2-Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe

There's just something about a cake that brings a crowd together. Whether it be a birthday party, retirement party, bridal shower, or even a "just because" kind of event, it's always a good idea to bust out a cake. There are several different flavors and varieties of cakes to choose from, but there's no doubt that a chocolate cake one is the most decadent and the best for chocoholics. This recipe makes it easy to whip up a cake in the comfort of your home and it's always fun to showcase your baking skills to family and friends. We should also mention the recipe includes a rich, homemade frosting to go that pairs perfectly with the cake itself, and really, is there anything better?

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating came up with this simple and delicious recipe for a two-layer chocolate cake that will knock your socks off. "I love the moist texture and rich chocolatey flavor of this delicious cake. It's such a crowd-pleaser," Brookes raves. As for the taste? "The taste is sweet and chocolatey with a smooth buttery frosting," she notes. Is your mouth watering yet?

Gather the ingredients for this 2-layer chocolate cake

If you are a baker, you're in luck since you probably have a lot of the necessary ingredients stashed away in your pantry. For this recipe, you will need all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, butter (divided), eggs, and vanilla extract (also divided) — all of which are really common in baking.

To complete your list, you will need buttermilk, boiling water (which you can make at home), powdered sugar, and milk. "Buttermilk will work best here as it adds moisture to the cake more effectively," Brookes notes of the decision to use that over milk. 

Prep the pans and mix the dry ingredients

Since this is a 2-layer cake, you will need to grease two 8-inch round cake pans and then line them with parchment paper. After that, turn the dial of your oven to 350 F, allowing it to get hot while you do the prep work.

Now, it's on to the mixing. Grab a medium-sized bowl and add the dry ingredients. This includes flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. "Mixing the dry ingredients together first ensures they are well incorporated before adding them to the rest of the ingredients," Brookes shares.

Mix the wet ingredients

To mix the wet ingredients, you will need the bowl from an electric stand mixer. Toss in the butter and sugar first, then turn the mixer to medium speed. Beat the two together for about 4 minutes, until the mixture gets smooth and creamy. If you don't have a stand mixer or need an arm workout, you could always mix with a wooden spoon instead.

Add one egg at a time, beating it with the butter and sugar until well-combined. Repeat the same process with the second egg.

Add the vanilla extract and buttermilk

There are still a few more wet ingredients that you need to add to the mix. Start with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and then add the buttermilk. Mix again to combine, and there you have your wet mixture.

Sift in the flour, and add boiling water

Turn the speed of your stand mixer to low and slowly sift in the flour mixture with the wet mixture until just combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary to mix well. Keep the mixer on the low-speed setting and add the boiling water. "When you mix the wet and dry together you want to mix only until everything is just combined so that you don't knock too much air out of the batter," Brookes adds. Now, the batter is ready to go!

Bake the cakes

It's time to bust out the cake pans you prepared in step one. Distribute the batter evenly between the two and pop them into your preheated oven. Allow about 35-40 minutes to bake. You can check for doneness by inserting a skewer into the center of the cakes and making sure it comes out clean. If clean, that means it's ready to come out, but if there's still batter on it, allow the cakes to cook for a little longer. 

Once you remove the cakes from the oven, keep them in their pans for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Be sure to let the cakes cool completely on the wire rack before frosting them.

Make the frosting

A cake is no good without frosting to go with it. In this case, it's chocolate on chocolate. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if you want to use an electric hand whisk,) add the remaining cup of butter and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Beat the two together until nice and creamy.

Next, sift in the powdered sugar, ⅓ of the remaining cocoa powder, and a splash of milk. Continue blending until well combined. Repeat the same steps twice more until everything has been added to the frosting. You want to be sure that the frosting is smooth and spreadable yet still firm enough to hold its shape.

Assemble the cake

Once the cakes have cooled, spread half of the frosting onto the first cake layer. Then, add the second cake layer on top and spread the second half of the frosting all around the top and sides of both sides of the cakes to make them into a single mega-cake. 

Serve and enjoy

Once you finish frosting the cake, you can slice it up and serve as you wish. As most of us know, chocolate cake goes hand in hand with a cold glass or milk. It would also be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Of course, the cake is plenty rich to be the solo star of the dessert.

Brookes also shares a few of her favorite serving suggestions and recommends pairing it "with ice cream, cream or fresh berries." 

Honestly, this stuff is so good that you may not have anything left, but if you do, be sure to store it away! "Leftovers should keep well in an airtight container at room temp for up to 4 days," Brookes shares. We hope this hits the spot! 

2-Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe
5 from 24 ratings
This decadent 2-layer chocolate cake is great for a birthday celebration, or just any time a chocolate craving strikes.
Prep Time
Cook Time
2-layer chocolate cake on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup + ⅔ cup cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ⅔ cup boiling water
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup milk
  1. Grease and line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk together the flour, ¾ cup of cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat ½ cup of the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes on a medium speed. You can also do this by hand with a wooden spoon if desired.
  4. Add the eggs 1 by 1, beating to combine after each addition.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and buttermilk and mix again.
  6. Sift in the flour mixture and mix on a low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  7. With the mixer running on a low speed, gradually pour in the boiling water until combined.
  8. Evenly distribute the mixture between the 2 prepared cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer poked into the center of a cake comes out clean.
  9. Leave the cakes in the pans for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. The make the icing, first beat the remaining 1 cup of butter and ½ teaspoon of vanilla until creamy. You can do this in a stand mixer or using an electric hand whisk.
  11. Sift in about ⅓ of the powdered sugar, ⅓ of the remaining cocoa powder, and a splash of milk. Beat until combined. Then repeat twice more until everything has been added. Adjust the amount of milk as needed. You want the frosting to be smooth and spreadable but still firm enough to hold its shape.
  12. To assemble the cake, first spread about half of the frosting onto one of the cooled cake layers. Place the second layer on top, then spread the remaining frosting all over the top and around the sides of the cake.
  13. Slice and serve.
Calories per Serving 535
Total Fat 26.0 g
Saturated Fat 16.0 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 108.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 76.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Total Sugars 58.2 g
Sodium 309.0 mg
Protein 5.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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