Blackout Chocolate Cake Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Blackout Chocolate Cake

65 reviews / 4.7 average

Oh, friends. Wow wow wow.

Chocolate cake on the loooooose!

This weekend I was gifted with a super-fun birthday surprise: Bjork whisked me away to Austin for a weekend of TACOS! And other things. But honestly, mostly tacos.

We packed in about twenty minutes - and by packed, I mean we ripped into my box of summer clothes that was still sealed up tight in the basement, washed, unwashed, wrinkled, ill-fitting, out-of-date, you know how it is, and tossed everything into a bag. And one 15-minute Lyft ride later, we were checked in at the airport, preparing to hop a flight to Texas.

This has been a hard season of life for us, and this birthday is a strange one for me. Okay, strange is a total euphemism. It's sad. It's lonely. It's hard to feel like Happy Birthday when the birthday slash entire life I imagined was supposed to be so different.

But it's still a birthday, and even sad birthdays still deserve cake.

Blackout Chocolate Cake on a cakestand

As the only one in our house who bakes, I am usually the maker of my own birthday cake. And this year, I went ALL OUT. I showed my birthday who was boss.

No store boughts, no box mixes, not this year. I went with real, amazing, homemade Blackout Chocolate Cake, emphasis on the blackout. I'm coping, okay? I'm coping.

We're talking about life-changing cake, with whole milk yogurt for moisture and espresso powder for depth, cream cheese chocolate frosting (CHALLENGE ME, I DARE YOU) for the layers, and a chocolate chip exterior that gets pressed into the frosted cake by way of a little regular-people-make-fancy-cakes hack involving cardboard. No, I'm serious. CARDBOARD. We take our cake-ing very seriously, aka not very seriously at all.

This is the coolest. Check out this cakespo:

Slice of Blackout Chocolate Cake on a plate with a fork

There is no denying. Birthday or no birthday, painful year or good year: chocolate cake helps. Like, blackout-level helps.

And sharing this blackout chocolate cake with friends really, really, really helps. Chocolate blackouts are better when shared. S/o to our POY team for eating this with me one million times and to Melissa for letting me crash her own bday celebration super spontaneously with this madness.

Blackout Chocolate Cake on a cake stand with a plate and utensils

So - a birthday? an anniversary? a chocolate cake and red wine night in pajamas alone? (GIRL YES.)

Whatever it is, I'm writing this chocolate cake as a love letter to your life. 😍

Piece of Blackout Chocolate Cake on a plate with a fork
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Chocolate Blackout Cake with slice being taken out.

Blackout Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 big slices 1x


This is the cake for chocolate lovers! Ultramoist chocolate cake, layers of cream cheese chocolate frosting, and an awesome chocolate chip + chocolate drizzle exterior. Recipe based off of this solid Chocolate Blackout Cake from Life Made Simple.



For the chocolate cake:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (we use DeLallo)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (we use Chobani whole milk yogurt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3-4 cups of chocolate chips


  1. Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide evenly between the three cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cakes are set. Let the cakes cool for a while.
  2. Frosting: Cream the ingredients (except chocolate chips) until smooth.
  3. Assembly: Cut two 9-inch round circles from cardboard. Cover with foil. Spread just a little bit of frosting on one of the cardboards and stick the first cake on it (this helps it hold). Stack the cakes up, frosting between each layer, around the outside, and on top. Chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Chocolate Chipping: Spread the chocolate chips in a wide jelly roll pan. Place the other cardboard on top of the chilled cake. Holding the cardboard ends, roll the cake into the chocolate chips, pressing gently to get them to stick (see video).


I like to melt a little extra chocolate and drizzle it over the top. WHY THE HECK NOT, this is chocolate blackout cake!

