The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

The best chocolate cake recipe. Ever? There are plenty of claims for the best chocolate cake recipe. I get that. But with one bite of this chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, every single person around the table commented that this was the best chocolate cake they’d ever tasted.


Chocolate Cake Recipe |


So as for my house, this chocolate cake recipe now holds that honor.

As the compliments continued, I didn’t begin to tell them how easy it was to make.

In all honesty, it is probably one of the easiest cakes I’ve made in a long time, really, but I just smiled and thanked them.

As we continued on gobbling up the cake, drinking our coffee or iced cold milk, the compliments just kept coming.

Then the requests for the recipe started.

That’s generally when you know that folks really like what you’ve made if they ask for the recipe and tell you for what event they plan to serve it.

As a cook, that really is one of the highest compliments you can receive – well, at least in my book.

It was great to hear that they thought the cake was just as good after their last bite as they thought it was with their first.

Here’s another great thing about this recipe. The cake batter really can be made in a bowl without the use of a heavy duty mixer. Of course, that just makes things easier, but this is easily a recipe my Grandmother would have enjoyed making in her tiny kitchen with a whisk and a bowl. And I’m sure it would have turned out perfectly, too.


I’m not going to kid you, this makes a very rich, moist, and absolutely luxurious chocolate cake recipe. So if you are a faint of heart chocolate cake person, this is not the cake for you.

Based on the Old Fashioned Hershey’s recipe, I sort of went a bit heavy-handed with some changes testing cake after cake until I got it just the way I wanted it, but the end result was oh so worth it.



The few crumbs left on plates gave that away.

One of the ingredients that really made this chocolate cake recipe come to life, in my opinion, was the addition of espresso powder in both the chocolate cake and in the chocolate frosting.

If you’ve not tried a bit of espresso when baking with chocolate, you really should.

The espresso works to elevate the flavors in much the same way as vanilla extract and I now think of it as an essential part of my spice cabinet.

Espresso powder is easy to find at the grocery store or even online if your grocer doesn’t stock it normally.

Believe me when I say, it is very much worth the effort to have just for those times you are baking with chocolate!



So my friends, if you have a chocolate lover in your midst, make them this cake. If they’ve had a bad day this is certainly something that will brighten it for them. If they’ve had a great day, then this chocolate cake is a great way to celebrate with them!

It just needs to happen.


Let me just say again, this chocolate cake + this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe = the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!

And here it is.

4.8 from 516 reviews
The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate Cake with decadent chocolate frosting that will quickly become your favorite!
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. For the cake:
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Do let me know how you like it.

If you are looking for cupcakes from this recipe, I’ve shared my recipe for the best chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting for ya.

Robyn xo



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  1. 1607

    Liz says

    Does the butter cream frosting go in between the two cakes as well or is it different (like a ganache)?

    Baking this tomorrow night :) can’t wait



    • 1608

      Lucinda Kirk says

      It makes the cake so much more moist and fudgey if you put the frosting between layers! I’ve tried it both ways and while it’s absolutely delicious as is with the frosting on the top and sides, it’s just unbeatable with it throughout the cake, Just about to make this cake for the 4th time!

  2. 1609

    Thomay says

    this is truly the best chocolate cake ever!! Needed a recipe to make a cake for my daughters bridal shower and came across this website and recipe. Without having made it before, I went with it and received absolute rave reviews for the cake and frosting. Even made the white cake and frosting from this site for another layer of the cake. This went over so well, the caterer at the bridal shower had asked who made the cake; they were so impressed most notably with the moist chocolate cake and wanted to engage the baker for another event! Alas, I declined (lol), but can tell you the cake was a hit at the wedding also!! thank you for the great recipes!

  3. 1610

    Judy says

    Not a single bite was left, just an empty cake plate! I’m making this again today for a friend whose only request for her 50th birthday was a chocolate cake with buttercream icing.

  4. 1611

    Patrick says

    Hi, from Brazil!!

    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe with us, Robyn… Wow, it’s delicious!

    I used a cup of espresso instead of the coffee powder and boiling water, and it was good enough for me. The color of this cake is amazing, and the flavour, hmmm…

    I will make it again, for sure.

