This Triple Chocolate Layer Cake has layers of soft gf chocolate cake and creamy chocolate fudge frosting. It's then topped with chocolate ganache, frosting and sprinkles. If that wasn't enough, not only is this dream cake is gluten free, but it's nut free, eggless and easily vegan! It’s a must try for all the chocolate lovers out there!
This Triple Chocolate Layer Cake recipe is so easy to follow! The cake batter whips up in one bowl with a whisk! No mixer needed. It's soft and moist while still being decadent and delectable.
REASONS TO LOVE THIS CAKE
- Allergy Friendly- This cake is gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be dairy free (vegan).
- Soft & Fluffy- The cake is super soft, decadent and delicious.
- Triple Chocolate- It has chocolate cake, frosting and drip!
- Easy to Make- The batter mixes up in just one large bowl with a whisk!
FOR THE CAKE
- Gluten Free Flour- If you also have nut allergies, make sure to use a brand that’s made in a nut free facility. I really love to use this one because it’s nut safe but it does contain dairy.
- White Vinegar- Used with the baking soda to help the cake rise.
- Vegetable Oil- This cake uses oil iso it stays moist longer.
- Cocoa Powders- I like to use two types but if you only want to use one, use Dutch or Natural Unsweetened.
FOR THE FROSTING AND DRIP
- Butter/Vegan Baking Stick- Make sure to use softened not melted or your frosting will be a liquidy mess.
- Water- This frosting uses water and no milk at all.
- Heavy Cream- This is used for the drip but I discuss ways to make it vegan later in this post.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
USING TWO TYPES OF COCOA POWDER
People ask how I get my chocolate baked goods to be so dark. The secret is in that bit of dark cocoa powder.
Using two types of cocoa powder creates a richer color and flavor, which I love!
With that said, keep in mind that cocoa powder is quite dry. Dark is even drier than Dutch or Natural Unsweetened.
If you only used the dark cocoa powder, your baked goods would be way too dry and bitter.
If you don’t have both types of cocoa powders on hand, just use either the Dutch or Natural Unsweetened.
But, if you only use the one type, keep in mind that your cake and frosting won’t be as dark as my cake is.
SMOOTHING THE BATTER
Many gluten free flour batters have a way of staying exactly as they are placed, when baked.
If you leave it misshapen, that’s how it will remain when baked.
When the batter is in the pans, gently smooth the tops with a butter knife.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Here are the steps to make this cake!
STEP 1: WHISK TOGETHER ALL THE DRY INGREDIENTS
In a large bowl whisk together the gluten free flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powders, baking soda and kosher salt.
STEP 2: MAKE 3 WELLS in the dry ingredients
In the dry ingredients, using clean hands, make 3 wells for the wet ingredients to be poured into.
STEP 3: POUR IN THE LIQUID INGREDIENTS MINUS THE WATER
In one well pour the vegetable oil, in the other well pour the white vinegar and in the last, pour the vanilla.
STEP 4: POUR The COLD WATER ON TOP
Pour the cold water on top of all the ingredients.
STEP 5: WHISK TO COMBINE Everything
Use a whisk to mix everything together until fully combined. If it gets too thick for the whisk, switch to using a spatula.
Do not over mix.
STEP 6: SCOOP THE BATTER
Divide the batter evenly into two greased and parchment lined 8 inch cake pans and smooth the tops with a butter knife.
STEP 7: BAKE THE CAKES
Bake the cakes in the center rack at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-48 minutes until the top is slightly springy when carefully poked.
STEP 8: CUT THE CAKES in half
Remove cakes from the oven and let them cool in the cake pans.
Once the cakes have cooked completely, take them out of the pan and slice them in half horizontally to create 4 thinner layers of cake.
If the tops of your cakes have domes, you can very carefully slice them off to make the tops flat.
MAKE THE FROSTING
STEP 1: CREAM THE BUTTER/VEGAN BAKING STICK
In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the softened butter or vegan baking stick until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
STEP 2: ADD IN THE VANILLA
Add in the vanilla and beat until combined.
STEP 3: WHISK THE COCOA POWDERS
If using two types of cocoa powder, put them in a bowl and whisk to combine.
If using only one type of cocoa powder, skip this step.
STEP 4: ADD IN THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS HALF AT A TIME
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in half the confectioners’ sugar, half the mixed cocoa powders and half the water. Beat until combined.
Then add in the second half of the ingredients and beat until combined again and smooth.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE TIPS
STEP 1: DIVIDE THE FROSTING into equal sections
Separate the frosting into 5 equal sections.
STEP 2: FROST ONE LAYER of cake
Place one layer of cake on a cake plate/stand. Scoop ⅕ (about 1 cup) of frosting on top of the layer and use an icing spatula to spread it around.
STEP 3: REPEAT THE PROCESS
Place another layer of cake on top; repeat this same process. Do this with 3 layers of cake.
STEP 4: KEEP THE TOP AND SIDES THIN
Once you get to the top layer of cake, place it bottom (or flat) side up so the top of the cake is nice and flat.
Use an icing spatula or a butter knife to frost the top and a thin layer on the sides of the cake.
You should only use ⅕th of the frosting on the top and sides combined.
STEP 5: CHILL THE CAKE
Pop the entire cake in the fridge uncovered for 15-20 minutes. This will make it more stable to work with for the ganache drip.
