Chocolate Cake with Italian Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Posted on Mar 31 2014 - 7:00am by Barry C. Parsons

Chocolate Cake with Italian Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – The easiest & best chocolate scratch cake ever gets layered and covered in melt-in-your-mouth, luscious Italian chocolate buttercream frosting. Just outstanding!

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Good chocolate cake may be the perfect dessert and this one does not disappoint, deserving to be a standard in every family recipe collection. It is the best plain chocolate frosted cake that I have ever eaten. The chocolate Italian buttercream frosting can be a bit of a challenge, especially in a hot kitchen but it is well, well worth the effort to master this skill. It really is the best chocolate frosting ever; so luscious and so, so silky smooth.

Originally Published March 7, 2008.


Chocolate Buttercream Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The best chocolate scratch cake ever layered and covered in melt-in-your-mouth luscious Italian chocolate buttercream frosting.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12-16 servings
For the Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup soured milk (add a tablespoon of lemon juice to sour the milk)
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate buttercream frosting
  • 1 pound chocolate (at least 50% cocoa), chopped in small pieces
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 6 egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups (1 pound) softened unsalted butter
For the Ganache Drizzle (optional)
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  • 1½ tbsp whipping cream
For the chocolate cake
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
  2. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the frosting
  1. Combine the chocolate and ½ cup of butter and melt (but do not over heat) in a double boiler. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Continue to boil over medium heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  4. Meanwhile beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and salt to stiff peaks.
  5. Slowly pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream, hitting the side of the bowl and not the beaters. Continue beating the frosting for 10-15 minutes until the meringue is completely cool.
  6. When completely cool, slowly begin to add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Beat until smooth after each addition.
  7. Add the melted chocolate to the meringue mixture in about 4 additions and beat well after each addition.
  8. Continue beating until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. This may take 15 minutes or so and you may have to chill the frosting for several minutes before beating it again to get it to stiffen. Alternatively, you can place the frosting bowl in an ice bath while continuing to beat constantly until the icing stiffens sufficiently.
To construct the cake
  1. Split the cake layers in half, horizontally, making 4 layers in total. Fill layers with frosting and spread over the entire cake. Garnish with chocolate ganache or chocolate curls if desired.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. It's best to add the drizzle when the frosting has been chilled on the cake for an hour or so.
  2. In a double boiler, combine and melt the chocolate and cream but be careful not to overheat it.
  3. Spoon the ganache into a Ziploc bag and snip off a corner with sharp scissors. Use the bag to drizzle the chocolate in continuous circular motions all over the surface of the cake.
Additional time is needed to cool the cake. About 2 hours.



11 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Looks delicious, but I wouldn’t have the nerve to attempt the frosting.

  2. Le Chef Secret March 7, 2008 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I don’t want to over emphasize the difficulty level of the frosting too much. As long as you have a large stand mixer like a Kitchen Aid, it really is not that difficult and well worth the effort.

  3. Leona March 7, 2008 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    I am going to try this cake but never the icing,looks and sounds too complicated to me.I’m sure it’s to die for but I don’t want to die trying to make it,I’m sure I can come up with something that won’t scare the dickens out of me.By the way I would love to be a guest at your house from time to time and while I’m at it may I suggest that you print with a darker color or maybe a bright blue as when I highlite your recipe and copy and paste in microsaft word I can hardly see the lettering the pictures are fine.,just a suggestion.
    Leona in Nova Scotia.

  4. Le Chef Secret March 8, 2008 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Hi Leona,

    The font color is very light in order to contrast with the black background of the web page. If I darken the font, you will not be able to read the web page at all as the letters will be lost against the black background. The solution for you is simply to change the font color to black once you copy it to Word.


  5. Leona March 8, 2008 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Thank you for your recommendation I will do that ,just never thought of it,I’m not very computer savy.

  6. Anonymous August 13, 2010 at 1:39 am - Reply

    Did you use semi sweet, unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate for the frosting?

  7. Barry C. Parsons August 13, 2010 at 8:17 am - Reply

    I’ve used semi-sweet chocolate here but you could use dark. Milk chocolate would probably not be chocolate enough.

  8. Anonymous August 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Made the chocolate buttercream over the weekend. AMAZING!!!! And if you have a kitchen aid it’s easy.

  9. djohn April 25, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Made this cake yesterday for a co-workers Birthday and it was a big hit they loved it especially the icing.

  10. Jenn December 2, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry, is the coffee suppose to be hot or cold?

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