake flour is a crucial ingredient in this recipe. It has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, resulting in a lighter, more tender cake. It also has a finer texture, so it absorbs liquid and sugar more effectively.
Baking soda: Baking soda serves as a leavening agent, helping the cake batter rise. It also improves the cake's flavor and texture.
Salt: The salt in this recipe creates a richer flavor and gives dimension to the chocolate taste. It also enhances the sweetness of the other ingredients.
Cocoa powder: We use 100% pure cocoa powder when making chocolate ganache cake. There are many different brands that will work, but we love Hershey’s.
Water: Along with adding moisture to the chocolate cake, the water helps the cocoa powder dissolve so it mixes into the batter evenly.
Buttermilk: The buttermilk contributes acidity to the cake, which helps activate the baking soda and tenderize the crumb. It helps ensure the chocolate cake is super rich and moist!
Pure vanilla extract: We recommend using pure vanilla extract. It adds the perfect flavor and aroma to this rich chocolate ganache cake.
Eggs: The eggs bind the ingredients together and provide structure to the cake.
Sour cream: Sour cream is an important ingredient in this recipe because it contributes additional richness to the cake batter and adds moisture. You can substitute the sour cream with plain, unsweetened yogurt if desired.
Butter: We prefer to use salted butter in this recipe, but you can use unsalted butter if needed. The butter adds flavor, richness, and tenderness to the cake.
Granulated sugar: The granulated sugar not only provides sweetness but also creates a light and fluffy texture in the cake.
Brown sugar: The brown sugar contributes both sweetness and moisture to the chocolate cake.
for the whipped chocolate ganache
Chocolate chips: Milk chocolate chips are our favorite for this ganache but you can use semisweet or dark chocolate chips if desired. We love Nestle, but any brand you can find at your local grocery store is great!
Heavy cream: The heavy cream adds a rich flavor and a smooth texture to the chocolate ganache.
for the chocolate buttercream frosting
Butter: What’s buttercream frosting without the butter? It provides richness and flavor while creating a smooth and creamy texture. We recommend salted butter but unsalted can be used as well.
Powdered sugar: The powdered sugar adds structure and sweetness and helps create a silky smooth texture.
Cocoa powder: The cocoa powder adds a rich chocolate flavor to the buttercream.
Pure vanilla extract: The vanilla extract enhances the flavors of other ingredients and adds an extra layer of complexity to the overall flavor profile.
Evaporated milk: We like to use evaporated milk because it adds richness and creates an extra smooth and velvety textured buttercream frosting. You can substitute heavy cream or half-and-half if desired.
How To Make This Recipe
prepare the ingredients
To ensure a smooth and even cake batter when making this triple chocolate ganache cake, bring the cold ingredients to room temperature before starting. To quickly warm up cold eggs, you can place them in a warm water bath. If you need to soften butter quickly, check out THIS POST for our tips!
make the cake
To get started, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 2 round 8-inch cake pans with shortening or butter and then lightly coat each one with flour.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, and salt and set it aside.
Then, place the cocoa powder in a small bowl and add ½ cup of lukewarm water. Whisk until fully combined and set it aside to cool.
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, ½ cup water, and vanilla extract. Stir gently to combine and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it’s smooth and light in color (2-3 minutes). Then, add the granulated and brown sugars and cream the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed. The butter-sugar mixture will have a sandy appearance.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs and sour cream. Continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and velvety.
Next, add in the cocoa mixture and mix just until combined.
Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in ¼ of the flour mixture, followed by ⅓ of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat these steps, alternating dry and liquid, ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until fully incorporated to avoid overmixing.
Finally, divide the batter evenly into each pan and bake for 25-27 minutes on the lower oven rack. Check the cakes for doneness with a toothpick before removing them from the oven.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Then, transfer the cakes from the pans to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
make the whipped ganache
Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Next, heat the cream on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave (about 45-60 seconds). Heat it just until it begins to boil, then remove it from the heat.
Immediately pour the heated cream over the chocolate chips. Let it stand for 2-3 minutes to allow the cream to melt the chocolate. Then, whisk the mixture until the chocolate fully melts and the consistency is smooth.
Let the ganache continue to cool in the refrigerator or freezer for 30-40 minutes, whisking thoroughly every 10 minutes. Once it reaches a soft, semisolid consistency, whip the ganache on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. This will make both the texture and color lighter.
Keep the whipped ganache well-covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the cake.
make the buttercream frosting
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter for 3-4 minutes with an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Then, add the cocoa and powdered sugar, mixing between the addition of each cup and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the vanilla extract and evaporated milk and beat until the texture is smooth and creamy. Set the frosting aside until you are ready to frost your cake.
assemble and serve
Once the cakes are completely cool, spread the whipped ganache filling evenly across the top of the bottom cake layer. Next, place the second cake layer on top of the ganache filling.
