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The Most Epic Triple Chocolate Cake

This triple chocolate cake is basically every chocoholic’s dream come true. It’s moist, flavourful and intensely chocolatey, as well as drop dead gorgeous. To make it even more amazing, there are three different cake sponges AND three different chocolate frostings (white, milk and dark) to create an ombre effect both on the outside and the inside of the cake.

This post has been created in collaboration with Tala. All opinions expressed in the post are my own… plus, there’s a whole lotta cake – so read on. (For more information you can check out my Disclosure Policy.)

Triple chocolate cake, with ombre frosting and chocolate ganache drip, on a low wooden cake stand.

I’m pretty sure we can all agree that cakes have a special magic about them. Now, don’t get me wrong – cupcakes, brownies and cookies are delicious and wonderful… but bake a cake, and you will stop people in their tracks and put a smile on their faces.

So today, I’m hoping to make you smile (and drool… and lick your screen) with this EPIC triple chocolate cake.

From its ombre chocolate buttercream frosting to the glossy chocolate ganache drip (and don’t even get me started on the decadence that are the chocolate truffles sitting on top of swirls of luscious chocolate buttercream), this cake is a real showstopper… and it’s just in time to celebrate the return of The Great British Bake Off!

Triple chocolate cake, with ombre frosting and chocolate ganache drip, on a low wooden cake stand. A piece of the cake is being removed using a cake server.

If you’ve been round these parts before, then you know I’m obsessed with baking, chocolate and kitchenware, so it’s been a real treat to team up with Tala to bring you this delicious cake recipe.

It’s slightly more involved than my usual cake recipes – after all, instead of a single type of sponge cake and a single buttercream frosting… we have triple that. But don’t worry, the individual steps to making this cake are actually dead simple.

Making the sponges requires nothing more than mixing a few things together, and the trio of chocolate buttercreams has the same base of plain American buttercream, with different melted chocolates added to create the different flavours and colours.

And most importantly, when you end up with a cake that tastes incredible and looks this good – all the effort is 100% worth it. Promise.

A piece of the triple chocolate cake, topped with a chocolate truffle, on a cake server.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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7 reasons for why you should make this triple chocolate cake ASAP

1. CHOCOLATE – And lots of it. There may or may not be over a kilo of chocolate in this cake AND it’s not just one variety of chocolate. Nope, it’s more like 5 different types of chocolate. Or maybe 6… I honestly lost count. Suffice it to say, this cake is every chocoholic’s dream come true. You’re welcome.

2. The moist and decadent chocolate cake sponges – To create an ombre effect not only with the frosting but also on the inside of the cake, we have a trio of sponges: white, milk and dark chocolate. They are all incredibly flavourful, moist and fluffy, and having three different sponges makes the eating experience so much more exciting.

You’ll notice that the dark chocolate sponge recipe is a bit different from my Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, mainly because it contains a whole lotta melted chocolate (as opposed to only cocoa powder). That makes the chocolate flavour much more intense, and the cake sponges basically taste like brownies… if brownies were fluffy and moist, instead of fudgy and gooey.

In one word, the chocolate cake sponges are AMAZING.

3. The luxurious, velvety chocolate frosting – To create the ombre effect, we again have a trio of chocolates: white, milk and dark chocolate. The frosting isn’t too sweet, but allows the chocolate flavour to really shine through in all its wonderful glory.

4. And the decadent chocolate decorations – Because we’re going for that WOW effect (and because I’ll take any excuse to add more chocolate to a dessert), the decorations include a glossy chocolate ganache drip, piped swirls of multi-coloured chocolate buttercream, chocolate truffles and chocolate shavings.

5. Can you say DROP DEAD GORGEOUS??? – I mean, just look at it!

Triple chocolate cake, with ombre frosting and chocolate ganache drip, on a low wooden cake stand. A hand is holding one of the chocolate truffles on top of the cake.

6. It’s gluten free! – That’s right, this beauty of a cake is gluten free! Of course, if that’s not a requirement for you, you can make it with regular plain all-purpose flour (use the same amount as for the gluten free flour by weight), and omit the xanthan gum in that case.

7. Chocolate. – Because it deserves saying twice (or, you know, a bazillion times in the case of this cake and this post).

How do you make triple chocolate cake?

To avoid being super repetitive, I’ll just walk you through how to make the dark chocolate cake sponge – making the other two sponges follows all the same steps, with the ingredient quantities adjusted slightly, to account for the difference in sweetness, fat content and cocoa content between the different types of chocolate.

