If you’re searching for a special dessert, try this incredible Triple Chocolate Cake with a unique crispy candy bark topping that only looks difficult. Wow your guests with both the look and flavor of this amazing treat.
I waited awhile to share this really fun cake I created with you because I thought I was publishing too many sweet recipes and that you’d think that’s all we ate! Have no fear, we eat sweet treats only a couple times a month or so, usually when we have company to share them with, and then we make use of the freezer for any leftovers. (I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but out of sight, out of mind really does work for me.)
I came up with this triple chocolate cake and its unique topping for a family birthday celebration after being inspired by this cake. I liked how it looked and thought it would make a special party dessert.
However, once I read the recipe, I decided not to use it – the sponge cake didn’t really interest me and the steps were just too complicated for my usual simple approach to cooking.
So I used a favorite moist and fudgy chocolate cake recipe, filled the layers with a wonderful white-chocolate frosting I’ve used many times, and then topped the layers with my standard, easy ganache (the same one I shared with you on this peanut butter chocolate celebration cake). Oh, and I created a fun chocolate bark topping just because.
The result was really fantastic and I’m so glad I simplified the recipe to be something that looks and tastes amazing, but is actually pretty simple to put together.
Triple Chocolate Cake with Crispy Bark Topping
I used the inspiration recipe as a guideline for how I assembled and decorated the cake. Instead of the complicated praline topping, I made an easy marbled chocolate candy bark and included puffed cereal in the melted dark chocolate to create a crispy bark topping.
You all know how simple making chocolate bark is, right? Well, you wouldn’t believe the oohs and aahs topping the cake with this created with our guests!
It will just be our secret, okay? We’ll just smile sweetly and bask in the applause.
But wait, isn’t the rest of the cake complicated?
I think the best special recipes look more complicated than they are, and this is a perfect example. Is this a 20-minute recipe? No, obviously. But easy doesn’t always mean quick – and I promise this is easy.
Let’s break it down:
- Make the cake. It’s just throwing ingredients in a mixer like any cake. You bake it in a larger pan to be able to cut the layers.
- While the cake is baking for 20 minutes, make the bark. You’re melting two chocolates separately and then swirling one on top of the other. It takes like, 5 minutes with a microwave. Stick it in the fridge to cool.
- Cool the cake. Remove it from the pan after baking and let it cool.
- Make the white chocolate frosting for the filling. Again, just adding things to a mixer. This can hang out in the fridge until the cake is completely cool.
- Make the ganache when the cake is cool. Let it sit to thicken up while you assemble the cake.
- Cut the layers and frost like you would a normal layer cake.
- Pour the ganache over the cake and smooth onto the sides (the tip in the recipe to use waxed paper under the edges of the cake is spot on – don’t forget that).
- Break up the bark and add to the top of the cake.
- You’re done and you have a bakery shop worthy cake! You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a day before your party.
At its core, this triple chocolate cake is a basic cake + filling + frosting, but putting it together in a different shape (the long three layers) and adding the bark topping makes it extra special.
And that makes your guests feel extra special, too, which is really the point with recipes like this, right?
Triple Chocolate Cake with Crispy Bark Topping
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup neutral flavored oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1 2/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Crispy Chocolate Marbled Bark:
- 12 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate- pieces or cut up*
- 3/4 cup puffed cereal, rice crisps, etc.**
- 4 ounces premium white chocolate chunks- pieces or cut up***
White Chocolate Filling:
- 6 ounces premium white chocolate***
- 1/4 cup whole milk or cream
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 6 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate chips*
- 1/2 cup butter, cut in 8 pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease sides and bottom of an 11 x 17 rimmed baking pan and then line the bottom with parchment.
- Mix cocoa powder, oil, water, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together in a small measuring cup or bowl and set aside.
- Mix flour, soda, and salt in another bowl and set aside as well.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, in 3 additions and then beat for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla until completely incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the cake springs back when touched in the center.
- Cool in pan 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack large enough to hold it; remove paper and let cool completely.
- While the cake is baking, make the bark by melting the dark chocolate (low heat on stovetop or 1 to 1 1/2-minutes microwaved) stirring until smooth.
- Melt the 4 ounces of white chocolate in a separate container.
- Stir the puffed cereal into the dark chocolate and quickly spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to about 1/4-inch thick (the edges don't have to reach the pan edges - just evenly spread until it's 1/4-inch). Immediately drizzle white chocolate over the entire top and then swirl into the dark chocolate with the tip of a butter knife to create a marbled effect. Place pan into the refrigerator to set.
- While cake is cooling, prepare frosting for filling by melting the white chocolate and cream together (again, your choice of low heat on stovetop or 1 minute in the microwave) until smooth. Let cool about 15 minutes.
- Beat butter and sugar together with a mixer just until incorporated and then add the cooled chocolate mixture. Beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator until cake is cool. Let sit 10 minutes at room temperature if too cold, stirring until it's a spreading consistency.
- Melt chocolate, butter, and honey together using the microwave or setting a bowl into a pan of barely simmering water to make a water bath.
- Stir until smooth. It should be the consistency of heavy cream - if it's too thin, refrigerate for 5 minutes or so and stir to thicken slightly.
- Cut the cooled cake into three even pieces, each about 5 1/2 x 11 inches. Set the first layer on a serving plate and spread with half of the white chocolate filling. Top with second layer (trim edges as needed to make even with bottom layer - I found it's really hard to get them even the first time cutting) and spread with remaining filling. Top with the last later and trim if needed.
- Tear waxed paper into strips and tuck under all the edges of the cake. Stir ganache and then pour over the top of the cake, using a spatula to spread gently over the edges and onto the sides. Ganache will pool on waxed paper a bit - use spatula to lift up and spread onto sides as needed.
- Let cool until ganache has just set - about 10 to 15 minutes - and gently remove waxed paper pieces.
- Break the bark into small pieces and add to the length of the cake on top. Use some of the remaining bark around the edges of the cake.
- Refrigerate until needed (can be made a day ahead).
- Tip for cutting: remove the bark along cutting lines, cut slices, and then add bark back to the individual slices on each person's plate.
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