Just a cake


A cake with a little ganache.


Or maybe a little too much.

Nope. Not possible. Not sure there’s such a thing as too much ganache.

I like to eat it by the spoonful, but by the cakefull is even better.

The cake inside is chocolate. And actually the recipe for the chocolate cake in this post is not the actual cake in these pictures.

Why? Well, while it looks nice enough, it just wasn’t satisfied. So I made a few changes and made a better version the same day that I didn’t have time to decorate.

Instead, I’ve just been eating it straight up.

I like the simple look of the decorated one though.

High contrast.

The cake is frosted in buttercream first.


But for the middle layer of frosting, I tucked away a few of these inside.


Buttercream, speckled with miniature chocolate chips for kicks.




Then the rest of the cake gets covered in plain white buttercream.

Easy enough.


Then comes the best part.

A reason to lick my spoon.


You’ll want the ganache to set up and thicken before you pour any on the cake.


Thicker, like this.


Oh my! Start pouring in the center, but be careful not to go too fast.

Ideally, you wouldn’t want too much to go over the sides and puddle around the cake.


Yeah, like this.

Okay, I got a little excited.

Ganache does that to me.

Now for the recipe of the second chocolate cake I made. The better one.

That said, I welcome any of your chocolate cake suggestions. I’m looking for the best homemade chocolate cake ever. Got one? Know of one? Care to share? This one’s good! But I’m not done searching.

What fun would that be anyway.


Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache
Yield: 9-inch layer cake

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


Chocolate Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup hot water

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-8 Tablespoons milk
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, if desired

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels


  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans. Then place parchment paper cut to size on the bottom of each pan and grease paper. Dust pans with cocoa.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and place in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add hot water and mix together.
  3. Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 28-30 minutes. Batter will be very liquid. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For the frosting: Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add the powdered sugar in several additions, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add milk a tablespoon at a time and mix together until you achieve a smooth consistency.
  5. For the ganache: Heat cream and butter in a saucepan until melted and remove before it starts to boil. Place chocolate morsels in a small bowl and pour cream on top. Let sit for a few seconds and whisk by hand until completely incorporated and smooth. Let cool until thick and pourable.
    The ganache can take a bit to thicken. You can make it before the buttercream, to save time. Just use a wire whisk to stir it every few minutes and keep it smooth
  6. To assemble: Trim tops off of cake layers with a long serrated knife so they have a nice, flat top. Place one layer bottom side up on cake stand. Mix about 2/3 cup morsels with about 1 cup of the frosting. Spread frosting on top of bottom layer. Place second layer on top. It helps to have a crumb coat on the outside of your cake first. Simply apply a thin coat of frosting to the entire cake to catch any excess crumbs. Then place cake in freezer for a few minutes to firm up frosting and cover the entire cake again with a thick layer of buttercream. This will help you keep all those crumbs from getting caught in your pretty work. Slowly, pour ganache over center of cake. Pour just enough to start dripping down the sides.


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303 comments on “Just a cake”

  1. I think putting ganache over vanilla buttercream frosting is a genius idea! Making it tonight!

  2. I made this yesterday for a party. It came out perfect! It’s a great recipe and tasted incredible. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. I have probably commented before… but years after discovering this recipe, I want you to know it is still my absolute favorite cake on the planet.

  4. I just put this in the oven, the batter barely covered my 9 inch bake pans…I followed the directions but wishing I’d have gone with my gut and used 8 inch, just so the cakes will have some heighth…I’ve searched the comments but hard pressed to find an actual review of this cake?

  5. I made this cake for my husband for his birthday this week. I have to say, it was a huge success. Not only did it make a beautiful presentation, but it tasted just as delicious as it looks. (Your photo’s by the way, spot on!) I did opt to omit the chocolate chips from the middle layer (I know, shameless!) but I didn’t miss them as the chocolate cake was moist and rich all on it’s own, added with the frosting and Ganache it was heaven on a plate. This is one of the first Buttercream recipes I’ve come across that I didn’t have to double and still had plenty to be generous when icing the cake. Two thumbs up all around.

