Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe and Filling Ideas

Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate layer cake just might be the best-loved dessert in the world, and if it's not, it should be. Just imagine the smell in your kitchen when you bake one of your own using this outstanding recipe.

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Contributed by Ann J. MacDonald

Use this basic-yet-delicious recipe to create an 8-inch, 2-layer chocolate cake that you can take to the next level with various filling and frosting choices.


  • 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3½squares Baker's chocolate, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 2½ cups flour, divided
  • 3½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 325 degrees for a dark-coated pan).
  2. In a medium-size bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Add melted chocolate and eggs to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
  4. Combine ½ cup of the flour with the baking powder and mix it into the creamed mixture.
  5. Combine the milk and vanilla. Alternate adding the liquid and the remaining flour and beat until smooth.
  6. The cake batter will be stiff enough to drop from a spoon (which may seem stiffer than other cake batters).
  7. Bake in 2 square or round greased, 8-inch cake pans for 20-25 minutes or until the cake springs back in the middle when touched.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven, wait 10 minutes, and then remove the cakes from the pans and cool them on wire racks. When they're completely cool, frost the bottom layer and then add the top and frost the outside.

Filling Ideas

You can frost the cake layers completely with chocolate buttercream if you want to keep the flavor uniform, but chocolate also pairs well with other filling flavors. For example:

  • Try spreading raspberry preserves or strawberry jam on top of the bottom layer before you place the second cake layer on top. Alternatively, consider using orange marmalade instead. Whichever you choose, the touch of fruity flavor in the middle makes a lovely contrast to the chocolate.
  • Sweetened coconut can be pressed onto the top of the bottom layer after it has been frosted. Add the second cake layer and you have a delicious coconut filling.
  • Spread a thick layer of peanut butter on top of the bottom cake layer to create a very tasty chocolate peanut butter cake. If you like, coat the cake in chocolate ganache instead of buttercream.
  • Frost the top of the bottom layer with chocolate buttercream, add a layer of marshmallow topping, and then sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top of that. Add the top layer and finish frosting the cake to create a s'mores cake.

Storing Your Cake

Always keep your cake in an airtight cake carrier or on a pedestal cake stand with a cover. This will keep it from drying out and protect it from floating debris and other undesirable elements. The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to five days.

Nothing Like Homemade Chocolate Cake

Practically anyone can prepare a box cake mix, but making a chocolate cake from scratch is almost as easy and certainly worth the extra effort. Plan to give this recipe a try and then get some lovely ideas about how to decorate it so it looks as impressive as it tastes.

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Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe and Filling Ideas