Death by Chocolate Cake

This Death by Chocolate Cake contains four layer of rich chocolate cake frosted with decadent chocolate buttercream and topped with melted chocolate. It’s a chocolate lovers dream!

Death by Chocolate Cake

There is such a thing as too much chocolate on a cake? Impossible.

Death by Chocolate Cake

This is by far one of the richest, most decadent cakes I’ve ever made. It’s chocolate overload.

A dense and fudge-like chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream topped with dark chocolate ganache and decorated with all sorts of chocolates goodies. Since it’s Halloween, I’m calling it Death by Chocolate Cake!

Death by Chocolate Cake

This is one of the rare years when I’m dressing up. Sadly, there isn’t much Halloween spirit in my neighborhood.

When Alex and I first moved here to Pasadena, we bought a bunch of candy, thinking we’d have a lot of trick-or-treaters visiting. No one ever rung our doorbell.

We ended up with more candy than any adult should have at home.

Death by Chocolate Cake

In the past, we’d usually attend a Halloween party (my favorite: Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland!). This year, we’re staying in.

We’re going to be eating this chocolate cake, ordering pizza (from multiple locations! because we want ALL the pizza. I’ll probably be Snapchating about it), and watching movies until we fall asleep. Think Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future… basically all the awesome 80s movies of our childhood.

And maybe, if I get Alex stuffed on pizza and chocolate cake, he’ll agree to watch Pretty in Pink or Say Anything.

Death by Chocolate Cake

Death by Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is super rich, dense, and decadent.

It’s definitely not meant for two people to finish. You can see just how fudge-like this chocolate cake is from the cross section!

This is the kind of cake I dream of when I’m craving chocolate. And I’m pretty sure after this post goes live, my friends and family will be asking me to bring this to the next party.

Death by Chocolate Cake

So this Hallween, forget trick-or-treating and invite friends over to share this small but mighty chocolate cake.

Even after a tiny slice, you will definitely be chocolate wasted. :)

Death By Chocolate Cake

Yield: 6-inch layer cake

Author The Little Epicurean


Chocolate Fudge Cake:

  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Simple Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, or heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 3 oz dark chocolate (72% cocoa), finely chopped
  • 3 oz heavy cream

Chocolate Toppings:

  • Oreos
  • Rolled chocolate wafers
  • fun-sized chocolate bars
  • mini Reese's peanut butter cups
  • Hershey's Kisses


Chocolate Fudge Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 6-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, combine unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder and boiling water. Whisk until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool. It is ready to use when it is no longer hot, and just warm to the touch.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add eggs and mix until incorporated. Add sour cream and vanilla and continue to mix.

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of flour mixture into the bowl of stand mixer. Mix at low speed until almost combined. Pour in half of the cooled chocolate mixture and mix. Add another 1/3 of flour, followed by the remaining half of chocolate. End with the last 1/3 of flour. Mix between each addition and scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.

  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pans after 15 minutes. Bake until cake is set and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife or mini offset spatula around the perimeter of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert and let cake cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Simple Chocolate Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream butter until smooth. Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add to bowl in three additions. Mix on low speed after each addition. Add salt and milk. Mix until combined. Adjust consistency according to preference. If buttercream is too thick, add milk 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved. If buttercream is too thin, add 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar (up to 3/4 cup). Set aside until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.  Bring heavy cream to a simmer.  Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 3 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap and stir ganache until homogenous. Allow to sit at room temperature for 8-10 minutes until ganache has slightly thickened.


  1. Level cake rounds. Slice each cake round into two layers, for a total of 4 layers of cake. Build cake and frost with buttercream. Allow to chill in the fridge while ganache thickens. Once ganache is ready, pour melted chocolate over chilled cake. Immediately decorate the top of the cake with you desired toppings (Oreos, chocolate wafers, chocolate bars, chocolate candies). Place in fridge for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set up. Remove from fridge and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Death by Chocolate Cake

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Is 7am too early to be craving cake?? Love this.

Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)

as soon as i saw that cross section, i was floored. the cake almost looks like an amazingly fudgy brownie, and both layers are so richly brown that you know they’re chocolatey!

Lokness @ The Missing Lokness

Have to stop by after seeing this cake on instagram! OH MAN, never too much chocolate. Looks super rich. I know all chocolate lovers will want a bite of this!

It is a fun idea to order pizzas from a few different places. Never thought of doing that before! I like that! Have a nice relaxing Halloween!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Yes, I hope it’s a chocolate lover’s dream! Yes, super excited about all the PIZZA! Hope you have a Happy Halloween :)


This cake is so generous. So chocolaaaaaate. I want a slice for my birthday ♥


This looks incredible, Maryanne! We have similar Halloween plans (I love staying in !) and we had a few trick or treaters last year so I am hoping we have more this year! Especially since we handed out full size candy bars…I hope the word spread :)

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks so much Cindy! Full size candy bars?! Oh man, if I lived near your neighborhood, I’d stop by few times :)

June @ How to Philosophize with Cake

There is never any such thing as “too much chocolate”. This cake looks like it has the perfect amount :) Love the way you decorated it too, so elegant!