  6. Coffee makes a great substitute for the hot water. The cake is AMAZING!

  7. I just made this cake last night with my daughter– and we are in love!! This is THE MOST DELICIOUS chocolate cake ever!! It is so moist and it has become our favorite chocolate recipe! We will definitely be baking this again. My husband was very impressed and he said that it tasted so good! He said that it was very light tasting and we got his approval. (This is the first chocolate cake that we’ve ever baked. And I am so glad that it was the best chocolate cake ever!) We had whipped cream as icing and it was the most delicious chocolate cake that I have ever eatened. I love the lightness of it and it was not loaded with sugar. Very refreshing! It will be my go-to recipe when we got to parties now. It was so easy to make and so rewarding in the end of how beautiful it came out. Thank you so much for sharing with us.,

  8. I made this cake for Christmas last year and everyone loved it…..So……I was asked to make it again for Thanksgiving – YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  9. Very inspiring. I really like this.You tried something is fantastic to see a useful blog.

  10. Smooth rich and beautiful. As good as the ones on Masterchef. Gordon Ramsey would love this.

  11. Your cake looks so delicious. I like its contrast color. Really impressive.

  12. This is THE best chocolate cake recipie I have ever tasted and it’s so easy! This is my go to recipie now, thanks for sharing!

  13. WOW that looks good! I would love to try that!

  14. Perfect Chocolate Cake! Cake look delicious & mouthwatering.

  15. Made this yesterday. WOW. delish. An total winner!

  16. This was an excellent cake, and it turned out beautifully. Now I’m just an inexperienced college student trying to bake some lovely things now and then…could this be made into cupcakes easily?

  17. I made this today for my friend’s birthday party this eve – what a great recipe! Definitely the best chocolate I’ve ever made (even if I say so myself!) and my friends loved it.
    The ganache had split by the time I arrived but that might have been more to do with the transportation!
    Thanks, I’ll definitely be making it again!

  18. im thinking of making this but adding raspberry jam (?) into the buttercream instead of choclate

    what do you think?

  19. I followed your ganache recipe, and it worked perfectly! Thank you so much for sharing. My only problem is that I made the cake during the day today for an order to be picked up tomorrow evening. I noticed the ganache was weeping a clear syrup around a few edges. I don’t want to put this in the fridge b/c I’m afraid it will sweat when it’s taken out tomorrow and make it worse. Any suggestions if I use this in the future…other than waiting until the last minute to decorate, LOL!

  20. I just made this cake for my hubby who is returning from overseas. It is the most amazing cake ive ever made. Thank youso much for sharing. This is going in my number one recipes.

  21. Hey! i’m really loving this cake, and i’m eager to do it, but i have a little question, the recipe for the chocolate cake, is enough for the two layers, or just one? or i have to make twice the batter?
    I hope you answer soon, my birthday is on May, 30th, and i really want to wow everybody with this cake.

    Amazing blog BTW!!

  22. Check this recipie. It uses very simple ingredients. I got a very fluffy n sponge cake with this.

  23. can i substitute the heavy cream for half and half?

  24. Love it, i’m going to try it today, can’t wait to get home from work!

  25. I love all your work….i have been following ur posts for a while now….. and only dreamt of making the cakes. I tried this chocolate cake and it was wonderful. I always dreaded making cakes so i used betty crocker or duncan ….. put thank u for the recipie. i made cupcakes instead of cake and used the butter cream to decorate the cupcakes. I will be trying your cake pops recipies soon.

  26. I made Joanne Chung’s recipe for “dump” cupcakes with magic crispy frosting from her ‘Flour’ book in cake form and it was divine! So intensely chocolatey! :) I have a post on it on my blog :)

    Can’t wait to try to make ganache! I’m scared, the French language does that to me! But you’re making it look sooooo delicious! :) x

  27. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’ve made it for a party tonight, and it look delicious. I translated your recipe to norwegian, and put it on my blog. Hope you don’t mind.