(For the full recipe, including the ingredient quantities, scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

First, we’ll melt some dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa content) and butter together. At this point, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how gorgeous the bowl from Tala’s new Indigo and Ivory range is. So. Pretty.

Pouring melted dark chocolate into a big blue bowl.

Next up, we’ll add the sugar and eggs, and mix well – bonus points if you use a dry measure as beautiful as the one from Tala’s Indigo and Ivory range.

Adding sugar into the melted chocolate.

Adding eggs to the chocolate and sugar mixture.

Then, we’ll sift in the dry ingredients (plain gluten free flour blend, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt), and whisk until evenly combined.

Also, how pretty is Tala’s Indigo and Ivory flour sifter?!

Sifting dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture.

Next, we’ll add in hot water and milk, and whisk well until we get a smooth cake batter. (Depending on the coarseness of your almond flour, the cake batter might look a bit grainy, but that’s perfectly okay.)

Adding hot water and milk to the chocolate cake batter.

Finally, we’ll transfer the cake batter into a lined cake tin – and bake! Here, I’ve used Tala’s Performance Bakeware 20 cm (8 inch) springform pan, and it baked the sponges perfectly.

Pouring chocolate cake batter into a lined springform cake pan.

How long do you bake chocolate cake sponges?

Because these are 8 inch (20 cm) cake sponges of quite significant thickness (plus, there’s an enormous amount of chocolate in each one), they do take a while to bake: about 55 minutes at 355 ºF (180 ºC).

If you use a different size of baking tin or adjust the ingredient quantities, the baking time will change (but keep the oven temperature constant at 355 ºF/180ºC). To test when the cakes are done, insert a toothpick/skewer into the middle of the sponges – when it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, the cakes are baked perfectly.

How do you make chocolate buttercream frosting?

All three buttercream frostings for this triple chocolate cake have a common base, which is your typical American buttercream made from butter, powdered/icing sugar, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Because I don’t like my frosting too sweet, I’ve used a smaller amount of powdered sugar than you’d find in many other recipes, but you can definitely adjust that to your personal taste.

Then, to create the different chocolate frostings, you just add melted chocolate and/or cocoa powder to that American buttercream.

  • For the white chocolate frosting, you need to add melted (and slightly cooled) white chocolate.
  • For the milk chocolate frosting, you need to add melted (and slightly cooled) milk chocolate and a bit of cocoa powder.
  • For the dark chocolate frosting, you need to add melted (and slightly cooled) dark chocolate and a whole lotta cocoa powder.

That’s it – as promised, it really couldn’t be easier.

Triple chocolate cake, with ombre frosting and chocolate ganache drip, on a low wooden cake stand. A hand is holding one of the chocolate truffles on top of the cake.

Assembling this chocolate-filled dessert is a piece of cake (pun 100% intended) – you just have to layer together the sponges and the buttercream, frost the outside, add the chocolate ganache drip and decorate the top.

That said, try to not do that in the middle of a heatwave, when temperatures are reaching 32 ºC (87 ºF). Chocolate, buttercream and heat don’t mix all that well… just saying. (And I’m speaking from horrible, horrible experience here.)

Unless, of course, you want to recreate the stressful conditions of the Bake Off tent – in that case, go right ahead.

That’s it, friends. The most luxurious, decadent triple chocolate cake… it’s the stuff dreams are made of. I hope you love it as much as I do (which is oh-so much, to the moon and back).

Enjoy.

Triple chocolate cake, with ombre frosting and chocolate ganache drip, on a low wooden cake stand. A piece of the cake is being removed using a cake server.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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The Most Epic Triple Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free)

This triple chocolate cake is basically every chocoholic’s dream come true. It’s moist, flavourful and intensely chocolatey, as well as drop dead gorgeous. To make it even more amazing, there are three different cake sponges AND three different chocolate frostings (white, milk and dark) to create an ombre effect both on the outside and the inside of the cake.
Print Rate
4 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook/Bake Time 55 mins
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins
Servings 16

Ingredients

For dark chocolate sponge:

  • 7 1/2 oz (210 g) dark chocolate, chopped (70%+ cocoa content)
  • 1 1/3 sticks (150 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 g) superfine/caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (120 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum – if you don't need the cake to be gluten free, you can use the same weight of plain all-purpose flour)
  • 2/3 cup (65 g) almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if you GF flour blend already contains xanthan, or if you're using plain all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) milk, room temperature
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) hot water

