Death by Chocolate Cake

If you’re a chocolate lover, prepare to meet your match: the decadent Death by Chocolate Cake. Inspired by a beloved, now-discontinued Costco cake, this creation has quickly become the go-to for chocolate aficionados everywhere. From Father’s Day to birthdays and family gatherings, it’s the ultimate crowd-pleaser that’s as fun to decorate as it is to devour.

Imagine sinking your teeth into layers of moist, rich chocolate cake, each bite more satisfying than the last. Paired with a silky, fudgy frosting and coated with mini chocolate chips, this cake isn’t just a dessert; it’s an experience. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply indulging a chocolate craving, this cake promises a chocolatey goodness that’s hard to beat.

History of Death by Chocolate Cake

When I first stumbled upon the death by chocolate cake, I was intrigued by its decadent name and rich history. This cake isn’t just a dessert; it’s a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Its origins are somewhat murky, shrouded in the mystery and allure that only adds to its charm. But one thing’s for sure, this cake has undergone several evolutions before becoming the mouthwatering dessert we know and adore today.

Initially, the concept of a “death by chocolate” dessert might have been a mere expression, an ode to the overwhelming infusion of chocolate in every bite. Over time, it transformed into an actual recipe, a chocolate cake concocted with the sole purpose of celebrating chocolate in its purest and most indulgent form. And oh, how it has succeeded.

The modern death by chocolate cake usually features multiple chocolate cake layers, each more moist and decadent than the last. The dry ingredients like cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder ensure the cake’s perfect texture while the choice of chocolate chips, dark chocolate, or even chocolate pudding mix adds depth to its chocolate flavor. Not to forget, the chocolate frosting and possibly chocolate buttercream grace the top of the cake, enveloping it in a silky, luxurious wrap.

My personal journey in making this cake has led me to experiment with various ingredients. From the addition of sour cream for a moist cake to using a round cake pan for that classic shape. Every version of the cake I’ve tried has been a testament to the rich chocolate heritage it carries.

While the first cake layer always sets the stage, it’s the careful assembly and the final decoration with mini chocolate chips or even a sprinkle of powdered sugar that seals the deal. Whether it’s served with a dollop of chocolate ice cream or enjoyed as is, each bite is a celebration of chocolate in its most glorious form.

Ingredients for Death by Chocolate Cake

When it comes to making the best Death by Chocolate Cake, having the right ingredients is crucial. I’ve learned through my baking adventures that the quality and balance of ingredients can make or break your cake. For those who are ready to dive into this chocolatey delight, here’s a rundown of what you’ll need.

First off, let’s talk about the chocolate cake layers. The foundation of a moist chocolate cake includes:

  • Cocoa powder – This is the heart of the chocolate flavor. Opt for a high-quality brand for a deeper, richer taste.
  • Flour – Acts as the structure of the cake. I usually use all-purpose flour for its reliability.
  • Sugar – Sweetness is key in any cake, especially a dark chocolate cake.
  • Baking soda and baking powder – These leavening agents are what make your cake rise, creating a light and fluffy texture.
  • Eggs – They bind the ingredients together and add moisture.
  • Sour cream – A secret weapon for a moist chocolate cake. It not only adds moisture but also richness.
  • Heavy cream – Improves the texture and enhances the chocolate flavor, making the cake extra decadent.

For the chocolate frosting or chocolate buttercream that goes on top of the cake, you’ll need:

  • Butter – The base of your frosting, providing a creamy texture.
  • Powdered sugar – For sweetness and structure.
  • Cocoa powder – Again, this adds the chocolate flavor we’re craving.
  • Heavy cream – To adjust the consistency of the frosting.

And let’s not forget about the finishing touches. Mini chocolate chips and a sprinkle of powdered sugar add texture and a visual appeal that can make the entire cake stand out.

Mixing these ingredients properly is just as important as the ingredients themselves. Start by combining all dry ingredients in a large bowl, ensuring they’re well blended before adding the wet components. This step helps avoid lumps in the cake batter and ensures that the chocolate flavor is evenly distributed throughout the entire cake.

