Decadent, fudgy, and delicious, my Double-Layered Chocolate Cake with Roasted Berries and Mocha Buttercream is a real show-stopper. If you’re in the market for a cake to satisfy the chocoholics in your life, you can stop your scrolling; this is it! 

overhead shot of double layered chocolate cake on a golden platter with a slice taken out. THe cake is garnished with roasted berries and frosted in mocha buttercream.     

Do you ever really need an excuse to eat chocolate? I know I don’t. This decadent double chocolate layer cake is flavored with hints of coffee and topped with jammy roasted blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries for a dessert that is sure to wow.

About This Recipe

This delectable cake is inspired by Ina Garten’s double chocolate layer cake recipe, which has been my go-to, no-fail, exceptionally moist chocolate cake for years. The buttermilk keeps the cake moist and light, and the bit of coffee in the cake and frosting keeps the sweetness in check.

This layered chocolate cake is inspired by Ina’s classic recipe, but with a few tweaks, plus the addition of roasted berries for another dimension of deliciousness. You might recognize the roasted berries concept – I recently made a similar filling for these Chocolate Skull Cakes and these Buñuelo Berry Muffin Cups. The combination of chocolate, coffee, and sticky, sweet-tart berries makes for a rustic yet elegant centerpiece for any celebratory occasion.

One thing I love about this recipe is that it calls for mostly humble ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. As a result, this tasty and beautiful chocolate layer cake is actually quite affordable to make – even considering recent grocery inflation! You can also feel free to break up the recipe into smaller tasks instead of trying to complete everything in one go.

The cakes can be baked, wrapped well in plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to 2 months. The roasted berries can be made and stored in a clean, airtight container for up to a week in the fridge, or up to 2 months in the freezer. I would recommend making mocha buttercream the day you are ready to frost. 

Aside from being easy-to-make, perfect for making in advance, and inexpensive, this layered chocolate cake recipe is also pretty customizable. You can swap out the berries for your own favorite mix, or use frozen berries if they aren’t in season. You also have the option of turning this layer cake into mocha cupcakes or a 3-layer 6-inch cake instead. It really just depends on the look that you’re going for.

Ingredients & Optional Substitutions

As I mentioned before, this easy chocolate layer cake recipe requires mostly pantry ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Berries – I used a combination of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, but any berries will do! Feel free to swap in frozen berries if fresh are out of season or prohibitively expensive.
  • Granulated Sugar – Plain ol’ white sugar is all you need!
  • Vanilla Bean & Pure Vanilla Extract – While you are welcome to use just vanilla extract (or paste), the addition of vanilla bean to the roasted berries adds a lot of depth of flavor. I also happen to love the pretty black flecks it adds to the berry syrup.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Don’t you love it when cake recipes don’t call for special cake flour?!? Me too.
  • Cocoa Powder – If possible, reach for Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is less bitter than regular. Any cocoa or cacao powder will work, though!
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder – Yes, you need both. No, they are not interchangeable.
  • Kosher Salt – Often considered the gold standard for cooking, kosher salt has larger flakes than table salt or sea salt, making it less salty by volume. If you are using a different kind of salt, please refer to this useful salt conversion chart.
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds both tenderness and tang to the layered chocolate cake without adding a ton of fat. If you don’t have any on hand, make your own by adding about a teaspoon of acid (like lemon juice or white vinegar) to each cup of regular (or plant-based) milk, then give it a stir and let it sit to coagulate for about 5 minutes before using.
  • Vegetable Oil – Any neutral-flavored oil will work well here; vegetable, canola, corn, grapeseed, avocado, or even peanut oil will do the trick. Just be sure to keep food allergies in mind!
  • Eggs & Egg Yolk – Adding an egg yolk to the mocha buttercream increases the sumptuous mouthfeel. Remember that eggs are easiest to separate when they are fresh from the fridge, but they should then be allowed to come to room temperature before adding to batter or frosting. 
  • Freshly Brewed Hot Coffee & Instant Coffee Powder – Feel free to use instant coffee powder to make your hot coffee; the temperature is what is most important here. Instant espresso will also do the trick. Opt for decaf if needed, though you should note that both decaf coffee and chocolate have some caffeine in them.
  • Dark Chocolate – When it comes to chocolate, quality is key. Get the best quality that you can afford, and make sure to reach for brands that list cocoa butter rather than vegetable oil. You can also swap in semi-sweet or milk chocolate if you prefer.
  • Unsalted Butter – You can’t make a mocha buttercream without butter!
  • Confectioners’ Sugar – If you don’t have any on hand, don’t fret. You can make your own using granulated sugar, cornstarch, and a food processor.

