Chocolate Cake with Perfect Buttercream

June 16, 2015

"Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me." -- Audrey Hepburn

Chocolate cake is truly one of those comforts that I can't live without. I've been using the same recipe (to rave reviews) for birthdays, holidays, and every other special occasion since my oldest daughter's first birthday, and I have no intentions of ever straying. This is everything that a chocolate cake should be--moist, tender, and very chocolatey--and so worth the effort of making instead of a boxed cake mix. I love a rich chocolate buttercream with this cake, but when I'm adding decorations or want a different color I'll frost it with a traditional American buttercream. After lots of trial and error, I've come up with a vanilla buttercream that's perfectly sweet--not too cloying, just light and fluffy and creamy. Together, the two make what is possibly the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten, and I think Audrey would probably feel the same way.

Chocolate Cake
2 cups white sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Perfect Buttercream

(This buttercream uses salted butter as well as a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness, and uses less sugar than most buttercream recipes. Shortening helps it hold its shape, so piping is a cinch.)
7 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 ½ cups shortening
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
food coloring (I used white)

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare cake pans with baking spray (I used 9-inch rounds). Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla, and blend with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add boiling water and mix by hand until combined. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.

For buttercream:

Cream butter and shortening together with an electric mixer until fluffy, then add the confectioners' sugar and continue to beat until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

To frost cake:

Starting in the middle of the bottom layer, pipe buttercream in a spiral until it almost reaches the edge and use an inverted spatula or butter knife to smooth. Place the next layer on top and repeat; repeat with remaining layers. Now use the inverted spatula to smooth buttercream on the sides of the cake. 


  1. Angy, why are you teasing me right now? I miss your moist and decadent chocolate cakes. I clearly remember your first one years back and to say the least...we murdered it! Lol

  2. Replies
    1. What leftovers? You do remember who my husband is, don't you?


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