Baking the Perfect Death by Chocolate Cake

Creating the best death by chocolate cake starts with understanding that this isn’t just any cake. It’s a rich, decadent experience that’s meant to satisfy the cravings of any serious chocolate lover. My journey in baking this exquisite cake taught me a few tricks that I’m eager to share, ensuring that your cake stands out not just in flavor but in texture and presentation too.

First off, the use of high-quality chocolate is non-negotiable. Whether you favor dark chocolate for its intense flavor or semisweet chocolate chips for their melt-in-your-mouth goodness, ensuring the chocolate is of good quality keeps the cake from tasting bland. If you’re aiming for a moist chocolate cake, don’t skimp on the sour cream and heavy cream. These ingredients are paramount in creating a cake that’s rich yet retains moisture, ensuring each bite is as satisfying as the last.

The cake batter itself requires a careful balance of dry ingredients like flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. These not only contribute to the chocolate flavor but also ensure the cake rises properly and has a tender crumb. I’ve also learned that sifting these dry ingredients together makes a noticeable difference, preventing any lumps and ensuring the cocoa powder is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

For those keen on a layer cake, getting your chocolate cake layers to bake evenly is key. I always use round cake pans that are the same size (preferably 8-inch) and prepare them with a flour-based baking spray. This not only helps in easily removing the cake later but also contributes to an even bake. Remember, filling the pans to the right level is critical; about two-thirds full usually does the trick, preventing any overflow and ensuring each layer is uniform.

When it’s time to assemble, starting with the first cake layer on a cake board, I generously spread the homemade chocolate buttercream, ensuring it covers the top before adding the next layer. This not only adds to the richness but also keeps the cake moist. Sprinkling mini chocolate chips or a layer of chocolate pudding mix between the cake layers introduces an extra layer of chocolatey goodness that’s hard to resist.

Decorating Tips for Death by Chocolate Cake

When it comes to decorating a Death by Chocolate Cake, the aim is to make it as irresistible on the outside as it is on the inside. From the texture of the chocolate buttercream to the final garnishes that make the cake stand out, every detail adds to the overall experience. For chocolate lovers, this isn’t just a cake; it’s a masterpiece.

Let’s dive into the art of decoration. Chocolate buttercream takes center stage here. It’s creamy, it’s dreamy, and it absolutely envelops the cake in rich, chocolatey goodness. When applying the buttercream, I ensure that the entire cake is covered smoothly. For a more refined look, I use a bench scraper to achieve those sharp edges and a Wilton 1M piping tip for elegant swirls on top of the cake.

To make the cake truly death by chocolate, it’s all about the toppings. The chopped chocolate-covered toffee bars are a game changer, echoing the original trifle dessert that inspired this cake. I also sprinkle mini chocolate chips and shards of dark chocolate for a mix of textures. Sometimes, a drizzle of melted chocolate seals the deal, cascading down the sides for a visually stunning effect.

For an extra layer of flavor and aesthetic, I like to dust the top with a light sprinkle of cocoa powder or powdered sugar. It’s amazing how such a simple touch can elevate the appearance and taste. Remember, the goal is to entice the senses before the first bite is even taken.

In terms of equipment, having the right round cake pans and a steady cake board are crucial. They ensure my cake layers bake evenly and remain stable as I stack and frost them. This attention to detail makes all the difference, guaranteeing a professional-looking cake that tastes as good as it looks.

As you embark on creating this chocolate masterpiece, remember that it’s not just about following a recipe card. It’s about putting love into the cake. With each layer of moist chocolate cake and rich chocolate buttercream, you’re crafting an experience, a moment of pure chocolate bliss. Whether it’s for a birthday, a holiday, or just because, decorating a Death by Chocolate Cake is a labor of love that’s always worth the effort.

Serving and Enjoying Death by Chocolate Cake

After meticulously baking and decorating your Death by Chocolate Cake, the moment has finally arrived to slice into this decadent treat. Serving this cake can be as much an art form as baking it. Let me guide you through the best practices to ensure your cake is as remarkable on the plate as it was in the pan.

First, it’s essential to let the cake rest. This allows the layers and frosting to set, making the cake easier to cut. A chilled cake, especially one as rich and luscious as a Death by Chocolate Cake, slices more cleanly. Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife and dip it in hot water between slices to ensure each piece is perfect. Wipe the knife after each cut to keep the servings pristine.

