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 624 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. 1959

    Megan says

    I made this cake yesterday for my dad’s birthday. It is truly the easiest cake (and buttercream frosting) recipe I have ever made. IT IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER. Will from now on only make this chocolate cake. Everyone in my family is in love with it!

  2. 1964

    BakingApprentiee says

    Hi there I am dying to try this recipe but im from the UK and we use grams instead of cups. Can someone who made t in grams give me the conversions please.

    • 1965

      donna says

      A cup is equivalent to 200ml so you just measure all of your ingredients accordingly. Most supermarkets now sell ‘cups’ in their cooking dept in the UK. Hope that helps.

    • 1966

      Nicole says

      Be careful with your conversions- I’m from Australia and our ‘cups’ are 250ml not 200ml. I always have to be sure where the recipie is from, if I’m making conversions xx

    • 1967

      Kamila says

      I’m from Australia and just made this cake using our standard measuring cups – so a cup in this case is 250ml. Turned out delicious! The only thing I changed is to use buttermilk instead of milk (made my own – 1 tblsp white vinegar and added milk to make 250ml total ie 1 cup, and left it to thicken for 5 mins).

    • 1968

      Brett says

      Just buy yourself a measuring cup set from any kitchen retailer, you can get them really cheap. Then you never have to worry about conversions from American to metric.

      It actually simplifies cooking a lot to use cups, and you never have to use kitchen scales!

    • 1969

      KB says

      Since the cake recipe does not call for butter, I am assuming you mean the buttercream frosting.

      1 lb is 454 grams. Each stick in a US pound is 1/4 pound (4 sticks/lb) so each stick is ~113.5 grams. 3 sticks==340.5 grams, but I am sure the half gram will not make a difference. ;)

      Hope it helps. :)


  3. 1970

    Darcy says

    I have made this cake several times since finding the recipe online last year and I must say this may be one of the best cakes I ever had and certainly ever made. I actually just do white buttercream frosting and love it. However, I plan on trying the chocolate soon. Everyone who tries this cake comments on how delicious it is. Do yourself a favor and make it!

  4. 1971

    claudia says

    without a doubt it is the best chocolate cake ever but I live in mexico city. High altitude. Every time a bake it it sinks in the middle. Any suggestions? Many thanks , CONGRATULATIONS

  5. 1975

    kate says

    Hi, wondering if I can make this without espresso powder? I’m looking for something to make without having to go to the store because I’m snowed in.

    • 1977

      Katherine MJS says

      I’m snowed in, too, and today is my son’s birthday. I don’t have any espresso powder, but I thought I’d add a cup of strong brewed coffee instead of the cup of plain boiling water. I hope it works!

    • 1978

      Katherine MJS says

      The cup of strew brewed coffee (I brewed it then got it to boiling in microwave) worked really well. The cake was perfect–didn’t fall apart or even leave crumbs in the cake pans. I was really impressed–best cake I’ve had, and it far outdoes the boxed cakes. The icing was a bit troublesome–I had to use a lot more sugar to make it firm enough to sit on my two-tier cake. The icing was delicious, anyway–I used some cream cheese and fresh squeezed mandarin oranges along with some orange zest to the vanilla icing for my son’s birthday. It was wonderful.

  6. 1979

    ValS says

    Without a doubt this is the best chocolate cake recipe. So moist and rich. And best of all quick and easy! There will never again be another store bought chocolate cake mix in my pantry! Thank You.

  7. 1980

    Georgia says

    This is a seriously great chocolate cake!! It’s moist and really chocolatey – whilst still being a fantastic cake for my kids.
    Thank you so much. I will never again use a packet mix!!

  8. 1981

    Tas says

    Hello Robyn, if I wanted to sure less sugar in the recipe and substitute some of that with honey/maple syrup, what will the proportions then be?

  9. 1983

    Penni-Lee Talbot says

    Please tell me if this recipe will work for a rectangular cake and if the times would be different or the temperatures?

    • 1984

      Amelia L says

      Hoping to know about cooking in a 9×13 pan also. What temp? How long? Thanks!! Hoping to make today for my son’s birthday…

  10. 1985

    Christy says

    Have you ever tried butter in place of the oil? I’m new to baking but I’ve heard you can substitute butter in place of oil to add a better taste to the cake. What are your thoughts or experience with that?

