This super moist chocolate cake is my favorite chocolate cake. It is a light and moist triple-layer chocolate cake with a delicious mascarpone frosting and so easy to make. Make this simple chocolate cake for a Birthday, or the holidays or just make up any excuse to make it.
About this Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe
This moist chocolate cake consists of a triple layer chocolate cake and each layer has the most amazing mascarpone frosting. This chocolate cake gets its moisture from the oil that is used in the recipe along with hot water added to the cake batter.
There is also a touch of espresso added to the chocolate cake to enhance the chocolate flavor.
If you have never worked with coffee and chocolate cake, the coffee merely enhances the flavor of the chocolate in the cake and you will not taste it. I promise!
- All-purpose flour: You can also use cake flour, but all-purpose is the kind that most people have on hand.
- Vegetable oil: This is what gives this cake its signature moist and decadent consistency.
- Baking powder and Baking soda: Both of these ingredients are crucial leavening agents that ensure your cake doesn't turn out too dense.
- Eggs: Act as a binding agent in the batter.
- Espresso powder or coffee: This is a not-so-secret ingredient in chocolate cake that deepens the chocolate flavor!
- Hot water: Helps the cocoa powder "bloom" and brings out the flavors.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness that balances out the decadent chocolate.
- Cocoa Powder: Dutch process cocoa powder is often recommended for baking, but feel free to use whatever cocoa powder you prefer.
- Vanilla Extract: For an added layer of flavor.
- Mascarpone Cheese: This ingredient is similar to cream cheese but uses whole cream instead of milk for an even richer result.
- Sour cream: Provides a balance of tangy flavor.
- Vanilla extract: Gives your frosting a nice hint of vanilla.
- Powdered Sugar: Helps the frosting take on a spreadable or pipeable consistency.
The ingredients are the standard ingredients you would need for most chocolate cake recipes with a few new ones. What makes this the best moist chocolate cake recipe is how the cake is made.
The mascarpone frosting then takes it to a new level!
How to Make
This moist chocolate cake is very easy to make. I do not make complicated cakes or desserts and if you have tried my other cake recipes you will see that the best desserts are actually the easiest to make.
Here are what the steps look like in making this three-layer chocolate cake.
When I say this is a really easy chocolate cake recipe, I mean it.
- Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Try not to skip this step. It is important for the wet ingredients to combine together fully and the same goes for the dry ingredients.
- Now you are going to measure out your hot espresso or coffee. You want to make sure you are using hot coffee for this chocolate cake because the hot water will help "bloom" the cocoa powder.
Tip: Blooming the cocoa powder just means the hot liquid is going to bring out the best chocolate notes in the cocoa powder. If you are using coffee from the coffee maker that has been sitting out, just reheat it in the microwave.
- Now you can mix all of the ingredients together!
About the Chocolate Cake Batter
This chocolate cake batter is going to be very thin. It is so thin that you will need to pour or ladle the batter into your prepared cake tins.
This is normal so do not be afraid! This thin chocolate cake batter is one reason this chocolate cake is so moist.
In addition to the moisture, this chocolate cake will become fluffy and light. When you eat it, it is like cutting through a cloud!
Preparing the Cake Tins for this 3 Layer Chocolate Cake
Now, you must make sure to properly prepare your cake tins for this moist chocolate cake because you want it to release easily from the cake tins so you can have a 3 layer chocolate cake 🙂
Here is how I prepare my pans for this triple-layer chocolate cake:
- First, you need three 8-inch pans.
- Now butter the inside of the pans by taking about 1 tablespoon of cold butter and with a paper towel, rub the butter all around the inside of the cake pans (sides too). You can also use baking spray if you have it.
- Now cut two strips of parchment paper for each cake pan just a little less than the width of the 8-inch cake pans. That is a total of 6 pieces of parchment paper you will need to cut.
- Place the parchment paper inside the cake in one direction and the second one in the opposite direction, allowing them to overlap the cake pan a little. This makes handles to help lift the cake out of the pan when it is done baking.
- Now butter or spray the parchment paper.
