Chocolate Overdose Cake

in Cakes & Cupcakes, Chocolate, Pudding & Mousse, Valentine’s Day

Chocolate Overdose Cake

I like chocolate. A lot. I’m not a big fan of milk chocolate but I don’t think I’ve ever met a dark chocolate that I didn’t like. A rich, indulgent slice of chocolate cake paired with a glass of port is my choice dessert.

I don’t get a chance to host family dinners much but when I do, I try to go all out on dessert. It’s usually one of the few chances I have to try out something new for a large crowd. I’d been waiting for months for an excuse to replicate our favorite restaurant dessert, Chocolate Overdose Cake.

Chocolate Overdose Cake

Locatelli’s Chocolate Overdose Cake is a dense wedge of chocolate. Simply put, it’s essentially three layers of chocolate, coated in chocolate, decorated with chocolate, and garnished with chocolate: A brownie base topped with a layer of rich chocolate mousse and a layer of moist chocolate cake, coated and decorated with a rich ganache with the sides covered in mini-chocolate chips; decidedly not a dessert for the faint of heart.

How good was the at-home version of this cake? It has almost 2 lbs of chocolate in it – that’s how good this cake is. And it’s most definitely better than the original. After the slices were passed and the port was opened, my family got quiet. Really quiet. (Unusual, if you know us.) Except for the mouth-full mumbling approvals of, “Mmmmmm,” and the passed-bedtime fussies from my nephew, minutes seemed to pass before much else was said.


The following recipe reads like a novel. It is a lot less painful than it seems – and even if it wasn’t, all that chocolate coursing through your veins after dinner should make it worth it. There are four pieces to this dessert so get organized when making the components: bake the brownie and cake layers at the same time. While those are about halfway through the cooling time, start on the mousse. While the assembled cake is chilling, start on the ganache (it needs time to come to room temp).

Chocolate Overdose Cake

An indulgent chocolate mousse cake with a brownie base, a rich mousse filling, and coated in ganache.


  • Brownie base
  • 5/8 cup (1/2 cup + 2Tbsp) cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate mousse filling
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
  • 1 7/8 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • Chocolate cake
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
  • 7/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 7/8 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Ganache
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 18 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-ounce pieces


To make the brownie base:
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom and line the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Spray lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.)
  4. When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in two additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using a small off-set spatula or bench scraper, spread batter evenly and smooth the surface. Bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour (do not remove the springform ring or parchment collar).
To make the cake:
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment and spray bottom and sides with baking spray.
  2. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl and set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment.
  5. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds).
  6. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Pour into prepared pan; smooth batter to edges of pan with an offset spatula.
  7. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and cool completely.
To make the Chocolate mousse filling:
  1. Place stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer or fridge.
  2. Heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place the semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap and allow to heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and set aside until needed.
  3. Place heavy cream and sugar in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  4. By hand, whisk to combine 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and completely incorporated. Add the combined whipped cream and chocolate to the remaining whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to fold together.
To make the Ganache:
  1. Heat the heavy cream and the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
  2. Place the semisweet chocolate in a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Chill 1 cup of ganache for 1 hour. Remaining ganache should be brought to room temperature (about 40 minutes).
To assemble the dessert:
  1. Spread mousse over top of the brownie base evenly. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smooth the top.
  2. Place cake round over mousse, pressing down lightly. Chill for 1 hour.
  3. Remove springform ring and parchment collar. Use a spatula to smooth the room temperature ganache over the cake top and sides, covering evenly.
  4. Place the chilled ganache into a piping bag fitted with a #18 tip and pipe a shell border around the base. Replace with tip #1M and pipe 12-16 rosettes around the top of the cake to indicate servings. Serve chilled and store leftovers in the fridge. Cut the cake with a hot, dry knife.


Yields: 12-16 servings

Mousse & Ganache recipe, adapted from Marcel Desaulniers

67 comments… add one
  • Wow, that definitely deserves its name or maybe it should be Death by Chocolate! Beautiful.

  • Shawnda, oh my good god! This sounds absolutely insane and I MUST try to figure out the next possible day I can find an excuse to make this. This is seriously kick ass!

  • That chocolate cake looks amazing!!

  • i’m drooling at my desk. will you send me a piece for my bday tomorrow?? 🙂

  • That cake just gave me a heart attack I am so in love. If ever there was a chocolate heaven, that cake would be God! I may have to try out my cake baking skills and try that one soon!