  28. This recipe looks awesome! Love how classic and elegant it looks. For chocolate cake recipes, I always bake Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake. It’s so moist and tasty probably because of the cup of brewed coffee. I will bake your cake this weekend! Thank you!

  29. How do you store this and for how long? I’m making this for Thanksgiving, but the day prior may be a tad busy. Will it keep for 2 days? Thanks!

  30. This cake looks so delicious!! I can’t wait to make it! Thank You for all of your magnificent recipes!!

  31. I am in the process of making this cake. I can’t wait to see the finished product and eat it! Looks amazing!!!
    BTW, some of your previous comments need to be deleted. Looks like spam and very inappropriate.

  32. Amazing Cake! True inspiration to show my favorite local bakery in town!

  33. This looks and sounds like an amazing cake! I plan to make this for an engagement party I will be hosting soon. My thoughts that I do plan to try out on this receipe is to add 1 tsp cinnamon and instead of water use brewed coffee. Let you know how it turns out.
    Thanks for the info!

  34. HI there,
    just wondering if you can help? I have recently made and ganached a couple of cakes the night before I need them. Because they have had a buttercream filling I refrigerated them and the next morning the ganache has turned from a glossy dark brown to looking very dry with no gloss and and strange marbled looking effect. It still tastes fine but does not look as appealing as it should. Do you have any idea why? I have to refrigerate or run the risk of the buttercream turning…

    This cake looks sensational by the way, will have to give it a try!

  35. To tell you the truth this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had – I could eat it all day. My friend and I have made it twice….incredible!

  36. OMG i am sooooo makin” this!!!

  37. My cake is very thin … still very difficult to fill between to do … ;(

  38. If I make this a day ahead, can it be refrigerated??

  39. Yum looks so good that is our ideal b’day cake!

  40. I made this cake on the weekend for my friend’s birthday. We all loved it so much. It looked beautiful and tasted fantastic! Thanks for the recipe :-)

  41. I want to frame a picture of this cake for my kitchen wall. Just beautiful.

  42. Q: When you say “Batter will be very liquid” You mean during the stage when you’re pouring it into the pans, right? JW because it comes after the line about baking for 30 min so I want to make sure I’m not supposed to take the cake out while it still looks liquid or something!

  43. Home Made Choc Cake

    Beat 4 large eggs + 1 cup white granulated sugar until thick pale and thick. Add 2 cups (500ml) cake flour + 5 tsp baking powder.

    Boil 1 cup fresh milk + 125ml margarine + 2 tsp vamilla essence.

    Once boiling, remove and add to the flour mixture, mixing well.

    In a cup, mix 60g cocoa powder with just enough boiling water to make a smooth paste.

    Add this to the cake mix (can be added before adding milk as well) and mix well, ensuring it is well combined.

    Divide between 2 x 20cm tins and bake for approx 30mins @ 180 degrees Celcius.
    This recipe works great for cupcakes too.

    I love it, so quick, easy and versatile.
    You could swop white sugar for mascavado sugar.

    Diana – South Africa

  44. I don’t have a recipe to share, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing this one! I made it for a potluck this past weekend and everyone loved it!

  45. DEAR … I TRIED IT AND I ASSURE YOU THIS IS THE BEST CAKE I EVER HAD… THANKYOU SO MUCH … MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS LOVED THIS .. I HAVE POSTED HERE…!/photo.php?fbid=3208923356365&set=a.3080969397596.2108440.1664648190&type=3&theater

  46. Bakerella, I am going to make this cake tonight for my nephew (minus the ganache) he wants a chocolate cake with white icing… however I am using a sheet pan 15″x11″x2″ how much of this cake batter do I need? Should I double the recipe? Also, should I double the icing recipe as well.

