Charles Kelley's Layered Chocolate Cake

Charles' favorite Christmas treat is a 10-layer cake his cousins make. Here’s a two-layer recipe you’ll love!

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Cook Time: 30 mins | Yield: Serves 12



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Chocolate icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • Garnish (optional) -- 5 -8 strawberries, sliced


Cake: Grease two 8-inch (2L) springform pans or grease two 8-inch (1.2 L) round metal cake pans and line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With wooden spoon, stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk. Spoon into prepared pans, smoothing tops.

Bake in center of 350°F (180°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on racks for 20 minutes. Remove from pans; let cool completely on racks. (Make-ahead: Wrap layers separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.) Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers.

Chocolate Icing: In bowl, beat butter until fluffy; gradually beat in cream. Beat in vanilla. Beat in icing sugar, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time. Beat in melted chocolate until fluffy and smooth. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on cake plate. Slide strips of waxed paper between cake and plate. Spread cut side with about 3/4 cup (175 mL) of the icing; cover with remaining half, cut side down. Spread top with another 3/4 cup (75 mL) of the icing. Repeat with remaining layers, spreading remaining icing over side and top. Garnish with fresh sliced Strawberries (optional).

Remove paper strips. (Make ahead: Cover loosely and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.)

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