Presentation is key, so consider the base on which you serve the cake. A simple yet elegant cake board or a decorative serving platter can enhance the cake’s visual appeal. Pairing each serving with a dollop of homemade whipped cream or a scoop of chocolate ice cream can elevate the experience to new heights. For those who revel in extra chocolate, a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips or a drizzle of warm chocolate sauce over the top of the cake or even the ice cream provides a delightful texture and flavor contrast.

Choosing the right accompaniment can also enhance your enjoyment. A glass of cold milk or a cup of strong, hot coffee balances the sweetness and richness of the cake, making each bite as enjoyable as the first.

When serving your Death by Chocolate Cake at a gathering or event, it’s always a good idea to slice a smaller first piece for yourself. This not only allows you to gauge the cake’s texture and moisture levels but also lets you share any adjustments or improvements you’d make next time. Remember, every cake is a learning opportunity – and a chance to indulge in the chocolaty richness that this cake offers. The joy of baking, especially when it comes to a masterpiece like Death by Chocolate Cake, lies in the smiles and compliments of those who get to enjoy your creation. Whether complimenting the rich chocolate layers, the silky chocolate frosting, or the overall moistness of the cake, positive feedback is always a sweet reward.

Can I Use a Similar Recipe for Cinnamon Coffee Crumb Cake to Make a Death by Chocolate Cake?

Yes, you can definitely use a similar recipe for a delicious cinnamon coffee cake to make a Death by Chocolate cake. Simply substitute the cinnamon and coffee flavors with rich chocolate ingredients and toppings. The result will be a decadent, flavorful dessert that everyone will enjoy.


Diving into the world of Death by Chocolate Cake isn’t just about baking a dessert; it’s about creating an experience. From the meticulous preparation to the final presentation, every step is a testament to the love and effort poured into this decadent treat. Serving it isn’t merely about slicing a piece; it’s about crafting moments that linger on the palate and in memories. Whether it’s the silky texture of homemade whipped cream or the rich warmth of a chocolate drizzle that completes the masterpiece, the joy of sharing this cake is unmatched. And let’s not forget the balance a simple glass of milk or coffee brings to this sweet indulgence. So next time you’re in the kitchen, remember that making a Death by Chocolate Cake is more than just baking—it’s an art form that brings joy and sweetness into our lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the double chocolate frosting for the Death by Chocolate Cake made?

The double chocolate frosting is a rich blend relying less on powdered sugar and more on melted semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder to achieve its luscious texture and deep chocolate flavor. It includes ingredients like unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, and a small amount of confectioners’ sugar, resulting in a frosting that’s intensely chocolatey without being overly sweet.

What are some tips for making the Death by Chocolate Cake successfully?

Key tips for success include using high-quality chocolate, ensuring ingredients like eggs and sour cream are at room temperature, avoiding overpacking the flour, baking cake layers on the middle oven rack, and fully cooling the cakes before assembly. Additionally, substituting vegetable oil with coconut oil is acceptable, but not melted butter.

Can the Death by Chocolate Cake keep for a long time once made?

Yes, once made, the Death by Chocolate Cake can be stored in the refrigerator and remains delicious for about a week. The cake is best covered to retain its moisture and flavor, allowing you to enjoy a rich, chocolatey treat for several days.

What are the steps to make a double chocolate cake?

To make a double chocolate cake, you start by mixing dry ingredients together, then incorporate the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth batter. Pour this batter into greased cake pans and bake. Once cooled, slice each cake in half horizontally, creating layers that are filled and topped with double chocolate frosting. The assembled cake should be refrigerated briefly to set the frosting before serving.

What is the best way to serve and enjoy Death by Chocolate Cake?

For optimal enjoyment, let the Death by Chocolate Cake rest before slicing it with a sharp, thin-bladed knife heated in hot water for clean cuts. Serve on a decorative platter and pair with homemade whipped cream or chocolate ice cream, and a drizzle of warm chocolate sauce for added flavor and texture. Accompany with a glass of cold milk or hot coffee to balance the cake’s richness.

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