Rich, incredibly moist chocolate cake layers made with REAL chocolate and paired with a silky chocolate frosting. This decadent death by chocolate cake is for every chocolate lover. Inspired from our favorite Costco cake that is now discontinued!
Costco Chocolate Cake Copycat
This death by chocolate cake was inspired by our favorite chocolate cake from Costco that was discontinued recently. We loved the moist rich cake layers with that silky, fudgy frosting. This recipe is now our favorite official replacement and is requested multiple times a year for Father’s Day, birthdays, family gatherings, etc. It’s the ultimate crowd pleaser, so easy to make, and so many simple fun ways to decorate.
How to convert recipe to cupcakes and more
This chocolate cake recipe works for multiple sizes of cakes. The recipe is written for 3 – 8″ cake layers, but could be made into 2 – 9″ cake layers, cupcakes, or sheet cake if you’re feeding a crowd.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin tin with liners and fill about 3/4 way full. Bake for 18-21 minutes at 350 degrees and it makes about 24 cupcakes.
SHEET CAKE: Line a half sheet baking pan with parchment paper, spray and pour batter. You can use it as a large sheet cake, or flip and cut in half to layer like a classic two layer sheet cake.
9X13 PAN: Spray pan or line with parchment paper and fill about half way. You will only need half the amount of frosting for this option. Just remember to alter your baking time to match a different size pan.
Can I make this ahead?
YES! This is a great recipe to make ahead, especially if you don’t want to be making it the day of an event. A lot of readers have told me they enjoy it on day 2 just as much or even more as day 1! To start, you can make the cake layers ahead of time, wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze or leave on the counter for one day.
Alternatively, you can assemble the whole thing with frosting one day in advance and store in fridge. You can also freeze a fully frosted cake for 30 minutes and then wrap well in plastic, giving frosting a chance to set so it doesn’t stick to plastic. Transfer to fridge for slow thawing, remove the plastic wrap, then transfer to the countertop. The cake layers stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Decorating Ideas for Death by Chocolate cake
There are endless ways to decorate this classic chocolate cake. Some ideas we’ve done:
- Ganache with chocolate shavings on top
- Rustic offset spatula lines
- Costco chocolate cake copycat (picture below; decorated by my talented niece!)
- Mini chocolate chips covering the whole thing (easy fool proof way to jazz it up!)
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If you make this recipe, make sure you tag @loskitchenco on Instagram and leave a comment below! You can also save for later by clicking the ‘Pin Recipe’ button on the recipe card. Happy baking!
Death by Chocolate Cake
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour spooned and leveled, NOT packed
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cups dutch processed cocoa
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 4 oz high quality dark chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk*
- 1 cup hot water or brewed coffee for more enhanced chocolate flavor
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 1/2 cups dutch processed cocoa sifted
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and powdered buttermilk if you're using the powdered form.
- Melt the chocolate in 20-30 second bursts in the microwave. It's done when the chocolate is almost completely melted, but not all the way. Stir together until all of it is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool down.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients (sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, hot water, and melted chocolate) in a separate bowl. Then combine with the dry ingredients.
- Mix together well until combined. Just don't over mix as that can lead to a crumbly cake.
- Pour into 3 - 8" greased cake pans (I did 4 layers above for a thinner and more stacked look), 2 - 9" pans, or 24 cupcake liners. Bake for 22-26 minutes. The cake is done when the toothpick comes out with moist crumbs on it. Transfer to cooling racks when done.
- Beat the butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder intermittently with the heavy whipping cream. Add the vanilla and salt. Add more cream as needed to get a soft consistency.
- Beat the frosting for about 2-3 minutes.
- Heat up the heavy whipping cream in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds till hot. Pour over the chocolate chips. Cover and rest for a couple minutes to let it begin to melt the chocolate.
- Whisk together the chips and ganache until smooth. Pour it into a drip bottle or use a spoon to add a drip to the cake.
- If the ganache is too runny, let it cool longer. If it's still runnier than desired, you can add additional melted chocolate. If it's thicker than desired, add a little more warm heavy cream and whisk together.
- Trim cake layers if needed to help achieve nice even layers.
- Spread a small amount of frosting on a cake board (this will act like a glue for your first cake layer). Then place your first cake layer down.
- Add an even layer of frosting, top with a cake, layer, add the layer of frosting, then add your last cake layer.
- Apply an even, thin layer of frosting around the entire cake. Leave as is if frosting a semi-naked cake. Otherwise, place the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes to create your "crumb coat".
- Spread remaining frosting around the cake and garnish, drizzle ganache if desired, and pipe as desired.**