    Thanks for your help

  47. This cake looks great!! By the way I love your site! I was just wondering if you use unsalted butter for this recipe…

  48. I dunno bakerella, your cakes are pretty amazing. But, if you want an even richer cake, substitute duck eggs for the chicken eggs and coconut oil for the vegetable oil. They even naked boxed cakes taste phenomenal.

  49. Just made this one yesterday – special request from my (now) 15-year-old daughter who saw it on your blog. Makes an incredible birthday cake! The recipe is perfect and so yummy. Thanks for sharing! It will now be a family favorite.

  50. Do you think the chocolate cake recipe would work if i did it in three smaller shallow pans to make a three layer cake? I’ve been looking for ages for a decent chocolate cake recipe to use!

  51. First I would like to say I have been following your blog for some time now and you have mad eme a shining star at my sons birthday parties! :) I plan on using this cake recipe for my sons R2D2 Cake and had a question. I have a guest that is coming that can’t have dairy, soy , or veg. oil…..I would hate for everyone to be able to eadt cake and he not get any. Can I sub. canola oil for the veg oil and can I use anyother type of mil like almond or rice milk in place of the regular milk? Thank you again for all the wonderful baking tips and ideas! I heart Bakerella!!
    Ashley @ Thereisnoplacelikehomemade

  52. Is it possible to substitute dutch processed baking powder in this cake recipe?

  53. I made this last week for a family party.

    It was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.

    To qualify this- I’m a Vanilla person and will pass on a standard chocolate cake. This cake made me want to get a second, third and fourth piece!! And my cake even turned out looking like yours!! THANK YOU!

  54. waouh ce gateau je m’en mords les doigts il est sublime, je cours aux fourneaux … merci bcp

  55. Success! The best cake ever, seriously. I’m terrible at baking, but this cake came out phenomenally! (We altered the recipe a bit by adding strawberries around the base and on top. It’s gorgeous!

  56. Hi, I hope you or someone else sees this in time! I’m making this cake with my daughter when she comes home from nursery, in about an hour or so. When I converted cups to grams, it seems there’s an awful lot of sugar compared to flour. Is this right? Not sure if it’s the conversion, or there’s just lots of sugar in it!
    Also, would it make cupcakes ok?
    Emma xxx

  57. This is beautiful! But do you think the ganache would work with white chocolate too?

  58. I wonder if an addition of espresso powder is all this recipe needs. Any chocolate cake tastes better with coffee to bring out the flavor.

    Your pictures are beautiful!

  59. I made this yesterday for book club and a friend’s birthday and OMG, this cake is SO. GOOD. So many chocolate cakes are dry, but this one came out awesomely moist. I cut back to ~4 cups of sugar in the icing (I always do that with buttercream, personal preference) but made everything else as written.

  60. WOW!!!!!! This cake was to die for and thank you for always sharing your recipes, you are my favorite for finding the BEST cakes! My daughter never eats my cakes and this one she said is the best she has ever had!

  61. I made this cake tonight and the frosting didn’t come out right. It’s like it separated – runny and not thick at all. Could I have put too much milk in? I ended up doing 6T (it called for 4-8T). Any suggestions? Next time I might make it but use store-bought icing (horror!!).

  62. Your cake looks fabulous!!!
    The best chocolate cake recipe I know is from ‘Miette’ with melted dark chocolate. You have to try this, it’s so yummy!

  63. Made this cake for two birthday’s that we were celebrating today – it was VERY moist and yummy – although my ganache never really thickened well – it puddled at the bottom but we just put a ring of white chocolate chips in the “puddle”. At least that way it look like we did it on purpose ;) I’m guessing that I measured something wrong on the ganache, but this recipe is definately a keeper! Thanks!

  64. Can I adapt this recipe to make cupcakes? I just want to know if I can use it ’cause I really love the taste of the cake. And if so, how many cupcakes come out? Thank you!!!