Marsha | Marsha's Baking Addiction

This cake is just BEAUTIFUL! I love the cake stand, too!

ellie | fit for the soul

Holy mother of pearl! Yes I just said that after having wanted to say it for many years because this is the perfect occasion to say it. This is one gorgeous cake and you seriously know how to make them look so 100% perfect allll the time! How, though? And I can’t believe how rich it looks. While I wouldn’t be able to eat more than one slice in one sitting, I’d definitely enjoy a small slice every day. :D And ooohhhh Disneyland with pizza sounds like a plan!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    lol Thanks so much Ellie! You’re so sweet and kind! I could only handle a tiny slice at a time ;)


This is a dream cake, oh my, it looks wonderful!


The sweetest death I could imagine. Beautiful work!

Ai Ping | Curious Nut

Think I just died.

Claudia | The Brick Kitchen

No, definitely no such thing as too much chocolate – and you have seriously killed it with this cake girl!! SO fudgy and dense looking (the one thing I can’t stand in a chocolate cake is when it is too dry and not chocolately enough!), and that buttercream and ganache just look incredible (love the ganache pour photograph!). Happy halloween!

Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life

1. No, there is never, ever, ever too much chocolate in, on, or around a cake!
2. Your Halloween plans sounded incredible! I live in Australia, where Halloween is not a big thing, but my parents still decorate our house and we all gather around and scare the trick-or-treaters who come our way. This year was bigger than last year, which is so nice to see :)
3. GAH!!! You could convince me to do nearly anything for a slice of this cake. Delicious! You’re going to be flooded with invites from family and friends if you promise to bring this cake along!


Absolutely love the look of this – I think im going to make it for my works christmas party since we all have to bring something along!
Would it work if i used a normal chocolate cake recipe instead of the fudge cake for the layer bits to make it slightly less rich?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Jo! Yes, you can use a different chocolate cake if you’d like it to be a little less rich. :)


This looks sooo good! Your recipes are always creative and artistic :) you really inspire me, especially in cake deco. How long will this cake keep for? I want to make it 1 or 2 days in advance for a friend (I don’t have much time on the day). I heARD chocolate flavours intensify in batter or after being baked when being left for a day or 2. I’m thinking of either making the batter ahead, then baking on the day or baking 1-2 days ahead and keeping it in the fridge? :)


Can this be doubled for a bigger cake?


Wow! Your food looks amazing and this one is no exception! Your website really inspires me. Thanks Maryanne!


Hi! This looks amazing and I would love to make it for an upcoming party.. about how many servings would you say this makes?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Since it’s a super rich and decadent dessert, I’d cut small slices. I’d say this should serve at least 10-12 people.


Lovely! If I put the ganache on the day before I want to serve it would that be ok? I’ve made the cake now for my moms bday tomorrow and I’d like to completely decorate it as will be rushed tomorrow? X

    Maryanne Cabrera

    If you pour the ganache ahead of time and store the cake in the fridge, condensation may form on the ganache depending on the humidity of your fridge.


Helloo ! Could you please tell me the measurements of the ingredients and baking timings if i wanted to bake a three layer 8 inch cake ? Would be very helpful, thankyouu !

Donna Van Avery

I have made this cake many times’. for the TOP of the cake the master piece was broken pieces of heath bars. Holy cow!! that was a hit. I to would like to know the measurements for a 8″ Cake pan. I need a regular size cake for parties. Thank you


Can the cake be frozen and then thawed before frosting?

Or can the layers be refrigerated a couple of days before frosting?


    Maryanne Cabrera

    I don’t suggest freezing this cake. You can keep the layers wrapped up in the fridge for up to three days before frosting. Just be sure to bring the cake back to room temperature before serving.

Natalie Schaffer

I made this cake for my dad’s birthday, who is the biggest chocoholic. This cake was amazing and tasted so good!! Will definitely be making this again!!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Happy belated birthday to your father! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for trying out the recipe :)


This looks good!
How long does it keep in the fridge?
As I am planning to make this for my schools cake making competition and I need to make this a few days before.


I need to make this the night before delivering it. Would you suggest I keep it at room temp or in the fridge and then bring it to room temp?


    Maryanne Cabrera

    I would let it chill in the fridge to firm up so it’ll be easier to deliver. And once delivered, allow it to sit at room temperature to soften before serving.


I made this cake exactly as instructed and noticed that it did not rise very much. Is this normal?


Do you think, with the consistency of the ganache after it has set in the fridge, that you could pipe writing on to it very carefully without it smudging/messing up too much?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    The ganache topping will definitely harden after some time in the fridge. Yes, you should be able to pipe writing on top. I suggest piping with white chocolate. I wouldn’t use piping gel or buttercream because that would likely leak/bleed into the ganache.


This cake has issues. It didn’t rise and has the texture of a flourless chocolate cake

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks for trying out the recipe. I’m sorry it wasn’t to your liking. The cake is meant to be dense and fudge-like.

Cliff Tigert

I LOVE this recipe and photography!!! I have truly found my number uno pastry chef of all times and this cake is going to be baked soon for a family gathering and celebrating the death of this Corona Virus which has effected us all so badly. Your recipes are fabulous and your photography is truly amazing. Continue in your culinary journey and I will forever be grateful for your guidance in this amazing wealth of your skills as a chef. Do you have a cookbook out which displays your skills? Thank You again and please continue your journey!!!

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