Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Torte

Trisha Yearwood’s chocolate torte is essentially a 12-layer vanilla cake that’s smothered with chocolate glaze. A sophisticated dessert that’s surprisingly simple to make.

As author Trisha Yearwood says of this cake, you may take a look at the layers and think, “There is no way I’m making this at home!” “But,” she continues to explain, “the recipe is both simple and savvy, baking several skinny cakes in 9-inch cake pans. It sure beats making a plain ole double layer chocolate cake and slicing both of those suckers into six with that inevitable and maddening mess of crumbs that comes from hacking away at the cake with a bread knife.” Impressive in stature as well as taste.–Trisha Yearwood


Yes, we understand, you don’t always have the time or patience for tradition–or lots and lots of layers. So sure, why not, go ahead, bake the batter in two standard 9-inch round cake pans and then stack and frost the two layers as is, as you would any layer cake. Then call it a day–a darn good day.

Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Torte

Trisha Yearwood's chocolate torte on a cake stand with a section cut from it to display 12 layers.
Trisha Yearwood’s chocolate torte is essentially a 12-layer vanilla cake that’s smothered with chocolate glaze. A sophisticated dessert that’s surprisingly simple to make.
Trisha Yearwood

Prep 1 hr 15 mins
Cook 45 mins
Total 2 hrs
15 servings
816 kcal
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood cookbook

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For the chocolate glaze

  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) butter
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules preferably French roast

For the cake

  • 2 sticks (8 oz) butter at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 4 cups self-rising flour plus more for the pans


Make the glaze

  • [Editor’s Note: Be sure to make the glaze before you bake the cakes.] In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. 
  • Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Then stir in the evaporated milk, vanilla, and the instant coffee, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a boil. 
  • Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a glaze, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the glaze from the heat.

Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter and flour at least four 9-inch cake pans.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. 
  • In a small bowl, mix the vanilla with the milk. Add the flour to the egg mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.
  • Pour a very thin layer of batter—about 7 tablespoons—into each pan, shaking the pans to distribute the batter to the edges. Bake the layers for 11 to 13 minutes. 
  • While the first cake layers bake, return the glaze to low heat as the glaze must be warm to spread on the cake layers.
  • When the cake layers are done, immediately remove the layers from the pans and, working one at a time, place the layers on a cake stand and immediately slather with some of the warm glaze.
  • Bake all of the remaining batter in this manner and continue to stack and glaze in this fashion. You should be able to get 12 layers from this recipe. Reserve the last of the glaze to dribble over the top of the cake.
Print RecipeBuy the Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 816kcal (41%)Carbohydrates: 126g (42%)Protein: 12g (24%)Fat: 32g (49%)Saturated Fat: 19g (119%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 144mg (48%)Sodium: 90mg (4%)Potassium: 326mg (9%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 99g (110%)Vitamin A: 923IU (18%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 175mg (18%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

An impressive cake. The thin layers of both cake and icing were visually appealing as well as delicious. The icing has a taste similar to brigadeiros, or Brazilian chocolate fudge balls, with an almost caramel-like quality to the chocolate and coffee flavor.

The recipe calls for an interesting technique of layering the cake while still hot, and it worked. It’s labor-intensive, but the extra time in baking thin layers of batter is definitely offset by not having to cut standard-size cakes into layers and deal with all the crumbs while spreading the icing and assembling them.

I halved the recipe and got 8 layers from it, although I needed more than the amount of icing specified to effectively cover each layer. I also made the cake gluten-free, and the recipe adapted perfectly. The finished cake is not really rich, but is very sweet. I might be inclined to reduce the sugar next time I make this, but it’s otherwise a wonderful dessert.

I must admit that when I first read the recipe, I was a bit overwhelmed, but I was quite surprised at how easy this cake is to make and how beautiful and tasteful it is.

