Get ready for the ultimate triple chocolate layer cake! This three layer chocolate cake is filled with whipped chocolate ganache and covered in a chocolate sour cream frosting. This really is the perfect cake for chocolate lovers.
This triple chocolate cake is a combination of some of my all time favorite recipes on Alpine Ella. It features my super moist chocolate cake , chocolate ganache that has been whipped until it has a mousse-like texture, and then covered in my favorite chocolate sour cream frosting!
I've made this cake into three layers so it's a real showstopper, but you can easily just make this a two layer cake without changing any of the ingredients or method!
Why you will love this recipe!
- This recipe has three different chocolate elements - the chocolate cake, the chocolate ganache filling, and the chocolate buttercream. I also added some shaved chocolate on top just for good measure.
- While this triple chocolate layer cake looks like a showstopper it's actually really easy to make and uses simple ingredients!
- You can easily make the cake ahead of time, so it's perfect to make for large gatherings or parties when you're short on time.
- This chocolate cake is so moist and flavorful, truly better than any boxed cake mix out there!
- Flour: I've only tested this recipe with all purpose flour.
- Cocoa Powder: make sure you are using dutch processed cocoa powder. Not only is it much richer in taste, but it reacts differently with baking soda and baking powder compared to unsweetened cocoa powder. If you only have unsweetened cocoa powder, you'll need to change the amount of baking powder and baking soda used!
- Buttermilk: this is what makes the cake so moist, but you can swap it out for sour cream or full fat yogurt.
- Oil: make sure you use a neutral oil like vegetable oil or canola oil - we don't want anything with a flavor.
- Chocolate: I recommend using high quality chocolate bars for both the ganache filling and the chocolate buttercream. My rule of thumb for chocolate in baking is if I wouldn't eat it on it's own, I wouldn't use that chocolate in the recipe!
- Sour Cream: make sure to use full fat sour cream for the frosting. Don't have any sour cream? How about using my chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe instead?
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all of the dry ingredients together.
Step 2: In a large jug or in a bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until smooth.
Step 3: While the mixer is running on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once all of the wet ingredients are added, pour in the hot water. This batter will be very liquidy which is normal!
Step 4: Pour into three 8-inch cake pans that are greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°Fahrenheit for 22-25 minutes. Let the baked cakes cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the pan and let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Step 5: Make your cake filling. Heat your heavy cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes before whisking smooth. Let the chocolate ganache sit until it is at room temperature.
Step 6: With a hand held mixer, whisk the chocolate ganache for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until the chocolate ganache has lightened in color and is double in size.
Step 7: Melt the chopped chocolate and let cool down. You can either melt it in the microwave in 12 second increments, stirring after each increment to make sure it doesn't burn. You could also use a double boiler if you don't have a microwave!
Step 8: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter with the confectioners' sugar on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft and fluffy.
Step 8: Add the cocoa powder and beat on low speed, once combined increase the speed to medium-high.
Step 9: Pour in the melted chocolate, salt and sour cream. Beat in the mixer until spreadable.
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Measuring ingredients – I always recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It really is the most accurate way to bake!
- Let the cakes cool completely - make sure your cakes are completely cool before you start assembling them with the filling and the frosting, otherwise it might melt straight off of the cake!
- Want a thicker filling? Feel free to double the ingredients for the whipped chocolate ganache filling if you want it to be thicker!
- Cooling the melted chocolate - the melted chocolate for the chocolate frosting should not be warm when you add it to the rest of the ingredients, otherwise it might melt the butter.
- Room temperature ingredients - pull out the cake and frosting ingredients at least 1 hour before you start baking, longer if it's winter and your kitchen is cold! You especially want the butter for the frosting to be at room temperature, otherwise it will be difficult to beat with the powdered sugar to get thick and fluffy frosting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, follow the same recipe and split the batter into two 8-inch cake pans. You'll want to bake them for 35-40 minutes though!
Yes you can, I only have 2 cake pans! Bake the first two layers and let them cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove one cake from the cake pan and re-grease and line it, then bake the final cake layer.
You can make the cake layers 2 days ahead of time, just wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge. You can also freeze the cake layers! Let the cakes cool completely then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, freeze for up to 1 month. Let the cakes thaw at room temperature before assembling.
Try these chocolate recipes next!
Triple Chocolate Cake
- 3 8" round cake pans
- ¾ cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 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
Whipped Chocolate Ganache Filling
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- ½ cups sour cream room temperature
- 6 oz dark chocolate chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter or grease three 8-inch baking pans and line it with parchment paper. If you only have two pans, bake the first two cake layers and let them cool slightly before reusing one of the pans for the third layer.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large jug or bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- While the mixer is on your lowest speed, slowly pour in the wet ingredients into the dry.
- While the mixer is still running, slowly add the hot water and mix. Your batter will be very thin, so don't worry! Make sure the mixer is on your lowest speed so it doesn't splash everywhere!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, it's about 470 grams per cake pan. Bake for 22-25 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 a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer (but not a boil!).
- Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the hot heavy cream on top and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk after 2-3 minutes until smooth. Let sit until completely cool.
- You'll know you're ready for the next step when you can easily scoop out the ganache with a spoon - you don't want it to be too stiff or too loose!
- Using a handheld mixer, mix the chocolate ganache on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. It should become very light in color and fluffy.
- Melt the chopped chocolate in a microwave, stirring every 10 seconds so it doesn't burn.
- In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on the lowest speed until combined.
- Turn the speed to high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add in your cocoa powder and beat on low, then increase the speed to medium for 1-2 minutes.
- Add your sour cream, melted chocolate and salt and beat on medium speed until it is spreadable and fluffy.
- Place one layer of the cake down and cover with half of the whipped chocolate ganache. Place another cake layer on top and repeat with the remaining ganache. Finally, place the third cake layer on top. Cover the sides and top of the cake with the sour cream chocolate frosting.