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.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever. The Best Chocolate Cake recipe with decadent Chocolate Buttercream Frosting that will quickly become your favorite! //

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever. The Best Chocolate Cake recipe with decadent Chocolate Buttercream Frosting that will quickly become your favorite! //

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 661 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. 2131

    Celesta says

    This recipe looks delicious! But is there any way to cut down the sugar, while ommiting the espresso powder?

  2. 2133

    Jon says

    I made this cake for my brother’s birthday. One change i made is that i added Tia Maria to the icing (I may have added too much – ended up being around 1-2 shots worth). Ended up tasting amazing! Great recipe – my brother ended up saying that it’s almost too rich (and he loves sweet food).

  3. 2134

    Deb says

    I made this cake twice during one week. It was devoured by my family. I have always heard that espresso adds flavor to chocolate baked goodies. I couldn’t find it in the grocery store. So, that is the only change I made in the recipe by eliminating it. Phenomenal chocolate cake. Thank you for sharing this fabulous recipe.

    • 2135

      vickie says

      I love this recipe I make it all the time and the butter cream frosting is wonderful. This is now my go to cake and frosting.

      If there is anything thing you cant find in the grocery store check out this web site I use it all the time and there are no shipping charges. I bought espresso power from there.

  4. 2136

    malinda says

    Hi everyone, so I noticed a lot of folks on three message boards criticizing Mrs. Robyn’s chocolate buttercream recipe she recommends using for this cakex, that it is too runny. It is not a traditional American buttercream recipe she gives you, where one would typically expect to cream together butter and sugar to achieve an immediately ready to use frosting. The chocolate buttercream recipe Robyn uses is designed to be made with the HOT butter to allow the chocolate to come to proper consistency, which cannot be achieved with cold/room temp butter. You make the buttercream a bit in advance and cool it in a shallow pan in your refrigerator until it has set enough to your liking.
    Sincerely, pastry chef.

    I use a similar recipe on a very popular cake at my work, at least three times a week.

    • 2137

      Frances Hemphill says

      Please explain exactly how you get the ‘HOT butter.

      Is it completely melted? Do you mix it according to the directions as given in her recipe, except using butter that has been completely melted and is still hot from the heat?

      Is the butter just barely melted – or bubbling hot?
      Please explain.

      Thank you so much for the exact explanation.

      Do you share the instructions for the recipe that you mention which you use regularly. If so, I would really appreciate having a copy.
      I am grateful for any info. you will share.

  5. 2141

    Farah says

    I usually don’t comment on recipes, however, this is the BEST chocolate cake ever. I even made it as one of the tiers in a wedding cake and filled it with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream. Everyone loved this cake. I didn’t tell my clients the name of the cake and they coined it “the best chocolate cake ever”. It is super moist and chocolatey. The espresso really brings out the chocolatiness (I know that isn’t a word). It stood up to fondant well. Nice cake, good texture and flavour. Perfection!

    • 2143


      Hi Patricia,
      You won’t need to double it for a sheet cake. It should work just fine. I’ve posted how I make it as a sheet cake if you’d like to take a look at that as well.

      • 2144

        Sandy says

        I made this cake as directed and it was phenomenal, i want to use a 12 inch pan for a special event, how should i adjust recipe? Please respond asap! Need it soon!

  6. 2146

    Amber says

    Hi Robyn,

    Any way you could post the gram weights of your measurements? All serious bakers weigh and now with digital scales costing $20 even home bakers like myself can now as well. Might help for when you post all your recipes to do both? Thanks!

  7. 2148

    Amanda says

    I’m very excited to try this recipe! The only thing is that I haven’t been able to find espresso powder anywhere. Could I use hot coffee instead of the espresso powder and boiling water?

  8. 2149

    Amanda says

    I can’t find espresso powder anywhere…can I just use hot coffee instead of the espresso powder and boiling water?

  9. 2150

    Kristy says

    I made this last night, EXACTLY as it, and it truly is the most delicious chocolate cake and best frosting ever! Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes? If so, what do you recommend for time? My normal cupcake batter is super thick and takes 18 min at 350.

  10. 2151

    Robyn Filiaga says

    I am very interested in this recipe. However, for religious reasons I would not use espresso. Will this impact the cake very much by leaving this out?

    • 2152


      It will be just fine to omit it, Robyn. The espresso powder works in this recipe to enhance the chocolate flavor much like vanilla does in other recipes to enhance the flavors. You’ll still have a delicious chocolate cake without it.

      • 2153

        Ashley Vasquez says

        Can you use instant coffee granules instead of the espresso powder? I am making this cake now and making a german chocolate frosting to go with it (all I have on hand lol) Mama needs cake after kids driving me nuts all morning.

  11. 2154

    sophie says

    Hi Robyn, i’m gonna make this for my husband’s bday today. I have a problem with pans. Here where i live dont have 9″ (23cm) pan. They have 22 and 24cm. Which one should i use? If i use the 24cm pan, is the cake going to be too thin and easy to break? Sorry i’m a baker beginner. This is my first time i’m gonna make a bday cake :)

    • 2156

      Kathryn G says

      I made this in half inch layers and it never broke on me..This cake has such great moisture to it that its very forgiving. I made thin bakes because I put strawberries and whipped cream in between each layer. It turned out fabulously.