I follow a gluten-free diet, so I had to switch the self-rising flour for the exact same amount of all-purpose GF flour ( Bob’s Red Mill) and did what the site Art of Gluten-Free Baking says with regard to adding the baking powder and salt. Worked beautifully. I was able to divide the batter into 3 pans and divided each cake into 2 layers, so I had 6 layers altogether. I’m sure I could have cut each into 3 layers, but I was too scared of breaking them. We had friends over for dinner and this was an absolutely HUGE success.

Originally published October 29, 2010


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    1. Barbara,
      I reproduced the recipe, but instead of self-rising flour I used the same amount of Bob’s Red Mill GF flour and then, as per the instructions on this site, I added the salt and baking powder. It came out amazing. We had guests over and no one even realized it was made with GF flour. I would definitely suggest that you try it. It’s also much easier to make than I had expected. I used three pans, and cut each of the cooked cakes into two layers. It looked and tasted amazing. My 14-year-old daughter wants this exact same cake for her 15th birthday. Hope this helps.

  1. I made this cake for my daughters 5th birthday. I used half round tin cakes and the other half with a love heart tin that fit edge to edge of the round tin. There was ample chocolate glaze to layer and cover the entire cake. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    When I saw this cake, I just knew I had to make it for a special occasion. My wonderful daughters birthday is this weekend and I spent about three to four hours making it last night. I was a labor to me as how it is made. I have made this kind of cake before but only seven layers and I always made the layers first and then made the cooked icing. The advantage making it Trisha’s way is that you don’t have to worry about where to put all those layers and the chance that being so thin they usually dry out. I cooked the icing just like it said, but I did not think it was thick enough and cooked it about seven minutes longer. The icing ran down on the sides of the dish and would not get hard quick enough. The last layer started to split so I hurried and got the toothpicks. I put the cake in the fridge and went to bed. I got up this morning and the icing was hardened and I heated up the leftover icing just a little bit and spread it over the top. I cleaned up the sides of the cake dish and now it looks so beautiful. The layers wanted to rise higher in the middle as I was adding them to the cake. I was a nervous wreck. Now we have to travel two hours to our daughters house. I do hope it survives. I think Trish could have given more instructions on making the icing. Would I make it again? It depends on how good it will be Saturday and how the family receives it. IF it is great then I would make it for any of our three children and anyone that I love dearly. By the way I did get twelve layers, and the last two were a little bit bigger so I could use all the batter. Thanks Trisha for the recipe. Gosh, the cake is a mile high I tell my husband, and I call it the one-hundred dollar cake like the whole coconut cake is at the Charleston Magnolia Restaurant. I know because my neice bought one for her husband.
    Judy English

    1. Hi Judy,

      What a lovely and special way to celebrate your daughter’s birthday! I need to take a walk and try that cake at Magnolia’s. I usually crave the coconut cake at Peninsula Grill but I could be tempted to try something new…


      1. Hi Beth, I am so sorry and apologize for making an error about the famous Restaurant Peninsula Grill’s Coconut Cake. Don’t take that walk. I was rushing to finish packing and getting the cake safely to our destination that I incorrectly said the wrong restaurant name. The cake was a great success and it looked exactly like the one on this site. I assumed that you must live in Charleston. I grew up there and my sister and Mom lives there West of the Ashley. It is a great city. Thanks again. Judy English

        1. Hi Judy,

          Yes, I do live in Charleston. That coconut cake is amazing isn’t it? So glad that the torte was amazing as well!

    2. Judy,
      A true labor of love! Sounds like everything turned out well, but let us know how it goes tomorrow!

      1. Hi Rachel, We arrived at our daughters house with no damage to the cake. Well the Chocolate Torte was a big hit at our daughter’s birthday this weekend. WOW, was the word of the night. It was so moist, and the icing was so tasty. I did not think it was overly rich. I would definately make it again for someone special in my heart. Thanks much for the recipe.

  3. I made this cake yesterday and it was a big hit. It wasn’t difficult, just a little time consuming. I made some hazelnut praline and sprinkled it on top which gave it a bit more texture since it’s pretty plain otherwise. I will definitely make it again but might brush some of the cake layers with Frangelico to give it a bit more flavour.

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