  65. Amazinggg!!!

  66. I just recently found the best chocolate cake recipe EVER. It’s quite similar (it could be identical, but the amount of the ingredients is a bit different) to the one you posted.
    BUT! The key is the buttercream! Best. Buttercream. EVER!
    And with the cake, and the sugar syrup and the ganache… Ah, it’s sinful, really.
    Anyways, here it is:

    It tastes better than it looks. And it looks awesome!

  67. I baked it couple days ago. It was SUPER moist, SUPER amazing and SUPER tasty <3 <3 <3 .

  68. The best chocolate cake I’ve ever made was this from The Barefoot Contessa:
    I did use less coffee in the frosting than it called for (it may not even need any or you could use a different recipe), but the cake itself is flippin’ amazing. I hope you enjoy!

  69. I made your chocolate cake with ganache last night for a 40th anniversary party and I have to say it was a blessing and a curse…the blessing is, it was delicious..the curse, it was DELICIOUS !!! I am not gonna be able to EVER make a box mix again…sigh…lol…thank you so much, HUGE HIT !!!

  70. I have this cake in the oven right now, but just snarfed a cupcake made with the leftover batter. Deeeelicious!

  71. Hi, AGREE WITH KELLY, you might need to add a box of pudding to the mix, made it twice and it didn’t rise nearly enough to give you the visual of the black and white cake. Delicious but not visually great. I’m either going to try Kelly’s advice or abandon the recipe

  72. I made this and I loved it! I was also on the hunt for a perfect chocolate cake and now I think I have found it!
    You are the best!

  73. That cake looks amazing! The more chocolate for me the better! I’ve found the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey’s box of chocolate, the one for hot cocoa and stuff, I think, is the best. I request it for my birthday cake every year! I’ll have to try it with this recipe!

  74. Sooooo, I just made this cake today! Pros: The frosting and ganache are delicious. So smooth. Cons: I ended up having to make the cake twice. My first try ended up in a crumbly mess even after leaving the layers in the pans twice as long as advised. BUT, it tasted incredible!!!!! Just too moist I guess. Either that, I had a bad baker’s day. I tried again, except this time I made Hershey’s recipe. Not as rich, but came out just fine. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! :)

  75. how do you get your buttercream so smooth?

  76. Just good the wildest orgasm!!! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

  77. Best chocolate cake recipe:
    I use it all the time.

  78. skjskjaknxbansxjma.

  79. Oh yum! That looks oh so yummy! Here is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. Super moist and wonderful. I’d love for you to try it out and tell me what you think.

  80. Can this chocolate cake be made into cupcakes? I made it last night and LOVED IT and need to make some choc cupcakes next, and wondered if this recipe would work.

    Thank you!!

  81. I just made this cake Monday for my boyfriend’s birthday! I wish I had made the ganache earlier like you mentioned but i forgot, and then 8pm rolled around, we were all ready to eat the cake but I had runny chocolate on top! it was still DELICIOUS and my boyfriend has said its the best cake he’s ever had! I put my semi-sweet morsels in my nut chopper and mixed them in the middle layer of icing- was a great little surprise! I will definitely put this one in heavy rotation- but how do you get it to look so pretty when you cut it? do you freeze it first? mine looked all crumbley, and I was hoping for a prettier presentation.. but no one else seemed to mind :)

  82. I made your cake for my husband’s birthday:

    He absolutely loved it. It’s a great cake, though I think I used too many chocolate chips in the middle layer… less is obviously more as it results in some structural integrity issues…

  83. I just posted my favorite chocolate cake recipe! It is really easy too! I hope you’ll take a look.

  84. I made the cake and it was completely finished off, no leftovers for a midnight snack. I think that is the ultimate compliment.
    Will definitely use this again

  85. Woooow that looks so good! When I make chocolate cake, I like to spice it up a bit with cinnamon, ginger and tumeric :)

  86. Love the visual of the alternating black and white – and it looks as good cut as it does whole! Hershey’s Perfectly Choc cake recipe is my go to as well, but another poster mentioned using coffee instead of water. I agree completely – you don’t taste coffee or mocha in the cake – it just pumps the chocolate flavor way up.