  11. 1986

    David says

    Hi Robyn, I have a funny story about this recipe. About 25 years ago i worked at a private dinner club with a wonderful older lady from Arkansas. Nobody could cook better southern soul food than her. She was the real deal. She made the most wonderful chocolate cake for special occasions and I begged and begged her for the recipe, but she would not give it up. She’d just smile and tell me how it was her mama’s and a closely guarded secret. Over the years she taught me how to make biscuits, grits, and many other pastries and breads. Well after 6 years, I had decided to move on and the day I left, she handed me a paper and it held that recipe for her chocolate cake. The big secret? It was the boiling water. I have never given it out and it’s the only one I make. As I was looking for ideas and recipes I stumbled across your recipe and was shocked to see the exact recipe sans espresso powder! It made me very happy and for you to have this recipe makes me want to see what other wonderful recipes you have. I know this cake is the best and you must be an awesome cook! Thank you for posting this for other people to enjoy and share!

  12. 1987

    Krista says

    Hi! I wanted you to know that I made this cake last night with the vanilla buttercream frosting and it came out fabulous . I had to back myself away from the cake! I couldn’t find the espresso powder so after googling I read that you could use coffee but to use 50% more then the recipe called for . I use don Jose ground espresso bold for this recipe and babbbbbbbbby ….. That cake was to die for ! So moist ! So rich ! I also used the Hershey special blend cocoa instead of the regular cocoa. So easy to make ! With the frosting I used heavy whipping cream . I noticed it was too soft so I frosted it and then stuck it in the fridge for 30 minutes . Then frosted again and stuck it in the fridge for thirty minutes and then added one more light coating to get that soft look I was going for ! This by far is THE best chocolate cake I have ever had or made ! Thank you! This is one I will be keeping !

  13. 1988

    Kathleen says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it for my daughter’s birthday party and everyone loved it. I just made a few changes I left out the espresso powder, substituted sour cream for the milk and increased the cocoa powder since I left out the espresso powder. This is a keeper! BTW, this IS the BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER!

  14. 1989

    Lina says

    I’m 10 yrs, and I made this cake and it turned out AMAZING my family enjoyed it sooooooooooooo much
    Thanks for the recipe

  15. 1990

    Christine says

    I must say this chocolate cake IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER. ive always had my go to chocolate cake recipe before making this but after tasting this chocolate goodness I emediately replaced my old go to recipe to this one. And this is coming from a professional chef ;)

    Thank you for sharing!

  16. 1991

    Bambie says

    Can i use fondant icing for this cake? Would love to use it for my kid’s bday next week.. Can i replace espresso w regular coffee? Thanks!

  17. 1992

    Cj says

    This is literally the best chocolate cake ever!
    This recipe is the only one I use because it’s so good!
    There are no negative comments
    The first time I made it I thought it was way too liquidy but it turned out amazing!

  18. 1993

    Rose says

    Hi, this cake looks perfect! Just wondering if you can clarify the comment made very early on about American vs Australian measurements. Is an American cup different from an Australian cup? I never thought so…

  19. 1994

    Jess says

    OMG I made this cake for the weekend and its already gone! It was so delicious. I agree that there are loads of cake out there that claim the are the best, and I have tried quite a few, but this one has to be my favourite now!!. I did the frosting a bit different, but the cake was spot on!! I can’t wit to make it again, thank you for the recipe :)

  20. 1995

    chococakelover says

    I was wondering if I can use 2 10 inches wide pan ? Because I don’t have a 9 inch pan.

    Also I want to try this and do it for my baby’s first birthday cake, I am just a beginner, so I was wondering can I do this cake the way it is and cover it with fondant and fondant decorations?

    I am not aiming for the fondant to be edible. I just want it to make a nice girly look instead of the chocolate look.

  21. 1998

    Nancy says

    I made this cake for my boyfriend’s 50th. Three layers. It was the most amazing thing I have ever made. So delicious and beautiful. The espresso was the magic ingredient. I have great pics of my masterpiece. Thank you!

  22. 1999

    Crystal says

    I made this chocolate cake this evening and I have to say this was the best chocolate cake I have ever made!
    Thank you for sharing :)


  23. 2000

    Natalie says

    Hi Robyn,

    I want to make this cake for a large group. Was thinking of making a 2 layer 9×13 cake. (Baking each layer in a separate pan) Do you think I should double the recipe for cake and frosting or 1 1/2?


  24. 2001

    Mary Beth Mallon says

    Cake is in the oven! Already made the frosting! Question: how far in advance can I make this cake? Keep in fridge? Frosted or frost day of? Thank you!!

  25. 2003

    Sonya says

    This looks amazing and I really want to try it this weekend! Has anyone tried substituting coconut flour (or other flour) and/or almond or rice milk for normal milk??
    Thank you!

  26. 2004

    Meagan says

    I tried this recipe about a month ago for my best friend’s birthday. I made it into a sheet cake, & the cake itself was chocolatey & moist. It’s so much better than an out-of-the-box cake mix! I actually used, instead of store-bought frosting or the chocolate buttercream frosting, the fudge icing recipe you have on here for the chocolate bundt cake. OMG – to die for, & my best friend loved it! Thank you for your recipes!!!!

