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 603 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. 1879

    Alyssa says

    Hi Robyn
    I really want to make this cake and It sounds so delicious but I was wondering if I could substitute the expresso powder for finely ground coffee
    From, Alyssa

    • 1880

      Angel Burnett-Ashwin says


      i change the espresson powder with instant coffee and still tastes amazing

    • 1881


      I found this recipe this weekend and used it for one of three birthday cakes I made for my daughter, who turned 8 and wanted a three-tiered chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake. I used espresso coffee instead of “powder.” I fully concur that this cake is fabulous!! Love it!! It will definitely be made again, many times over, along with the chocolate buttercream icing, and the best vanilla cake ever and the vanilla butter cream icing and so on. Thanks so much! (PS: I didn’t succeed in getting the cakes to stand in three tiers, as I couldn’t find any equipment rapidly out where I am in Uganda and my pan sizes were too similar to stack, but we took a photo holding them all up, and they were eaten so fast in any case!)

  2. 1882

    Ally Emada says

    I made this cake and I was told by three different people independently it was the best chocolate cake they’ve ever had. It was so great! I didn’t have any espresso powder but it was no worse for it.

    Thanks so much!

  3. 1883

    Angel Burnett-Ashwin says

    Absolutely love this recipe, my family loves this yummy cake too. now they all expect this cake from me on their birthdays. absolutely love it had to reprint again today coz after a year the recipe is covered in spatters from the batter and icing and got wet hehehe ive never has an issue with the frosting though – thanks again and this is def the best choc cake recipe ever!!!

  4. 1884

    AJ says

    Hi. thanks for this recipe. Believe me I have never made any type of cake from scratch. But i wanted to make a chocolate cake for my wife’s special b’day as she is expecting our first baby in few weeks time! So i just Google for best chocolate cake and this is my first selection and picked this up straight away. Very glad it came up really Delicious (except that it had few out of shape issues lol, since i made a square cake.). Was tasty and everyone is now asking for the recipe. lol Thanks again! Wify loved it n family!

    Used canola oil instead of vegetable oil
    Used coffee powder instead of expresso

  5. 1885

    Rachael says

    Hi Robyn,
    I have a question about the assembly of this cake. I can see from the photo that there is frosting in the middle of the cake. Is this achieved by baking two separate cakes? Do I frost the top, bottom and sides of the first cake and then place the second cake on top of the first? I presume more icing will need to be added to the top of the second cake to give it that finished look?
    Would love the answer to this. Thank you!

    • 1886


      Hi Rachael,
      Yes, the recipe and instructions given are for a layer cake with frosting spread between the layers and on the outside of the cake. The frosting recipe link provided takes you to the recipe post that should be plenty for frosting the cake as photographed. I hope that helps!

    • 1887

      Shan says

      I haven’t tried this specific cake recipe but when I bake layer cakes I bake two separate ones and once I’m ready to frost them I frost the top of the bottom half and then I put the top half on and finish frosting the entire cake, I find it easier this way. Hope this helps!

  6. 1888

    Lesa says

    I’m baking this cake for the THIRD time!
    I made it last January for my friend/roommate’s birthday, and then again for another friend’s birthday in October. Well, my roommate has requested it for her birthday again. :)
    I’d say it’s a hit! Also, the frosting recipe to accompany this cake is perfect. Thank you for sharing!

    • 1889


      Oh my goodness! What a great friend you are to your friends for baking their birthday cakes!!! I’m humbled you used my recipe for such a fun celebration!!! Have fun!!! xo

    • 1891

      N says

      Most definitely. That’s how I did it the first time. A few challenges though – it take significantly longer to bake so you will have to keep checking it. I think my cake took over an hour. Also, cutting in half perfectly is difficult, though I’ve been told that using thread creates a more even cut than using a knife. But I haven’t tried that yet.

  7. 1894

    Lamisha says

    Hey, I want to make this cake today but I don’t have all-purpose flour so can I use self-raising flour instead?
    Also,instead of making two layers,is it ok to just make one whole big cake?
    Someone please reply quickly, I need to know ASAP!

  8. 1895

    Candy says

    Hi Robyn,

    Love this recipe, I have made it as a cake and cupcakes and has worked very well. A question, I have searched high and low for a lovely basic Vanilla cake, and wondering if I could adapt this cake recipe, i.e. Replace the Cocoa powder with flour, and increase the vanilla?

