Chocolate vertical layer cake is one of the most decadent cakes I’ve made, a great symphony of flavors and textures. Moist chocolate sponge cake filled with apricot jam and mascarpone coffee frosting, rolled and topped over a crunchy, buttery biscuit base, everything coated in Mascarpone frosting, topped with chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate shards.

Not only it looks awesome due to its vertical layers but it’s also very delicate and flavorful. Coffee, chocolate and apricots make such a great flavor combination and the almond, buttery chocolate biscuit adds an amazing texture, so don’t think of skipping this step 🙂

Decorating the cake with chocolate shards makes the cake more impressive even though it’s probably one of the easiest ways to decorate a cake. Hope you will try this Chocolate Vertical Layer Cake out and enjoy!

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Chocolate Vertical Layer Cake

5 from 2 votes
Chocolate vertical layer cake is one of the most decadent cakes I’ve made, a great symphony of flavors and textures.
Servings 14 servings
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins


Chocolate Biscuit

  • 1/4 cup (55g) butter , chilled
  • 1/2 cup (50g) ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp (30g) brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (40g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp (12g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (5ml) water

Chocolate Sponge

  • 8 eggs , separated
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar , divided
  • 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (60g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) salt

Jam for filling

  • 6 tbsp (120g) apricot/peach jam

Mascarpone Frosting

  • 1 pound (500g) Mascarpone cheese , room temperature
  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 1 ⅔ cup (400g) whipping cream (35% fat) , chilled
  • 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp (3g) instant coffee powder

Chocolate Ganache

  • 3.5 oz (100g) semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (120g) whipping cream

Chocolate Shards

  • 2 oz (60g) semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp (20g) semisweet chocolate , for tempering
  • 1 ½ tbsp (15g) white chocolate
  • 1/2 tbsp (5g) white chocolate , for tempering


  • Prepare chocolate biscuit dough. In a large bowl combine flour with sugar, almonds, cocoa powder and salt. Incorporate chilled butter to the flour mixture, using a pastry blender, a fork or a pastry processor, until crumbs are formed. Add water and stir until incorporated. Wrap it with plastic, shape into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap until it's about 8 1/2 inch (21cm) in diameter.
  • Use a 8 inch (20 cm) ring to cut a circle. Remove the excess dough.  Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  • Prick the circle of dough with a fork and bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  • Prepare chocolate sponge.  Grease and line with parchment paper two 12×16 inch (30x40cm) baking sheets. Set aside.
  • Separate egg whites from yolks. Add ¾ cup (150g) sugar over the yolks and mix until creamy. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
  • In a medium bowl whisk flour with cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and incorporate into yolk mixture.
  • Whip whites until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup (50g) sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently and gradually fold the whites into the yolks mixture.
  • Divide batter evenly into the prepared baking sheets. Spread the batter evenly and bake for about 10-12 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. This helps the sponge cake not stick. Flip the cake over the paper. Remove the parchment paper it was baked with. Let cool completely.
  • Prepare Mascarpone frosting.  In a large bowl mix Mascarpone until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and coffee and mix until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl whip cream until stiff peaks form. Gradually incorporate into Mascarpone mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Assembly. Trim the edges of chocolate sponge. Cut each vertically in three equal strips.
  • Spread evenly a thin layer of peach/apricot jam,  about 1 tbsp (20g) of jam for each strip.
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting onto each strip.
  • Roll first strip of cake. Roll the first strip into the second sponge strip. Continue rolling into a spiral until all strips of sponge are used. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
  • Place the cooled biscuit onto a serving platter. Spread a bit of frosting. Add the rolled cake on top. Cover with remaining frosting. Smooth the edge and top of the cake.
  • Use a 1M star tip to pipe frosting around the bottom of the cake.
  • Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour or overnight.
  • Prepare chocolate ganache. Place chocolate and cream in heatproof bowl and place over a pan with simmering water. Melt over low heat.
  • Use a spoon and start making drips around the edges. If the ganache hardened too much heat it a bit over bain-marie to get to a pouring consistency. When you finish all the drips on the edges fill the top with ganache and spread it evenly using the offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before decorating.
  • Prepare chocolate shards. Melt 2 oz (60g) semisweet chocolate over bain-marie. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp (20g) chopped semisweet chocolate for tempering. Stir until melted.
  • Spread chocolate evenly into about  9 x 6 inch (23x15cm) rectangle on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • Melt 1 ½ tbsp (15g) white chocolate  over bain-marie. Remove from heat and add ½ tbsp (5g) white chocolate, for tempering.
  • Drizzle with white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate.
  • Refrigerate to set.
  • Cut with a sharp knife in different shapes. Refrigerate until ready to decorate the cake.
  • Before serving decorate the cake with chocolate shards by pressing each shard into the icing. Enjoy!



Serving: 1gCalories: 461kcalCarbohydrates: 49.2gProtein: 10.9gFat: 27.2gSaturated Fat: 15.2gCholesterol: 162mgSugar: 35.2g
Calories: 461kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate biscuit, chocolate drips, chocolate shards, chocolate vertical layer cake, layer cake, mascarpone frosting, vertical layer cake

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Join the Conversation

  1. Siobhan Mendes Author says:

    In the sponge part you havnt mentioned about the baking powder. (I found out the hard way)
    Super cool cake anyway!!! Thank you for such great recipes!!

  2. krys Author says:

    Hi Ella,
    Can I make it as an usual cake? Is it ok to use the same quantities?

  3. This was the first of the recipes from you that I have tried, and I am a non-baker. Everything else I have previous made including packet mixes will fail miserably. However, people couldn’t believe that I made this cake. It turned out beautifully. Thank you for sharing your lovely recipes with us.

  4. Rebecca Author says:

    I made this gorgeous cake for Easter and it came out beautifully.
    I tweaked it a bit, instead of apricot jam I used chocolate spread and I also added a good helping of Baileys in the frosting.
    Your recipes are all so amazing! Think I’ve done 6 different once so far.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. My mascarpone split and, while looking for ways to salvage it, I saw many tips saying always keep it as cold as possible to prevent splitting. Is it important that the mascarpone be room temp for this recipe?

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Next time try not to mix it too much.. mascarpone doesn’t like overmixing. You can try using it a bit more chilled if you like.

  6. 5 stars
    Hello, can i make the same frosting but chocolat? if so how can i do it? thank you

    1. Ella Marincus-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Hello, you can use the chocolate frosting I’ve made here

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