  27. 2008

    jay says

    BEST CAKE EVER!!!! I made this for 50 people today and I kept getting compliments after compliments! There were no leftovers either. Thank you Robyn!! :) I did tweak it a little bit – I added the espresso powder to warm water, not directly to the dry ingredients. I highly recommend using espresso powder instead of instant coffee – it makes a huge difference. Also, I made this with your buttercream frosting (omitted the espresso powder there) and it was beautiful!! I doubled your cake recipe and it filled a 35 x 25 cm (6cm deep) pan just fine. It baked for 55 mins (fan-forced oven). I made a few cupcakes (only fill up to 2/3) and baked for 20 mins. For the frosting, I only frosted the top of the cakes thinly and I made enough with 4.5 sticks of butter with plenty of leftovers. Hope this helps :). I’m already looking forward to another occasion to bake!!!

  28. 2012

    Tamara says

    Can I use a bundt cake pan for this recipe? I plan on making this cake for my son and daughters birthday this weekend. We are all chocolate lovers!!!

  29. 2014

    Cathi says

    Hi again! Thought you’d like to know that this is now my go to recipe for chocolate cake. Now, can you give direct me to another recipe for a light, moist vanilla cake? I keep running into recipes that end in dense or dry cakes. Help!

  30. 2015

    Rebecca says

    I have tried numerous chocolate cake recipes and they always tend to come out dry. This cake is AMAZING. Everyone at the party loved it, and I was finally proud of the chocolate cake I baked. Thanks!

  31. 2016


    ok. so i made this chocolate cake back in december for my daughter’s bday and it truly was the best chocolate cake i’ve ever made. but now i am supposed to make a yellow cake for a friend tomorrow and this recipe is so perfect (very different from your best yellow cake recipe) that i am wondering what would happen if i just used this recipe and left out the cocoa powder. what would happen? steer me offa the cliff robyn. i am a crazy person right now. unless you say…great idea jenny, you are a cake boss.

  32. 2018

    Shaikha says

    I tried count-less times to perfect a chocolate cake from scratch .. Every recipe I tried has a flaw, too dry, not sweet enough, tasteless, you name it! And this recipe was my last try before i go back to ready mixes .. And the result!! Om my!! I had a tear that I had to hide from my 10 yrs daughter not to think her mama is a little bit crazy ..

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this recipe .. I don’t think am as good as you coz I’ll definitely keep it as the “secret” recipe

    • 2019


      I’m so glad you love it, Shaikha! There’s nothing like finally finding something that works just like you want it to, is there? Enjoy a big slice with your daughter!!! xo

  33. 2022

    Barbara Veal says

    Where in the grocery store would you find espresso powder, the coffee aisle or the baking aisle?

  34. 2023

    Christine says

    I have made many a cakes in my time, with some of my most favorite and requested cakes being very time consuming. I found this recipe while searching for chocolate cake recipes, because I wanted to make something special for a coworker’s bday. I have made chocolate cakes using espresso powder so it wasn’t that that got me- it was at how FAST this cake was to put together. Super easy recipe that results in the most divine chocolate cake ever. It was moist, it was decadent, it was rich- everything a chocolate cake should be. I also made the buttercream icing- and paired together, this was incredible. This will most likely become my “go to” chocolate cake recipe.

  35. 2024

    Charlotte says

    Absolutely LOVE this recipe. I do find the batter becomes very watery when I add the cup of boiling water, but once cooked the taste and texture is amazing! I use springform tins and there is sometimes a slight leakage. I think I’ll need to grab some solid tins to stop this from happening, the cake (even when I buttered the tin lightly) only slightly stuck.

    Thank you for such a divine recipe!!

    From Ausralia x

  36. 2025

    Jill Arvidsson says

    Just wanna ask IF it’s ok i can used the rectangular cake form instead with the circle form. I do liked ur recipe and i baked too Even My family liked it, so i dicided to bake 1 year old design.

  37. 2027

    Jill Arvidsson says

    Hoping to know about cooking in a 9×15 cm pan also. What temp? How long? Thanks!! Hoping to make next week for my daughters 1 yr birthday…

  38. 2028

    Daphne says

    Hi Robyn,

    I love the sound of this cake and am definately going to try it at the weekend. My question though is this – would this cake suit to be covered in fondant?


  39. 2029

    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!

  40. 2030

    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

  41. 2031

    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.

  42. 2032

    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.

  43. 2033

    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.

  44. 2034

    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.

  45. 2035

    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!

  46. 2036

    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.

  47. 2037

    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.

  48. 2039

    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. 2041

    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. 2042

    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. 2043

    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. 2045

    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. 2047

    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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