Cakes, Gemma's Best Recipes

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache

4.91 from 180 votes
My new and improved Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe uses chocolate in ways you've only dreamt of — and it's topped with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache!
My Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe with whipped dark chocolate ganache frosting on a cake stand with a slice removed.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Everyone needs a go-to favorite cake recipe that never fails to blow away friends and family. That doesn’t mean you need to spend hours and hours perfecting some five-tiered art piece that would be on a baking competition show. For me, it means my master recipes: Best-Ever Vanilla Cake, Best-Ever Carrot Cake, and the Best-Ever Chocolate Cake — with Whipped Chocolate Ganache. 

This recipe is a NEW and IMPROVED Best-Ever Chocolate Cake, which deserved the title. If you’re looking for my lovely older version, you’ll now want my Incredible Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe with Fudge Frosting.

What I love about this chocolate cake recipe is that it does not need a mixer and is very fast to whip up all in one bowl. This chocolate cake is also known as Devil’s Food Cake, Black Magic Cake, and Death by Chocolate. Once you make it, you’ll see why it’s earned its namesake.

What Kind Of Chocolate

When you’re making something that I feel fully confident in calling the “best-ever” chocolate cake, you will need a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder to let it live up to its full potential! But that’s not all.

We’re talking about a deep chocolate flavor here. You only need a small slice to satisfy your chocolate craving. That’s because I use 100% chocolate in the cake — which is really rare. No one does that. It’s intense and so soft. 

If you’re looking for a super fudgy cake, then go with dutch-processed cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is less acidic than other powders which will give you a more “chocolatey” flavor and a beautiful deep rich color.

A finished Best-Ever Chocolate Cake on a cake stand with whipped ganache.

Using Coffee In Chocolate Cake

Don’t worry! This cake will not taste like coffee, despite the cup of freshly brewed hot coffee that the recipe calls for. 

Do you know how certain flavors bring out others? Like when you pair sweet caramel with sea salt — the salt somehow makes the caramel taste even more… caramel. 

Bitter coffee actually makes a person’s taste buds more sensitive to sweetness! If you don’t have fresh coffee on hand, you can always use instant coffee or espresso powder. You can even use decaffeinated coffee! 

What You Need To Make The Best-Ever Chocolate Cake 

You’ll only need a few tools from your kitchen cabinets on your journey to an incredible chocolate cake.

  • Two 9-inch x 2-inch round cake pans, or three 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Sifter
  • Knife or offset spatula
  • Optional: A hand mixer for the frosting

Two slices of chocolate cake ready to serve.

How To Make The BEST Chocolate Cake

If you want to know how simple it is to make a chocolate cake, then look no further. Here are the basic steps on how to make your own (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, and hot coffee. Stir and let the chocolate melt. As I said, I promise this won’t taste like coffee, and you won’t want to skip it! 
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, oil, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs together for a couple of minutes, until light and creamy.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture and blend until well combined.
  5. Finally, whisk in the dry ingredients. Stop just as soon as the batter is combined. Lumps are ok. Be sure to take care not to overmix or it can toughen the cake.
  6. Divide batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cooling completely in the pan. 

Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  1. In a pan over medium heat, warm the cream until the edges just start to simmer.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the cream sit in the bowl without stirring for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, whisk to slowly stir the cream and chocolate together.
  5. At this point, the ganache will be very thin. It will thicken as it cools so place it in the refrigerator until it’s the consistency of custard, making sure to stir it every 15 minutes.
  6. Once the ganache has cooled and reached the consistency of thick custard, it is ready to whisk. (see above video for step by step)
  7. Add the softened butter to the cooled ganache and whisk by hand for about 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Take care not to over whip the ganache or it will taste grainy and will separate. 
  8. Once the cakes are cool and the ganache is whipped, you are ready to frost!

