Chocolate Fudge Cake
Calling all chocolate lovers! This Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe is for you- it is so rich, moist, and surprisingly easy to make!
Three layers of decadent chocolate cake are filled and frosted with luscious chocolate buttercream in this crowd-pleasing dessert.
Table of Contents
Why we Love it
- Deep chocolate flavor
- Easy to make
- Moist, soft texture and fine crumb.
- Perfect birthday cake recipe, holiday dessert, and more!
What Makes this Chocolate Cake Different?
We've made many scratch chocolate cake recipes over the years! There are two main differences in today's fudge cake recipe: the cocoa powder and the vegetable oil.
How to Make Chocolate Fudge Cake
I LOVE how quickly and easy this fudge cake comes together! Because we are using vegetable oil rather than butter, there is no waiting around for the butter to soften, and no creaming the butter and sugar for 5 minutes ;0)
Even the mixing method goes more quickly! You can find the full, printable cake recipe further down in this post.
Here is a quick rundown of our steps!
- Preheat: Heat oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans. We also like to line our pans with parchment paper.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Next, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso granules (or instant coffee powder).
- Mixing: Using an electric mixer, (fitted with a paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) add the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and ¼ cup of the water. Mix for two minutes on medium speed. *Scrape down the sides of the bowl as the mixture will be fairly thick.
- Adding Hot Water: With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the 1 cup of very hot water and mix for approximately 30 seconds to blend. The batter will be VERY thin.
- Fill the Pans: Scoop the cake batter evenly into the prepared pans. Tap the filled 8 inch pans onto the counter a few times each. This makes any air bubbles rise to the top.
- Time to Bake! Bake for 22-24 minutes- The bake time may vary. The cake layers are done when a wooden toothpick or skewer can be inserted and removed with no crumbs (or just a few crumbs) attached
- Allow the baked cakes to cool in the pans on a cooling rack for ten minutes before turning out. As an added bonus, the cake layers bake up with a slight dome. Hooray for cake scraps from the leveled tops ;0)
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
We decided to use a simple, delicious Chocolate Fudge Frosting for this layer cake.
It's a combination of confectioners sugar, dutch process cocoa, softened unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
This chocolate frosting is rich, creamy, and pipes perfectly!
You can easily change the consistency of the frosting to suit your preferences.
When prepared as-is, this chocolate buttercream recipe will give you a medium consistency of frosting (easy to work with, flows easily from piping bag, not too thin or too thick.)
Add a bit more heavy cream or milk if you'd like to thin the frosting, or add a bit more confectioners sugar if you'd like to thicken up the consistency. This is a very forgiving recipe!
We used dutch process cocoa for the frosting just as we did with the cake, however natural, unsweetened cocoa will give you great results as well.
*If you are looking for something even more rich, chocolate ganache is a great choice also!
Assembling and Decorating the Chocolate Fudge Cake
Place the first fudge cake layer on a cake pedestal or cake plate. Spread with a layer of buttercream.
Repeat for the next two cake layers, then frost around the sides.
Decorate the cake however you like! This is such a versatile frosting- super easy to pipe with etc.
- I always apply a thin coat of chocolate buttercream first to the top and around the sides of the cake- this is the crumb coat. It catches the crumbs in preparation for the final layer of frosting.
- At this point, I like to chill the cake for 15 minutes in the freezer (or longer in the refrigerator) to firm everything up. This is an optional step but I find it helpful!
- Next, apply the second (final) coat of frosting. I decided to go with a smooth finish around the sides of the cake today.
- Heating a metal bench scraper under very hot water before gliding it around the sides makes this step extra simple.
- I swirled the remaining frosting on top of the cake using a small offset spatula.
This easy chocolate fudge cake is sure to bring rave reviews at your next special occasion celebration, whether you are making it for a birthday celebration, holiday, or to cure your chocolate cravings!
More Chocolate Cakes!
If you love chocolate recipes, don't miss our full collection of Favorite Chocolate Cakes!
If you are interested in cake design as well, don't miss our section of cake decorating tutorials as well!
Chocolate Fudge Cake
- 2 cups (400g) Granulated Sugar (white sugar)
- 2 ¾ cup (322g) All Purpose Flour (not self rising)
- 1 cup (90g) Dutch Process Cocoa
- 2 Teaspoons (8g) Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon (3g) Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon (2g) Salt
- 2 Teaspoons 3g Instant Espresso Granules *See Notes
- 4 eggs, room temperature (If in a hurry, place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.)
- 1 cup (215g) Vegetable Oil (We use Canola Oil)
- 1 Teaspoon (4g) Vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup (295g) very hot water (almost boiling)
For the Chocolate Frosting
- 3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter, slightly sotened
- ¾ cups (67g) Dutch Process Cocoa
- 5 cups (575g) Confectioners Sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4g) Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon (4g) Salt
- ¼-1/3 cup heavy cream or milk. Adjust amount to your liking for desired consistency of frosting.
- Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans. We also like to line our pans with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of your mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso granules.
- Next, add the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and ¼ cup of water. Mix for two minutes on medium speed. *Scrape down the sides of the bowl as the mixture will be fairly thick.
- With mixer on low speed, slowly add the remaining (1 cup) very hot water and mix approximately 30 seconds to blend. The batter will be very thin.
- Scoop the cake batter evenly into three 8 inch cake pans. Tap the pans onto the counter a few times each.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes- Bake times may vary. The cake layers are done when a wooden toothpick or skewer can be inserted and removed with no crumbs (or just a few crumbs) attached.
- Allow the baked layers to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
For the Chocolate Buttercream
- Cream the slightly softened butter until smooth. Blend in the vanilla.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and cocoa and most of the milk. Beat at medium speed until the powdered sugar and cocoa is incorporated.
- Add remaining powdered sugar, milk, and salt and mix at medium speed another 3 to 4 minutes scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Then mix on the lowest speed for 1 to 2 minutes. This will help eliminate air pockets in the buttercream. The texture will become very smooth.
- Yields approximately 4 ½-5 cups of frosting.
- If your buttercream is too thin, add more sugar. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more milk.
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