    I have looked at your White cake recipe, but looking for a smaller cake, same size as the chocolate one, that I can turn into cupcakes too.

    Thanks again, look forward to trying your Coconut Cake next!

  9. 1897

    Kathleen Sacoman says

    I made this recipe as cupcakes, filled them with a blueberry/raspberry compote, and topped it with Chantilly frosting. My mother-in-law and father-in-law told me they were the best cupcakes they’ve ever had! I think I’ll be making them again very soon.

  10. 1899

    Livvy says

    Is it better to cook it in two separate tins or in one larger tin? Is there a difference? Mine is in the oven right now! (Cant wait)

    • 1900

      li says

      Just made this yesterday in a 9×13″ pan — the edges were definitely ready before the middle, so the edges were drier…
      It’s possible, but you sacrifice some of the texture on the edges!

      Delicious cake though.
      It really puffed up in the middle during baking but fell even upon cooling, which was exactly what I wanted this time (I was shaping the cake into a brachiosaurus for my daughter’s birthday).
      I’ll definitely make this one again!!

  11. 1901

    Stephanie says

    Hi from Calgary Alberta,
    Robyn, I made this yesterday as a birthday cake and it was as amazing as described! I have shared it on my facebook and I truly appreciate you sharing it with all of us!!
    Thanks again!

  12. 1902

    Diana says

    This cake is amazing! Dark chocolate, moist and delicious! I was nervous about baking it as I was decorating a cake for an anniversary. It turned out beautifully! Thank you for this recipe! I will be making it often!

  13. 1903

    Kelly Burgess says

    Hi Robyn, I bought a kitchenaid mixmaster and was looking for a test cake to try out and found your recipe for the best ever chocolate cake. I was so excited watching my mixer do its thing that I forgot a couple of the ingredients, being the vanilla essence and espresso coffee. Dohhhhh!!!!

    Well cake was in the oven so went ahead anyway and once made, smothered it with the chocolate buttercream frosting. I am not usually a huge fan of chocolate cakes, but WOW!! This cake is seriously good, even with the missing ingredients. I didn’t have espresso coffee powder so I used my capsule machine and made a small espresso for the icing. This is definitely a favourite and will be made again and again. Thank you for the recipe.

  14. 1904

    Meemore says

    God bless you immensely for this recipe. It is much more than “the best chocolate recipe ever”. it is the bestest there is and there is to come.
    Thanks once again!

  15. 1905


    I’ve made this cake a few times. Once I made it in the traditional manner — using 2- 8″ round cake pans and using the chocolate buttercream icing recipe. It was great. Because I have dark pans it did kind of “dome”, though. So, to combat this, the next time I made it I used 4-8″ round pans (filling only 1/4 of the way) and used both the chocolate buttercream icing AND a peanut butter-cream cheese frosting recipe I found on the internet. Then I topped it with a chocolate ganache. Yeah. It was something else. But, my husband wasn’t the biggest fan of the cream cheese in the icing. I just made it recently in 2-9″ square cake pans. Very little doming. Used the chocolate buttercream icing again. It is really a fantastic and versatile cake. Moist and delicious!

    Because espresso powder is more expensive than gas these days, I just use instant espresso, which is 1/4 of the price. It turns out just fine. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic recipe with the world!

  16. 1906

    Sarah Goldsmith says

    OMG! This recipe is absolutely amazing. I used GF flour and coconut oil and it turned out perfect. I found the coffee in the icing a bit too much but I hate coffee so for future I’ll omit the expresso powder from the ising but id did add a lovely dimension to the cake. Everyone who has tried this has raved about how amazing it was. Thank you so much!

  17. 1907

    Priscila says

    Finaly! It’s been years since I look for the perfect chocolate cake! This is the one! It’s so moisty and flufy! I just can’t believe it! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    • 1910


      Hi Sabrina,
      I generally run a whisk through my flour when I transfer it from the flour packaging to my canister. Then, I don’t sift it when I measure. I hope that helps!

  18. 1911

    Christy says

    Hi Robyn. I can’t wait to try out this cake! Can I use cake flour in place of the all purpose flour? If so, would I need to add or omit other ingredients?

  19. 1912

    Kristen says

    I’ve made this cake many times now and I can’t get enough! This is officially my go-to chocolate cake recipe. It’s even better when paired with the chocolate buttercream recipe you suggest. Ridiculous! Thank you so much.