  5. 1612

    Letícia says

    I’ve been trying to find the perfect Chocolate Cake recipe for so long. I’ve searched all the websites in my country but I was never fully satisfied with the final result. One day I had the idea to “google” in English instead of Portuguese and I ended up here. So glad I did it! This is absolutely the best recipe ever. Since I found it, I’ve baked a million cakes based on your recipe and they are always perfect and fluffy.
    Today I felt like it was time to thank you for sharing this – actually I should have done it months ago, but it’s better late than never ;)
    So, thank you so much!

    Cheers from Brazil!

  6. 1614

    Mike says

    I made this last week and it was fantastic (My mum thought I had bought it when I took her a couple of slices) but I had a lot of frosting left over. Do you sandwich the two halves together with frosting, or with anything else? I was thinking of putting Whipped Cream in the middle?


    • 1615

      Gina says

      You would never want to put whipped cream as it would spoil within a few hours, nutriwhip would be the better option as it would keep up to 14 days

  7. 1617

    Teresa Hockman says

    Just made this today, with minor change. Added triple strength French pressed espresso instead of powder; modifying the liquid content w/milk. Also added a layer of dark chocolate ganache w/hint of mint to the middle frosting layer. Only made 1 layer, cut in half. This recipe is amazing!!! Thank you so much! The cake is so moist. Frosting is easy and consistency is perfect and easy to spread. Will use this over and over again. :)

  8. 1618


    Hi Robyn! I Googled, “the best chocolate cake ever” and yours was first in line! This looks amazing and I love your recipe! I’ll be making this along with the chocolate butter cream frosting for my husbands birthday!


    Dana ;)

  9. 1619

    Dena Marie says

    This really is the best chocolate cake ever. I made it for my hubby’s birthday, he is a chocolate lover. Both he and our kids raved about how great it was. I will make this again and again and never look for another recipe, it is spot on PERFECT in every way!

  10. 1620

    Abby says

    Making this for my mother, but she says she doesn’t really care for buttercream frostings. Is there anything else that would go well on this cake?

    • 1621

      Em says

      Try a ganache – heat cream to almost boiling then pour over chocolate pieces. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until melted. Keep in the fridge. Once cooled, whip with electric beaters & it’s ready to use.

  11. 1622

    itke says

    Without a doubt this is the best chocolate cake ever. Everyone loved it and asked for seconds. Thank you for sharing.

  12. 1623

    Dee Anderson says

    Hi Robyn~

    I do not like the taste of coffee at all. Just wondering if the teaspoon of expresso makes the cake taste and/or smell like coffee? If so, do you have any suggestions or remedies?

    BTW, I’ll be making your slow cooker spareribs tomorrow! Thanks for the yummy recipes!

    • 1624


      Hi Dee,
      The espresso makes the chocolate flavor of the cake more intense. If you are sensitive to the flavor of coffee, you can simply omit it from the recipe. The cake will still be fabulous. The espresso just makes it even more so! :)

  13. 1625

    Michelle says

    Can I put the espresso powder into the boiling water and add it that way or does it need to be added in with the dry ingredients? Thank you!

  14. 1626

    Linda Conley says

    Can I make this at least a day ahead and leave out at room temp? Looks just delicious and not too time consuming. Will let you know how everyone liked it. Thanks!

    • 1627


      yes, you can easily make it ahead. If you are planning to leave it out without frosting, I would recommend wrapping it tightly so that it does not dry out. I would really recommend wrapping and going ahead and storing in the refrigerator unfrosted overnight or even better, frosting and storing on a covered cake stand or plate. That will make sure that it stays nice and moist!

  15. 1628

    Gordon says

    I just made this again. The beauty is how EASY it is to make. There is no creaming, just dry and wet. I rarely have a whole cake eaten but this was gone in 2 days and there are 2 of us and of course a quarter went to a friend. The BEST chocolate cake ever!!!! Sorry Ina,but Robyn is my new go to!

  16. 1629

    Florence says

    Hi there

    i live in london and was just wondering of golden caster sugar was ok to use as the sugar?

    Cant wait to make it!