This cake can be served chilled or at room temperature, but it's easier to cut at room temperature or before the chocolate drizzle sets.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chocolate cake, blackout chocolate cake, cake recipe, chocolate recipe

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    happy birthday lindsay! i was watching your ig stories all weekend long & totally jealous of the taco fest you & bjork had. i hope you had a good trip! ALSO…OMG THIS CAKE. saw it on facebook last week & my heart skipped a beat. saving this one for my chocoholic mama on mother’s day!! xx

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    OMG I literally GASPED when I saw this. And the ingredients are ACTUALLY findable in Pakistan so DOUBLE YAY because I won’t have to do any crazy improvising! This needs to happen ASAP in my home.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Holy wow! Happy birthday Lindsay! My b’day is in a couple of weeks – I was leaning toward butter pecan, which is my fav but now I think it may be Blackout chocolate cake – this looks amazing!! I’m glad you didn’t post nutritional info on this one – I don’t think I want to know!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have never made a cake before that wasn’t from a box or made for an Easy Bake Kids Oven, now I am sorely tempted to try this recipe because it does look doable not to mention delicious.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    All birthdays deserve a birthday cake. Just yes.

    Also, this particular birthday cake looks so so SO perfect. I cannot wait to test it out!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sad birthdays are the ones that deserve the best cake of all. I was so thrilled to see you were being whisked away to Austin — I hope it was a nice break. I know this has been an especially hard year, and I am crossing all fingers and toes that the years ahead make up for it in joy and laughter.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Dear Lindsay

    Happy Birthday! What an awesome cake! It’s my boyfriends birthday on Friday, so I’ll be trying out this amazing recipe very soon. Thank you for the inspiration!

    All the best


  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks AMAZING! I have a go-to chocolate cake recipe, but I’m going to give this one a try because that video was too mouthwatering. I’m making a couple cakes for a friend’s birthday party this weekend, and I couldn’t find a second cake recipe. Thank you!!

    Also, this: “But it’s still a birthday, and even sad birthdays still deserve cake.” Amen. You two are such an inspiration; thank you for sharing your journey, however painful.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    It was a particularly lovely weekend in Austin! Glad you were able to enjoy it here. What are your favorite taco places in Austin? I immediately thought of the chocolate cake from Matilda when I saw this.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday! This looks AMAZING. I can’t wait to try it! My mom used to make a similar cake when I was a kid that was done in a Bundt pan. How well do you think this might transfer over to that type of pan?

    Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    That cardboard rolling trick is SO good! I always wondered how bakers got the sides so nicely coated without destroying their kitchen, well they can keep their secret because this method looks legit! Thanks for the great recipe and Happy Birthday!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Birthday, Lindsay! This cake is amazing! I’ve made something similar in the past, but this has a little more to it, and I will definitely be making it in the near future.

    Wishing you a wonderful year–no one deserves it more than you 🙂

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks like absolutely delicious!! I can’t wait to make it! Happy Birthday and hope you had a great time here in Texas.

    Two quick questions–cake flour or all-purpose? Sifted or not?

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lord, have mercy. This cake looks uh-mazing. It takes guts to roll an entire cake in chocolate chips like that. And what better way to make a sad birthday better than with chocolate, made healthier with yogurt of course. You’re seriously my hero in so many ways, Lindsay Ostrom! #fangirl

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy Birthday, Lindsay!! I hope your weekend was fun. With all you guys have gone through/continue to go through, it’s good to get out to fab places like Austin. And THAT CAKE!! I could seriously sugar myself into a coma with that cake.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Happy birthday to you! I also had a birthday last weekend, and (crazy!) was also in Austin for my birthday loading up on tacos! That town and the food and all the outdoor fun and funkiness and beauty and peace is so good for your soul. If you go back for your birthday again, you should check out Eeyore’s Birthday Party at Pease Park. It’s a trip and VERY Austin!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is unbelievable. Just gorgeous. The whole process of coating the entire cake with chocolate chips is pure genius. And, like you said, you can never have too much chocolate, right? Thanks for sharing this. Happy Birthday!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    How super fun! I’ve so missed your indulgent food recipes 🙂 This video with the “roll baby roll” of the chocolate chips was totally delightful. What a great idea! And heck yes to the night alone with red wine and this cake – sign me up sister!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh. Em. Gee. My mouth is watering…this cake looks incredible! Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate…does it get any better than that?