Chocolate Blackout Cake

I made my first attempt at a Brooklyn blackout cake a few years ago, and I decided it was time to revamp the recipe!

I liked my original plan for this cake, but there were a few things I wanted to change.

So here is the updated recipe for my new and improved (in my opinion) chocolate blackout cake.

image of chocolate blackout cake, sliced into to show moist chocolate cake layers with pudding and ganache filling

Changes Made to the Chocolate Cake Recipe

One of the most notable changes to this recipe involves the cake layers.

Originally I used my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe, because I was convinced I needed a layer cake with great structure to stand up against the moisture of the pudding.

Last time I made this cake with pudding from scratch. It wasn’t as thick as store bought pudding usually is (I probably needed to let it cook longer).

This go around I decided to make life a little easier and use store-bought pudding, and it was much thicker.

So I played around with my chocolate layer cake recipe, and actually swapped the all-purpose flour for self-rising cake flour.

This simple swap had a huge impact on the texture of the cake layers. They were super moist, soft, and fluffy. They turned out exactly how I had hoped they would.

image of a slice of a moist, pudding filled chocolate blackout cake

One thing to note, this does cause the cake layers to lose a bit of their structure. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Especially with this cake, since it’s frosted with (what I like to call) chocolate ganache frosting.

The chocolate ganache in this recipe sets pretty firmly once it’s on the cake, and this keeps everything in place. Even with the creamy chocolate pudding filling!

Cake Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour

Now some of you might be asking, why cake flour?? Your recipes usually use all-purpose flour!

Cake flour has less protein in it (usually 7-8%) than all-purpose flour (about 11%). Why does the protein content matter? Because this protein becomes gluten as you mix it with liquid.

More protein means more gluten, which means denser, chewier baked goods (think of a chewy loaf of sourdough bread!).

Cake flour makes baked goods that are fluffier, and lighter like angel food cake. They also give baked goods a finer crumb.

All of this probably sounds super good, right? I’m totally team light & fluffy. So why not ALWAYS use cake flour??

Sometimes you need a little bit more structure, like when you’re making a super tall layer cake!

I generally prefer using all purpose flour in my cake recipes. A lot of my cake recipes use a ton of buttermilk (like my vanilla layer cake recipe), and I find they’re already plenty moist and tender.

All purpose flour helps my cake layers keep their shape when they’re being stacked and/or carved in a layer cake. I also always have all-purpose flour on hand.

But I wanted this cake to be different. The ganache is pretty rich and dense, as the pudding is also pretty thick!

I wanted fluffier cake layers to help balance it all out, and to create a great variety of textures.

image of sliced open blackout cake with moist chocolate cake layers and chocolate filling

Why Self-Rising Cake Flour is Your Best Friend

Now onto the self-rising part. Self-rising cake flour is pre-mixed, so salt and baking powder are already perfectly incorporated into the cake flour.

I love this because it helps you skip three steps.

Rather than getting out the ingredients, placing them a in a separate bowl, and whisking them together, you just use 3 cups of your self-rising cake flour. Viola!

Surprisingly, my neighborhood grocery store ONLY carries the self-rising type of cake flour. If you forgot to grab some at the store or can’t find any, don’t worry.

For every cup of self-rising flour that this recipe calls for, measure out 1 cup of cake flour, then add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.

image of cut into death by chocolate cake with chocolate pudding filling

Or if you are more of a metrics person, here’s the same formula in grams.

You can swap 100 grams of self-rising flour with 100 grams of cake flour, plus 5 1/2 grams baking powder and 1 gram salt. 

Using Store-Bought Pudding

Like I mentioned above, another change I made this time around was to use store bought pudding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about making things from scratch. I haven’t bought frosting or a box cake mix in years.

But when you’re already putting so much energy and effort into the rest of the cake, I think it’s ok to take a little short cut.

I also can honestly say after making pudding from scratch, that I like the instant kind better!!

image of stacked chocolate cake layers with chocolate ganache frosting and pudding filling

It’s texture is perfect to be used as a cake filling, especially when you add slightly less milk than the package calls for.

Instead of adding 2 cups, I chose to add 1 1/2 cups of whole milk. It gives the pudding a thick consistency, which you need when adding it to a layer cake like this.

Chocolate Ganache vs. Chocolate Frosting

This chocolate blackout cake is filled and covered with milk chocolate ganache. It sets quite firmly once it’s on the cake, which keeps that pudding filling in place!

I love it because it’s rich, but not too sweet. It also really lets the chocolate flavor shine through!

image of chocolate ganache frosting made by chelsweets with milk chocolate and heavy cream

Be sure to use a good quality chocolate when making your ganache. I love using either Ghirardelli or Guittard.