  87. after drooling over this the other day i “found” an occasion to make it — a friend’s birthday — and it was DIVINE! it was really great. thank you!! you have the best recipes!

  88. Tried this today an I’m so proud of myself! Looks great and tastes amazing!!! Delicious cake!

  89. So, I made the cake yesterday. And it turned out so delicious.
    I didn’t like the buttercream so much, maybe because I made it as well, but it just feels like I am eating straight butter.
    I think I will make the chocolate part again and probably just dust it with powdered sugar instead of frosting.

    The cake was to die for, it was so delicious.

  90. Visually works so well, has to be made.

  91. This is what I had for my wedding cake 14 years ago. Instead of the chocolate chip buttercream filling, we did a hazlenut buttercream filling. I had the cake topped with bright colored fresh flowers that matched my bouquet. Everyone commented that it was the most beautiful and deicious cake ever. As for recipes, my go-to chocolate cake is from King Arthur Flour:

  92. The cake looks so delish.

  93. I saw this and made it for my mom on her birthday over the weekend! Thank you – she loved it and so did the rest of the family!

  94. Making this Friday for my girls night! Swapping the Vanilla for a Peanut Butter Butter Cream. Can’t wait to bite into this delicious chocolate coated peanut butter yumminess!!

  95. Hello, Bakerella!!
    I don’t know if you’ll ever get a chance to read my comment since you have so many, but I was wondering how you can put frosting on your cake so smoothly without any lumps. I once watched a video where the baker would freeze the cake for a couple of hours and then apply the frosting, does that help? I would really appreciate the advice! Thank you! :)

  96. Thanks for the great Birthday Cake. Made it for my birthday on Monday and it was delicious but my ganache was a bit too hard, my fault I didn’t make it before the buttercream frosting and got impatient and put it in the fridge and dry and thicken it up. But it was still yummy.

  97. For your cakes, do you recommend using regular all-purpose flour or cake flour? I see you used all purpose. Is cake flour a no-no?

  98. My favorite Chocolate cake is a recipe for “Disco Crazy Cake” that I made some changes to. I have no idea where that original recipe came from but I call my verson ” Robin’s Chocolate Cake.” I like it with buttercream frosting but sometimes I use chocolate frosting. Here is the cake recipe –
    3 C. Flour – 2 C. Sugar – 1 tsp. salt – 2/3 C. Cocoa Powder – 3/4 C. Oil – 2 tsp. Vanilla – 2 tsp. White Vinegar – 2 tsp. Baking Soda – 2 C. Cold Water – 2 Eggs —- Sift flour, sugar, salt, cocoa, and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Add oil, vanilla, vinegar and water, and eggs then mix well. Pour into a well greased bundt pan, or round pans if you choose – there is enough batter that you could even do a triple layer cake out of round pans. Bake at 350* for 40 – 50 minutes or until cake is done.
    For my chocolate frosting I use this recipe –
    1 stick Butter softened – 1/2 C. Cocoa – 1/4 C. + 2 T. Hot Water – 1 tsp. Vanilla – 1 (16 oz) pkg Powdered Sugar. —- Combine butter, cocoa, hot water and vanilla. Gradually add Powdered Sugar. Frost Cakes as desired.

  99. I made this tonight and it was delicious! It’s the first from scratch chocolate cake I’ve made that wasn’t dry, thank you!

  100. These look amazing! Thanks for the idea…and the Sugar Rush!

  101. Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate cake always turns out really well for me! It’s definitely one of my easier chocolate cake recipe and uses minimal fuss, which makes it awesome, moist, fluffy, a really really great cake!

  102. I have a couple of questions because I want to make this. Is the butter unsalted (it usually is for sweets, but I wanted to double check) and should it be room temperature?

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