  17. 1630

    Shyalika says

    Made this for my son’s birthday and it was a hit. My first chocolate cake and first ever frosting. I used vanilla butter cream frosting to decorate the cake. This was very easy and will be my go to recipe

  18. 1631

    Cheryl says

    Robyn, your cake was delicious! Took it to work and everyone loved it. When you stack your cake layers, do you turn them upside down? The picture of your cake looks like it is more straight up and down rather than rounded. Just wondering. I like the way yours looks. Going to try the white cake next. I really enjoy your blog. Cheryl

  19. 1633

    Calie M says

    Hello! Thank you for such an easy recipe. I was wondering something though: I do not have 2 round pans of the same size but would love to make this a 2-tier cake. Because the recipe calls for boiling water, can I bake one 9-inch pan and leave the batter on the counter until the other one is done, or will it not bake right if the batter isn’t hot? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • 1634

      Thomay says

      I did this while having to bake multiple batches for a large cake. Had absolutely no issues however I have read elsewhere that its always best to bake right away.

  20. 1635

    Arzoo says

    Yum! Yum! Yum!! This cake was fantastic.. A definite keeper.. Soft, moist.. Made it with Nutella ganache.. Thx Robyn!

  21. 1637

    Jacqui Lim says

    Dear Robyn.
    You said it!!! Best Chocolate cake/ Cupcakes EVER and it is amazingly true. Baked it several time in cupcakes and in cake. It is moist and a highly stable recipe. Iced it with Chocolate ganache and for cocoa I used Valhorna. Recipe is straight forward to follow. Results are absolutely satisfying.
    Wham! its magical.
    Thank you for a FAB recipe.
    Looking forward to trying others.
    God bless.

  22. 1638

    wendy says

    Can’t rate this as i haven’t made it yet.
    Found this recipe and it looks just what i’m after Am making a 50th birthday cake for my husband. Was thinking of hiring a 5 and 0 pan, but will need to make 4 cakes. Am a bit nervous of making it the day before in case I stuff up. But so want to make it as it looks and reviews all so good. Was going to make one chocolate and one coffee, but this seems to be the answer. Big question, party is in 2 weeks, can I freeze it?

  23. 1640

    Amy N says

    I made this cake just yesterday. My second time making a cake in my life and my very first time EVER making a cake from scratch(the first was a box mix). IT WAS A HUGE HIT.
    I made 2 cakes at the same time, one round and one square (so 4 cakes in total). I gifted the square and my family devoured the other. I didn’t use your frosting though. I made a very simple vanilla whipped ice-cream frosting. So i guess i turned it into an ice cream cake?
    I made a pleasant mistake though that i didnt realise until afterwards. I had used 2 cups of milk instead of 1. AND IT WAS STILL DIVINE. So it is a very good recipe.
    Thank you for sharing it. I’m walking on sunshine now feeling like Ina Garten.

  24. 1641

    Dottie says

    Trying a paleo adaptation of this! I used almond meal instead of flour, organic sucanat for most of the sugar, and almond butter instead of butter and almond milk instead of regular milk…about to try it and see how it is! :)

  25. 1643

    Sandy Perry says

    I am making a cake for a birthday and they don’t like dark chocolate. How do I alter the recipe to make it more like milk chocolate? Thanks.

  26. 1644

    Melissa says

    Would this recipe hold up in a cake mold pan? I’m looking for a chocolate cake recipe for my son’s birthday. I wanted to make a bear shaped cake. If this wouldn’t work do you have a suggestion? Thank you. I have made recipes from your website before and love them!

  27. 1645

    Kelly says

    I am thinking about making this for my 7 y/o nephew’s birthday. I was worried about the espresso powder, does it give the cake a coffee taste??

  28. 1648

    Ashlyn says

    I saw that people replaced the espresso powder in the Buttercream Frosting recipe and had good results. Do you think replaced the espresso powder in the cake recipe would also result in deliciousness?

  29. 1649

    sarah w says

    Hi there! I just made this cake last night, as I found it on pinterest and decided to make it for my boyfriends birthday. The consistency of the batter was extremely thin after I added the boiling water. before adding the water the thickness was about like brownie batter. I thought the cake would turn out more fudgey like the picture shows, but it didnt. I think next time I will try adding less than half as much water. Have you tried anything different since you published this recipe?

  30. 1650

    Karen Pilson says

    I just mixed this cake up and went exactly by the recipe but the batter is very runny, is it supposed to be like this? Never made a cake before that the batter was this runny. Baking it now and it seems to be rising good.
    Hope it turns out good, I am taking it to a family reunion tomorrow. The comments are certainly great for it.

