The Ultimate Moist Chocolate Layer Cake

Indulge in this rich and moist chocolate layer cake with decadent chocolate buttercream. Perfect for any celebration!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of a perfectly baked chocolate layer cake. It’s the ultimate crowd-pleaser, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or just because it’s a Tuesday and you need a chocolate fix. This Moist Chocolate Layer Cake is not only rich and indulgent but also incredibly easy to make. Let’s dive into the deliciousness!


For the Cake:

  • 1¾ cups (219g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (62g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • ½ cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot coffee

For the Buttercream:

  • 1¼ cups (282g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3½ cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3–5 tbsp heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat Oven:

Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. This step ensures that your cake layers come out easily and retain their shape.

2. Mix Dry Ingredients:

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using). The espresso powder is optional but highly recommended as it intensifies the chocolate flavor.

3. Combine Wet Ingredients:

In another bowl, mix the vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the buttermilk and mix until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the hot coffee and mix until everything is well incorporated. The batter will be thin, but don’t worry—that’s what makes the cake so moist!

4. Bake:

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 23-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Make Buttercream:

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the chocolate buttercream. Beat the softened unsalted butter in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, beating until well combined. Add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth. If the buttercream is too thick, add more heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

6. Assemble Cake:

Once the cakes have cooled, level them if necessary. Place the first layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread a generous amount of buttercream over the top. Place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake. For an extra touch of decadence, garnish with chocolate chips or shavings if desired.

7. Chill:

Refrigerate the cake for 30-60 minutes before slicing. This helps the buttercream set and makes the cake easier to cut. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Can I make this cake ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can bake the cake layers a day in advance. Just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature. The buttercream can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge. When you’re ready to assemble, bring the buttercream to room temperature and give it a good stir.

What can I use instead of buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a quick substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, and you’ll have a homemade buttermilk substitute.

Can I use a different type of frosting?

Certainly! While the chocolate buttercream pairs perfectly with this cake, you can use any frosting you like. Cream cheese frosting or whipped ganache would also be fantastic options.

How do I store leftover cake?

Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to keep it longer, you can freeze individual slices wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.


This Moist Chocolate Layer Cake is the epitome of chocolate decadence. With its rich, tender crumb and velvety chocolate buttercream, it’s sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is straightforward and foolproof. So go ahead, indulge a little, and make this delightful cake for your next celebration—or just because you can!

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