Chocolate Layer Cake

(from 29 reviews)
Chocolate Layer Cake

My mother was visiting us and I was lucky enough to have her with me for her birthday after 7 years. Another reason this birthday was very special because this was the first time I was going to bake her a birthday cake. So this cake had to be something very special. She loves chocolate and I wanted to bake a decadent chocolate layer cake to celebrate this special occasion.

I already have an eggless chocolate layer cake in the blog. You may know it as the "I can't believe it's chocolate cake" recipe. It's one of the most tried recipes in the blog with top reviews too. But that chocolate cake has only 2 layers. I wanted to make something big, a multiple chocolate layered cake.

That's when I found a moist chocolate layered cake recipe in a magazine. This cake has 4 layers. Even though it looks like you have to spend a lot of time making it, this is a simple chocolate layer cake recipe. It looked pretty easy and used only 2 eggs, so substitution was not a big issue. I used homemade applesauce recipe in place of the eggs. Unlike the other cake recipe which uses oil for the fat, this chocolate layered cake calls for butter making it a very moist, rich and delicious cake. Just one caution though, this one is super duper tasty, so don't blame me if you indulge and gain some pounds.

To make a vegan chocolate layer cake, substitute the butter with vegan butter like Earth Balance and for the buttermilk use non-dairy milk and vinegar.

Chocolate Layer Cake


Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
15 Mins30 Mins12 servings
Chocolate Layer Cake
4.7 from 29 reviews
Special occasions call for a special treat and this chocolate layer cake should be it. I bet you would wonder why do we need eggs to bake a delicious and decadent cake once you try this recipe.
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Ingredients For Frosting:
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 225-g Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 cups Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup water/Milk/Strong Coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C for 15 minutes. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease it lightly with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir until mixed.
  3. Beat butter with sugars in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the applesauce in two additions, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Mix in the vinegar too. The mixture will look curdled but don't worry.
  5. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Reduce speed and beat one third of flour mixture into butter mixture, then add half the buttermilk.
  7. Repeat additions, scraping down sides until well mixed.
  8. Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth tops. Tap the pans lightly to burst air pockets if any.
  9. Bake in center of oven until a tooth pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 25 to 30 min. If using two racks, move the pan from the top rack to the bottom and the vice-versa in about 15 minutes.
  10. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes.
  11. Run a knife around inside edge of each pan and then turn cakes out onto rack.
  12. Remove parchment. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. I actually left it overnight before I could frost the cake.
For Icing:
  1. Beat butter for icing in a large bowl, using an electric mixer/hand beater on medium, until creamy, 1 min.
  2. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, salt and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 minute.
  3. With mixer on medium-low, add remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating remaining liquids (milk and coffee) and ending with sugar.
  4. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Frosting the cake:
  1. Be extremely careful while slicing each cake into half because its very delicate. One of my layers actually split in half and I somehow managed to patch it up and used it as the bottom most layer and covered it with the frosting. I think shrink wrapping the 2 cakes with plastic wrap once it has cooled completely and storing it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours will harden it up a little bit and slicing it into half won't be much of a trouble. Check this chocolate cake recipe to learn about frosting a layered cake.
My Notes:
  1. The original frosting was a mocha frosting, which uses 1/4 cup of strong coffee to prepare the icing as I have indicated above. Since I didn't want to add coffee I used plain water from the tap. You can use 1/4 cup of any liquid of your choice; water, coffee or milk.
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(Note: This recipe was updated & republished from the archives)

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  1. Just put this in the oven to bake. I forgot to add the 3/4 cup brown sugar 🙁 When i read beat butter and sugars (i missed reading the s in sugars) I hope it comes out well.

  2. This is a very good recipe. I tried it exactly except for the apple sauce –I replaced it with grated pear, which did the job. The cake did not grow much, but turned out to be a quite moist and delicious brownie. As regards the frosting, on the other hand, 6 cups of icing sugar and 1 cup of butter made the cake way too sweet and fat. If I make this cake again (which is very likely), I will use only half of these or may try my own cream/frosting.

    • Thanks for the feedback Matt. I actually don’t remember if the frosting was too sweet for us. I guess the 6 cups of sugar was used to balance the bitterness from the coffee for the mocha frosting.

  3. […] just a tad bit more moisture. I used my Betty Crocker recipe and made a few modifications based on this recipe I found online.) John’s little buddies: Jessica, Christa and Benjamin, River and Jamison […]

  4. Hi Madhuram,

    I am a vegetarian. I was skeptical if this recipe would turn out so well when I tried it first. But it’s so delicious and yummy. So soft and chocolaty. My brother and I are addicted to it. My brother just loves this cake. He thinks its better than the popular “Monginis cake”. And he is the kind of person who is very hard to please. My 7 yr old cousin loved this so much that she wanted this cake for her birthday. This is my first baking experience. I always thought baking a cake like this must be so difficult. But you make everything look so easy. Thank you. Lots of love 🙂

  5. Hi, what can I use instead of the applesauce? Please give me a good substitute or give me the recipe to make it. We don’t seem to find it in India. Thanks.

      • Thanks Madhuram. I actually saw the user comments much later and found the recipe. But thanks very much for your prompt response.
        Please can you also provide some recipes for muffins and cakes with whole wheat flour and that too eggless!! As i would like my kids have healthy cakes made out of wheat and not maida. If you already have some recipes on your site. Pls. let me know.Ah! and a second your FAQ page already on the site?? as i did not find it. Please send me the URL.
        Thanks once again to make baking easier….

  6. […] Ingredients For Chocolate Cake (Adapted from here) […]

  7. Hi ,

    I loved the website and tried this cake yesterday for my parents anniversary. They loved it and the cake tasted amazingly good. But I did just 2 layers of frosting instead of 4 ( personal taste as we dont like a lot of frosting) and it was YUM! But my cake was crumbling a lot after we had cut the cake, although I cooled the cake for almost a day before frosting it! Could something have gone wrong? I believe I followed the recipe as is.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe RB. One of the many reasons for cakes crumbling is that you might have over mixed the batter. This results in incorporating too much air making the cake very light and fluffy, thereby makes it to crumble.


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