Assembling the Cake:

  1. Split each cake layer in half to create 4 layers (for two 9-inch cake pans) , or 6 layers (for three 8-inch cake pans).
  2. Stack your cake layers with about a ½ cup of ganache spread between each layer.
  3. Once your layers are stacked, you are ready for a crumb coat: frost the top and sides of the cake with a very thin layer of ganache and place in the refrigerator to firm up.
  4. Once cold and firm to the touch, you can lay your thick, decorative layer of frosting on the cake without worrying about loose crumbs ruining your design – have fun and decorate rusticly. 
  5. Storing the Cake: This ‘frosting’ is fresh so it’s best to store the cake in the fridge until 90 minutes before serving. For longer storage, freeze the cake in an airtight container for up to two months. To defrost, leave at room temperature in the covered container for a few hours. Extra ganache can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen in an airtight container for up to two months.

A close up of the layers and whipped ganache of my best chocolate cake recipe.

Gemma’s Pro Tips To Making Chocolate Cake

  • DON’T overbeat your batter! Overbeating your batter will result in a tough cake.
  • Make sure you check on your cakes after 25 minutes of baking to avoid overcooking. 
  • Make sure the cake cools completely before frosting, otherwise you’ll have a melty frosting mess.
  • Top your cake off with my easy Homemade Sprinkles
  • If you do not want to use eggs in this cake you’re in luck! The eggs can be replaced with a flax egg. The cake might not be quite as rich but will still be lovely and have great texture.
  • Make your own Brown Sugar if you’re out!
  • And make my Homemade Sour Cream if you don’t have sour cream, or you can use yogurt, too!

How To Store Chocolate Cake

This cake will stay fresh for 3-4 days at room temperature if it is covered tightly with cling wrap. If you are making the cake ahead of time, an unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 3 weeks. To thaw, sit the cake at room temperature until it is defrosted and soft, then frost and decorate! 

The fudge frosting can be used immediately or stored in a refrigerator for 3 days. The frosting can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before using it.

A slice of the best chocolate cake after a taste-test.

Get more of my Best Cake Recipes:

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below the video!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Gemma's Best-Ever Chocolate Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache

4.91 from 180 votes
My new and improved Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe uses chocolate in ways you've only dreamt of — and it's topped with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache!
Author: Gemma Stafford
My new and improved Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe uses chocolate in ways you've only dreamt of — and it's topped with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache!
Author: Gemma Stafford

Ingredients

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake

  • ½ cup (2 oz/57g) cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz/57g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (8floz/225ml) very hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup (4 floz/115ml) neutral-flavored vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115g) sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (0.3oz/8.5g) vanilla
  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon (0.1 oz/3g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (0.2oz/6g) baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (4oz/115g) butter, softened
  • 2 cups (12oz/340g) brown sugar

Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 cups (24 oz/680g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate (no more than 60% cocoa), chopped very fine
  • 4 cups (30 oz/900 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (2 oz/57g) softened butter

Instructions

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and butter two 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) round cake pans. Once buttered, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, butter the parchment, and then flour the pans.
  • In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, and hot coffee. Stir and let cool to room temperature.
  • Once cool, thoroughly whisk in oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a handheld mixer, cream butter, and sugar together for a few minutes.
  • Add the chocolate mixture and blend until very well combined.
  • Finally, add your dry ingredients in two or three increments, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with each addition. Stop just as soon as the batter is evenly and thoroughly mixed, but take care not to overmix.
  • Divide batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • While the cake is baking, make the ganache: place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  • In a pan over medium heat, warm the cream until the edges just start to simmer.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the cream sit in the bowl without stirring for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, place a wire whisk in the center of the bowl and with small circles start to slowly stir the cream and the chocolate together.
  • Once you see the ganache start to come together in the center, start widening your circle to incorporate the rest of the cream and chocolate.
  • At this point, the ganache will be very thin. It will thicken as it cools. You can speed up the cooling by placing it in the refrigerator, making sure to stir it every 10 minutes.
  • Once the ganache has cooled and reached the consistency of thick custard, it is ready to whip.
  • Place the ganache in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a handheld whisk), add the softened butter and whisk on high for about one minute, until light and fluffy. Take care not to overwhip the ganache or it will taste grainy.
  • Once the cakes are cool and the ganache is whipped, you are ready to frost!

