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Death by Chocolate cake closeup of decadent dessert chocolate ganache.

Death by Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Carlos Leo
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16-20 servers 1x


Death by Chocolate Cake has three layers of delicious chocolate cake that melts in your mouth. Each cake layer is further moistened by brushing on a raspberry jam & brandy sauce, then stacked between a chocolate filling, and surrounded and topped with a rich dark chocolate ganache. Don't forget the chocolate curls on top!

Adapted from Martha Day’s cookbook “Glorious Desserts.”


Units Scale

For the Cake:

  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. I prefer to use vanilla bean paste. Click to order on
  • 2 separated eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

 For the filling:

 For the topping: whipped chocolate ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chips

 For the chocolate curls:

  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz. white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and line the bottom of a deep 9-inch springform cake pan.

 To make the cake batter:

  1. Place the chocolate chips, butter, and milk in a saucepan. Heat gently until smooth. Remove from the heat, beat in the sugar, instant coffee, and vanilla, then cool.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and cream in a bowl, then beat into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the chocolate mixture and fold in.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff; fold into the chocolate batter.
  5. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Carefully slice the cold cake into thirds across the middle to make three even layers.

 To make the filling & ensemble:

  1. Warm the raspberry jam in a small saucepan, with 1 Tablespoon of brandy. Then brush all of it on two of the layers. Note: Brush into the side of the cake that is cut.
  2. Heat the remaining brandy in a saucepan with the chocolate and butter, stirring, until smooth. Cool until it begins to thicken.
  3. Spread the bottom cake layer with half of the chocolate filling, taking care not to disturb the jam-brushed filling.
  4. Top the bottom cake layer with a second cake layer, jam side up, and spread with the remaining filling. Top with the final layer and press lightly. Let set.

 Make and apply the ganache topping:

  1. Heat the cream and chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted. Pour into a bowl, let cool, then whisk until mixture begins to hold its shape.
  2. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate ganache.
  3. Decorate with the semi-sweet chocolate curls and white chocolate shards.

 How to make chocolate shards & curls.

  1. Place a small baking sheet in the refrigerator one hour before or in the freezer 15 minutes before.
  2. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, in a small bowl.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the baking sheet. Spread the chocolate evenly and thinly until hardened. If needed, set it in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  • For Curls: Starting from the edge and using a spatula, scrape chocolate into curls. If chocolate is too hard, let it sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 minutes. If it gets too soft, return it to the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  • For Shards: Allow to fully harden in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Crack into shard pieces.


Vitamin A 16%, Vitamin C 1%, Calcium 11%, Iron 12%, Vitamin B12 2%, Vitamin E 3%, Vitamin K 5%

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 449
  • Sugar: 34.6 g
  • Sodium: 191 mg
  • Fat: 28.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49 g
  • Fiber: 2.9 g
  • Protein: 4.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 57.4 mg

Keywords: chocolate cake, decadent dessert, chocolate, cake recipe, layer cake, 3 layer cake

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