If you’re not a fan of chocolate ganache, or just prefer regular chocolate frosting, feel free to cover this cake in whatever you like best!

I think this cake would also be amazing with my chocolate buttercream frosting.

Changing the Decoration of This Chocolate Blackout Cake

The final thing I want to touch on is the decoration of this cake. I’m going to be totally honest, I absolutely LOVED the way I decorated my original Brooklyn Blackout Cake.

image of brooklyn blackout cake

It was simple, yet stunning. I used an ateco 869 piping tip to make that gorgeous border, and it was exactly how I’d envisioned it.

But I couldn’t remake this cake and not change the decoration.

I usually go into my kitchen with a plan, or sketch out my design for a cake ahead of time.

But I went a little rogue while making this chocolate blackout cake, and I didn’t really plan out how the cake would look. I just let myself go wild.

I used an icing comb to make some ridges in my ganache, left a rustic edge on top, and even added in a partial chocolate drip.

image of chocolate blackout cake covered in chocolate ganache and decorated with a chocolate drip and crumbed cake tops

Feel free to let yourself get creative with the decoration too!

Sometimes we get so caught up in our plans and vision, we don’t allow ourselves to just have fun in the kitchen 🙂

Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Blackout Cake:

  • Don’t overmix your batter, stir until the cake flour is just combined
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better
  • Don’t level your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • Save your cake tops and crumble them with a fork to decorate your cake

Making These Cake Layers in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this chocolate blackout cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets, so I can see your beautiful creations!!

Also leave a comment below, and a rating to let me know your thoughts 🙂

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24 servings

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Chocolate Blackout Cake

This chocolate blackout cake is a chocolate lover's dream! It's made with soft, incredibly moist cake layers that are filled with chocolate pudding and milk chocolate ganache frosting.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 48 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Layers

Milk Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 5 cups milk chocolate chips (750 grams, about 2 bags)
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp heavy cream, room temperature (250 grams)

Chocolate Pudding Filling

Instructions

Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line four seven-inch or three 8-inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick baking spray.
  3. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on high for 1 minute with a whisk attachment. The mixture should become light in color.
  4. Add in the eggs, two at a time. Mix on medium high until they're fully incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.
  6. Next, mix in 1 cup of self-rising cake flour into the butter/egg mixture on a low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
  7. Pour in half of the buttermilk/cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!)
  8. Repeat with the remaining cake flour and cocoa mixture.
  9. After adding in the last cup of self-rising cake flour, mix on low until the flour is just incorporated.
  10. Pour the batter evenly between the prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.
  11. Bake for 31-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.
  13. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
  14. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers, and place them in a bowl.
  15. Use a fork the break them into small crumbs, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside (for the decoration of the cake).

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the chocolate ganache frosting.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, and set aside.
  3. Pour the heavy cream into a pot, and heat on medium high until it is just beginning to bubble.
  4. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, begin sure all the chocolate is submerged / covered.
  5. Let this site for about 2 minutes, to allow the heat from the cream to melt the chocolate.
  6. Carefully stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, until the ganache is silky smooth and all the chocolate is melted.
  7. If any bits of chocolate still aren't melted, you can heat the ganache in the microwave for 30 second intervals, until the cream and chocolate are fully incorporated.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Chocolate Pudding:

  1. Add the instant pudding mix into a medium sized bowl, and add 1 1/2 cups cold whole milk.
  2. Whisk for about 1 minute, until the mixture thickens.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Assembling This Chocolate Blackout Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of chocolate ganache to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of chocolate ganache on top of cake layer as you stack them with a large offset spatula, and spread 1/4 of the chocolate pudding on top of each layer of ganache.
  3. Cover the cake in a thin coat of chocolate ganache. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the ganache is firm to the touch.
  4. Add a second, thicker layer of chocolate ganache to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper. If desired, use an icing comb to create texture around the sides of the cake.
  5. Decorate as desired! I chose to use the crumbled cake tops and leftover pudding to cover the top of the cake, and placed some crumbs around the base. I also added on a chocolate ganache drip for fun!!

Notes

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Leftover ganache can also be stored in the fridge for up to 3 week! Either leave it in the bottle, or place it in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 445Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 62mgSodium 84mgCarbohydrates 59gFiber 2gSugar 40gProtein 7g

32 thoughts on “Chocolate Blackout Cake

  1. I want to try this but I just can’t stand to make chocolate cake without coffee/espresso! It just makes chocolate so much more chocolate!

    1. Haha I actually totally agree Lishia! But everytime I share a chocolate cake recipe with espresso or coffee, i get a ton of comments asking if they can omit it 😛 It’s the worst!

      I def support adding in some instant espresso to elevate the flavor 🙂

    1. Of course, I’m always happy to share! I think the texture is a lot better with cake flour, but you can use regular flour in its place!

