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Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Cake with Kahlua Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Updated on August 25, 2011
A decadent slice of three-layer cake filled with Kahlua flavored buttercream.
A decadent slice of three-layer cake filled with Kahlua flavored buttercream.

With a friend's birthday fast approaching, I had to figure out what I was baking for the occasion. I was planning on continuing my Starbucks Via coffee theme with this baking project, but my first attempt was not so successful. My second thought was to make Ina Garten's chocolate buttercream frosting (and I still plan on doing that at some point), but as soon as I saw a picture of this particular cake, I knew it was what I wanted despite its lack of anything coffee related. Of course, I could not help but add a little in the form of Kahlua...

The result? A delicious cake that got rave reviews. I was told by many of my friends that I should open a bakery after they had a bite of this one. And I may have had to slip myself a few pieces as well. And I saved the layer scraps... and a few dollops of frosting... you might just understand once you try this for yourself.

Recipe Source: Food Network


3 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 2/3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder

Fudge Cake

The best part about this cake? It is moist and not too sweet (to counteract the sweet frosting). This recipe makes enough batter for 3 nine inch circular cake pans, but you can choose how many layers you would like to make for your masterpiece. The only tricky thing about this cake is that it is a layer cake. You could choose to do without the layers to avoid the trouble of leveling and stacking them, but even a novice can manage with a few tips from the internet (as this novice did).

PICTURE ONE: Preheat the oven to 350 F

PICTURE TWO: Oil and flour three 9" circular cake pans.

PICTURE THREE: In large bowl, combine brown sugar and oil.

PICTURE FOUR: With beaters on low speed, mix in eggs.

PICTURE FIVE: In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

PICTURE SIX: In another separate bowl, combine milk and vanilla extract.

PICTURE SEVEN: Add flour and milk mixtures in small batches to the egg mixture, alternating mixtures, starting and ending with flour.

PICTURE EIGHT: In another separate bowl (I ended up running two loads of dishes through the dishwasher at the end of this recipe), put cocoa. Bring water to full boil and pour over cocoa, mixing until smooth (use a fork to mix as this makes a thick paste).

PICTURE NINE: Add chocolate mixture to batter with beaters on medium speed. Make sure to scrape bowl sides to make sure everything is combined.

PICTURE TEN: Divide chocolate batter into your three cake pans. Smooth batter to make sure level is even (HINT: I used a large ladle to spoon the batter into the pans to guarantee even layers). Bake layers for 15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on counter top, then remove layers from pans and refrigerate.


1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) sweet butter, soft
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

4 tablespoons Kahlua!

Kahlua Buttercream Frosting

As if buttercream is not decadent enough, add a little alcohol and this cake will get the party started! You can stick with the vanilla frosting in the original recipe, but where is the fun in that?

PICTURE ONE: In LARGE bowl, with beaters on low, cream butter and add powdered sugar (it helps to add powder sugar slowly). Once completely combined, add vanilla extract and Kahlua. Turn beaters up to medium or high and keep beating until smooth and creamy (takes a few minutes).

PICTURE TWO: Take your cake layers out of the fridge and use a large knife to level them. I followed these tips on how to trim cake layers. Make sure they are as even as possible, but do not worry if you make a few mistakes.

PICTURE THREE: Using a large, flat serving spatula, spread buttercream on the top of your bottom layer.

PICTURE FOUR: Place your next layer on top of your buttercream layer and then put more buttercream on top of that. If your layer has some imperfections, you can add more buttercream to even everything out, as you can see I had to do in the picture to the right.

PICTURE FIVE: Place your final layer on top and cover the entire cake with a thin crumb coat of buttercream. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes for frosting to set.


1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache

Who knew making ganache was so easy? A few ingredients and a few minutes and you are ready to go.

PICTURE ONE: In small bowl, place chocolate chips and corn syrup.

PICTURE TWO: Bring heavy cream to a bowl.

PICTURE THREE: Remove cream from heat and immediately pour over chocolate chips. The heat of the cream will slowly melt the chocolate chips.

PICTURE FOUR: Again, using a fork, combine chocolate mixture until it has reached a dark brown color throughout.

PICTURE FIVE: Pour your ganache over the cake, letting it spill over the sides.

PICTURE SIX: Smooth ganache, encouraging more chocolate to fall over the sides. Spread evenly so that entire cake is completely covered. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 4 years ago from London

      Amazing, I would love some of this!

    • greatlove profile image

      greatlove 6 years ago from Beaufort, NC

      The cakes looks yummy good! Nice hub and pics.

    • profile image

      Erin 6 years ago

      It's a really good thing I live 3000 miles away, because if I didn't, this cake would be gone in a second. And by gone, I mean in my belly. Mmmmmmmm.....

    • kriti dugar profile image

      kriti dugar 6 years ago

      Would surely try it. Tx for sharing. And ya !! very nicely written hub with photo illustrations - Liked your presentation.

      Here is one of my fav recipes.. thought of sharing with you

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds and looks like a wonderfully delicious cake! Just looking at the photos made me wish that I could have a piece of the cake right now. Thanks for the recipe and instructions.