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Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


This chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting is made with tender, moist cake layers and the creamiest cream cheese frosting!!

And for anyone asking the question, “Does chocolate cake go with cream cheese frosting??”

It absolutely does!! It’s such a delicious combination.


Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frostingimage of a slice of chocolate cake frosted with cream cheese frosting on a plate that's been cut into to show how moist it is

This chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting is made with tender, moist cake layers and the creamiest cream cheese frosting!!


10 minutes


25 minutes


30 minutes


1 hour 5 minutes


Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260g)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (75g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (8g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (9g)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 1 cup warm water (240g)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (240g)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (110g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8g)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (339g or 3 sticks)
  • 1 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (226g or 8 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12ml)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (904g or a 2 lb. bag)


Chocolate Cake Layers

Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 175 C. Line and grease three, eight-inch cake pans.

Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined.

In a separate, large bowl, add 1 cup of warm water, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup oil, 2 eggs, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Give the mixture a quick stir to combine the ingredients.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix by hand until fully incorporated. The batter will be on the thin side, but that’s the consistency you're after!

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for about 23-26 minutes. I like to use a kitchen scale to weigh the pans. It makes sure each pan has the same amount of batter and helps the cake layers bake up to be the same height.

Remove the cake layers from the oven and let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Gently run an offset spatula around the rim of the cake pans to loosen them, then flip them onto wire racks to finish cooling.

These cake layers bake up pretty flat, so leveling them is optional. If you want to level them with a serrated knife, make sure to wait until the cake layers have fully cooled to room temperature.

If you make these in advance, wrap and freeze them at this point.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the cream cheese buttercream frosting.

Beat 1 1/2 cups of butter and 1 cup of cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or hand mixer until smooth.

Add in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp fine salt and beat on low until the ingredients are combined.

Gradually mix in 7 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Mix on the lowest setting for another minute to make sure the frosting is nice and smooth.

If the frosting seems too thick at this stage, you can add in some heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time). If the frosting seems too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).

Once it's reached the desired consistency, cover the cream cheese frosting with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming.

Assembling this Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If possible, chill the cake layers in the freezer for 20 minutes before stacking them. This will make them so much easier to frost and will minimize crumbing.

Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.

Spread a thick, even layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the cake layer. Repeat this step with the second cake layer, then place the top cake layer upside down to make the cake easier to frost.

Carefully spread a thin coat of frosting around the cake to fully cover the cake layers with a large offset spatula.

Smooth with a large offset spatula, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.

Then add a thicker layer of cream cheese buttercream around the cake and use the back of a spoon or offset spatula to add texture to the frosting. Then enjoy!


Recipe Variations

This recipe can also be used to make a sheet cake! One batch will make 1, 9 x 13-inch cake that's about 1 1/2 inches tall. Bake it at 350 F / 175 C for 25-35 minutes and use flower nails or heating cores to help the cake bake evenly.

Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese

Ingredients at room temp mix together better! Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.

Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level). Or better yet, use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.

Use a scale to weigh your cake pans as you fill them. It will make your cake layers bake to the same height and bake more evenly.

Bang your cake pans on the counter before putting them in the oven. This brings any big air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.

Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. It makes it so much easier to stack and frost them!

I do not recommend using this recipe to make cupcakes! Instead, try my moist chocolate cupcake recipe. It makes the perfect amount of batter for a dozen cupcakes.

Making This Chocolate Layer Cake in Advance & Storage Tips

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge or freezer for up to a week.

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a 3 days.