  12. 2159

    Jeanine says

    This recipe is fantastic and has a great crumb. I’m just wondering though how well does it freeze, I need to make a birthday tiered cake a and wanted to be able to prepare head of time.

  13. 2160

    Maria says

    Hi I am somewhat nervous about adding ”boiling water” for the chocolate cake recipe!!. Do you really add water at boiling temperature? The rest of the recipe sounds fab though..thanks

  14. 2161

    Judy says

    I am not a chocolate lover but I love this cake. I have made it at least 12 times. This is the only chocolate cake recipe I use and everytime I do it’s a hit. I reduced the sugar to 1 1/2 cups.

  15. 2162

    Lisa says

    I was thinking of making the cake in 2 – 9 x15 jelly roll pans, for a layer cake with a rich chocolate mousse in the middle. Do you think I should double the recipe? Btw I have made this recipe a number of times and it’s our family fav!

    • 2163


      Hi Lisa,
      Yes, you would want to double if you are making two 9×15 pans. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you.

  16. 2164

    Nabilaah says

    Hi. I”ve been baking this cake for over two years now, but, I have never seen MILK on the list of ingrediamts before today. Has it always been there??

    Also, this cake is the BEST!

  17. 2165

    Hima says

    I baked for the first time in my life yesterday using this recipe.
    And I have to admit the result was very pleasing.
    Loved it.! Thank you so much for this.

  18. 2166


    My wife is traveling this week and will be back on Friday. I want to make it as a surprise for Mother’s day weekend. Do you think it will be okay to make it Wednesday night? Will keep until Friday? (That is assuming I can keep my kids away from it!)

    • 2167


      What a sweet idea for Mother’s Day for your wife! It should be fine until Friday – but yes, the hard part will be not eating it before then! Ha!

  19. 2168

    Jeannette says

    LOVE THIS! And the frosting to go with it. This is the first baking recipes I’ve ever made from scratch that wasn’t melting chocolate over pretzels and EVERYONE said I nailed it! Also just tried her chicken nugget recipe and that was awesome too! Needless to say I am keeping my boyfriend happy with Robyn’s awesome family recipes :)

  20. 2169

    Diana says

    I made this cake 3 times during the past 3 weeks or so and it truly is a wonderful recipe! So moist and so tasty… and it goes with any filling that I could think of! I live in Eastern Europe. We measure everything in grams over here, but I just used a small coffee mug and it seems the proportions are juuust right. My mom said that I’m a really talented baker, but it is you who deserves all the praise! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

  21. 2170

    Dianne says

    Whoa, the batter is way too wet. I left out 1/4 cup of the boiling water because it’s already super wet. Hope this turns out

    • 2171


      You definitely should add the boiling water to the batter as it makes it even better! It will make a very thin batter, but definitely bakes for a very moist and delicious cake!

      • 2172

        Ashley Vasquez says

        I was also frightened by this. I came back to your website to make sure I was suppose to put a cup lol. I know boiling water + Cocoa powder = awesome.

  22. 2173

    Naay says

    Hi. Wanted to know what Brand of Cocoa powder you use for this particular cake-No cocoa powders are created equal.

  23. 2174

    Selena says

    I was just wondering if this cake can be frozen and taste just as good? I need the cake for saturday night but am pushed for time? Can I make it Friday afternoon, freeze it and then defrost and decorate on Saturday?

    • 2175


      You absolutely can! If you have time on Friday, you can even go ahead and frost the cake and it will still be delicious on Saturday!

  24. 2178

    Esme says

    Absolutely loved this. The name for this recipe is NOT overrated at all! Thank you for sharing :)

  25. 2179


    I made 4 (yes 4!) batches of this recipe to make my son a birthday cake in the shape of the human body. Everyone thought it was delicious and my mom did say it was the best chocolate cake she had ever eaten. Thanks!

  26. 2181

    Danielle Campbell -Lyle says

    can I use Decaf coffee beans ground into espresso consistency? I want to make this cake for a baby shower, but I do not want to add extra caffeine for the Mother.

    • 2182


      Hi Danielle,
      You can completely omit or do as you mentioned to have a caffeine-free treat! What a great idea for a shower!

  27. 2183

    Marylou says

    What can i use instead of espresso powder? I would like to do it today for a friends surprise party. Thanks in advance!

    • 2184


      Hi Marylou,
      You can omit it if you don’t have espresso powder. Some use finely ground coffee, but I found that it sometimes would leave a bit of an aftertaste.

  28. 2185

    Morgan says

    This is delicious. I’ve also done your white cake and your buttercream frosting. All amazing.

  29. 2187

    Felicia says

    This cake was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe, and although the batter was super runny, it baked up perfectly. I had never used expresso powder before, but it is a nice addition- very tasty in the icing too. All in all, I’m very happy with this cake recipe and glad I chose it to make for my daughter’s birthday.

