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 701 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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    • 2305

      Nadia says

      Very moist & delicious chocolate cake. I didn’t have espresso powder so used granulated instant coffee, which worked fine. Instead of the buttercream used Robyn’s chocolate ganache, which i cooled and then whipped to make frosting – the result – a very rich, chocolatey, melt in your mouth winter (we’re in Australia) treat! Thank you Robyn!

  1. 2307

    Tom says

    I tried this recipe the other day and I have to say it turned out great. I put 1.75 cups of sugar in it instead of 2 whole cups and I was really satisfied with the taste and texture overall. Everything you’d want from a chocolate cake. Mind you, I did not frost it. I’m not a huge fan of buttercream myself.

    • 2308


      I’m not a buttercream fan either! What I do is to make cream cheese frosting and beat in cocoa powder till I’m satisfied with the chocolate flavour. It tastes like a denser chocolate mousse!

  2. 2309

    Melody says


    I am a big chocolate fan and when I came across this recipe I knew I HAD to make this. I baked the cake the following morning and it was amazing! The cake is super moist and chocolaty. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


  3. 2310

    JGH says

    I’m a southern gal who married a die-hard Yankee with taste buds that often have very different preferences than mine. So even making a dessert we both LOVE is a hard task. But this cake…my husband was drooling over it even before it finished cooking! It’s now a family favorite, and is so easy to make it takes the burden off the shoulders of this wannabe-perfect-housewife. <3 Thanks SO much for sharing!

  4. 2311


    I made this cake yesterday and my family loved it. Thank you for a beautiful chocolate recipe, I’ve featured it on my blog with credits. I shall definitely bake it again!

  5. 2312

    Vanessa Flower says

    Hi Robyn,

    Could you be so kind as to let me know now many grams makes one cup?
    I am from India and the measurements differ.

    Thank you so much!

  6. 2314

    marja says

    Hi. What could i use to replace espresso powder? I’m from Finland and can’t find it from my supermarket and i would like to do this cake for my daughters 6- year birthday tomorrow? :-)

  7. 2318

    Stacey says

    I am sorry to say this but the cake did not turn out well.The inside came out like mud because of all the water(1full glass?!).Also,i baked it and baked it for over an hour in order to salvage it and not throw it away at once.Maybe it’s both the water and the appliances but still the cake recipe needs readjusting.The taste was ok,i guess.I am not trying to sound mean,i am just very unhappy to throw away food,money & time.Have a nice day!<3 the site!

  8. 2322

    Maram says

    After baking this recipe tens of times I had to come back and send you a big thank you. It is a favorite at my house and makes great cupcake I take often to my work place.

  9. 2323

    Kinneret says

    I want to make this cake (looks delicious!) but will be cutting it into shapes (making a kids birthday cake) — do you think itll hold up or is it too moist?

  10. 2324


    Received a lot of compliments from my family. I don’t have espresso powder so just used instant coffee powder. Just maybe added half a teaspoon more coffee. The same thing I did for the frosting but decided to dissolve it first in about 2 tbsp water. For the frosting, I only put 3 cups of powdered sugar.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  11. 2325

    Zack says

    I’m 13 years old and my mom never lets me bake anything. But my dad talked her into it this one time so I made this recipe. It was the best ever!!! So I think I can bake more stuff from now on. We couldn’t find espresso powder, so my dad looked it up online and found that some people substitute instant dark coffee (smashed up to fine powder). So we did that and it worked great, although I’m not sure how different that made it. Next time we will use the espresso powder and see if that’s better. Anyway everyone loved the cake.

    • 2326


      Hi Zack,
      I’m so glad you had fun baking the cake and that everyone loved it! I think it is awesome that you are baking and love that your Dad is helping you. I know both of your parents are so proud of you!!! I can’t wait to hear what else you bake. xo

  12. 2328

    Amanda says

    Hi Robyn,
    I’ve made this cake three times, and each time the top of the cake develops a hard top, almost like a crust. Does yours do the same? I’ve never had a cake do this before, and I’ve baked from scratch for years. It doesn’t take away from the deliciousness of the cake, just curious if it’s normal/to be expected.

  13. 2329

    dan says

    Made this cake twice now – super fool proof!!! AND I SWEAR IT IS ACTUALLY *THE* BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE OUT THERE. Very moist and decadent. The hint of coffee is amazing :) Thank you for this recipe!

    • 2330

      dan says

      however i forgot to add that the frosting is a miss. I had to play around with the proportions of sugar and butter to get the right consistency.

  14. 2331

    Catherine says

    Dear Robyn,

    Can this recipe be used to make a loaf cake? I adore this recipe and it’s now my go to chocolate cake!

  15. 2332

    Vijeta says

    This has been our favourite chocolate cake.. everyone loves it… the texture is just awesome..

    Now i want to bake a vanilla sponge cake with the same texture… so can i substitute the cocoa powder with flour? Since I bake in a convection microwave, not all recipes work. I have had failed attempts when following recipes without baking soda.

