Filed Under: Cakes & Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cake + A Blog Birthday

Recipe By Tessa Arias
April 16th, 2011
4 from 10 votes
4 from 10 votes

Celebrating Handle the Heat's 2nd birthday with this outrageously delicious, moist double chocolate cake recipe!

Yield: 8 -10 servings

Cook: 45 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The best kind of rich chocolate-y taste.
Texture: The cake is SO moist. The frosting is velvety smooth, thick, and rich. Possibly the best chocolate frosting I’ve had on a cake.
Ease: Honestly, this is a pretty easy cake recipe! No need to be intimidated.
Appearance: Gorgeous. I prefer cakes with a bit of authentic rustic charm than perfectly frosted with fondant and who knows what else.
Pros: One of the best chocolate cakes I’ve tasted. Also stayed good for 3 days after it was made.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Yes!!! This will be my go-to cake recipe.

Today is Handle the Heat’s 2nd birthday! I’m still in disbelief that it has been two whole years. I’d like to take this post as the opportunity to thank every single person who has taken time out of their day to stop by. Thanks to every person who reads, who subscribes, who comments, who tweets, who emails, who “likes”, you all have made the past two years incredibly exiting and inspiring. THANK YOU!  I love you all.

To celebrate, I made chocolate cake. It seemed appropriate. I have a secret to admit though… I’m not a huge fan of cake. Before you gasp, let me explain. Every bite of cake I had in my childhood was pretty despicable. Full of artificial flavors, colorings, and that nasty birthday cake frosting that tastes like pure sugar. Most cakes are overly sweet, dry, and lack a depth of flavor. Can you blame me for not liking cake?

That’s why when I decided to make a chocolate cake for this post, I knew I needed to find a recipe that would provide a cake that actually tasted of chocolate. It also had to be moist (that’s a gross word, sorry). I’m happy to say this recipe tastes uber chocolate-y and actually stayed moist for days. The coffee in the cake recipe enhances the chocolate flavor and contributes to a lovely texture. So, thanks Ina Garten. Thanks for fascinating my 17-year-old self with your Food Network show and thank you for this fantastic, amazing, wonderful, cake recipe.

4 from 10 votes

How to make
Double Chocolate Cake

Yield: 8 -10 servings
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Celebrating Handle the Heat's 2nd birthday with this outrageously delicious, moist double chocolate cake recipe!


For the cake:

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee powder (optional)


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In a large measuring up or small bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the hot coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Don't overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  3. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

For the chocolate buttercream:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
  3. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Recipe Notes

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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  1. #
    [email protected] — April 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    happy blog birthday!!!! love your blog 🙂

  2. #
    Tracey — April 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Happy 2 years Tessa! Keep doing what you do, you're amazing! So glad to have discovered your blog 🙂

    The cake looks wonderful, the perfect way to celebrate.

  3. #
    Maria — April 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Congrats on 2 years! The cake looks divine!

  4. #
    Miss — April 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I think I could devour that whole cake, it looks spectacular! Congrats on two years!

  5. #
    Caroline — April 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Ina Garten is my favorite when it comes to something I've never made and need a go-to recipe for!

    Gorgeous photograph! Happy birthday to your blog and thanks for every single post you write! So many good treats have come to my home and friends from this site!

  6. #
    Tessa — April 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Happy blog birthday! I just had my 2nd one too. It's crazy how fast the time goes!

  7. #
    Mrs. Puma — April 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Happy 2nd Blog Birthday! This cake recipe sounds delicious, I'm bookmarking it. Oh, and I'm looking forward to hearing you speak at BlogHer Food, I'm going too!

  8. #
    Jordan — April 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    The cake looks fabulous! Happy blog birthday! 🙂

  9. #
    rita — April 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    This is my go-to recipe for chocolate cake too. It never fails to impress everyone who has a bite. It's especially good with peanut butter frosting! Happy blog birthday, too, love all your recipes!

  10. #
    Christianne — April 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    “On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. ”
    How much coffee goes into the frosting? Thanks and congrats on two years!

    • #
      Tessa — April 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Hi! I neglected to exclude the coffee powder in the frosting ingredient list. I corrected that mistake. It is optional though, I didn't use it!

  11. #
    Maris — April 17, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Happy 2nd birthday! I am enjoying your blog and am definetly going to enjoy that cake!

  12. #
    Jolene — April 17, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Happy Blog Birthday!!!!!!!! The cake looks simply decadent!

  13. #
    Almond — April 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Happy birthday to your blog! I have made this cake myself and indeed is so delicious!

  14. #
    Cathy — April 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Congrats on your blog birthday! :o) Even though I frequent your blog every day, I've never really commented before..but I've never really met anyone besides myself that doesn't really like cake! My expirences with cake have been about the same as yours, but this cake looks delish! Thanks! :o)

  15. #
    Sandra — April 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I am crazy about chocolate and this cake sounds simply perfect. I have to make it as soon as possible. This Easter, all my family will enjoy it! 🙂

  16. #
    blog by tina — April 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm


  17. #
    Sharon — April 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    I made this cake. It turned out wonderful- delicious- even with making it 1/2 sugar free. I really enjoy your blog!

