Best [Decadent] Chocolate Cake Ever Recipe

A Favorite from Seattle’s Salty’s Restaurant at Alki Beach

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate cake is ready to decorate with candles!

Often requested for birthdays, this super-rich, special-occasion recipe originated from one of Seattle’s favorite restaurants, Salty’s, located on Alki Point, a picturesque beach town just a ferry ride from downtown Seattle.

It’s easy to make, but one note: I like to make the Chocolate Cream Filling the day before. Let it come to room temperature before frosting the cake.

Use great cocoa – it makes a difference. Salty’s recommends Cacao Barry. Find the cocoa powder on Amazon (affiliate link). You’ll want 70% bittersweet pistoles or buttons too. Find on Amazon (affiliate link).

Chocolate Cake

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever Recipe

From Salty's Restaurant on Alki Point in Seattle, this chocolate cake recipe is often requested for birthdays and special events.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 1 ½ cups canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder *Suggested: Cacao Barry
  • 2 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Cream Filling

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • cup extra fine sugar
  • 2 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate Cacao Barry 70% bittersweet pistols or buttons; or chop from a block of chocolate


  • In the morning or the day ahead, prepare the filling so it has time to set up. Heat milk and cream and bring to a boil.
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until smooth. Turn heat off cream and add a small ladle of hot cream to the egg mixture to temper; beat to incorporate. Add another ladle and repeat.
  • Add tempered egg mixture to cream. Turn the heat back on, but do not bring to a boil. You want about 170° (212° is boiling). Remove rom heat, mix in chocolate and whisk until blended and shiny. Cover with plastic wrap, putting the wrap on top of the filling, so the chocolate doesn't form a skin. Store at room temperature if using right away. Otherwise refrigerate overnight and pull out to warm to room temperature before frosting.
  • For the cake, prepare three 8" round cake pans by covering with cooking spray and lining the bottom of each with parchment (I cut parchment in circles to fit.) Blend flour, cocoa powder and baking soda to a bowl; stir to blend.
  • In a large bowl, add oil and sugar. Whisk to blend. Add in eggs and whisk; add vanilla and whisk. Add one-third of dry mixture and blend in with a spatula. Add another third of dry mixture and blend in. Add a little of the buttermilk to thin out the batter, blend, then add the remaining dry mix and incorporate. Add the remaining buttermilk and mix in.
  • Divide batter equally between the three pans. Tap pans on the counter to knock out any air bubbles Bake at 350° in the middle to lower half of our oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cook cakes and remove from pans. Cut each layer of cake in half horizontally (you'll have 6 layers now). A turntable cake stand is invaluable here. Spread bottom layer generously with filling, starting in the center and pushing it out to the edge. Repeat with second layer. Put the third layer on top; cover top with filling, then sides.
  • The frosting doesn't need to be perfect. Cover the frosting on the top and sides with shaved milk chocolate for a professional look. Use a spatula or bowl scraper to shave the chocolate (milk chocolate is softer and easier to work with). Garnish the cake with fresh berries and chocolate curls.
  • Salty's bakes the cake in a sheet pan and cuts circles to make layers for 3-layer individual cake servings they use at the restaurant.
Keyword chocolate cake recipe
3 layers for Chocolate Cake
Here are the 3 layers for the cake ready to frost.

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