Then, spread a generous amount of chocolate buttercream frosting on the top and sides of your cake until completely covered. Smooth the frosting with a frosting knife or spatula. Add any additional toppings or decorations if desired. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
Use room temperature ingredients. Be sure to use room-temperature ingredients when making this triple chocolate ganache cake. Warmer ingredients combine better than cold ones do for a smoother, more even cake batter.
Use cake flour. Cake flour is lighter and softer than all-purpose flour and contains less protein. This helps keep your cake light and soft instead of dense and chewy. We don’t recommend swapping it for all-purpose flour in this recipe.
Accurately measure the flour. The simplest way to accurately measure flour is to use the spoon and level method. Use a spoon to fluff the flour and scoop it into the measuring cup before leveling it off with the back of a knife (or other straight edge). Avoid shaking or tapping the measuring cup to even the top as this will pack down the flour.
Don’t overmix the batter. Mix the cake batter gently with a wooden spoon or spatula just until all of the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can result in tough and dense cakes rather than soft and moist ones.
The Toothpick Test: How to Check if Your Cake is Done
You’ll want to complete this test before removing your cakes from the oven. You can slightly pull out the oven rack if needed to safely reach your cake. Insert a toothpick near the center of the cake and then pull it out immediately.
If the toothpick comes out “clean” then your cake is done and ready to be removed from the oven. The toothpick is still considered clean, even if there are crumbs on it when it comes out. If the toothpick comes out covered in liquid batter, then your cake is not done and needs to continue baking.
Who doesn't love a good chocolate cake? With this moist chocolate ganache cake recipe, you really can't go wrong. That said, you don’t have to settle for the same old thing every time. Here are some easy ways to put a twist on this classic recipe and make it even more delicious.
Incorporate one (or more) of these ingredients into the cake batter for a variation in flavor and texture:
- Chocolate chips
- Chopped nuts
- Espresso powder
- Ground cinnamon
Make your chocolate cake more interesting by using a variety of fillings:
- Mint chocolate ganache
- White chocolate ganache
- Dark chocolate ganache
- Peanut butter chocolate ganache
- Salted caramel chocolate ganache
- Strawberry jam filling
- Raspberry jam filling
Elevate your chocolate cake by experimenting with different frosting options:
- Vanilla buttercream frosting ***link***
- Cream cheese frosting
- Peanut butter chocolate buttercream frosting
- Strawberry cream cheese frosting
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How To Store Leftovers
To store any leftover chocolate ganache cake, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Additionally, the unfrosted cakes can be stored in the freezer wrapped in plastic, and placed in an airtight container or freezer bag. Allow the cake to thaw before frosting and/or serving.
Cake Tools You'll Need: Click To View
Moist Chocolate Ganache CakeOctober 3, 2021
FOR THE CAKE
- 2 cups cake flour spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup lukewarm water*
- ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup sour cream room temperature
- ½ cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
FOR THE GANACHE
- 8 oz milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
FOR THE FROSTING
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-3 tablespoon evaporated milk or heavy cream as needed
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 round 8" cake pans by greasing and lightly flouring each one.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add the cocoa powder and ½ cup of lukewarm water, and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, ½ cup water, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until the butter is smooth and light in color (2-3 minutes).
- Add the granulated and brown sugars and cream the mixture on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will have a sandy appearance.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs and sour cream. Continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and velvety.
- Add in the cocoa mixture and mix just until combined.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in ¼ of the flour mixture, followed by ⅓ of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat these steps, alternating dry and liquid. Mix just until fully incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly into each pan and bake for 25-27 minutes on the lower oven rack. Check with a toothpick to ensure the cakes are done. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the cakes from the pans to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
FOR THE GANACHE
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat the cream just until it begins to boil, remove from heat.
- Pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate fully melts and the consistency is smooth.
- Let the ganache continue to cool in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes, whisking thoroughly every 10 minutes. Once it reaches a soft, solid consistency, whip the ganache on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. It will also be lighter in texture and color.
FOR THE FROSTING
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the cocoa and powdered sugar, mixing between the addition of each cup, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and evaporated milk and beat until smooth.
ASSEMBLE & SERVE
- Once the cakes are completely cool, spread the whipped ganache filling evenly across the top of the bottom cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the filling.
- Spread a generous amount of chocolate buttercream frosting on the top and sides of your cake until completely covered. Add additional toppings or decorations if desired. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
- Use room temperature ingredients to help them combine more easily
- Use the spoon and level method to accurately measure the flour
- Test the cakes with a toothpick before removing them from the oven
- This recipe can easily be doubled for extra layers