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cake server lifting a slice of death by chocolate cake into the air

Death by Chocolate Cake

Rich, decadent, and so indulgent, this death by chocolate cake is a must for all chocolate lovers.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 10
Author Kelsie

Ingredients

Cake layers

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups warm coffee

Whipped ganache filling

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar

White chocolate drip

Dark chocolate drip

Instructions

Cake layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with more cooking spray, and set pans aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, butter, and oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Whisk half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then slowly mix in half of the coffee until just incorporated.
  5. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients, then the remaining coffee. Stir until well combined and free of lumps.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched gently with your fingertip. Let cake layers cool in pans for 15 minutes, then carefully remove from the pans to cool completely on a wire rack.

Whipped ganache filling

  1. While your cake layers are cooling, make the filling. Place heavy cream in a small pot set over medium heat; heat until cream just starts to steam.
  2. Place chocolate in a medium mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Allow to sit for 4 minutes, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature (it should be pretty thick at room temp; if it’s not thick then it needs to sit longer).
  3. Beat the cooled ganache with an electric mixer set to low; gradually increase the speed to medium-high. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until the ganache becomes light and fluffy.
  4. If your cake layers have domed, use a long serrated knife to trim them. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and spread half of the whipped ganache over the top in an even layer.**
  5. Top with a second cake layer and spread the remaining ganache over the top. Top with the third cake layer. Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes (or until ganache filling is completely set), then make the frosting.

Chocolate frosting

  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until very smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Mix in the cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the salt. Turn mixer to low and gradually beat in 4 cups of the powdered sugar.
  3. Turn mixer to medium and beat until well combined, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar; if it’s too thick add additional milk.
  4. Pipe or spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Take care to get the frosting as smooth as possible so your ganache can drip down the sides of the cake nicely.
  5. (Use a frosting smoother or an offset spatula to achieve this.)
  6. If you want, you can reserve some frosting to decorate your cake with after the ganache drip is added. Store it, covered, in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Beat with an electric mixer on high to warm it up and make it pipe-able before using.
  7. Chill frosted cake overnight.

White chocolate drip

  1. Heat your heavy cream in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds, until very hot but not boiling.
  2. Place your white chocolate in a small bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Let sit for 4 minutes, then whisk until completely smooth. If ganache is too thick to drip nicely, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. If it’s too thin, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes.
  3. Transfer to a squeeze bottle (or a large zip-top plastic bag with one corner snipped off) and squeeze a line of white chocolate around the perimeter of the chilled cake, squeezing harder in some places to create drips down the side of the cake.
  4. Use the remaining ganache to fill in the top of the cake. Refrigerate until ganache is set, then make the dark chocolate drip.

Dark chocolate drip

  1. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, until very hot but not boiling. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 4 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth.
  2. Transfer the ganache to a plastic squeeze bottle (or a large zip-top plastic bag with one corner snipped off).
  3. Squeeze a circle of ganache around the edge of the cake on top of the white chocolate, applying a little extra pressure at certain points to create drips. Carefully spread the remaining ganache over the top of the cake.
  4. If desired, decorate the top of the cake with chocolate candies. Refrigerate to set the ganache, then slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • *Don’t use white chocolate chips—they don’t melt well. I recommend Baker’s or Ghirardelli white chocolate.
  • **Taping an acetate cake collar around your cake is helpful to prevent the ganache from seeping out. If you don’t have cake collars you can chill your ganache until it sets up but is still spreadable.
  • Uneaten cake can be stored, covered with a large plastic cake cover, at room temperature for about 2 days. It can also be stored (covered) in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.
  • Slices of cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.
  • If your cocoa powder is lumpy, sift it before using in both the cake batter and the frosting.
  • If you don’t want to add the chocolate drip you can skip the step of chilling your cake overnight and just serve it once it’s frosted.
  • Be sure to use a big mixing bowl because there’s a lot of cake batter.
  • I like to use really strong coffee in the cake layers; that gives the cake really good depth of flavor. Use whatever coffee you like and have on hand.
  • Chopped Oreos, chocolate truffles, chocolate chips, chocolate jimmies, or any kind of chocolate candy are fun decorations.