Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Prep time: 55 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Chocolate cake:
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (lightly spooned into cup)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • Chocolate buttercream:
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  1. For the chocolate cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter 2 - 9” cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the boiling water into the cocoa powder and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Stir ¼ of the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs along with the vanilla. Set aside.
  5. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix until it is well blended. Add the butter and remaining ¾ of the cocoa and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are wet. Beat at medium high speed for 1½ - 2 minutes.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg mixture in 2-3 batches, scraping the bowl down in between additions.
  7. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops.
  8. Bake at 350° for 25 - 28 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on wire racks. Use a small metal spatula to go around the edge of each pan. Cover the cake with another wire rack. Turn upside down, remove the pan and parchment paper and reinvert. Refrigerate until cold. Once the cakes are cool, cover them completely with plastic wrap.
  9. For the chocolate buttercream:
  10. Place the butter, confectioners sugar, cocoa and milk into a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until blended. Beat on medium high speed for 3 – 5 minutes, until thoroughly blended and fluffy.
  11. Reserve ⅔ cup of the buttercream to pipe stars and/or swirls around the edges of the finished cake. To do this, cut a corner off a quart size freezer bag and insert a star tip (I used #21) or use a parchment triangle with star tip and fill with frosting. Set aside.
  12. Use a serrated knife to level off the cake tops. Scrape off excess crumbs.
  13. Place a dab of frosting on the cake plate. Transfer one cake layer to the plate. Spread 1¼ cups buttercream over the top of the cake.
  14. Place the second cake layer over the buttercream. Spread the remaining buttercream evenly over the sides and top of cake.
  15. Pipe stars around top and bottom of the cake. Place brightly colored coated candies on the sides of the cake, gently pushing them partially into the cake so they stay in place.
  16. Betsy's tidbits:
  17. The dab of frosting on the serving plate helps prevent cake from slipping off plate.
  18. If writing on the cake, a trick to getting your letters where you want them to go is to score the top of the cake with a toothpick. If you make a mistake, simply wipe the top smooth again and start over.
  19. If the candy has a letter on it, place on the cake with the letter facing inward.
  20. Store the cake in the refrigerator but allow the cake to come back up to room temperature before serving.
Recipe by Desserts Required at