Chocolate Velvet Cake

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This dreamy chocolate velvet cake is rich, soft, and ultra moist, thanks to the cream cheese in the batter!

It has a wonderful velvety texture and just the right amount of chocolate- it isn't overly rich but is guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

You are going to love this recipe!

Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe- SO delicious!

Using Cream Cheese in Cake Batter

If you've never tried a cake recipe with cream cheese in the batter, you are missing out!

Cream cheese pound cakes, like our chocolate cream cheese pound cake, have been really popular for years.

However, we have started experimenting with using cream cheese in our layer cakes as well (Lemon Velvet Cake , White Velvet Cake, Strawberry Cake and Almond Cream Cake), and have fallen in love with the results!

The cream cheese adds a richness, softness, and uniquely "creamy" texture to the cake. The layers are still fluffy and have a fine, tender crumb.

Make sure to check out our full roundup of velvet cake recipes!

How to Make Chocolate Velvet Cake

You can find the full, printable recipe for this delicious chocolate cake further down in this post, but here is a quick rundown of our steps!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 3 (8x2) round pans
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.  Whisk for 30 seconds to blend and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, add the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, (using a paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), add the softened butter and softened cream cheese.  Mix until smooth. 
  • Gradually add the sugar.  Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes until fluffy.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • Prepare the ½ cup of very hot water for the next step.
  • With the mixer on low speed, you will add the flour mixture alternately with the wet ingredients (three additions of the flour mixture alternating with two additions of wet.) So, to begin, add about ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by the milk, then half of the remaining flour mixture followed by the very hot water, and end with the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees  for 25-30 minutes.  The cake layers are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. 
  • Cool the  pans on cooling rack 5 to 10 minutes then turn out. 
Slice of Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

We frosted and filled our chocolate velvet cake with a luscious chocolate cream cheese frosting- one of our favorites!

This simple recipe combines butter, softened cream cheese, confectioners sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and vanilla.

It makes a great filling and frosting, and it's great for piping borders and small decorations too! As with any cream cheese frosting recipe, it is a bit on the softer side.

If it seems a little soft, just pop the bowl of frosting or piping bag in the refrigerator for a few minutes to thicken up the consistency a bit.

Our Chocolate Buttercream is another easy and delicious option for a chocolate frosting!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Can Chocolate Velvet Cake Layers be Frozen?

Yes they can! We freeze our cake layers all the time- when wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, they will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Use this to your advantage and bake ahead whenever you can!

When baking in advance, we like to wrap our freshly baked cake layers while they are still slightly warm. We wrap them each individually, placing each layer on it's own foil-wrapped cake cardboard and then wrap with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil.

(If baking well in advance, label the foil with the name of cake and date.)

When it's time to decorate the cake, remove the cake layers from the freezer and keep them wrapped at room temperature on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes or so until there is condensation on the foil.

At this point you can unwrap and continue to thaw to desired temperature. (Some bakers like to assemble their cakes while the layers are still partially frozen as they are easier to handle and less fragile.)

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Assembling & Decorating the Cake

  • Time to put our chocolate velvet cake together! Place the first cake layer on your cake base or pedestal. Spread with a layer of chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Chocolate Velvet Cake
  • Repeat for the next two cake layers.
Chocolate Velvet Cake
  • Next, apply a thin crumb coat of the frosting. At this point, I like to chill the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm everything up before applying the final coat of frosting.
  • This is an optional step but I think it makes decorating easier!
  • Apply the second coat of frosting and decorate however you like. For today's cake, I smoothed over my second coat of frosting with a bench scraper to smooth it before combing it with a cake comb to add the lines around the sides.
  • After cleaning up the top edge of the cake with my offset spatula, I added a ruffle border to the top and bottom of the cake using a petal tip 104.
  • Ruffle/petal tips are very easy to work with. Just use an up and down motion as you apply pressure to the piping bag. The small end of the opening should be facing out for a thin edge to your ruffle.
  • I also added a few polka dots to the top of the cake with a small round tip 3.
Chocolate Velvet Cake from scratch- this recipe is the BEST!

Here's a look after slicing.

Chocolate Velvet Cake- Ultra moist, soft, velvety chocolate cake!

More Chocolate Cakes to Try!

We have so many favorite chocolate cakes to share with you! Here are just a few of our favorites but you can find our full collection in this roundup: 50+ of the Best Chocolate Cake Recipes!

Some of our favorites are our Chocolate Bundt Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Black Forest Cake, and Chocolate Sour Cream Cake.

Here are a few others!