  30. 2189

    Gary Tobolski says

    It is indeed rich & chocolate-y, but too dense for me for a regular cake. The batter was too watery to beat at high on my KA mixer – it flew out of the bowl when I turned it up past 5!

  31. 2190

    Dora Greece says

    By far the Best recipe ever. tasty, rich and nice moist soft texture. Didn’t use espresso powder cause didn’t had any ( I hate coffee) but the result was amazing. My family loved it. Cake dissappeared on day 1. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  32. 2191

    Monica S. says

    Is there a way to use something instead of the milk? Mayor milk problems in the family. Soy milk, almond milk, orange juice, anything that would not change the awesome looking texture of your picture? Thank you

    • 2192

      Kathryn G says

      I used Almond Milk and olive oil without any issue. My daughter is ANA Dairy so I adapt everything to be dairy free and haven’t had an issue substituting with original almond milk in any recipe.

  33. 2193

    Michelle says

    I’m always highly skeptical of “best [anything] ever,” but that’s actually an understatement with this cake (and the white cake, and the chocolate buttercream frosting). Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us!

    • 2194

      MrsWelton says

      LOL! That’s what my husband said when I told him about the Best White Cake Ever recipe, LOL! But like you said, it’s an understatement!

  34. 2195

    MrsWelton says

    I’ve made your Best White Cake Ever (it REALLY is!) recipe with your Classic Vanilla Buttercream twice now (once into a rainbow checkboard cake, then into cupcakes the second time) – both recipes are amazing!!!!!! I’m making your Best Chocolate Cake Ever recipe with Chocolate Buttercream today! Can’t WAIT to taste it, especially if it’s as good as your white cake and buttercream!

  35. 2196

    Grace says

    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! Absolutely spot on, literally better than any restaurant chocolate cake. The cupcake version is a godsend too!

  36. 2198

    rebecca says

    I’ve made this recipe many, many times, and it’s true – it’s the best chocolate cake ever…but this time, I forgot the salt. Ack! What have I done? Will the cake be ruined?

  37. 2199

    Kathryn G says

    I am using this recipe as a layer cake for my daughters 5th birthday party! I am going to make it into layers filled with a strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate chips. Substitutions will be made though just to make it a dairy free cake but I can tell this is going to be a fantastic recipe. I can’t wait to present this!

  38. 2200

    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!

  39. 2201

    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

  40. 2202

    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.

  41. 2203

    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.

  42. 2204

    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.

  43. 2205

    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.

  44. 2206

    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!

  45. 2207

    Carol says

    My frosting was perfect with 3 sticks of butter and I didn’t add any more powdered sugar. I didn’t allow my butter to get too soft or melted.

  46. 2208

    JAy says

    Perhaps you melted your butter too much. The butter should only need to be at room temperature – that means when you cut through it, it still has it’s form but it’s easier to cut through.

  47. 2209

    Tracy says

    Susan wrote: ” I believe there is a mistake with the amount of butter, maybe 1 1/2 sticks as oppposed to 1 1/2 cups? ” — but a 1/2 sticks of butter equals 1 1/2 cups. Each stick of butter amounts to a half cup of butter.

  48. 2211

    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!

  49. 2213

    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!!!

  50. 2214

    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?

  51. 2217

    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

  52. 2219

    Bekah says

    To those commenting about the “melted” butter…the recipe doesn’t say to “melt” it. You are just supposed to let it soften to room temperature. If you don’t have time for it to soften on it’s own, you can take it right out of the fridge and microwave it for about 10 seconds tops. Another good trick for butter in icing is to whip the butter by itself for a loooong time, at least 6-7 minutes before adding the sugar. That little trick always makes the fluffiest buttercream icing.

    Robyn, my cake is still in the oven but I’ll let you know how it turns out…I’m always on the search for a good chocolate cake recipe. :-)

  53. 2221

    Angel Burnett-Ashwin says

    i think the frosting recipe has been changed as the first copy i printed out did say melt butter and pour into the bowl of stand mixer. printing for the second time over a year later “Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined” but no biggie though coz i just used butter at room temp. 😀 have a fabulous day from New Zealand 11.03am 08.01.15

  54. 2223

    kkhadija says

    OMG!!! this cake turns out to be absolutely AMAZING!!! i’m making this cake on everyone’s birthday…my teacher’s, my friend’s…!

  55. 2227


    ‘Oh my heavens!! I made the cake today for my daughter’s 38th birthday. Did not have the expresso powder and almost substituted instant coffee, but didn’t after reading the comments of those who did. Everyone flipped over the cake and said it was better than any really expensive gourmet cake they had ever eaten. Now my son-in-law has requested it for his birthday next month and since he is an avid coffee drinker, I will take the time to get the expresso powder and see how that does. And I only had 2 sticks of butter so I adjusted the icing recipe accordingly and it was fabulous and made plenty as I used a 9×13 pan.

    Texan through and through!!

  56. 2229


    Just responding to Tracy,

    1 1/2 sticks of butter does not equal 1 1/2 cups. Each stick of butter equals 1/2 cup, therefore 1/2 stick equals 1/4 cup,
    so 1 1/2 sticks equals 3/4 cup butter.


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