For milk chocolate sponge:

  • 7 1/2 oz (210 g) milk chocolate, chopped (about 40% cocoa content)
  • 1 1/3 sticks (150 g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) superfine/caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum – if you don't need the cake to be gluten free, you can use the same weight of plain all-purpose flour)
  • 2/3 cup (65 g) almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if you GF flour blend already contains xanthan, or if you're using plain all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) milk, room temperature
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) hot water

For white chocolate sponge:

  • 7 1/2 oz (210 g) white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick + 1/2 tbsp (120 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) superfine/caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum – if you don't need the cake to be gluten free, you can use the same weight of plain all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup (96 g) almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if you GF flour blend already contains xanthan, or if you're using plain all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) milk, room temperature
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) hot water

For chocolate buttercream:

  • 6 2/3 sticks (750 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (500 g) powdered/icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 1/3 oz (150 g) dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled (70%+ cocoa content)
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • 5 1/3 oz (150 g) milk chocolate, melted and slightly cooled (about 40% cocoa content)
  • 1 - 2 tbsp (7 - 14 g) cocoa powder
  • 5 1/3 oz (150 g) white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

For chocolate ganache drip:

  • 2 oz (60 g) dark chocolate, chopped (60-70% cocoa content)
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) heavy/double cream

Instructions

For ALL chocolate sponges (note the different ingredients/quantities for the different sponges):

  • Pre-heat the oven to 355ºF (180 ºC) and line three 8 inch (20 cm) cake pans with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • In a heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate and butter.
    NOTE: For best results, melt the white chocolate and butter separately for the white chocolate sponge, then mix them together when you start adding the other ingredients.
  • Add the sugar and eggs, and whisk well.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder for dark chocolate sponge) and add them to the chocolate mixture. Mix well until evenly distributed.
  • Add the milk and hot water, and mix well until you get a smooth cake batter.
  • Transfer the cake batter into the lined cake pan, and bake at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 55 minutes, or until risen and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or a few moist crumbs attached.
  • Allow to cool in the cake pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from the cake pan and allow to cool fully on a wire cooling rack.

For chocolate buttercream:

  • In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer with the double beater attachments, beat the butter for 2 - 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the powdered sugar, and beat for a further 5 - 7 minutes.
  • Adjust the sweetness if needed (by adding more powdered sugar), and add the vanilla paste and salt.
  • Divide the buttercream into three equal parts.
  • For dark chocolate buttercream: Add the melted dark chocolate and 1/4 cup cocoa powder into one third of the buttercream and mix well until combined.
  • For milk chocolate buttercream: Add the melted milk chocolate and 1 - 2 tbsp cocoa powder into one third of the buttercream and mix well until combined.
  • For white chocolate buttercream: Add the melted white chocolate into one third of the buttercream and mix well until combined.

Assembling the triple chocolate cake - Part I:

  • If the sponges are domed, level out the tops with a serrated knife.
  • Layer sponges and buttercream together in the following order (bottom to top): dark chocolate sponge, dark chocolate buttercream, milk chocolate sponge, milk chocolate buttercream, white chocolate sponge, white chocolate buttercream.
  • Pipe rings of chocolate buttercream around the cake, piping the dark chocolate buttercream at the bottom, milk chocolate buttercream in the middle and white chocolate buttercream at the top. Smooth out the frosting, creating the ombre effect. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, or until the frosting has firmed up.

For chocolate ganache drip:

  • While the frosted cake is chilling, place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Heat the double/heavy cream until only just boiling (either on the stove or in the microwave), then pour it over the chocolate.
  • Allow to stand for 2 - 3 minutes, then stir well until you get a smooth glossy ganache.
  • Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Assembling the triple chocolate cake - Part II:

  • Once the cake is chilled and the frosting feels firm to the touch, decorate the cake – first with the chocolate ganache drip.
    Check the consistency of the chocolate ganache. It should be runny enough to drip, but not too hot (otherwise it will melt the buttercream). If it's too thick, heat it up briefly in the microwave.
    For the easiest (and prettiest) drip, transfer the chocolate ganache into a squeeze bottle.
    Create the chocolate drip: first allow the chocolate ganache to gently run down the sides, then fill out the top of the cake by drizzling on more ganache and smoothing it out with an offset spatula.
  • Allow the ganache to firm up slightly (this should only take a few minutes because of the cold cake), then decorate the top of the cake.
    You can follow my example and decorate the cake with piped swirls of buttercream, chocolate truffles and chocolate shavings, or get creative and dream up your own design.
  • Enjoy!