  31. 1651

    Lena says

    I am an avid baker, at least every day and today I was in need of a good choc cake recipe, had a bad day, needed to bake. Googled, best chocolate cake recipe, and happened on your site. And I must agree. This cake is perfect. Rich, moist, not sweet but oh so chocolate. Can’t wait to try your other recipes this was a hit. I bake a lot, and my husband and kids are quite the snobs about what I bake now since they will only eat what they consider to be “worth” it. Not a crumb left. THANK YOU!

  32. 1653

    Ana Marie says

    Hi.. I wany to try your recipe for my daughter’s birthday. I just have a question regarding the milk. When you say milk, is this a fresh milk? Please advise. Sorry but this is my first time to bake a chocolate cake. Thanks in advace.

  33. 1656

    Kimberly says

    Made this cake today and is by far, the best chocolate cake I have ever had. I made a vanilla custard pastry cream to go inside and just dusted it with powdered sugar. Super moist and flavorful. The espresso powder makes all the difference in the world.

    This is my new go-to chocolate cake recipe!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  34. 1659

    Charlotte says

    This cake looks great. How tall does it end up being? I want to use it with other textured layers but curious how big the layers will be.

  35. 1661

    portia boesen says

    Very nice moist cake; just the way how I like it. Thanks for sharing; I like your pic of the cake; its a keeper!

  36. 1662

    julia says

    awesome, frosting bit runny, i must of added too much liquid, wasnt as pretty as youre, but best choc cake ive ever tasted x

  37. 1663

    Netta Hartin says

    It is the best chocolate cake ive ever baked. THank you for sharing this recipe Top of my list. The hot water keep it moist love it, the colour is dark chocolate, i will make 3 morr for fathers day now. See what my families will say.

  38. 1664

    Susan says

    This cake recipe is delicious, but problem with frosting. I believe there is a mistake with the amount of butter, maybe 1 1/2 sticks as oppposed to 1 1/2 cups? It was too runny and I had to add about 3 more cups of sugar to get it thicker, but it was still a tad runny, but did not want to add more sugar because then it would be too sweet.

  39. 1665

    Saradha says

    I followed the recipe of the cake word for word. I tried only the cake. It turned out super yummy.Thanks Robyn for the wonder recipe.

  40. 1666

    Donna says

    I made a half recipe of the icing today because I made the cake in a 9 x 13 pan…the texture was perfect. When I make the icing, I don’t melt the butter. I just use softened butter (very soft room temp) and it has turned out fine.

  41. 1667

    Sarah says

    Hi Susan,
    I just finished using this frosting recipe, and the directions of using melted butter seemed strange to me, like it’d make the frosting too runny. After reading your review and others’, that was confirmed! Instead of melting the butter, I just used softened/room temp butter, and the consistency turned out perfect! Smooth, thick and creamy, definitely NOT runny!

  42. 1669

    melanie allen says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe Ive made alot of chocolate cakes and this is by far the best EVER I made it exactly how it looks in the pictures you put up for my daughters birthday and everyone was asking for the recipe and my kids loved it so much I think Im going to make it just because I cant get enough myself:) Thank you again for sharing the best recipe ever!

  43. 1671

    Lisa says

    Hi ^^,
    I can see so many great comments about your amazing recipe here that i can’t wait to try it out for my best friend. I am just wondering how much grams is your 2 cups of all-purpose flour and sugar and is it ok to use Dutch processed cocoa?

    Thank again for sharing and i can’t wait to bake it!!!

  44. 1672

    Ange says

    Hi Robyn,

    I’v not tried this recipe before but am in need of a fool proof, moist chocolate cake and the reviews are great!

    I’m wondering though, do you think it’s suitable to use for a 2 tier cake? I’m wondering if because of how moist it seems to be that the bottom layer might not be able to hold the top layer without breaking and with our refrigeration?

  45. 1673

    niy says

    I made this cake yesterday and it was a huge success, it was moist and tasty. I decided to take a slice to my mother and her neighbor, and they loved it. My mother called later that evening and said that since I was watching my weight, I should bring the rest of the cake to her. The next day we delivered slices of the cake to a few elderly neighbors who don’t cook often, and they were delighted. Thank you for helping me spread the joy. Can’t wait to tell you how they respond to the white cake. Thanks Marlene G


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