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Dark-Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting

This dense cake offers an intense chocolate experience, complete with fudgy frosting.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 16
Dark-Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting

Source: Everyday Food, October 2008


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Dark-Chocolate Ganache


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Line bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in chocolate and vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in three parts and buttermilk in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

  3. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pans 15 minutes; run a knife around edge of each pan, and invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. Set a rimmed baking sheet upside down on a work surface. Place one cake on sheet, and spread top with 1/3 of ganache. Place second cake on top, and spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Using two wide metal spatulas, carefully transfer frosted cake to a serving platter.

Reviews (45)

  • VickiR52 13 Sep, 2014

    Other reviewers have called this cake "dry." I read the reviews while it was in the oven (at 325 degrees) so I removed it early, and it is not dry, exactly. It's ... powdery. It's moist enough, but the crumb is all wrong. It doesn't hold together well. When I cut it, the crumbs were very small and there were a lot of them, and mouthfeel is weird. Maybe the cocoa didn't dissolve? That doesn't make sense. Anyway, I'm not serving it to my guests, but I'll freeze it for family use with ice cream.

  • angdrew 13 Feb, 2014

    We just finished this up, AMAZING CAKE!! This will be our go to recipe. We just baked it about 10 minutes less, and spooned it into the pan, & spread it even. It was picture perfect when we flipped it out. Will definitly use over again.

  • misspolished 9 Jan, 2014

    This cake is extremely dry!!! I get that it is supposed to be a dense dark chocolate cake but it is so much to the point that it makes it tragically dry. I am not even sure why it comes out so dry, but I am guessing the lack of milk maybe. I was expecting it to come out moist and dense, like a brownie but this was just not good. Maybe it's ok with a huge scoop of ice cream to make it go down...i don't know. Other than a good chocolate flavor, this cake was not impressive.

  • Rebecca A 5 Jan, 2014

    I lovingly made this for my boyfriend's birthday and followed directions to a tee, but it was so dry. Disappointed in the dryness.

  • April Barker 27 Nov, 2013

    My cake was ruined too. Waayyyyy too dry. And the ganache - I love ganache but in my opinion this was too bitter. Unfortunately I am dumping it ALL. :( Very disappointed.

  • Rachelglen 25 Nov, 2013

    This cake has a delicious, rich chocolate flavour & the ganache is outstanding. Unfortunately, the baking time listed is FAR too long & resulted in a seriously dried out cake. I'd suggest baking it for 20-25 minutes. I was so disappointed have ruined the cake for something as simple as baking time. Wish I had read followed my instincts & not the recipe!

  • Seattle Guy 3 Nov, 2013

    Made this cake today, triple checked the recipe. Batter was very thick and did not pour out of bowl. Baked for 40 minutes and tested done. Cake was very dry and not good. The ganache frosting was good. Will use that frosting, but will keep searching for a good chocolate cake recipe, this one isn't it.

  • ShanaandCo 25 Sep, 2013

    I haven't had a forkful of this quite yet but can't resist commenting. I used 9" pans, dropped the temp a bit to 325 because my oven can be hot, and in 22 minutes, the toothpick test showed me it was done. I expected it to be less time because it was a little thinner, but this was much less time. So watch carefully, the posted time is no doubt too long with all the earlier "dry" comments.

  • Vanilla_Bean 16 Jun, 2013

    Really good. This cake got devoured in no time.
    I baked it about 5 minutes less than what the recipe called for, because a lot of people were complaining about how dry the cake was.

  • Sannoma St 5 Mar, 2013


  • Holtzy24 4 Mar, 2013

    This is by far the best chocolate cake recipe I use. I bake all my cakes at 325 and adjust the time accordingly. If you use a heating element in your pans and adjust the bake time to work with your oven, this cake is not dry at all. It is very dense, almost brownie like. Amazing!

  • Lim Waiwai 29 Oct, 2012

    Can i beat the batter without mixer but by hand instead?