  20. 1913


    Hi Robyn,
    I wanted to know if it is possible to reduce the amount of sugar in this cake to 3/4 cup or 1 cup, because I am planning on making this cake with a marshmallow cream filling for the inside and a ganache on the outside, and so I am scared that 2 cups of sugar for the cake will make it too sweet. If I reduce the sugar, will it ruin the cake?? Please let me know!

  21. 1914

    Karla says

    Hi Robyn! I’m planning to use this recipe for my nephew’s birthday cake and cupcakes. I just have a quick question: Can I leave the excess cake batter on the counter while the other one bakes? I have a small oven, just 1 cupcake tray at a time. I’m worried it will affect the quality of the cake (will not rise while baking, too dense, etc..) I’m thinking of doubling the recipe since I’m feeding 30 hungry kids and adults. LOL! Thanks! :)

  22. 1916

    gauri says

    This is definitely one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had, so thank you for sharing. I was going to post this earlier but this is the 4th or 5th time I’m baking this one and it turns out fan every time. I must admit I tweak the recipe sometimes. I’ve added two giant glibs of nutella to the final batter today and I skipped the baking powder totally coz I don’t like the aftertaste. Other than that followed it to the t and it’s gobsmackingly delicious!! :)

  23. 1918

    Melissa says

    Robyn this is the BEST chocolate cake receip ever – I’ve made it numerous times since I found it back in the summer…my family can’t get enough of it. I was just wondering what your thoughts were as for how long this cake could last – I made it last night will ice it tonight for pick up tomorrow but my friend won’t be using it until Friday and it will be covered with fondant which means it cannot be stored in the fridge – do you think it will be okay? Hope you’re able to reply and thanks again for such a fantastic recipe!

    • 1919


      Hi Melissa,
      I’m so glad you enjoy the recipe. I do not store the cake in the refrigerator once it has been frosted and generally only make it a day or two in advance. Making it on Wednesday and serving on Friday sounds like it should work just fine!

  24. 1920

    N says

    Hi Robyn,

    I’m thinking of making this cake for my nephew’s birthday. I want to do three layers though and a larger size (i.e. 10 inch or 11 inch). Should I increase the recipe size or would the recipe as it is work? The layers will be thinner, which I am okay with, I’m just worried about the cake somehow falling flat when it is baking. Thoughts?


  25. 1921

    Maureen Cioni says

    Wow!! I am so impressed with this cake!! I have been looking for a cake that was really rich but could also stacks well. The flavor is a amazing! Thanks so much!!

  26. 1923

    Jennifer Block says

    What am I doing wrong here? The first time I made this I followed the instructions and ended up with really runny batter and a cake that fell to about a 1/2 inch tall. I tried making it again with only 1/2 cup boiling water at the end, slightly better, only the middle fell this time. I’m a reasonable seasoned baker, I don’t generally have problems and I’m frustrated that I can’t make this one work. I checked my baking powder after the first go around and it’s good, so it’s not that. It just seems to have waaay too much moisture as written.

  27. 1925


    This cake looks amazing! I want to try it, but I have one question. Does espresso powder give it a little bit of a coffee flavor? Nobody in my family likes coffee or mocha flavoring…I don’t know anything about espresso to know how similar the flavor is.
    Thanks! :)

    • 1926


      Hi Erica,
      You can omit the espresso powder if you like since it does lend a bit of a flavor to those who may be sensitive to it.

  28. 1927


    I am making this for the third or fourth time, every one loves this recipe….I have not, however, used espresso yet in it….I have been using hazelnut Teeccino, and today trying caramel nut, it’s been a great hit….thank you!

  29. 1928

    Rainy says

    I made this cake tonight and I’m not sure what I did wrong. I made it in a 13×9 pan and of course it took alittle more baking time. What is the purpose for the cup of boiling water? The batter was so thick, rich and delicious and when I added the boiling water, it was runny, kind of bland, nothing special. Just a chocolate cake. :(

  30. 1929

    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!

  31. 1930

    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

  32. 1931

    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.

  33. 1932

    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.

  34. 1933

    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.

  35. 1934

    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.

  36. 1935

    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!

  37. 1936

    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.

  38. 1938

    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!

  39. 1940

    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!!!

  40. 1941

    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?

  41. 1942

    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

  42. 1944

    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. :-)

  43. 1946

    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. :D have a fabulous day from New Zealand 11.03am 08.01.15


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