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Dark Chocolate Valentine’s Cake

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  • Author: Elizabeth Buuck
  • Prep Time: 50
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Cake 1x


Extra rich dark chocolate cake paired with classic vanilla American buttercream and an easy, but super cute Valentine’s Day design.



For the Chocolate Cake

  • 2 C (250 g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 3/4 C (370 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 C (80 g) Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 C (230g) Buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C (100g) Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 C (215 g) Hot Coffee

For the Vanilla Buttercream

  • 2 C (4 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 8 C Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 46 TBSP Heavy Cream, at room temperature

Optional: Small Heart Sprinkles & Pink & Brown Food Coloring


For the Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and spray 3 8″ round cake pans with nonstick spray that contains flour. (You can also use 4 6″ round pans)
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • While continuing to mix, slowly pour in the hot coffee. Whisk quickly so that the hot coffee doesn’t start to cook the eggs.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined. Pour evenly into the prepared cake pans.
  • Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes, then wrap with plastic and place in the fridge to chill.

For the Vanilla Buttercream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 10 minutes. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl every couple of minutes.
  • After 10 minutes the butter should be silky smooth and almost white in color.
  • Mix in the salt and vanilla until combined.
  • Add the sifted powdered sugar 1/2 at a time, mixing for 3 minutes on low after each addition.
  • Add the heavy cream 1-2 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You want it thin enough to be spreadable, but thick enough that it still holds its shape when piped.
  • Do a final mix with a rubber spatula to remove any extra air bubbles.

Decorate the cake

  • Crumb coat the cake then pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
  • Apply the final coat of buttercream and smooth with a cake comb.
  • Color the leftover buttercream light and dark pink using pink and brown food coloring to achieve a muted pink tone.
  • Pipe “XO” all over the cake randomly with a small round tip.
  • Pipe stars and swirls on top of the cake and randomly around the sides.
  • Apply the small heart sprinkles in random clumps all over the cake. Use a tiny bit of buttercream on your finger to pick up and place the sprinkles.


You can make the layers up to 3 months ahead by baking, cooling, then wrapping in plastic and foil and freezing.

Make layers a day or two ahead and wrap in plastic and store in fridge until ready to frost.