There’s so much to love about this Death by Chocolate Cake. It’s ultra-rich. It has layers upon layers of various dark chocolate textures, it’s super moist, and it’s an indulgent dessert for anyone who loves chocolate with a hint of coffee flavor.
Made from scratch and is surprisingly easy to prepare and bake with just a few simple steps.
This chocolate cake has a spongelike texture, and it is layered with a smooth, silky chocolate buttercream frosting.
Death By Chocolate Cake
This cake type’s origin or historical development started in 1981 when a certain Jeffrey Fields established his restaurant in Los Angeles.
The restaurant Les Anges was located on the Pacific Coast Highway and had a French pastry chef known as Claude Koerble.
Claude Koerble invented the chocolate cake dubbed “la Mort au Chocolat ”, a French phrase that translates to Death by Chocolate or Chocolate Death.
This cake was on the menu of the restaurant from its opening day and remained a popular dessert in the restaurant throughout its lifetime of the restaurant.
The Death by Chocolate Cake made by Claude Koerble consisted of many layers of chocolate mousse, ganache, meringue, and chocolate genoise. The cake also had a dressing of chocolate creme Anglaise.
While Death by Chocolate Cake doesn’t have a lot of history on its own, chocolate cake does have a rich history.
The history of chocolate cake started in the 17th century when people started adding cocoa powder to cake recipes.
These powders came from the Americas and started forming an important part of cakes in the 17th century.
Over the years, there were innovations around cocoa processing, which made it easier to bake cakes with it.
For instance, an extraction method was discovered in 1828 and resulted in the formation of cacao butter. Several years later, in 1876, a processing method for the production of silkier and smoother chocolate was developed, which helped with chocolate cake’s popularity.
Thus, the first chocolate cake in the US was made in 1886.
Many companies in the US also banked on the popularity of chocolate cake and did business out of it.
For instance, the Duff Company of Pittsburgh started the production of chocolate food cake in the mid-1930s. However, the company had to stop production due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
After the war, Duncan Hines created a Three Star Special brand of chocolate cake, which dominated the dessert market for over 48 years.
Death by Chocolate Cake consists of multiple layers of cake and chocolate textures. Each layer of this unapologetically indulgent spongelike cake is topped with our buttercream frosting.
Having established that Death by Chocolate Cake is a cake with multiple layers, let’s examine the key elements that make up this delicious chocolate cake.
The chocolate sponge cake that goes into the Death by Chocolate Cake needs to be as rich as the rest of the cake.
It also needs to be soft (spongelike) and moist. To achieve this, no curd or condensed milk can be used in this batter. The only thing you need for this sponge cake is the oil, water, eggs, baking powder, and baking soda to name a few.
While the regular chocolate frosting works, you can use a lightly (with a strong emphasis on lightly) salted chocolate frosting.
For this, we used kosher salt as it is not easily dissolved in the frosting but still provides you with a hint of salty crunch as you enjoy the sweet flavor of the chocolate frosting.
If you want your cake with extra flavor and richness, you should add coffee to the frosting as well as instant coffee crystals to the cake batter. For extra chocolate flavor, dress it with chocolate syrup or liquid.
The coffee is a perfect complement to the chocolate by bringing out the bittersweet notes in the chocolate.
The chocolate syrup also ensures that the chocolate sponge takes some liquid and softens before you start cutting into it.
The final element that makes your Death by Chocolate Cake perfect is the mini chocolate chips that go on the cake after everything is done.
Ensure that the flour is gluten-free but contains xanthan gum. The xanthan gum is compulsory for gluten-free flour; else, you end up with a gummy cake.
Dark Cocoa Powder: Your cocoa powder should be as dark as possible as it intensifies the chocolate flavor.
You should also ensure that the powder is unsweetened. However, if you cannot find dark cocoa powder, you can double the quantity of regular cocoa powder.
Baking Soda & Vinegar: This ingredient, in conjunction with vinegar, helps you to ensure fluffiness in your cake.
As for the vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. It also ensures that you don’t need to use eggs for baking.
Sugar: Regardless of the sugar you decide to use (either brown or white), it should be granulated. Brown sugar is preferable as it adds some moistness to the cake.
- Ensure that your baking tin is lined with parchment paper or melted butter/oil.
- Make sure that your ingredients are all at room temperature. This is because room temperature ensures the emulsification of the ingredients.
- When mixing ingredients, you should ensure not to over-mix so as not to knock out all the air in the dry ingredients. If this happens, you will be left with a dense cake rather than a fluffy one.
- If you use vinegar, you can add it to the liquid before adding it to the batter. This way, you get a softer cake.
- Ensure that the cake has cooled before you start frosting.
- If using salted caramel, be careful with the type of sugar and warm cream used.
You can store the cake at room temperature for three days, but it must be covered. A refrigerator is more appropriate if you plan on storing it for longer, say two weeks.
If you’d like to freeze the cake, you can store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Be sure to store the cake in freezer-friendly containers and thaw the cake before eating.
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Death By Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 7×3 Baking Pans
- 1 Handheld Mixer
- 1 Whisk
Chocolate Cake Batter
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour; sifted
- 1 ½ Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Cocoa Powder; sifted
- 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Cup Lukewarm water
- 1 Coup Sour Cream; room temperature
- ½ Cup Canola Oil
- 2 Large Eggs; room temperature
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 tsp. Instant Coffee Crystals
- 2 Tbsp. White Vinegar; or distilled vinegar
Liquid Chocolate / Chocolate Syrup
- ½ Cup Warm Water
- ⅓ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Dark Baking Cocoa Powder
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 2 Cups Unsalted Butter; room temperature
- 1 Cup Dark Baking Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 5 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Tbsp. Warm Brewed Coffee
- 1 ½ Cup Chocolate Chips
- Cake Batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the wet ingredients – In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients for the cake batter, including the sugar. Mix well until dissolved. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Next, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well with a whisk in between each batch. Divide the batter evenly into the baking pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until the toothpick when inserted in the middle comes out clean. Meanwhile, prepare the Chocolate Syrup. In a large bowl or cup that's suitable to withhold hot liquid (microwave safe), combine all the ingredients together. Set it aside when completed.
- Prepare The Frosting In a large bowl, use a handled mixer. Beat the butter until fluffy. Then add the cocoa powder in small batching while whisking/beating. Next, add in the vanilla extract and salt, followed by powdered sugar, heavy cream, and coffee. Place it in the fridge until ready to use. Decorate The CakeCool the cake completely and cut the cake in half. You should have 4 layers. Add enough frosting in between each layer. Place it in the fridge for about 5 minutes. Next, add a layer of frosting to the cake to decorate the cake. Alternate by placing the cake in the fridge so the frosting doesn't melt, and repeat with the coating. Add the chocolate chips and decorate the top as desired. Cut and enjoy.