  • Amazing looking cake! I need a chocolately chocolate cake next week for a friends birthday. This may be the one!

  • Oh My Goodness…that is one Chocolate-y cake. This one is definitely a keeper!

  • this is insane. i feel a sugar high by just looking at it!

  • wow! it is really a delight both to ur mouth and eyes…i luc chocolate and ur cake is very yummy looking 🙂

  • Talk about chocolate overload…my that looks good.

  • Double wow dear! I agree completely with you on semi-sweet choco..:-D to tell you the tuth I really haven’t found a chocolate that I don’t like at all.
    This cake is stunning and I keep telling you how talented you are!
    You should be here for my weddings 😀
    Have a nice day

  • That is a stunning cake. I wish I could have a slice, or maybe two!

  • I do not believe you can ever overdose on chocolate! Because it is just soooo lovely! Now I need a piece!

  • Michelle

    Never Can Overdose On Chocolate…Yummmm!!! I sure do What A piece of that Cake Now… I am Going to try and Bake it soon, As soon as I can get to the store for those Ingredients.

  • fishkat

    YUMMY! I have an excellent chocolate cake recipe…but this one looks 10 times better! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the detailed instructions also!

  • That definitely looks like an overdose for me! Looking at it sends sugar rushing through my system!

    I tagged you for a meme!

  • Now that is my kinda cake!

  • Delicious! I would definitely not turn down a slice of this! yum!

  • Wow – now THAT is a chocolate cake. I can’t say I’m a big chocolate fan…but this cake does look beautiful.

  • Emma

    oh my goodness!! That looks absolutely incredible, incredible, incredible!!! My favourite chocolate dessert from a good old greek restaurant in town is – get ready for this – chocolate brownie base, chocolate mascarpone mousse with chunks of rich chocolate and vanilla cheesecake cubes mixed in, topped with chocolate truffle-y ganache, whipped cream and caramel drizzle, also quite the overdose, but truly worth every bite! Yours looks just as good if not better and I CANNOT wait to make this!!
    Kudos on the fabulous chocolate overdose!

  • Oh, my! What a gorgeous looking cake! The rcipe is long indeed:) but am sure the result is worth it. Yum!!! I just posted a chocolate cake recipe too, what a coincidence!:)

  • Mmmm! Yummy

  • Hi Shawnda,
    I love your blog and have been reading it for some time! It is so amazing to read about the culinary adventures of someone so far away, and who has things in common with me.

    I’ve been writing my own since August, and am just discovering all the wonderful people out there who are blogging too.

    I was tagged by one of these new friends, and I’d like to send the tag to you now if you don’t mind. Please check my blog, Suite Apple Pie.

  • My husband’s birthday is coming up in June and i’ve been looking for a great cake to make him. This could be it! He loves chocolate more than any other women i’ve ever met.


  • I swear if I close my eyes and envision that slice I can almost taste it. This is a keeper for sure…I will be trying this recipe soon.
    thanks for sharing

  • Looks full of taste. Yummy!

  • Amanda

    Oh, wow…this looks amazing!

  • Gorgeous chocolate cake – and I love the piping…now I can even recognize what tips and and swirls you’re making. Yayyyy…

  • Wow that looks stunning and sounds even better! I love what your niece said to you haha.

  • Ginny K

    Just a lurker coming out of hiding to tell you that I made this cake for my mother’s birthday – it was an absolute hit. You created a wonderful masterpiece of chocolate heaven, and wrote an easy to follow recipe as well. Thank you so much for sharing your talent. We thoroughly enjoyed the cake…and I’m sure I’ll make it again and again.

  • You are indeed a wicked temptress! Wowee!!!!! That looks amazing and I love locatelli 🙂

  • Jen

    I found your site through my friend Elle and I love baking. This cake looks amazing! My 2 daughters share a birthday on the 21st, so I think I will surprise them with this beautiful cake.

  • This looks absolutely lovely. Congratulations. And lovely picture by the way.

  • Chris

    Looks delicious. Do you think that if I didn’t want the cake layer and maybe went with another brownie layer it would work? Thanks.

  • Karen

    Where on earth did you get the recipe for this cake? I would love to know who invented it.

  • Hi Karen, I pieced the recipe together using my favorite chocolate cake, brownie, mousse, and ganache recipes. I was inspired by a dessert they serve at our favorite pizza place… their version is a little more kitschy, covered in mini-chocolate chips. They don’t actually make their dessert, they get their version frozen from a food service company so it can been hit or miss on getting a good slice.

