Triple Chocolate Cake

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This triple chocolate cake features three decadent layers filled with sweet frosting and mini chocolate chips. Assemble it in just one hour!

triple chocolate cake slice on a white plate

Triple Chocolate Cake

The secret to this mouthwatering one bowl chocolate cake is espresso powder! When mixed with water and added to the batter, it creates an incredibly moist texture that melts in your mouth.

Don’t worry, it simply enhances the chocolate flavor – your dessert won’t taste like coffee at all.

Craving more chocolatey desserts? Try these gooey smores cookies or boozy brownies made with Baileys Irish Cream.

And if stacking layers is too intimidating, then poke cakes are what you’re looking for!

Tips and Tricks for Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Use room temperature ingredients. This goes for the batter and the frosting! The ingredients will combine together much easier and there won’t be any lumps.
  • Don’t have buttermilk? Easily make your own in minutes! Whisk 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of regular milk, then let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Once thickened and curdled, use as directed.
  • Keep it chilled. Since there is cream cheese in the frosting, store your triple chocolate cake (including any leftovers!) in the refrigerator. Cover or transfer to an airtight container and enjoy within 3 to 5 days.
  • Tip for slicing: Run a large, sharp knife under hot water, then dry completely. The warm blade will glide easily through the dessert for perfect, clean slices.
overhead: bowls of ingredients for chocolate cake recipe

Decorate Like A Pro!

Before stacking the layers, add a small dab of frosting to your stand or cardboard round. This will hold the bottom layer in place so it doesn’t slide around.

Then, use a large piping bag to evenly apply the frosting before smoothing it with an offset spatula. It works in between the layers and the outside of the dessert as well!

chocolate layer cake batter in 3 cake pans

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chocolate buttercream frosting ingredients on wooden counter

Triple Chocolate Cake FAQ

How do I make my cakes flat on top?

I recommend using baking strips – soak them in water and wrap them around the outside of each pan to help the batter rise evenly.

You may need to increase the baking time by about 10 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on the cakes and test them with a toothpick towards the end. Once it comes out clean (without any crumbs), they are done!

If you don’t want to use strips, simply slice the top off of any domed cakes to make them even.

fluffy chocolate buttercream frosting in mixing bowl

What can I use instead of espresso powder?

Brew a strong pot of coffee and replace the espresso powder and water mixture with one cup of coffee instead.

Can I freeze triple chocolate cake?

Yes! To freeze an entire cake, place it in the freezer until it hardens (about 1 ½ to 2 hours). Then, wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and another layer of aluminum foil.

Or, freeze individual slices on a plate or sheet pan for about an hour before wrapping in plastic and foil.

Store for up to 3 months in the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

frosted triple chocolate cake, slice removed

Enjoy!

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plated slice of rich chocolate layer cake

Other Cake Recipes To Try

Blueberry Almond Cake

Cherry Dump Cake

Chocolate Poke Cake

Firecracker Cake


piece of chocolate layer cake on plate

Triple Chocolate Cake

Donna Elick
Triple Chocolate Cake has three decadent layers filled with sweet frosting and mini chocolate chips. This recipe takes just an hour to make!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 34 mins
Total Time 59 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 16

Ingredients
 

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Garnish (optional)

  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided, plus more as desired

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, stir together 1 cup of water and instant espresso powder. Microwave and bring to a boil for 30-40 seconds, while watching closely to make sure it doesn’t overflow. Set aside to cool.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, place sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed until combined.
  • Next, add buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix together on medium speed until well combined and smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Stir in cooled espresso and mix until combined. Divide batter evenly into the 3 prepared baking pans.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350°F or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for about 10-15 minutes, and then turn them out onto wire cooling racks to cool completely.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, frost them and enjoy!

Frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl of a standing mixer (or you can use a hand mixer), beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until creamy and fluffy.
  • Add in cocoa and vanilla and beat until combined. Alternate adding in powdered sugar(starting with a cup at a time) and heavy cream, mixing in between each ingredient. If the final consistency is too thick, add more cream. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  • To assemble the cake, place the first layer down on the serving plate. Add a smooth, even layer of frosting. Evenly top with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Place the second cake layer on top and coat with another even layer of frosting. Evenly top with the remaining ¼ cup mini chocolate chips. Place the third cake layer on top. Cover the entire cake with an even layer of frosting. Top with mini chocolate chips or add additional decorating if desired.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for one hour for easy slicing. Serve and enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator (in an airtight container) since there is cream cheese in the frosting.
If stored properly, the cake will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
To freeze an entire cake, place it in the freezer until it hardens (about 1.5-2 hours). Then, tightly cover in plastic wrap and wrap again with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. You can also freeze individual slices. Freeze each slice on a plate for about an hour. Then tightly cover in plastic wrap and again with foil. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to eat.
You might be wondering why espresso powder is added to this cake recipe? Adding espresso powder with water makes the cake moist and gives it an incredible texture that melts in your mouth.
I don’t have espresso powder, can I use something else? You can substitute the espresso powder and water mixture for a cup of coffee.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 730cal | Carbohydrates: 111g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 426mg | Sugar: 86g | Fiber: 5g | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled pinterest collage for triple chocolate cake recipe

Originally published March 2013, updated and republished January 2022

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14 Comments

  1. I made this for a birthday cake recently. I didn't have vegetable oil and used sunflower oil instead. Apart from that didn't make any changes to the recipe. It was lovely And yummy, moist and delicious, would make it again.

    1. It really brings out the chocolate flavor, you can not taste 'coffee' but feel free to leave the ingredient out and it will still be wonderful. Enjoy!

  2. I have been making this cake for well over a year now!! Family loves it they always ask for it! Made 3 for my grandson's birthday party!! It was a hit for sure!!!

  3. I have made this cake twice and am about to bake it again now. My family loves this recipe thank you so much for providing it.

  4. I love the addition of expresso powder or instant coffee. I would dust the cake with chopped nuts instead of chocolate chips though. I adore chocolate but not the chips, lol, just my preference!

  5. 5 stars
    I have made this cake SO many times. It is perfection but it seems to have been updated this year. I didn’t print the recipe as I’ve always used it from my saved pin. Can you please advise what was changed? It now says it’s a triple chocolate cake.

    1. Hi Christie. Thank you for being such a loyal TSRI reader!

      Donna retests her recipes from time to time, to be sure they work well. In this case, other than the name change (previous title was Hershey Perfect Chocolate Cake), the are 2 differences between this recipe and the original. The size of the cake – the original recipe made a 2-layer cake of 10-12 servings, using 2 8-inch cake pans. This one makes a triple layer cake that serves 16, using 3 9-inch pans. The other difference is, this time around, we used buttermilk instead of regular milk. You can use either – we prefer the tanginess of the buttermilk. Hope this helps!

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

      Tip: If you want to make the smaller cake,

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