This chocolate cake is the perfect balance of rich and slightly tart. It’s smothered in a silky blackberry buttercream with homemade blackberry jam between each layer. What I love most about this chocolate cake recipe is how easy it is to sink your fork into. It’s incredibly soft, moist, and full of chocolate flavor.
Ingredients for the best chocolate cake
Making the perfect homemade chocolate cake is simple, but it all comes down to the ingredients. It’s important to use quality ingredients to create a rich, dark, and flavorful chocolate cake.
The most important ingredient in this and any chocolate cake is the cocoa powder. Whenever I’m baking anything chocolate, I always use cocoa powder by Rodelle. Their baking cocoa is dutch processed, giving it a rich color and flavor that enhances any chocolate dessert.
For this recipe, I used the Rodelle Organic Baking Cocoa. It’s incredibly rich and what I love most is how I don’t have to sift it like I would with every other cocoa powder. This Organic Baking Cocoa is smooth with no clumps and seamlessly blends into the batter.
The two other star ingredients in this chocolate cake are the buttermilk and oil. If I’m ever baking a cake that isn’t plain vanilla, I typically use oil. The reason being is that it makes any cake SO moist. The downside is that if there’s no other flavor in the cake, like chocolate, you will be able to taste the oil.
Lastly, the buttermilk keeps this cake super soft. It’s the type of cake where your knife just glides right through when cutting yourself a slice. The acidity of the buttermilk helps break down the gluten strands to create a tender and moist chocolate cake.
What makes this a simple chocolate cake recipe
This is such an easy chocolate cake recipe. The batter basically consists of three simple steps and it’s so quick to make.
Using the reverse creaming method to ensure a tender cake, you start by whisking together all of the dry ingredients, including the sugar.
In another bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients minus the hot water. Mix the wet into the dry until it’s almost blended. Finally, mix in the hot water. This helps enhance the chocolate flavor.
The finished batter will be very thin. Pour it into 3 round 8 inch baking pans, greased and lined with parchment paper on the bottom.
I like to bake mine using cake strips which prevent the edges of the cake from baking too quickly, causing a dome shaped cake. The strips keep the cakes nice and even so there’s no need to level them off when assembling the cake.
How to make homemade blackberry jam
Before we even get to the chocolate cake, the very first step in this recipe is to make the blackberry jam. This is spread between each layer and also mixed into the buttercream.
It’s very easy to make but takes some patience. Add 3 cups of blackberries to a saucepan along with 1/4 cup of sugar and the juice of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp).
On medium heat, cook down the berries until they start to break apart. You can help them along with carefully mashing them with your mixing spoon. Keep mixing until the berries are completely broken down and the mixture starts to thicken. This takes about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. Then, push the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. You’ll really have to press it through the strainer as there’s tons of pulp and seeds to work through.
Place the jam into a container and let it cool in the fridge before using.
How to make blackberry Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
For this recipe, I chose to work with a blackberry Swiss meringue buttercream. It requires a couple extra steps as opposed to the typical American buttercream which primarily consists of butter and powdered sugar.
Swiss meringue buttercream is a whipped mixture of egg whites and sugar, and then butter is added later. It creates a very stable buttercream that holds strong when chilled. It’s also silkier than American buttercream and not as sweet which is another reason why I opted for this technique.
Start by mixing together the egg whites and sugar in a heat safe bowl. Over a pot of simmering water, NOT boiling, whisk the egg whites and sugar together until they reach 160F. It’s ready when you can no longer feel any sugar granules in the mixture.
To make this easy, I used the metal bowl of my stand mixture for the egg white mixture. Once the eggs are heated properly, I just pop it back on the stand mixer for the next step. With the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high until you reach stiff peaks.
Working with room temperature butter and the mixer on low, add one tablespoon at a time until each are fully mixed in. Then, mix in 3 tablespoons of the blackberry jam.
It’s important for your butter be at the perfect temperature. If the butter is too warm, you’ll end up with a soupy buttercream. Luckily it’s an easy fix. Just pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes then whip again. It should thicken and come together.
If the butter is too cold, your buttercream will turn out curdled and lumpy. Just kick up the mixing speed and whip a little bit longer until the buttercream smooths out.
Assembling the blackberry chocolate cake
Once the cake, blackberry jam, and blackberry buttercream are prepared, it’s time to assemble. First, start with the cake.
If you didn’t use cake strips when baking, you might have uneven layers. If that’s the case, use a cake leveler to even out the tops. This is important because we need the layers to stack flat against each other for a symmetrical cake.
Between each cake, spread an even layer of the blackberry buttercream. Then spread about 1 tablespoon of the blackberry jam on top.
Repeat this process until you reach the top. Do not add blackberry jam to the very top of the cake.
Place the cake in the fridge for about 5 minutes so the center layers can set.
Evenly coat the entire outside of the cake in buttercream then use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides. For the more naked look like I did here, keep scraping until the chocolate layers start to peak through.
Smear very tiny amounts of the blackberry jam all along the outside of the cake then scrape again. If you added too much jam, add more buttercream then scrape until you reach the blended look seen here.
Top with the chocolate cake drip. Simply heat the cream in the microwave then pour it over the chopped chocolate. Mix it together until smooth then pour it over the cake.
For more delicious chocolate desserts, check out my:
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram or comment below if you make this Blackberry Chocolate Cake. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print