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake

This heavenly chocolate cake has a velvety soft, creamy texture from the cream cheese in the batter! It is fluffy and moist with a fine crumb and wonderful chocolate flavor.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15 servings
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Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 8oz (226g) package cream cheese softened
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (226g)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature (you can also place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes to warm them.)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (82g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (measure then sift)
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120g) milk
  • ½ cup (120g) very hot water

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
  • 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar (Adjust amount to your liking.)
  • ¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted.
  • 16 oz cream cheese (total weight 452g) (We used two 8 oz packages, full fat)

Instructions

For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 3 (8x2) round pans
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.  Whisk for 30 seconds to blend and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, add the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, (using a paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), add the softened butter and softened cream cheese.  Mix until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar.  Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes until fluffy.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • Prepare the ½ cup of very hot water for the next step.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add about ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by the milk, then half of the remaining flour mixture followed by the very hot water, and end with the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated.
  • Add the batter to the three prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees  for 25-30 minutes.  The cake layers are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. 
  • Cool the  pans on cooling rack 5 to 10 minutes then turn out. 

For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is softened and smooth.
  • Add cocoa and mix until blended.
  • Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated.
  • Add the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended.
  • Increase mixing speed to medium and beat until fluffy, don't over beat. If beaten too long it will become very soft. If this happens, just refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • This frosting will pipe best if used while still very cool. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.
  • Will frost a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake.

Assembling the Cake and Decorating

  • I like to fill the cake layers, frost a thin coat (crumb coat) of frosting and then chill the cake in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm it up before applying the final coat of frosting. (You can refrigerate the bowl of frosting during this time also if it is getting soft).
  • After applying my final coat of frosting, I went over it with a bench scraper (or spatula) and then combed it with a cake comb. Remove the excess frosting around the top edge of the cake with a spatula. I then applied top and bottom borders with a petal/ruffle tip 104 as well as a few dots on top with a tip 3.

Notes

 
Makes about 8.5-9 cups of batter
Works well for cupcakes, they will bake with just a slight dome. For standard size cupcakes bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes.
**This recipe was updated in August 2023 (To add ½ cup hot water, ½ cup milk rather than a whole cup of milk)

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35 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel, Since you are using 9x2 inch pans you can bake the 8 cups of batter in 2 pans at 325 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes our clean or with just a few crumbs attached. You can use 3 (9x2) inch pans but your layers will be a bit thin. You would still bake at 325 degrees but for less time.

  2. Can I use a 9 x 13 inch pan to make this cake? Will layers will be as high as three 8 in pans?

    Please reply. Thank you

    Jean

  3. Hi Jean, the cake baked in 3 (8x2) inch pans will be taller. The cake including the filling and frosting be be approximately 5 inches tall. The recipe baked in a 9x12 sheet pan is baked at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, keep an eye on it as all oven bake differently. It will be approximately
    2 1/2 inches high.

  4. Hi Bebe, I would like to bake this cake tomorrow, could you give me the measurements for a 6 inch 3 layer cake?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Precious, This recipe makes 8 cups of cake batter. I don't recommend scaling down the recipe . Using 6 inch round 2 inch deep pans will need 2 cups of batter per pan. If using 3 pans you will have 2 cups of batter leftover for cupcakes or making 1 more layer. Bake at 350 degrees and check for doneness at about 25 minutes. All ovens bake differently so keep an eye on the cake. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

  5. Hi Bebe

    First of all thank you for the lovely recipe, I cannot wait to dig in. I also made the Vanilla Velvet, cane out perfectly

    With this recipe I came across a slight problem though, the cakes baked nicely and evenly. However they started to collapse in the middle during cooling time. What could be the cause of this?

    Please assist me in troubleshooting this problem.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Rachel- No reason in particular! You could experiment with it if you'd like! If you do, let us know what you think ;0)

  6. want to try this cake--could i use the reverse method, not sure how to incorporate the cream cheese if i do??

  7. Hi
    Could you please list the ingredients & amounts for the
    Chocolate cream cheese frosting (you are using it as the filling also)
    as it is not shown under the cake ingredients.
    I want to make this cake in the next couple of days for a birthday as it’s looks & sounds so delicious.
    Thank you so much,
    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy! I'm sorry about that, not sure what happened ;0) I've adjusted! I hope that you enjoy the cake!

  8. Thanku for all ur delicious recipes...
    I'd really like to try them... I've NEVER made any with cream cheese. (vegan cream cheese/Parve) & just wondering.
    can this cake stay on a counter or needs to be refrigerate?
    thanking you in advance,

    1. Hi Blimey- Because of the cream cheese frosting, the cake should be refrigerated. However, for best taste and texture, it is best to remove the cake from the refrigerator a a couple of hours before serving. This allows the cake and frosting to warm and soften.

      If you are using the cake layers with a non-perishable frosting, it can sit out longer. For instance, if using our chocolate buttercream recipe, it would be fine at room temperature for a day or two.