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+ servings

Chocolate Brownie Cake

yield: 1 8-inch, triple layer cake
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For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ¼ cups (5.65 ounces or 160 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 198 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (2.25 ounces or 64 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 batch fully baked brownies from 1 box Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix, made in an 8-inch pan and at room temperature (see baker's notes)

For the Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

  • 9 ounces dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), roughly chopped into 1- to 1 ½-inch chunks
  • 1 ½ cups (12 ounces or 340 grams) sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup


For the Chocolate Cake

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by spraying generously with cooking spray and lining the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper circle; spray the parchment paper as well and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt until combined. Add 1 cup melted butter, 2 large eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup coffee, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and continue whisking until the batter is smooth.
  • Divide the batter evenly the two prepared cake pans and transfer to the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the cakes bounce back when gently poked and a skewer inserted into the center of each cake comes out with few crumbs. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cakes cool in their pans to room temperature completely before frosting.

For the Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

  • Once the cakes and brownie have cooled to room temperature and you're ready to frost the cakes, make the frosting. Place 9 ounces roughly chopped dark chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl. Nestle the bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 1 to 2-inches of water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to stir the chocolate occasionally to melt. Once the chocolate is melted, transfer the bowl to a wire rack and immediately whisk in 1 1/2 cups sour cream and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Leave the mixture on the wire rack to cool; as it cools, it will slowly solidify and become spreadable.


  • Select one of the chocolate cake layers as the base of your cake and use an offset spatula to spread about 6 tablespoons of the frosting on top of the cake. Carefully transfer the brownie layer on top of the frosting Spread another 6 tablespoons on top of the brownie and top the frosting with the remaining chocolate cake layer. Cover the cake completely with the remaining frosting and garnish with sprinkles.