  • KidsKake 1 Sep, 2012

    I made this cake yesterday, and only read the reviews once I had finished the mixture and was about to put it in the tins. It was at that point I noticed the mixture was nowhere near
    Fluid enough to pour into the cake tins, which seemed to match others complaints of it being far too dry. So using a hand mixer, I proceeded to add two shots of espresso of 90ml each and about 1/3 cup more milk (full cream milk, not buttermilk). The end result was delicious and not too dry at all. Yummy!

  • september 15 Jun, 2012

    I haven't used this exact recipe but I make one just like it. After reading reviews about the dryness, I would like to share the liquid ingredients in the cake that I make:
    1 1/2 c. hot brewed coffee, 1 1/2 c. buttermilk, 3/4 c vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 3 c sugar, 2 1/2 c flour, 1 1/2 c cocoa, 3/4 tsp BP, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 c fine quality semi-sweet chocolate. I make this every year for my daughter's birthday.......expensive but well worth it!

  • ElleDeeAye 2 Jun, 2012

    I'm a novice baker so I followed the recipe very closely without making any adjustments. My family loved the icing but everyone agreed that the cake was simply too dry. Great flavor but absolutely no moisture. Like another reviewer said- I ended up serving it with ice cream to offset the dryness. Unfortunately I didn't read the reviews before making the cake or I would have avoided the recipe all together. On a positive note, I really loved the ganache and definitely will make that again!

  • 5foxyrun 22 Jan, 2012

    How I wished I had read the reviews before making this cake. I like to cook and do not consider myself a novice in the kitchen. Tried of my fail proof chocolate cake I opt to make this one. Dry cake, very dry. I had to serve Hit with ice cream. The ganache whipped up beautifully but it was to cold to spread. I let sit out and still had trouble spreading it on the cake. {Not to mention the $20.00 on just the bittersweet chocolate} Still learning

  • lacelace 19 Jan, 2012

    I followed this recipe to a tee and though the icing was divine, the cake was horrible. It was dry and taste like flour. I was too embarrassed to serve it to anyone so I trashed the whole thing. I had such high hopes! Oh well, money and time down the drain.

  • st-jean-baptiste 26 Dec, 2011

    thank you..

  • st-jean-baptiste 26 Dec, 2011

    thank you..

  • st-jean-baptiste 26 Dec, 2011

    thank you..

  • eviechec 15 Dec, 2011

    For the frosting I used the Quick Chocolate Frosting recipe instead of the Ganache - since I needed something I could find all of the ingrediants for and it worked really well with the cake.

  • eviechec 15 Dec, 2011

    Just wanted to say that I baked this cake in Uganda, using local ingredients, without an electric beater (I used a wire whisk), in a gas oven with the temperature reading in celcius instead of farenheit and it turned out amazing! It was the first chocolate cake I've ever made - I made it for my husband's birthday since its not possible to buy cake mix here and everyone loved it. It was very rich and delicious. Thanks so much to whoever posted this recipe!

  • allymm74 28 Nov, 2011

    I baked this cake for my husband's birthday, we both agreed it was a little dry and too dense, almost like a cakey brownie. Although we were not happy with that, the ganache was really great.

  • yaelumba 26 Sep, 2011

    This cake turn out absolutely delicious! Everyone loved it! I made a few modifications, though: First, I made it with three layers instead of two, secondly, I used some rum to moist the cake and thirdly I added a thin layer of strawberry marmalade between layers (along with the ganache). But most important of all, I let it rest 24 hours before serving, so it was rich and moist.

  • dixiek 12 Sep, 2011

    I know some have said they had issues with the texture and flavour of the cake and icing but mine was DIVINE! My guests couldn't stop raving about it and none of us could stop eating it. It was beyond worth the effort and time.

  • chandrachase 30 Jun, 2011

    I made this cake in June 2011. The cake was dry and sumwhat flavor-less (no, I did not over cook it). The frosting wasn't chocolately, that is hard to say after I put tons of chocolate in it, but it didnt taste right. The household of four people all agree that something was "off" with this cake. Considering it took a lot of time to make, with odd ingredients that I had to go to the store for... it WAS NOT WORTH YOUR TIME!