  16. 2333

    Katy says

    This cake is absolutely amazing! This is now my third time baking it for a birthday celebration . You’t think it was made by a professional it’s so moist and delicious. This has to be the BEST chocolate cake ever <3 Thanks Robyn!!

  17. 2335

    Rasheedah Martin says

    I made this chocolate cake recipe today for my daughter’s 4th birthday.. I did half of sheet and cupcakes. Also made my own cocoa buttercream icing. She along with my other kids and husband loved it. Happy Birthday babygirl…

  18. 2337

    Sandra says

    This sounds delish! I am making my friends wedding cake and am looking for a good cake to fill with raspberry. Does the espresso powder make it taste at all like coffee?? I am just wondering since I will be filling it with raspberry.

    Thanks for this recipe. I plan on doing a test run this weekend.

    • 2338


      Hi Sandra,
      What a sweet friend you are! I’ve found that the espresso powder really enhances the flavor of the chocolate and doesn’t leave a coffee flavor like using instant coffee or something else in the cake. I hope you enjoy it!

  19. 2339

    wm says

    awesome recipe! turned out well even with my not brilliant oven. firm outer layer and very moist inside ! my kid brother loved it! thanks!

  20. 2340

    Rikki says

    Just made this cake off of a craving, and definitely not regretting it! Brought the leftovers to my colleagues in Sweden to give them ‘american chocolate cake’ and it was a hit. Super easy and super delicious! Thank you! /Rikki

  21. 2341

    Sophia says

    I would like to make this cake ahead of time, but not freeze it. How many days of the event can I bake and frost this cake? Can I bake and then frost it later, is there a concern about it drying out? Thanks.

    • 2342

      Tammy H says

      Sophia, I am a professional baker. Do not let freezing a cake scare you. it is actually better to freeze a cake then refrigerate it. The refrigerator acts as a dehumidifier which will dry your cake(s) out,which you definitely do not want. A freezer does “not” act as a dehumidifier but actually works at keeping the moisture intact and adding moisture to your cake. This is the key to freezing a cake successfully; once your cake cools wrap your cake 3 times in a good quality Saran Wrap. Once you have wrapped 3 times you will now want to wrap it in “heavy duty” aluminum foil. (Make sure it is heavy duty). Once you have followed these steps you can keep your cake frozen for up to 3 months. When you take it out of the freezer give it about 20-30 minutes to thaw and I promise you will have a smile on your face.

  22. 2343

    Sherry says

    I just made this cake using cake flour. Does the cake using all purpose flour rise to more than 1 inch in height? Mine only rose 1 inch and I’m just wondering if it is because I used cake flour. The little piece I sampled is just as moist and fluffy as a box cake without all the additives. I’m Just wondering if I should double the recipe and bake it in 2 cake pans like the recipe says to make sure it rises more or not.

  23. 2344

    Jeanne Gauruder says

    I just wanted to let you know that I am not a baker. I love to cook, but not bake. It was my birthday July 13th and we did not have a cake. I wanted chocolate cake and when I googled a recipe, I got your page. I thought it sounded easy enough and I had all the ingredients except for the expresso powder. So I made The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe EVER and the Perfect chocolate buttercream frosting!! It really was the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten and I just celebrated my58th birthday! (Even without the expresso powder.) The entire cake was gone within 48 hours. And there was only 5 of us! My brother came back the next night for another piece! So I wanted you to know that I will never buy a cake mix or a cake again. This recipe will remain in my family forever now. Thank you so much. Jeanne Gauruder

    • 2345


      Happy birthday!!! My brother-in-law and niece share your special day with you! I’m so glad you all enjoyed the cake. It truly is one of those that you can’t help yourself for wanting another piece! xo

  24. 2346

    Mel says

    Modified this recipe fordairy and gluten free even before going on the oven taste test is good can’t wait

  25. 2347

    Julie says

    I know this may be an odd question, but for the milk, what did you use? Whole, 2%, 1%? I’m making this for my birthday on Monday! I may make just a white buttercream for this! Thank you in advance~

  26. 2349

    Angela says

    I have a small portion of the batter in the oven right now for my daughter’s smash cake tomorrow. It’s her first birthday today but the party is tomorrow. I can’t wait to taste it after all the reviews I read. I have to say instead of expresso powder,I substituted real brewed expresso. I hope it turns out as amazing as it sounds! I am also making and decorating the cake myself so I hope it works!

  27. 2350

    Danica Kleiner says

    Just pulled cake out of oven and it looks and smells wonderful . It was so easy to make ! Making a chocolate cream cheese frosting now. Will let you know how my company enjoys it.

  28. 2351

    MAYA says

    Can this be converted into a bundt cake? This recipe sounds delicious and I would love to use it but instead of the buttercream frosting just top it with a chocolate ganache.

  29. 2352

    mickey says

    Hello!! It is my birthday tomorrow and I am planning to bake a cake. Hope it will be july 19 choco cake day for me. No espresso powder andwill just use strong coffee powder instead.

