Sweet Treats

Chocolate Cupcake Layer Cake

So imagine everyone’s favorite classic packaged cupcakes, only in cake form. Homemade, and from scratch. With better ingredients. Take my favorite easy one-bowl chocolate cake recipe, fill it with a delicious classic buttercream, and cover it in the richest dark chocolate ganache for an easy but elevated version of a childhood favorite.

chocolate cupcake layer cake hostess cupcake copycat

You know, for as much culinary training as I’ve had and for being a food aficionado, I have as many good memories of things that are fast, packaged, or off-the-shelf as I have of things that are fresh, farm-to-table, and come with Michelin stars.

This is especially true when it comes to desserts. I love a tray of beautiful, fluffy macarons as much as the next food blogger {see my Instagram for lots of guilty evidence} but I’m also not going to say no to a Swiss cake roll, a Reese’s cup, or a Hostess cupcake if one comes my way.

But sometimes these things need to be taken a notch up.

I started playing with the idea not too long ago of making a cake sized Hostess cupcake. I’d been wanting to try some new ideas for a layer cake and some new springform pans I’d purchased, and I started imagining a gigantic cupcake, full of creamy filling and covered in chocolate ganache.

This wasn’t hard to make a reality.

chocolate cupcake layer cake hostess cupcake copycat

Two beautiful and fluffy chocolate layers. One thick buttercream filling. And a wonderful luxurious dark chocolate ganache to wrap it all up in. And of course, I had to add the signature swirls across the top.

My entire taste test group counted this as a win. I feel like my decorating still needs a lot of work, but taste-wise, it’s a winner.

Chocolate Cupcake Layer Cake

Take the classic cupcake you loved as a kid and make it a luxurious and rich chocolate layer cake with buttercream filling and a deep dark chocolate ganache coating.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8


For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole milk room temperature
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

For the buttercream:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

For the ganache:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  • Start by preheating your oven to 350F. Grease two 8-inch round pans and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of your electric mixer {or into a large bowl if you’re going to mix by hand or with a hand mixer}.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla.
  • Set the bowl of the mixer in place and, using your paddle attachment, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients gradually and let the mixer combine them on medium speed. Stop the mixer after a couple of minutes and scrape the bowl. Mix again until fully combined, about 1 minute.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Set the cakes to cool on a wire rack, and let cool completely.
  • To make the icing, clean out the bowl of your mixer and clean off your paddle attachment. Then add the butter to the mixing bowl and cream the butter on low speed until it’s smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and mix on low to combine.
  • Add the powdered sugar a cupful at a time, mixing on low until each of the cups is fully incorporated. When the icing has reached the consistency you want, increase the mixing speed to medium until the mixture is once again smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the cream a tablespoon at a time until the icing is smooth enough to work with.
  • Spread a little bit of icing on the center of a cardboard cake round to hold the lower layer in place. Set the lower layer and thickly frost the space between layers. Stack the layers. Reserve some of the buttercream for decorating the top.
  • Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and using a spatula, stir the chocolate and cream until smooth and shiny.
  • Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate, allowing it to spill down the sides.
  • Let chill in the refrigerator at least an hour to firm up the icing.
  • Pipe a squiggle over the top of the cake. Then serve and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

chocolate cupcake layer cake hostess cupcake copycat

If you have extra ganache {I actually double the recipe so I will have extra}, you can bottle it and keep it in the fridge for about a week. And it’s perfect to heat up and drizzle over your ice cream, over fruit, pour in coffee or drinks, and frost more cakes!

Indulge and enjoy!

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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