  • Abby

    How do you transfer the cake without it falling apart when placing it on top of the mousse?

  • I made this yesterday for my mom’s co-worker’s birthday today at work, and apparently everyone died and went to heaven over this cake. Several people said it was the best they’d ever had, and I just had my one little slice and I must say I agree! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this recipe – it definitely made an impression on a lot of people!

  • Just found DBF’s birthday cake… thanks!!!

  • Please and thank you! Happy Valentines day 🙂

  • Wow! This looks like heaven. I think a Birthday would be a suitable excuse to indulge in such a chocolate fest.

  • This looks like pure decadence! Oh, yum!

    The recipe reminded me a little of Death by Chocolate … until I noticed Marcel Desaulniers’ name at the end. Wonder if Locatelli “borrowed” his creation … or the other way around.

  • This cake is to die for!!!!

  • I don’t think I could ever reach the point of overdose with chocolate !!! your cake is perfection !!

  • This cake was amazing. I will say that I modified it to make it a 6″ cake and added some raspberry notes. I split the cake layer and filled it with Raspberry-Chambord sauce and added 1/4 cup of the same sauce to the ganache. Served with a side of the Raspberry-Chambord sauce, this cake was absolutely phenomenal. I thought it would be weird having a brownie base and a cake top layer, but it was only tasty. Thanks for providing this excellent recipe!

  • Tanya Bennett

    This cake looks like a PMSing womens paradise! I can’t wait to try and make it. 🙂

  • Amy

    I made this tonight, and added rose water to the mousse and ganache. It’s a beautiful fragrance, and you can taste it just a hint.

    The chocolate cake recipe is awesome! I was skeptical adding in those tablespoons of butter, but it’s really devine. Great job!

  • Lannie

    Hey there!
    I just a quick question. I can’t seem to get my hands on some buttermilk (they don’t sell it where I live), can I use any to substitute but still get the same taste?
    Loving your blog by the way!

    • Thanks 🙂 For every cup of buttermilk, put 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar in your 1-cup measuring cup and then fill it the rest of the way with milk. It needs to sit ~10 minutes before you can use it. It scales up and down just fine, depending on how much you need.

  • Karen

    This cake looks incredible… I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and now I’ve found an excuse to make it next week! Question: what’s the make-ahead-ability of this cake, or components thereof? Is it better to do it all on the day, starting early, or since it’s refrigerated would a day ahead of time be ok, or do some parts of it a day ahead, or something else? Thanks!

    • You can make the cake and brownie layers ahead of time, even far enough in advance to freeze – wrap well, freeze flat, and then let thaw (still wrapped) in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temp before unwrapping.

      • Karen

        Wow. This was indeed amazing. Served it yesterday to rave reviews.

  • Olivia

    We’re all big fans of your strawberry cake around here, and I’ve been waiting to try another recipe, so I want to make this for my friend’s birthday next week. I noticed you need a whisk attachment for the chocolate mousse. Would it hurt to use the normal beaters, or is there away to get around that?

    • Can you get stiff peaked whipped cream with your normal beaters? If you can, then you should be fine.

  • S Bell

    I made this and it was amazing–best chocolate cake ever. But it took forever. Anyone know if any part of it can be made ahead?

    • The brownie layer and cake layers can both be made ahead, wrapped well, and frozen.

  • I finally made this as a treat for my girlfriends for valentines weekend! It looked absolutely gorgeous until I started driving with it. Definitely not a treat for the heat of summer! It came apart completely!

    But besides looking a huge mess, it was absolutely amazing! The brownie layer was chewy and crunchy, the mouse smooth and creamy, the cake was soft and moist,and the ganache topped it off perfectly. Everyone went nuts for it!!

    Thanks so much!

  • Michelle

    Absolutely amazing! Lots of work, but worth t. I made it for the hubs for Father’s Day, and everyone loved it! Thank you for the recipe!

  • I made this for a family reunion/clam bake back in October. I was really intimidated to make it, especially since I had never made ganache before. It was surprisingly really easy to make! And it was, the absolute BEST, and I do mean T-H-E B-E-S-T chocolate anything I had ever eaten in my life!!!! oh yea…..this is a winner……

  • michelle

    A lot of work, but soooo worth it! Made this for the hubs for Father’s Day last year. Making it this week for my boss’s birthday. Absolutely delicious!

  • Elizabeth

    What do you think of using brownie mix and cake mix? I realize that your recipe is better than any.
    If so, what brands do you recommend? Thanks for your input.

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