  2. Both versions look gorgeous and I’m sure they taste delicious! What brand chocolate pudding do you use, as I find some to taste very artificial? I also usually make everything from scratch.

    1. Hi Desiree,

      I just use the Jello brand, but I grew up eating it so I’m pretty used to the flavor. I think Trader Joe’s and Whole foods carry some less artificial brands of instant pudding that might be a good alternative!! Or you can always make your own too 🙂

      I’d just say definitely make sure you like the taste of whatever pudding you end up using, since it’s such a dominant flavor inside the cake. Hope that helps, happy baking!!

  3. Hi Chelsey! I love all of your recipes (and so do my coworkers, when I share with them!) and it’s been so exciting and impressive to see you turn your passion into a full-time job. I hope you get to take some more time off this year to enjoy your success 🙂

    I went looking for your favorite chocolate cake recipes and would love to try this updated Blackout Cake. Do you think it would bake into cupcakes well, or would the cake flour make it a little too crumbly? Do you think this recipe would make about 24 cupcakes, or would it make more since it’s a 4 layer cake? Thank you so much!

    1. Aw thank you Grace!

      I think this recipe would probably make about 3 dozen cupcakes, because it’s a lot of batter! I’m not sure if they would bake well into cupcakes because I haven’t tried it before, but I feel like they should!

      If you try it, please let me know how it goes!! <3

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The bake time will be a bit longer with 6 inch cake pans, and you will probably have a bit of leftover ganache! But other than that you should be fine 🙂 Happy baking!

  4. is there a substitute for the black cocoa powder or do i need to hunt it down? i need a chocolate cake recipe that can hold a cookie crumb/fudge layer in between the cake layers

    1. Hi Daisy,

      You can use regular baking cocoa in place of the black cocoa! This cake recipe is pretty soft because of the cake flour in the recipe, but it should be able to handle a chocolate ganache / fudge filling. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  5. Help! I made this cake and my layers never rose. Flat as a pancake. Didn’t taste that fabulous either. Thought I followed the recipe. Any suggestions without having been there watching what I did. I’ve baked many cakes before and I’m at a total lose as to what went wrong. Even bought cake flour.

    1. Hi Anna,

      I’m so sorry to hear that! Is there a chance that the cake flour you used wasn’t self-rising?? Or what brand of self-rising cake flour did you use? That would be my first guess as to what went wrong :/ In terms of the taste, what type of cocoa powder did you use??

      Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this together, this is one of my favorite cake recipes! <3

    1. Hi Yasmeen,

      You can definitely do that instead! Just like I mention in my post, for every cup of self-rising flour that this recipe calls for, measure out 1 cup of cake flour, then add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.

      Hope that helps, happy baking! <3

    1. Hi Cate,

      I would recommend doubling the recipe to make 4, 9-inch cake layers. That should be just about perfect!! Hope that helps, happy baking!

  6. I made this cake tomorrow. It was so so tasty. I can’t even explain. Thank you so much for this amazing recipes. I have made this cake for my fiance to sorry him. Lol and this cake melts his heart. ? . So much love from Pakistan ??

  7. Hi
    According to the video there were two items you put on top on the chocolate pudding.
    Please let me know what it was. Was it chocolate crumbs and toffee etc
    Thank you

    1. Hi Carole,

      I just added a bit of extra pudding I had left over, and some of the cake tops that I reserved and crumbled up (same thing added around the base of the cake). Hope that helps, happy baking!

  8. Hello! I’m making a cake for Friday. I put the cakes in freezer last week and wanted to make the frosting on Wednesday. Could I frost the cake Wednesday and it not be dry and taste great for Friday or should I wait until Thursday?

    1. Hi Crystal,

      A frosted cake can stay good in the fridge for up to a week! As long as the frosting is completely covering the cake layers, it should lock in all the moisture, and the cake should stay nice and moist 🙂 I let cakes sit in the fridge overnight, or for a few days all the time! I usually leave my cakes just open in the fridge without a covering! It should be fine as long as you don’t have anything fragrant in your fridge (like fish or onions).

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

  9. Hey Chels!! My brother wants a two tiered chocolate cake for his wedding and I love this recipe but I was wondering would it be able to hold the top tier or
    If there wouldn’t be enough support and the sides could bludge out. Should I use your original Brooklyn blackout cake recipe?
    Thanks for your help 🙂

    1. Hi Jake,

      The ganache on this cake is surprisingly super sturdy, especially if you make a dark chocolate ganache! It should hold its shape just fine as long as it’s properly supported, and you pipe a ring of ganache on each cake layer to keep the pudding in place. I’d suggest using this recipe instead of my original Brooklyn Blackout cake. Hope that helps, happy baking 🙂

Let me know what you think!