Your pans are ready for the chocolate cake batter once you are done doing this. This may seem like overkill but it works every single time for me 🙂 I do this with my carrot cake, and my vanilla almond cake, and it always works like a charm.
How to Make Mascarpone Frosting
Now that we have gone through how to make this super moist chocolate cake (aka the best chocolate cake), let's talk about the mascarpone frosting. This mascarpone frosting is really, really delicious.
If you are not familiar with mascarpone cheese, it is an Italian soft cheese that is similar to cream cheese but with less tang and more sweet cream notes. This mascarpone frosting is similar to the one I use for my Italian Berry Cake with Mascarpone except this one uses powdered sugar and the Italian cake uses honey.
It is really easy to make! Just bring the mascarpone frosting ingredients to room temperature, add everything into a bowl, and mix with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes.
I add a little sour cream to the mascarpone frosting for a little more tangy flavor and the end result after it is all whipped up is a pillowy soft frosting that is perfect for this 3 layer chocolate cake.
If you want to add moisture to a chocolate cake, the best thing to do is make the chocolate cake with oil and not butter. If the recipe calls for butter, just swap out vegetable oil for the butter and your cake will be moist.
Adding coffee to chocolate cake enhances the chocolate notes in the cake. Coffee and chocolate are often paired together in baked goods to bring out the flavor of the chocolate. You will not taste the coffee.
Adding hot water or hot coffee to chocolate cake batter helps to bloom the cocoa powder which basically means it helps bring out the flavor of the cocoa powder by waking it up a bit.
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Incredibly Moist and Fluffy Chocolate Cake
- 3 8 inch cake pans
Super Moist Chocolate Cake
- 2 cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup of boiling water
- ¾ cup bittersweet cocoa powder
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 16 ounces room temperature mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Moist Chocolate Cake
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Prepare 3, 8 inch cake pans by buttering them and adding parchment paper. See post for more info.
- Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.2 cup sugar, 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour, ¾ cup bittersweet cocoa powder, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a separate large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix until well combined.2 eggs, 1 cup milk, ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix on low speed for a couple minutes.
- Stir espresso powder into the boiling water then add to the batter.1 teaspoon espresso powder, 1 cup of boiling water
- Stir until it is incorporated. Your batter will be VERY thin and this is ok!
- Pour (or ladle) the batter into the prepared cake pans making sure they all have the same amount of batter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- When done place on a cooling rack until cool and then you can start to add the buttercream frosting (see below).
- In a large bowl add your mascarpone, sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla.16 ounces room temperature mascarpone cheese, 1 cup sour cream room temperature, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- With your hand held mixer or stand mixer, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Start the mixer on low because the powdered sugar will jump out of the bowl.
Decorating (if you are decorating it like the picture). You can also frost the entire outside of the cake if you prefer.
- With a knife, lightly go around the inside edge of the cake pans making sure the cake is not attached to the sides.
- Gently remove the cakes from the cake pans by grabbing the parchment paper and lifting then place on to cooling racks. If your cakes are not releasing, see notes below.
- With a sharp serrated knife, gently cut away any rounded tops off of the cakes. You want all of the cakes to be flat on top.
- Place anything you cut off of the cakes into a bowl for decorating later.
- Now place one layer of your cake on to a cake stand or large plate.
- Scoop ⅓ of the frosting on to the first layer of cake.
- With an offset spatula or spoon gently spread it out to the very edge of the cake.
- Now place the second layer of the cake on top of this.
- Add ½ of the frosting in the bowl and spread it to the edge of the cake.
- Now take the last layer of chocolate cake and place that on top.
- Add the remainder of the frosting to the center of the cake.
- This time, you are only going to spread the frosting a little bit making sure to leave about 1 inch of space from the edge.
- Now take the cake crumbs you reserved and break them up with your fingers until they are small.
- Sprinkle the cake crumbs on top of the frosting.
If Cakes Do Not Release from Pans
- If your cakes do not release from the pans, just invert them (turn them upside down) when they are cool and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If they still do not release, tap the bottoms of the pans while they are upside down and let them sit for another few minutes until gravity helps them drop.
- Store any leftover cake in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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