MAKE THE GANACHE
STEP 1: PLACE THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS IN A HEAT SAFE BOWL
Set the bowl with the chips aside.
STEP 2: HEAT THE HEAVY CREAM
Set the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.
When the heavy cream begins to simmer around the edges, immediately pour the cream over the chocolate chips.
STEP 3: LET IT SIT
Do not whisk the heavy cream and chocolate chips together yet!
Let it sit for one minute and then whisk until combined and smooth.
MAKE THE Ganache DRIP
STEP 1: SPOON THE GANACHE
Take the cake out of the fridge and immediately spoon almost all the liquid ganache on top of the cake.
STEP 2: PUSH THE GANACHE to the edge
Using an icing spatula, push the ganache around the edges of the cake so it drips down the sides.
Work quickly because the cold cake will quickly stop the ganache from dripping too much.
STEP 1: Pipe SWIRLS
Put the remaining ⅕th of the frosting into a piping bag.
Make swirls all around the edge of the top of the cake.
STEP 2: ADD Chocolate SPRINKLES
Sprinkle some gluten free/nut free/vegan chocolate sprinkles on top of the fudge swirl.
HOW TO MAKE THIS Cake VEGAN
Follow these simple steps to make sure the cake is vegan:
- Use a gluten free flour that’s free from dairy.
- Read the label on your sprinkles to make sure they’re gluten free, nut free and vegan.
- Make sure to use vegan baking sticks instead of butter.
- Use allergy friendly chocolate chips such as these.
- Only use a vegan heavy cream or use my vegan ganache recipe from my strawberry red velvet cake.
Most gluten free baked goods are best made the same day, but you can make this cake the night before and then do the decorating like the ganache and pipe the extra buttercream in the morning.
If making the cake the night before, keep the cake in the fridge under a dome or wrapped in foil until ready to decorate.
This recipe will make 24 regular sized cupcakes.
Bake the cupcakes for 25-28 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To decorate the cake, if you don’t have a piping bag you can use your icing spatula or butter knife or the back of a spoon to make swirls or marks all over the cake.
You can check out my Vegan Vanilla Cake for inspiration.
STORING AND FREEZING
Since gluten free and eggless baked goods are best the first day, we want to try to keep this Triple Chocolate Layer Cake as fresh as possible.
Once the cake is cut into, it’s best to cut the entire cake into slices, wrap each slice in foil and store in a zip top bag in the fridge.
This is if you will be eating all the slices the next day.
When ready to eat, let the slices sit on the counter, in the foil for about an hour or until the cake is room temperature and soft.
I like to warm each slice in the microwave for 10 seconds so the chocolate is gooey.
If not eating all the extra slices the next day, take the slices wrapped in foil and in the zip top bag and freeze them.
You can keep the slices frozen for up to 30 days.
When ready to eat, put the slices in the fridge the night before or leave them out on the counter for 2 hours prior to eating or until the cake is room temperature and soft.
Warm each slice in the microwave for 10 seconds.
OTHER Cake RECIPES TO TRY
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Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
For the cake:
- 3 cups gluten free flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder I use ¼ cup Dutch or Natural Unsweetened and ¼ cup Dark
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold water
For the frosting:
- 3 sticks 1.5 cups softened unsalted butter or vegan baking stick
- 7 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups cocoa powder I use 1 cup of Dutch or Natural Unsweetened and 1 cup of Dark
- 1 cup water
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the ganache drip:
- 6 oz about 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
For the decorations:
- More fudge frosting
- Chocolate gluten free/nut free sprinkles if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with vegetable oil, line with parchment paper and then lightly grease again with vegetable oil.
- In a large bowl whisk together the gluten free flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
- Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients.
- In the first well, pour the vegetable oil.
- In the second well, pour the white vinegar.
- In the third well, pour the vanilla.
- Pour the cold water over everything and whisk together until just combined. If it starts getting thick, use a spatula instead of a whisk.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two 8 inch pans and smooth the tops with a butter knife.
- Bake in the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely in pans. Once cool, remove from pans and transfer to a cooling rack and slice both in half horizontally. Now you have 4 thin layers of cake.
- Make the fudge frosting: In a large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the softened butter until it is smooth and creamy. About 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powders and water and beat until combined and smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla.
- Divide frosting into 6 equal servings.
- Assemble the cake: Place one layer of cake on the cake stand. Take ⅙ of the frosting and frost the top. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat. Do this process 3 times.
- Frost a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake and sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper or an icing spatula to scrape excess frosting off the sides of the cake. This should be a semi naked cake. Pop in the fridge uncovered for 15 min to harden.
- Make the ganache: Place chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. Place heavy cream in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the edges begin to simmer. Immediately pour on top of chips and do NOT mix! Let sit 1-2 min then whisk until fully combined and smooth.
- Take the cake out of the fridge. Spoon almost all of the liquid ganache on top of the cake. Take an icing spatula and push the ganache around to the edges of the cake so it drips down the sides. Work quickly since the cold cake will harden the ganache fast.
- Put the rest of the fudge frosting into a piping bag and pipe a swirl all around the edge of the outside of the cake. You may have frosting leftover. You can save it in a bowl covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for a few days.
- Place chocolate sprinkles on the fudge swirl if desired.