Storage:

  • The cake keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in cling film, in a cool dry place or in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
    (If you keep the cake in the fridge, cut the desired number of slices and allow them to come to room temperature for about 10 - 15 minutes before serving.)
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

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27 thoughts on “The Most Epic Triple Chocolate Cake”

  1. This definitely took me more than 2h55 to make, but the result was well worth it! Everyone was impressed and never would have guessed it was gluten-free. It’s rare to find gluten-free cakes that have enough structure to hold up three full layers – thank you for the great recipe!

    Reply
  2. hey can I use 7 inch pan instead of 8 inch as thats the only one I have. Any changes I need to make if I use a 7 inch pan?

    Reply
    • Hi Harshi, you should be able to use a 7 inch pan, you’ll just need to bake the sponges a bit longer as the batter will be thicker. Make sure to check whether the sponges are done with a toothpick or skewer – when you insert it into the middle of the sponge, it should come out clean (or with a few moist crumbs attached).

      Reply
      • Hi I wanted to know if I have to transfer this cake from a cake stand on a decorative plate so how shall I transfer it since it’s a very big cake? Thanks a ton

        Reply
        • Hi Juhi, I usually don’t transfer cakes between cake stands or plates, as it can be rather tricky, especially with large cakes. However, when I do have to move them, I like to use a cake lifter – it’s a super handy tool (essentially a very large and sturdy spatula) that makes moving cakes much easier. Also, make sure you’re working with a thoroughly chilled cake!

          Reply
  3. I tried this recipe turned out great but I buttercream turned out to be very sweet. And sponges were too dry. How to keep. Them moist for long. I even used sugar syrup still they were dry. Please advice. Thank u

    Reply
    • Hi Dipika, you can definitely tweak the sweetness of the buttercream just by adding less icing sugar. It sounds like you’ve over-baked the sponges, which can happen if your oven runs hot. I recommend using an oven thermometer to check the exact temperature of your oven and testing the doneness of the sponges with a toothpick to determine when they’re done.

      Reply
  4. I spent almost 4 hours making this cake. I followed every single step, I only substituted flour, because we don’t have any gluten restrictions in the house. The sponges turned out good, but the buttercream was too sweet. Even my sweet tooth husband couldn’t eat it. I ended up scraping off all the buttercream and throwing it away. I almost cried throwing away so much food. I wish I had used heavy cream + sugar whipped cream instead. I liked the sponges, so will probably only use this recipe for them.

    Reply
    • Hi Aisulu, I’m so sorry you’ve found the frosting too sweet. Sweetness is a very subjective thing and if you like your frosting less sweet, I recommend you add the sugar bit by bit rather than adding it all at once. I’m really glad you enjoyed the sponges though!

      Reply
    • Hi Eric! That’s because the different types of chocolate behave differently due to different fat contents (and a few other properties). In general, milk and white chocolate are more “fatty” than dark chocolate and to counteract that (and prevent a too oily and/or dense sponge), you need to increase the amount of flour in the milk and white chocolate sponges. Furthermore, the cocoa powder in the dark chocolate sponge acts effectively as a flour substitute (although it also contributes flavour and some fat), which further reduces the amount of flour needed in the dark chocolate sponge.

      Reply
    • You can replace the almond flour with an equal weight of the gluten free flour blend. It should be just as delicious, but it might dry out a *tiny bit* quicker. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hey! This looks so amazing! I’m using normal plain all purpose flour, is can replace the almond flour with it too? Or is the almond flour an essential element for the taste? Thank you!! So excited to make it!

    Reply
    • You can replace the almond flour with plain all-purpose flour: I use almond flour in GF baking to keep the sponges moister (for longer), but if you use regular flour that isn’t a concern. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Hi. I’m a great fan of your page. I’m wondering if you have tried mixing GF flours rather and in what ratios, rather than using a ready mix from the market (which also turns out pretty expensive and I don’t get the brands at my place either). Many thanks

    Reply
  7. Delicious chocolate cake!
    I have substituted almonds with roasted hazelnuts and buttercream with mascarpone filling.

    Reply
  8. Hi Kat, am in love with this cake! Could you tell me an egg replacement for this recipe? I usually do eggless cakes with Greek yoghurt. Will that work here?

    Reply