  18. #
    Toni — April 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Hi there. I am hoping to make this cake for my husbands birthday and I only have large eggs. So as a substitute should I use 3 large eggs instead of 2 extra large eggs? Also, I am cooking in Denver, so for a the high altitude should I have to make any changes? Thank you!! 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — April 28, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Toni – Thanks for your comment! You can just use the same amount of large eggs, I actually did that when I made the recipe. 2 large eggs should work fine for the cake. As far as baking at a high altitude goes, make sure you don't over-beat the eggs into the batter. You can raise the temperature in your oven about 25 degrees higher to prevent the cake from rising too much, just be careful that your oven doesn't already run hot. Also use a scant 1 teaspoon baking powder to prevent too much rising. Hope your husband has a great bday!

  19. #
    Barrie Real Estate — April 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

    The chocolate frosting looks amazing! It is perfectly spread on the cake. I will be trying this tomorrow.

  20. #
    Rose Forever — April 29, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Those frostings are so yummy! My saliva is already drooling while looking at your cake.

  21. #
    Melanie Grand — April 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Anything flavored double dutch would be my favorite! I will surely make this tomorrow for our anniversary.

  22. #
    Kathy E. — May 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Confession: I stumbled upon your blog and this incredible recipe with the help of “google”. It must've been a godsend, because I now love your site and I love this recipe! I made it for a dessert to commemorate Mother's Day and my chocoholic brother's 59th birthday. It did not disappoint!! Even my 23 year old son asked for a second piece and he's not a dessert person. (Whatsa matter with him?)

    The only complaint I have is that the frosting does not make enough for a 2 layer cake. I had to open a can of Pillsbury frosting (gasp!) to frost the outsides. But, I had a thick creamy layer of this buttercream between the cakes and enough left to decorate the top. The two colors of chocolate were very pretty together. I do have pics, too!

    • #
      handleheat — May 12, 2011 at 12:31 am

      Thank you! I can't believe your son doesn't like dessert… he's crazy 😉

      Thanks for your photo on facebook. I sort of divided my frosting into three parts (one for each layer and one for the sides) before I began frosting so I wouldn't run out. Good thing you had some extra frosting on hand!

  23. #
    Michelle — May 12, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Hello! I was just wondering if the coffee that is added to the cake – is it just for flavour or does the cake have a coffee taste?

    • #
      handleheat — May 12, 2011 at 12:33 am

      Michelle – The coffee added to the cake adds moisture, but not a strong coffee flavor. The cake definitely tastes like chocolate! Coffee actually helps to enhance the flavor of chocolate, which is why sometimes coffee or espresso powder are called for in cake or brownie recipes.

  24. #
    Brooke — May 12, 2011 at 3:54 am

    I love a good, rich chocolate cake… but then again, who doesn't!? 🙂 This looks completely scrumptious! I love your blog, by the way. I found you through Elissa at “17 and Baking” – actually, I love all of the blogs of the “Kitchen Generation”! You are all very inspiring and talented.

  25. #
    Jen — May 19, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have severe allergies to the ingredients in boxed cake mixes, and my previous experiments with chocolate cake have all been disastrous. This was PERFECT, and had the chocolate cake taste that I had been missing. I made this a few days ago, and had to make another one tonight… we kind of ate it quickly 😉

  26. #
    annelise — May 27, 2011 at 1:43 am

    This frosting was delicious! I would have made the cake too, but I was short on time so I just used a box one…but the frosting was the perfect balance of sweeetness, chocolatiness, and smoothness 🙂

  27. #
    Freight Audit — July 5, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Very nice .. It so yummy.. I like it

  28. #
    plumbing — August 6, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Look very delicious. And i bet this is not that difficult to made. I really love it. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  29. #
    Sweet Hampers — August 14, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I love chocolates. Eating it can make me feel better and happy. Now I can say that I'm totally hooked up with chocolates.

  30. #
    Zareen — August 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    i dont have buttermilk available at the moment, can i just use milk?

    • #
      handleheat — August 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      Zareen – Here are 2 substitute for the buttermilk that use milk:

      1. In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Pour 1 cup milk on top of lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit for two minutes then use.

      2. Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Once mixed add the rest of the cup of milk.

  31. #
    buy rift account — August 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

    OH my! super love this one.

  32. #
    Chocolate Cake — December 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

    i love chocolate and i love this blog

  33. #
    linda — February 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Tried Chocolate Cake From this Trust me it was awesome! –

  34. #
    birthday cake london — February 17, 2012 at 9:41 am

    This cake just looks fabulous !! Thanks for the recipe.

  35. #
    catering in manila — May 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I really like it,but for some reason I never make it. I should – it's a perfect holiday treat! Looks yummy!

  36. #
    Birthday Cake — August 17, 2012 at 7:24 am

    This is one of the best birthday cakes. It’s really great looking and simply delicious. Great ideas recipe of double chocolate cake that is adorable. Thank you very much for this excellent post.

  37. #
    zara asif — September 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    hello. i want to make this cake for my friend’s birthday this weekend. can i replace 1/2 cup of oil with butter? if yes what amount of butter should i use? and which one will taste better?

    • #
      Tessa — September 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      No, I would not substitute the oil with butter. This cake recipe was written specifically with oil which is what gives it a rich yet moist and soft texture and ultra chocolaty flavor.

  38. #
    zara asif — September 9, 2013 at 12:43 am

    thankyou so much for the reply. sorry i just have one more question, im confused which brand of cocoa powder should i use? which one do you think has the best taste? cadbyry, hershey or nestle toll house?

  39. #
    Chloe — October 18, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Hi, May i know if i can substitute the kosher salt to normal cooking salt? and also the semisweet chocolate to dark chocolate?

  40. #
    Spencer — October 23, 2013 at 4:47 am

    What a fantastic cake! I love chocolate cake and this one looks amazing.

  41. #
    Jenny Park — November 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Could I replace the brewed coffee with anything else? I don’t drink it/store it/like the taste so I am wondering if I can more buttermilk or another liquid instead? Thanks! (Your pictures are my food porn….yum!)

    • #
      Tessa — November 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Hi! You can replace with boiling water instead. The coffee doesn’t give the cake a coffee flavor, it simply enhances the chocolate flavor.

  42. #
    zaru — April 21, 2014 at 7:12 am

    can i add melted chocolate to the batter?

    • #
      Tessa — April 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      No, the recipe is specifically formulated to work with cocoa powder and I can assure you it is VERY chocolaty!

  43. #
    Angela — June 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

    What kind of frosting should I use?

    • #
      Tessa — June 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      The frosting is a part of the recipe.

  44. #
    Kathya — June 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Hi, does this mean the frosting contain raw egg yolk?

    • #
      Tessa — June 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Yes. It helps pull the buttercream together into an ultra shiny and rich frosting. If you aren’t comfortable with this use a pasteurized whole egg such as Safest Choice or just omit it.

  45. #
    Kathya — June 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Hi, does this mean the frosting contains raw egg yolk?

  46. #
    Cindy — March 7, 2015 at 7:30 am

    If I wanted to half 1.5 x the frosting (meaning add another half so I’m sure to have enough), would you use another egg or just add half more of everything else? I’m not the best at frosting cakes, so I’m a little worried I won’t have enough frosting!

    • #
      Tessa — March 9, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      To get half an egg, beat the egg until the yolk and white are blended. Let the bubbles settle, then measure out two tablespoons.

  47. #
    Cindy — March 9, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Made this cake for daughter’s birthday this past weekend – IT’S AMAZING. Followed recipe to the letter, didn’t add the coffee to the frosting. Everyone loved it, seconds and thirds all the way around. This one’s a keeper!! The frosting goes on better than any frosting I’ve ever had. It’s so easy to apply. Thanks for this recipe!

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  51. #
    Clara — March 23, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Hi, I don’t drink coffee so I don’t have it at hand. Could I sub it for warm water and increase amount of cocoa?

  52. #
    Jihan — October 24, 2016 at 12:12 am

    What brand of flour did u use?bleached or unbleached all purpose flour?which flour should i use best?King arthur,pillsburry,gold medal?

  53. #
    Ashley — November 29, 2016 at 10:06 am


    Is unsweetened cocoa powder supposed to be used for this cake? I saw someone else asked about what brand you found to be a good one– no answer though. I already have Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder.


  54. #
    Asra — December 13, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    I was disappointed -was very moist but tasted just like box mix cake

  55. #
    Chococraft — February 13, 2018 at 3:45 am

    What a fantastic post! The information is very useful. Thank you for sharing this here.

  56. #
    Bavneet — April 15, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    This cake looks delicious. I would love to bake this cake on my birthday. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  57. #
    Robin — June 22, 2018 at 3:24 am

    This cake is adorable. You have assembled a cake that is not hard to decorate and resulting in such a unique cake!! Everyone will love this recipe!

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    Shiva — May 24, 2019 at 3:44 am

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    sravana — May 30, 2019 at 5:26 am

    You’ve done a fab job! Very well written! Thank You so much!

  62. #
    Sonika — July 19, 2019 at 3:21 am

    The chocolate frosting looks amazing and it is not so difficult to made. I really love it. Thanks for Sharing.

  63. #
    Himanshu Thakur — July 26, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Amazing recipe..I would love to try this one. Can you share the recipe for Red velvet cake?

  64. #
    Bokaro Cake — September 24, 2019 at 6:33 am

    i wonder if i add some chocolate chips? but Thank you for sharing a delicious one.

  65. #
    masterchef — October 7, 2019 at 2:22 am

    I learned really good recipes from this book. cakes, cookies, cakes. moreover, it is healthy and has a very low caloric value. would recommend to you too 🙂

  66. #
    Pooja — November 7, 2019 at 12:24 am

    I have made this chocolate cake by following your recipe and the result was very tasty and awsome. thanks for sharing the recipe

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