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Blackout Chocolate Cake

Super Moist Chocolate Birthday Cake

  • Author: Maria Do
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Super moist and delicious chocolate cake recipe with salted chocolate buttercream. Hot brewed coffee in this cake brings out the best chocolate flavors. This recipe makes one 6″ 3-layer cake or a 9″ 2-layer cake. You could also bake into a 9″x13″ sheet cake. For best results, weigh the dry ingredients on a scale as volumetric measurements can vary widely and impact the final cake.


Units Scale

Chocolate Cake

  • 3/4 cup (62 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) strong hot coffee* (or espresso or hot water)
  • 1 3/4 cups (219 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk*, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil (or canola or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Salted Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks (16 tbsp) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (2 tbsp) cream cheese (full fat), room temperature
  • 3 cups (340 g) confectioner’s sugar, plus more if needed
  • 3/4 cup (63 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup strong hot coffee (or espresso or milk if you don’t like coffee)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Baking the Cake

  1. Prep Pan + Preheat. Line baking pans with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick cooking spray to ensure easy release. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
  2. Pre-mix chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup (62g) cocoa powder and 2 tsp espresso powder. While whisking, slowly pour 1/2 cup coffee into the bowl. When chocolate mixture is smooth, pour in the remaining 1/2 cup coffee. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to ‘bloom’. 
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.
  4. Combine wet ingredients. After the chocolate/coffee mixture has cooled, add 1 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Pour this wet mixture into bowl of the dry ingredients. Whisk until batter is fully incorporated – the final batter will be loose. 

    Blackout Chocolate Cake Batter

  5. Divide + Bake. Divide batter evenly among baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean since bake times can vary. Cool cakes completely on a wire rack before assembling. 

    Blackout Chocolate Cake

Making the Buttercream

  1. Beat butter + cream cheese. Add 2 sticks room temp salted butter and 1/4 cup cream cheese to a stand mixer or bowl with a hand mixer. Mix until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Sift 3 cups confectioner’s sugar and 3/4 cup cocoa powder to the bowl. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Start your mixer on low speed at first as dry ingredients come together, then slowly pour in coffee one tablespoon at a time until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, up to 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup. Then increase speed to medium-high and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the frosting is silky smooth. Set aside. 

    salted chocolate coffee frosting

  3. Assemble. When cake layers have cooled completely, frost the cake, and allow it to set for a few hours before slicing. 


  • *Coffee – if you don’t have brewed coffee, replace it with 1/4 cup warm milk and 2 tsp instant coffee powder or 1/4 cup warm milk or 1/4 cup hot water. 
  • *Buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk or just don’t want to buy it, you can make it at home using milk and vinegar or lemon juice! To make 1 cup of buttermilk for this recipe, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup. Then pour in milk until you have 1 cup of liquid. Voila, homemade buttermilk!

Keywords: birthday, chocolate, chocolate cake