What is not to love about this phenomenal cake?  A delicious, triple chocolate devil’s food cake with chocolate chunks folded in to the batter, layered with a fluffy marshmallow frosting.  For the finishing touch, one of the cake layers is crumbled and used to coat the outside of the frosted cake.  This is great because not only does it look awesome, it is probably the most no-fuss cake decorating I’ve ever done.  No need to worry about a smooth frosting job here – just throw on some cake crumbs and you’re done!

I did hit a snag while baking this cake though.  The original recipe recommends baking the cake in two 8-inch pans and then halving the cakes horizontally to end up with four layers.  I only have 9-inch cake pans, so initially that was what I used.  However, once out of the oven I determined that the layers were too thin to be halved (well, it could have been done, but I wanted them to look thicker) so I ended up baking two more layers, essentially doubling the cake recipe.  This ended up giving me just the look I was going for of a nice, tall cake, so I have altered the recipe below to reflect these changes.  However, if you have 8-inch pans, you can go that route (just halving the amount of cake batter.)

It seemed when the Tuesdays With Dorie group blogged about this cake, many of the members did not like the frosting.  Consequently, I wasn’t expecting to like it either, especially since I’m not a huge marshmallow fan but I wanted to at least try it.  I actually ended up loving it!  It was fun to make and had a fantastic thick, sticky-sweet texture.  It was definitely a hit all around, and one of my friends remarked that the combination of the cake and frosting made this taste like a giant Hostess cupcake!  My only comment is that if you want the frosting between the cake layers to be as thick as they are on the cover of Dorie’s book, I think you’ll need to increase the batch by 50-100%.  However, I really think that would be overkill and I think the current proportions of cake to frosting are just right.

WBW pic

I’m submitting this blog entry to the Got Milk? blog event hosted by Linda at  Make Life Sweeter.  Got Milk? is a blog event featuring any sweet item containing milk in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.  I think this is a very important cause to recognize.  If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you may remember my entry from last year when Andrew was only one month old.  At that time, breastfeeding was still incredibly difficult and challenging for me.  However, I’m happy to report that we made it to 11 months of exclusive nursing and even now at 13 months, we still nurse occasionally.  I know that not everyone is able to breastfeed and I also know how difficult it can be, but when it works out it is truly a wonderful thing.  So, I give you this delicious sweet treat in honor of breastfeeding.

  • Yield 1 large 9-inch, triple layer cake


For the cake:
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
20 tbsp. unsalted butter (2½ sticks), at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup boiling water
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the filling and frosting:
½ cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    To make the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350° F.  Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment or wax paper.  Grease and flour the edges of the pans; set aside.

  • 02

    Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add the sugars and beat for 3 more minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate.  When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix just until ingredients are incorporated.  The batter will be thick.  Working at low speed, mix in the boiling water (the batter will thin out).  Scrape down the bowl and fold in the chopped chocolate with a rubber spatula.

  • 03

    Divide the cake batter into four equal portions.  (I like to use four drinking glasses of the same size to accomplish this, to help ensure that all the cake layers will be the same size.)  Use two of the portions to fill the prepared cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge and turn the cakes out of the pans onto the wire rack and let cool completely.  Meanwhile, clean out the cake pans, reline them with paper and grease and flour the edges.  Bake the remaining portions of batter as before, and cool on a wire rack when finished.

  • 04

    To prepare the filling and frosting, place the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl.  Have a candy thermometer at hand.

  • 05

    Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.  Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242° F on the thermometer.  While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.  When the syrup is at about 235° F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment.  If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up.  With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, making sure to pour it between the beater and the side of the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.  You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting.  It is best used immediately.

  • 06

    To assemble the cake, crumble one of the cake layers into a medium bowl.  Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cardboard cake circle.  Spread a generous layer of frosting on top.  Top with a  second layer of cake, and again frost generously.  Finish with the third layer of cake.  Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting (no need to frost neatly, since the cake will be covered in crumbs).  Sprinkle the top and sides of the entire cake with the cake crumbles, gently pressing the pieces into the frosting.  Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving.