6-inch chocolate layer cake with classic buttercream

Chocolate Layer Cake with Almond Buttercream

A small amount of Dutch process cocoa has been lingering in my pantry for several months, and I finally found a purpose for it. This chocolate cake recipe uses either regular or Dutch process cocoa, and it calls for oil instead of butter. I’ve been wanting to try a layer cake this way because using butter in my whole wheat baking has proven challenging, and the carrot cake from a few months ago came out so great with oil.

6-inch chocolate layer cake with classic buttercream


Chocolate Cake: 1 Recipe 3 Ways from House of Brinson

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from America’s Test Kitchen

Process Notes


  • cut recipe in half, using two 6-inch cake pans wrapped with cake strips
  • weighed out 6 oz of soft white wheat berries, and after milling sifted out the coarse bran leaving 152 gm flour
  • 42 g Dutch process cocoa
  • reduced liquid ingredients in effort to prevent greasy, crumbly texture: 3/8 c milk, scant 1/4 c oil, 3/8 c boiling water
  • almond extract instead of vanilla extract
  • baked 33 min
  • after cooling, sliced off high edges around the sunken centers after


  • reduced recipe to use just 1 egg: 1/4 c granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp almond extract, pinch fine sea salt, 8 tbsp softened butter
  • almond extract instead of vanilla extract


While this cake did not go swimmingly, the flavors are good and the recipes are worth working on. Even with the cake strips, the two layers fell in the center after rising high during baking. And then when I turned the first layer out of the pan it broke in half.

I don’t think it was smart to reduce the buttercream recipe so much, and to let the butter get so soft before using it. With such a small amount of ingredients, the mixer didn’t do a good job of pulling them all together. Plus, it wasn’t enough to sufficiently frost the cake.

Next time, I’d switch to a 9-inch pan and let the cake cool in it longer before turning it out. I’d also make at least a half-batch of buttercream, if not a full batch. The almond flavor could be more intense as well — I ran out of almond extract and only got about 1/4 tsp out of the bottle.

And I do think there will be a next time. This recipe has the characteristics of a good, basic chocolate cake and with a few tweaks could become my go-to chocolate cake when over-the-top ultra rich is not the goal. The texture is very close to what I was after: spongey rather than crumbly, and moist without being greasy.