How to Make this Chocolate Cake

Before you get intimidated by the length of the instructions, remember that this decadent layered chocolate cake with mocha buttercream and roasted berries can be broken up into 4 smaller steps to make it more attainable.

berries in a white roasting pan with some fresh berries and a vanilla bean on the side.

Step 1: Roast Berries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place berries in a baking dish and toss with sugar and vanilla bean and seeds. Roast for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature before filling or topping the cake.

Make-Ahead Tip: Roasted berries will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to two months!

Step 2: Make Cake

Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, then lightly spray parchment and flour the pans.

Mix Dry Ingredients: Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.

Mix Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Combine Wet & Dry: With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool: Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Make-Ahead Tip: Cakes can be baked, cooled, wrapped well in plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to 2 months.

2 layers of chocolate cake cooling on a rack.

Step 3: Make Mocha Buttercream Frosting

Melt Chocolate: Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water or you’ll risk scorching the chocolate. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Cream Butter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add Egg: Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.

Add Powdered Sugar: Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.

Add Coffee & Chocolate: Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until *just* blended. Don’t whip or it might separate!

spooning roasted berries on the first layer of the chocolate cake.

Assemble

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, add a thin layer of roasted berries and reserve the remainder for topping. Place the second layer on the top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Add a rustic mound of roasted berries on top, then enjoy!

whole double layered chocolate cake with mocha buttercream and topped with roasted berries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen berries?

Absolutely! And as an added bonus, you don’t even have to defrost them first. Just add on an extra 2-3 minutes of roasting time.

Can I make the layered chocolate cake without dairy?

Sure! Simply swap in your favorite non-dairy milk substitute and turn it into “buttermilk” by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar, then giving it a stir and a 5 minute rest before proceeding with the recipe.

Can I make the mocha buttercream without dairy?

Yep! Use your favorite non-dairy butter substitute.

Can I make this layered chocolate cake ahead of time?

Yes, and no. Each component of the cake can be made ahead of time. However, since we are using half of the roasted berries as the cake filling, you shouldn’t assemble the cake until up to 4 hours before serving.

close up shot of a single slice of double layered chocolate cake with roasted berries and mocha buttercream to show the moist texture of the cake.

More Delicious Dessert Recipes

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45 degree angle shot of chocolate cake with roasted berries and mocha buttercream after a slice was removed.

double layered chocolate cake with mocha buttercream and roasted berries on a gold cake stand.

Double-Chocolate Layer Cake with Roasted Berries & Mocha Buttercream

5 (1 rating)
Decadent, fudgy, and delicious, my Double-Layered Chocolate Cake with Roasted Berries and Mocha Buttercream is a real show-stopper. If you're in the market for a cake to satisfy the chocoholics in your life, you can stop your scrolling; this is it! 

Ingredients

Roasted Berries:

  • 6 ounces blueberries
  • 6 ounces blackberries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Vanilla bean, split and seeds removed

Cake:

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 7 ounces dark chocolate,
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature, 2 sticks
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Instructions 

Roasted Berries:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Place blueberries and blackberries in a baking dish and toss with sugar and vanilla bean and seeds.
  • Roast for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature before filling or topping cake.

Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, then lightly spray parchment and flour the pans.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, add a thin layer of roasted berries and reserve the remainder for topping.
  • Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
  • Add a rustic mound of roasted berries on top.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Notes

  • You can use any mix of berries that you like.  Feel free to swap in frozen if needed – no need to defrost them first.
Calories: 946kcal, Carbohydrates: 119g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 51g, Saturated Fat: 34g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 825mg, Potassium: 530mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 85g, Vitamin A: 916IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 112mg, Iron: 6mg