• Chocolate layer cake with chocolate mousse icing (Petrina Tinslay)Source: Petrina Tinslay

This is the ultimate chocolate layer cake, it's super dense and moist, but not too sweet.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (83 votes)


  • 1¼ cups Dutch cocoa 
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2½ cups caster sugar
  • 3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 200 g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 quantity chocolate mousse icing
  • Dutch cocoa, for dusting

Chocolate mousse icing

  • 250 g unsalted butter softened
  • 200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), melted and allowed to cool
  • 300 ml thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chocolate mousse icing makes 3 cups

Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan-forced). Grease and line 2 x 20 cm deep round cake pans.

In a bowl, sift cocoa, flour and combine with sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low to combine.

In a large jug, combine eggs, water, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla essence. With the mixer on low gradually pour in the liquid ingredients and continue to beat for 2 minutes.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 cake pans and bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked when tested. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans.

To make the chocolate mousse icing, beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, add chocolate and continue to beat for 2 minutes.

In another bowl beat cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Add cream to the chocolate mixture and beat for a further 2 minutes.

Turn the cakes out and allow to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, trim the top of the cakes and then cut each cake evenly into 2 layers. Divide the chocolate mousse icing evenly between the layers and top of the cake. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.


the food dept. facts
• This recipe is also great for cupcakes, it makes approximately 24 good size cupcakes.
• For best results use the icing at room temperature as soon as it has been made. Icing can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Allow it to come back to room temperature and beat again until smooth.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.