This moist chocolate cake is topped with a tangy chocolate cream cheese frosting – a match made in heaven! This chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting makes the perfect birthday cake or celebration cake. The perfect cake for a chocolate lover!
The chocolate cake layer in this recipe is the same one as in my Nutella filled cake and Matilda’s chocolate cake. This is an extra moist dark chocolate cake, and thanks to the oil base it has a super moist crumb!
The decadent cream cheese frosting doesn’t use butter or confectioners’ sugar, instead it has a whipped cream base which I think makes it taste so light and fluffy!
Why you’ll love this chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting!
- Simple Cake – this is a really simple oil based cake that is made with buttermilk, making it extra moist!
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting – this frosting has a whipped cream base instead of being made with butter, making it extra light and creamy. Cocoa powder is then added to give us that chocolate flavor.
- So Quick! It only takes 20 minutes to make this recipe, though you will need to let the cake layers cool completely before frosting.
- Make Ahead – you can make the cake layers ahead of time, keeping them tightly wrapped in plastic wrap up to 2 days beforehand.
Flour: I have only tested this recipe with all purpose flour and not gluten free flour.
Oil: use a neutral flavored oil like canola oil or vegetable oil. I don’t recommend using coconut oil or olive oil as that might impact the taste.
Cocoa Powder: I tested this recipe with dutch processed cocoa powder. Not sure if your cocoa powder is natural or dutch processed? Check the ingredient list! If it means alkali or acidity regulators then it is dutch processed.
Eggs: this recipe has been tested with large eggs.
Cream Cheese: I tested this frosting with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, make sure you use the full fat version! If you’re based in Europe and your cream cheese comes in tubs instead of packets, pat down the cream cheese with a paper towel before adding to the frosting. Cream cheese in Europe has a higher moisture content!
Heavy Cream: make sure your cream cheese is cold! Otherwise it will not whip up properly.
Step by Step Instructions
Step One: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. You can also use a large mixing bowl and whisk.
Step Two: In a large jug, whisk together your eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Step Three: With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in your hot water, be careful as there is a lot of batter and it is very liquidy!
Step Four: Pour the batter into your two 8-inch greased and lined cake pans and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes. Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 10 minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.
Step Five: In a chilled mixing bowl in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the heavy cream, salt, sugar and vanilla extract on low speed for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Step Six: Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes, it should start to look like Greek yogurt.
Step Seven: With the mixer on low speed, add the cream cheese a tablespoon at a time. Once it is all added, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on and beat on high speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Step Six: Add the cocoa powder and beat for another minute. Make sure to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl so it all gets mixed! Frost your cake.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use a weighing scale – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake.
- Use the fluff and sprinkle method to measure your flour – if you aren’t using a scale to measure ingredients then make sure you are measuring your flour correctly! Go to this link here to find out how to do that. If you use too much flour, then you won’t have those delicious moist crumbs!
- Temperature ingredients – Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking the cake. For the frosting however, you want the cream cheese and heavy cream to be cold!
- Chill the mixing bowl overnight – to help the cream cheese firm up, place your mixing bowl in the fridge the night before.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your frosting is too soft then place it in the fridge! When I assembled my cake, I placed the frosted cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to help the frosting firm up.
Keep the cake in the fridge for up to 5 days. Place strips of parchment paper on any exposed cake edges to stop it from drying out. You can also freeze cake slices, just let it defrost in the fridge overnight.
Yes, halve the recipe and make it in an 8×8 baking pan and bake for the same amount of time. You’ll also want to halve the frosting ingredients.
Try these chocolate recipes next!
Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 8" round cake pans
- ¾ cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cups very hot water
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream cold
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 oz cream cheese cold
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- Before starting, place your mixing bowl in the fridge overnight (or at least one hour) for your frosting.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter or grease two 8 inch baking pans and line it with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. Set aside
- In a large jug, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- While the mixer is on low speed, slowly pour in the ingredients from the large jug
- While the mixer is still running, slowly add the hot water and mix. Your batter will be very thin. Make sure the mixer is on your lowest speed so it doesn't splash everywhere
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
- In your chilled mixing bowl in the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat your heavy cream, salt, sugar and vanilla extract on low speed for 2 minutes. The sugar should dissolve by then.
- Turn the speed to high for 2-3 minutes until thick and resembles Greek yogurt.
- With the mixer on your lowest speed, add the cream cheese a tablespoon at a time. Once it is all added, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Start the mixer again and beat on high speed for 3 minutes until thick. Add in the cocoa powder and beat again for 1 minute.
- Place one cooled cake layer down and top with half of the frosting. Place the other cake layer on top, and top that with the remaining frosting. Use an offset spatula to cover the sides of the cake with frosting, then use a large spoon to create swoops and swirl. Add sprinkles or chocolate shavings to the top.