Naked Chocolate Cake

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This nake chocolate cake is the perfect balance of tender cake and decadent frosting. There’s not too much or too little of each, making for a perfectly balanced bite with every forkful.

Layered naked chocolate cake on plate

Moist, tender chocolate cake? Check. Rich buttercream frosting? Check. The perfect balance of both? You’d better believe it! This is one tasty cake.

Naked Chocolate Cake

I love cake, but I don’t love when the frosting on it is the only thing I can taste. This naked cake allows me to enjoy the moist, tender cake along with the frosting in equal measure. It’s perfect.

Closeup shot of slice of naked chocolate cake in front of more cake.

Ingredients

It only takes a few simple ingredients to make this cake. Most of them are already in your kitchen.

Cake Ingredients:

  • brown sugar
  • eggs
  • butter
  • cocoa powder
  • boiling water
  • flour
  • baking soda
  • sour cream

Frosting Ingredients:

  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • milk
  • Hershey’s chocolate bar
Overhead shot of individual cake ingredients on table

Instructions

All the steps to this recipe are incredibly easy. Even beginners can make it.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Step 2: Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by spraying them with cooking spray and coating them with a fine layer of flour. Set aside.

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs, and butter with a hand mixer.

Overhead shot of brown sguar, butter, and eggs

Step 4: Add cocoa powder.

Step 5: Slowly add boiling water while mixing.  Blend until smooth.

Boiling water being poured into batter

Step 6: Add flour and baking soda.  Beat again until smooth.

Flour and wet cake ingredients in bowl

Step 7: Add sour cream. Beat again until smooth.

Step 8: Divide batter between the three prepared cake pans.

Overhead shot of three round cake pans with batter

Step 9: Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Overhead shot of three cake pans with baked cake

Step 10: Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes before flipping them out onto your work surface.  It may help to run a knife around the edges to release the cake.

Step 11: Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Step 12: To prepare frosting, in a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar together.

Step 13: Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla. Beat well. (If frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.)

Overhead shot of butter and powdered sugar creamed together
Milk being poured into butter and powdered sugar

Step 14: To assemble cake, place a layer of cake on a serving dish.

Step 15: Cover with 1/3 of frosting.

Step 16: Add another layer of cake followed by another layer of frosting. 

Step 17: Add the final layer of cake with the remaining frosting on top.

Step 18: If you choose to, top with shaved Hershey’s chocolate.

Closeup shot of naked chocolate cake on plate

Equipment

It only takes a few basic pieces of kitchen equipment to make this recipe.

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Hand or stand mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spoons

Substitutions

Dark Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar will work if you don’t have light brown sugar.

Greek Yogurt: If you don’t have sour cream, use full-fat Greek yogurt.

Closeup shot of forkful of naked chocolate cake

Options

Looking for ways to change up this naked chocolate cake? Here are some suggestions.

Coffee: Add a tablespoon of strong black coffee for a deeper chocolate flavor.

Cayenne: Add a pinch of cayenne to accentuate the chocolate flavor. It won’t make the cake hot.

Tips:

  • Be sure your butter is fully softened to get the best results.
  • Never frost your cake until it’s completely cooled.
  • If your frosting is too thin, add a little powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little milk.
Slice of naked chocolate cake on plate

More Cake Recipes

FAQ

How long will this cake last?

This cake will last for up to 3 days at room temperature. For longer storage, you can refrigerate it for up to a week.

What is naked cake?

A naked cake is a layer cake with frosting applied only between the layers and on the top of the cake.

Who invented naked cake?

In 2007, Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar began making naked cakes.

Closeup shot of slice of naked chocolate cake on plate.

Naked Chocolate Cake

Ready to cook this naked chocolate cake? Then print the recipe card below.

Yield: 8 servings

Naked Chocolate Cake

Naked Chocolate Cake

This naked chocolate cake combines moist, tender chocolate cake with the perfect amount of buttercream frosting. It's decadent and delicious.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1⁄2 cup butter, softened 

  • 4 cups powdered sugar 

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • Optional Topping: Hershey’s chocolate bar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by spraying them with cooking spray and coating them with a fine layer of flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs, and butter with a hand mixer.
  4. Add cocoa powder. Slowly add boiling water while mixing.  Blend until smooth.
  5. Add flour and baking soda.  Beat again until smooth.
  6. Add sour cream. Beat again until smooth.
  7. Divide batter between the three prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes before flipping them out onto your work surface.  It may help to run a knife around the edges to release the cake.
  10. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  11. To prepare frosting, in a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar together. 

  12. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla. Beat well.
 (If frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.)
  13. To assemble cake, place a layer of cake on a serving dish.
  14. Cover with 1/3 of frosting.
  15. Add another layer of cake followed by another layer of frosting. 
  16. Add the final layer of cake with the remaining frosting on top.
  17. If you choose to, top with shaved Hershey’s chocolate.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 844Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 124mgSodium 577mgCarbohydrates 137gFiber 1gSugar 109gProtein 7g

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