Assembly

  • Split each cake layer in half to create 4 layers.
  • Place a spoon of ganache on your cake serving plate and place your first layer on top of that.
  • Slide a few pieces of parchment or foil just under the edges to keep the plate clean.
  • Stack your cake layers with about a ½ cup of ganache spread between each layer.
  • Once your layers are stacked, you are ready for a crumb coat: frost the top and sides of the cake with a very thin layer of ganache and place in the refrigerator to firm up.
  • Once cold and firm to the touch, you can lay your thick, decorative layer of frosting on the cake without worrying about loose crumbs ruining your design – have fun!
  • When you are done frosting, carefully pull out the parchment or foil from under the cake and touch up the bottom if needed.
  • Cakes can easily dry out in the refrigerator so unless it is very warm, this cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days. For longer storage, freeze the cake in an airtight container for up to two months. To defrost, leave at room temperature in the covered container for a few hours. Extra ganache can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen in an airtight container for up to two months.

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Kathi
Kathi
5 months ago

I’ve been using this recipe for years now for not only chocolate cake, but also muffins, cupcakes, and sheet cakes, and it always turns out lovely! Now, as far as I can tell there’s no calorie information, neither in the original recipe nor in the comments, so I’ve decided to calculate it myself. Please note that this will probably not be 100% accurate due to the fact that i don’t know exactly what brand of vegetable oil/milk/etc. you use. I have used the calorie information for flour, sugar, etc. from google. Also, I have used rounded numbers. For just the… Read more »

Samia Farhana
1 year ago

Hi Gemma! I just want to thank you for your no fail amazing recipes! The other day I made the Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake for my family and my brother said it was my best cake ever and yesterday i made this best ever chocolate cake with fudge frosting for ky best friends and it turned out flawless! It not only tasted good but also looked amazing ???? after tasting it my friends said that i should take baking as my occupation instead of my favorite hobby haha! To be this was my best cake ever especially the frosting was… Read more »

Meenal
Meenal
1 year ago

Hi Gemma, tried this recipe for the first time and it turned out brilliant- a friend of mine has requested I make this cake for her 1 yr olds birthday party and requested that I reduce the sugar some how- can you suggest some ways I can do that without messing the recipe- I was thinking of reducing the sugar in the icing.. thanks again for all the great recipes!

1 year ago

Hello Gemma. Thank you so much for this recipe it was unbelievably good. I really enjoy your videos as you exude such warmth and kindness:)

Heena
5 months ago

Hi Gemma, I wanted to ask you something. Here in India you get instant whipping cream in which there is whipping powder and you have to add chilled water to it and blend and the whipped cream is ready, however that is white in colour. Its from Blue Bird brand just incase if you want to look it up on Google before answering my question. Now I already brought that packet but i was wondering that if i could add cocoa powder to it before whipping and would that turn into chocolate whipped cream. Please do reply soon! Thanks alot… Read more »

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

Hi Gemma,
This cake looks so yummy! I have a wee question for you . I planned to bake this cake in 2 × 8″ pans. They are just over 3″ deep. Is it still gonna rise well? Or should I put the whole lot in one pan just?
Thank you x

1 year ago

Hi Gemma,
Can I bake this cake in a microwave?

Wit1019
1 year ago

I’ve made this 3 times already. Next time I plan to make a peanut butter frosting for it!

Nisreen
Nisreen
1 year ago

Hello. I want to bake cupcakes.. How long shod I bake them?

Naiyana Ali
Naiyana Ali
4 months ago

Hi Gemma, Thank you so so much for sharing your great recipes!
I’ve tried making no yeast donuts, brownies, chocolate chips cookies 🍪, cinnamon rolls, and your best ever chocolate cake. Everything turned out to be a big success!! Thank you again. 😊😍
However, I have a question on this cake frosting: the recipe mentioned 1 cup melted butter & 6 cups icing sugar. I couldn’t use even 4 cups as my hand beater was getting stucked!,,
Please guide me on how to this frosting. Thanx.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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