  30. 2354


    I already baked this moist cake and it turn out PERFECT! I Love to try diferent recipes of chocolate cake from scratch and this reecipe is one of my favorites ! thank you so much I really enjoy it…by the way beautiful blog :)

  31. 2355

    Jenn says

    This IS the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted! It’s so rich and moist. Since I didn’t have expresso powder I added a cup of coffee instead of water. It still turned out great. Thanks so much for the recipe! :)

  32. 2356

    Marie says

    Hi Robyn,

    I have already baked this cake twice two years ago and it turned out so yummy.
    I’m organizing my mum’s birthday party next week and I’m planning to bake one more time your delicious cake as my showstopper. I was wondering if you could let me know whether I can bake it a day ahead or not. Will it still be moist the following evening? Thanks so much for your help.

  33. 2358

    Katie says

    Ack! I almost forgot the eggs and added them as the last step, after mixing for one minute. Then I added them and mixed thirty seconds more. Any idea how this will impact the consistency?

  34. 2360

    Nikki says

    I’d like to try this recipe as a five layer cake. Do you think it will work? Should i adjust the baking time?

  35. 2362

    Dylan says

    If i bake this cake a day before a birthday, will it be just as good? Should i refrigerate? What should i cover it with? Thank you!

  36. 2363

    Jojo says

    The moment I tasted this cake my life changed. I felt as if humanity had reached it’s peak of excellence. Nothing shall surpass this cake recipe. Let me just say, I’m not a fan of chocolate cake.. I always found it bland and unsatisfying. I have finally found a cake that matches the pure decadence of a chocolate bar. I made this for my mother’s birthday when she requested a chocolate cake. I had no idea how to make a decent chocolate cake , because I never had one. So I went with my instincts here and followed the recipe. (except I didn’t have espresso powder so I just made espresso and substituted the cup of water for a cup of espresso) I also made up my own variation of chocolate icing using cream cheese and cinnamon. All that aside, my mother’s birthday would not have been complete without this beautiful, moist cake; nor my life. So thank you for sharing this with the internet community and restoring my faith in chocolate cake.

  37. 2364

    Abigail says

    This cake is really one of a kind. We are a house of chocolate lovers, and this was a major hit. I put a layer of strawberries in the center, because they are in season, and if it’s possible, the quality of the cake was enhanced. For all those who are wondering if they should make this, do it. If you follow the instructions, it will turn out wonderfully.

  38. 2365

    Stacey says

    Hi, just wondering how this cake would go layered & carved in to a shape for a kids birthday cake? I need a cake on the denser side, that’s easy to carve with minimal crumbs… Thanks

  39. 2368

    Quin says

    Does the boiling water refer to hot water or just boiled water in room temperature? Would appreciate your advise, thank you.

    • 2369


      Hi Quin,
      The water should be boiling when you add it to the other recipe ingredients. It will make the batter really thin, but make sure you include this step as it releases the chocolate flavor for the cake!

  40. 2370

    Emma says

    I have to be honest with you your white cake recipe does not compare AT ALL to this recipe. This is by far the best chocolate cake recipe, or any cake recipe I have tasted. Ever. Haha. I made this for my dad’s birthday and had some family over and every single one of them said this is the best cake they have ever tasted. Seriously thank you so much. It’s super easy to make too:) this will be my go to recipe for life.

  41. 2371

    Valerie says

    You really weren’t kidding. This IS the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. And I’ve baked a lot of them. I used some other leftover frosting and used a bit less sugar in the recipe. I replaced regular sugar with turbinado (it’s all I had). It was SO SO good. This will be the only
    Chocolate cake I make from now on! Thank you!

  42. 2372

    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!

  43. 2373

    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

  44. 2374

    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.

  45. 2375

    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.

  46. 2376

    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.

  47. 2377

    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.

  48. 2378

    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!

  49. 2379

    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.

  50. 2380

    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.

  51. 2381

    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.

  52. 2383

    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!

  53. 2386

    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!!!

  54. 2387

    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?

  55. 2390

    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

  56. 2392

    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. :-)

  57. 2396

    Carissa says

    I also thought the batter looked runny, but it turned out perfectly baked. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. My husband is a chocolate cake connoisseur, and he was shocked at the fact that it was a scratch cake. Haha!

  58. 2397

    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…!

  59. 2401


    ‘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!!

  60. 2403


    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.

  61. 2404


    I’m so glad you all enjoyed it, Carissa. Isn’t it amazing how great that scratch cake tastes. And no one would ever believe how easy, too!

  62. 2405

    Tammy says

    Sorry… can you tell me the weight for each stick of butter? In Australia, we don’t have “sticks of butter”. If each stick is equivalent to half a cup then one and half sticks will be one and half cups. Correct? I don’t see how 1 and half sticks equals three quarters of a cup of butter if you say one stick is half a cup?? half + half + half = one and half…. Am I missing something here?

  63. 2406

    Grace says

    To Tammy: One stick of butter equals half a cup. Thus, half a stick equals a quarter cup. 1/2 a cup plus 1/4 cup = 3/4 cup.


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