  • stefhilton 29 May, 2011

    I tried this recipe wit regular cocoa powder and 9 inch pans. The batter was glue consistency and the cake turned out dry. Thankfully I incorporated a raspberry glaze and lemon curd layer. The ganache was heavenly.

  • KayEsEm 8 Apr, 2011

    This recipe is amazing. When I made it, everyone loved it. it was the best cake i have ever made. It turned out exactly as expected: rich, dense and dark. Simply brilliant!

  • KatieBugg 7 Apr, 2011

    I made this for my son's birthday. The chocolate flavor is great, I know it is a dense cake, but it came out dry & I really wanted a moist cake. My son loved it.

  • Smoothis 6 Apr, 2011

    Where are the ingredients and recipe for the ganache?

  • KayEsEm 11 Mar, 2011

    Sounds Good!

  • fafari 21 Feb, 2011

    i loved it.perfect

  • leepers 8 Feb, 2011

    I wonder if scoring holes in the cake and adding kahlua, irish cream, cointreau, or grand marnier would add more to this cake? Also, added to the frosting?

    I believe, that 250 grams of butter is just a little more than 1 cup of butter.

  • Anne7211 8 Feb, 2011

    What is the best recipe for a super moist chocolate cake? I used to have this recipe for a chocolate mayonnaise cake, which was really really good!

  • mbcoombs 26 Sep, 2010

    I was very disappointed in this recipe. I agree with another contributor's comment: It produced a very, very, dry cake with a brownie-like tough top that fell apart while removing from the pans. I would never make it again.

  • marzsuhaimmx 15 Sep, 2010

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

    I cup unsalted butter does it equivalent to 250gm ??? Please xplain to me.... Regards....
    Marz Suhaimmx

  • stephmonster87 10 Sep, 2010

    Honestly I prefer this Vegan recipe, I'm not even Vegan I just love it

  • diana1664 21 Jul, 2010

    Unfortunately, this recipe is not a splendid as MS, herself. And I'm surprised she allowed it to be on her website. I baked this cake the night before my mother-in-law's birthday, and served a dry cake for the celebration.
    I am an avid baker and use discretion with baking times as I consider varying oven temps. I checked it after 35 minutes, and the cake was not done. Though, the full 40 minutes produced a dry cake with brownie like crust around the rim.

  • Gamila 29 Apr, 2010

    you'r a marvelous person.I learned much from hand crafts,recipes and organize the house.thanks alot

  • Jotreats 15 Apr, 2010

    I agree with saucier-rob that the cake is delicious if you don't overbake it. I baked the cake for 30 minutes and it was perfect. I also used Martha Stewarts' ganance frosting recipe instead of the one that goes with this cake. All that confectionary sugar doesn't make sense and creates too thick of a frosting. With a few modifications the cake turned out yummy!

  • JamesNet 26 Mar, 2010

    I agree with EWjunk - this cake was WAY too dry - and I too did not over bake it. When I got done mixing together the batter, it was like thick mud, and the resulting cake was like a dry brownie. I ended up throwing the whole thing out because it was simply unedible. This is a major FAIL of a recipe. And a waste of $25 for me.

  • Jenniffrm 21 Jul, 2009

    My husband and my kids were in the mood for chocolate cake and then I cam across this recipe and everyone like the way it look. So I made it and I got rave reviews from my kids, but since my husband is not a chocoholic he was not pleased. He enjoyed it but probably won't have seconds.

  • sniglar 21 Feb, 2009

    I made this cake for my husbands b-day party and it was a great hit. All the cake was gone.

  • EWjunk 4 Nov, 2008

    I found this cake disappointingly dry and crumbly - great flavor but not moist enough (it was not overbaked). I found the ganache "too much" - everyone I served this cake to said the ganache was delicious but left half of it on their plates. It's just too rich and too much of it. Normally a ganache is a thin coating on a dessert, not a huge plop on top of it! Also, it might cut some of the richness if one used a sweeter chocolate than bittersweet.

  • saucier-rob 17 Oct, 2008

    Delicious cake, especially the frosting. When baking the cake, I noticed that my cake was finished much sooner than 40 minutes, more like 35.

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