Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting is the ultimate chocolate treat. It has moist, rich chocolate cake layers that are frosted with the most delicious chocolate cream cheese frosting. 




  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt


  • 2 (8oz.) Cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cup – 1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup special dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line three 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Then set aside.
  2. In a bowl whisk flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. To a mixer bowl, add vegetable oil, eggs, and sugar. Beat until combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until there are no more streaks of sour cream.
  5. Add the flour. Beat on low speed until almost incorporated. Then with the mixer still mixing, add the hot water and continue mixing until cake batter is smooth.
  6. Divide the cake batter among the 3 cake pans. Bake for 15-19 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.

Cream cheese frosting

  1. Beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Then set aside.
  2. Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and vanilla extract until smooth. About 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the whipped heavy cream and fold until there no more streaks of heavy whipping cream.


  1. Add one cake layer to cake stand.
  2. Frost with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
  3. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Then frost top and sides of cake.


  • Do not over beat the cake batter. Once you add the flour, don’t wait until the flour is fully incorporated to add the hot water. Add the hot water when the flour is almost incorporated. Then continue mixing on low speed until batter is smooth.
  • Measure flour correctly by spooning the flour into the measuring cup and then leveling it with a knife. This ensures that the flour isn’t packed in the cup.
  • For the maximum amount of chocolate flavor, don’t skip adding the instant espresso powder. Your cake will not taste like coffee, instead it will add a rich and deep chocolate flavor to the cake layers.
  • For a smooth cream cheese frosting, make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature.
    • If you forgot to take out the cream cheese: place the cream cheese into a bowl. Microwave in 10 second intervals until the cream cheese is spreadable.
  • To ensure the heavy whipping cream whips up into stiff peaks, take the heavy whipping cream out of the refrigerator the moment you’re going to use it. Do not let the whipping cream come to room temp. The heavy whipping cream needs to be cold, in order for it to whip properly.
  • Adjust the frosting to your liking! If you prefer a sweeter frosting, add a bit more powdered sugar. This chocolate cream cheese frosting is just sweet, but not overly sweet. The frosting can also be made without the cocoa powder.