Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe

Chocolate cake is one of my favorite things in the whole world. But, if you’ve read Add a Pinch for very long, you could’ve probably already guessed that little tidbit of information. And this Chocolate Velvet Cake? Well, it needs to happen in your life soon. You will love it!

Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe | ©

With it’s signature crumb and flavor, this chocolate cake is an unmistakable velvet cake recipe. Unlike the red velvet cake of my childhood and the blue velvet cake I dreamt up a while back, this chocolate velvet cake just lets the chocolate shine through.

Chocolate Velvet Cake | ©

And boy does it ever shine!

This chocolate velvet cake comes with a bit of a history. You see, I was asked last summer to develop a recipe for novelist Jane Porter for her book, The Good Wife.

Jane and I went back and forth about the character, her history, her passions and hobbies, and the like. I was thrilled when we decided that only a chocolate cake would work! I loved reading through the character notes and developing the perfect chocolate cake that held a touch of Southern roots while still being a modern cake.

Here’s my Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe. I think you’ll love it.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate Velvet Cake with Chocolate Heritage Frosting gives a nod to the traditional Southern velvet cakes we all know and love while giving them a bit of an update. Full of rich, delicious chocolate flavor with that unmistakable velvet cake texture.
Serves: 12
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350o F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with butter and flour, taking care to remove any excess flour.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs one at a time, completely incorporating after each addition.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder in a separate medium bowl, set aside.
  4. Pour buttermilk and vanilla into a measuring cup, set aside.
  5. Alternately, mix flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into butter mixture, beginning
  6. and ending with flour. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  7. Reduced speed of mixer and stir in baking soda, making sure incorporated into batter. Then, stir in the vinegar, taking care not to overmix.
  8. Distribute cake batter evenly into the three cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until cakes have gently pulled away from the edges of the cake pans and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes and then turn out onto cooling racks until cakes are completely cooled before frosting cake.

For the frosting, you can use a favorite buttercream frosting or my chocolate heritage frosting. I think you’ll love it, too!

Robyn xo

58 comments on “Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe”

  1. I love it already, and I haven’t even made it yet! That’s because I’m confident in the power of buttermilk. It has never failed me… give thanks.

  2. Looks lovely but where is the frosting recipe? Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yum Yum. I’m also a lover of any baked item with buttermilk! Robin, do you suppose there’d be any problem making this cake in a 13×9 or a bundt?

    • I’d don’t think you’ll have any problem baking this in a 13×9. For a bundt, the cake may be too tender, but I’d love to hear if you try it and what results you have.

  4. Hi Robyn, so what frosting do you use for this yummy cake? Kandi

  5. This sounds wonderful, but I can’t locate the Chocolate Heritage Frosting you mention. I’ve looked all through your blog for it. Can you help me?

  6. Any chance you could make in 2-8″ pans? And what about the delish looking frosting recipe???

    • Since the layers bake into fluffy layers, I’d recommend distributing into the three cake pans. If you only have two, you could always make a few cupcakes using the remaining batter or bake the third layer a little later. YUM!

  7. This cake looks so lovely! I need more chocolate cake in my life.

  8. Where is the recipe for the frosting thats on this cake?

  9. Gorgeous cake! And chocolate on chocolate is my fave. 🙂

  10. Oh my goodness – this cake looks amazing. And that frosting? Whoa! Happy birthday, Robyn!

  11. Pingback: Chocolate Heritage Frosting Recipe - Cooking | Add a Pinch | Robyn Stone

  12. Happy Birthday to you, Robyn!! This cake looks sooo good!

  13. oh this cake looks fabulous! love the smooth and creamy frosting too 🙂 It’s a real BEAUTY!

  14. Do you have a recipe for frosting for the Chocolate Velvet Cake ?

  15. Robyn, first let me wish you the Happiest of Birthdays! Now, the cake…wow, just beautiful. I have never met a chocolate cake I didn’t like and I just know that this one would be no exception. It’s Pinned!

  16. This cake looks amazing! I need to learn how to reach into a computer and pull out this totally yummy cake!

  17. This looks like a wonderful, scrumptious cake! Can’t wait to try it!

  18. Hoppy, Happy Birthday!! Such a gorgeous cake. Chocolate is my favorite!

  19. What a terrific cake and how amazing to develop it for a novelist! Happy Birthday my friend!

  20. Happy Birthday! I’m pinning this baby!! xoxo Sheila

  21. Robyn,
    I have only been following your blog for a little while, but I love seeing that you are a chocolate cake sort of person. I LOVE chocolate and the recipe above looks delicious. However, seeing that you specialize in chocolate cake reminded me that I have been looking for a recipe for a certain type of chocolate cake and I wonder if you have any like it. When I was in graduate school I worked for an organization running wedding receptions. One baker that we often worked with made an amazing groom’s cake and would not give out her recipe (not surprising), although I do remember that she said it had several different kinds of chocolate in it. Her chocolate groom’s cake was really dense and heavy and very moist. It was very chocolatey and rich and the frosting was almost like fudge. It was SO good! All of us workers would always hope that there would be leftover cake so we could take a piece home to enjoy later. I haven’t found any recipes that even come close to it. I’d love to hear if you have any recipes to suggest that might be similar.

  22. Hi Robyn! Looks great! Have you tried this recipe with cupcakes?

    Keep blogging. I enjoy your blog and photos on Instagram.

    IG: suzyqscupcakes

  23. Made cupcakes from this recipe. Absolutely delicious….thanks Robyn!

  24. What is the difference between a chocolate VELVET cake and a normal chocolate cake?

  25. What can you substitute for the espresso powder??

  26. Hey robin. I tried the choclate velvet cake today but mine didn’t turn out moist nd velvety like its supposed to. It was slightly dry. . I don’t know where I went wrong but wanted to know that when I add the flour mixture nd the buttermilk mixture alternately , do I need to fold that in or mix with a mixer on high speed to incorporate it well into the butter nd sugar mixture? I have also tried the best choclate cake recipe ever and that was a sure winner. Love your blog. Thanks…:)

  27. Nice.but where does the baking powder come in?

  28. Hi dear Robyn….Is it possible to replace buttermilk with heavy cream?…Bcs localy I can’t find it around…Or have to make it ?….Thanx alot for replying….kisses

    • Hi Azita,
      I highly recommend using buttermilk (or homemade buttermilk substitute) in this cake recipe. It is one of the essential ingredients that determines the texture of the cake.

  29. Can I substitute AP flour with cake flour? I made red velvet cake with cake flour-the recipe is the exact same recipe, except you add food coloring. Was great. I am wondering if I can use cake flour here as well since I like my cakes with cake flour. Thanks!

  30. It is absolutely essential to work with the batter in a warm kitchen. It’s very difficult to work with an environment less than 60 degrees. Definitely a accommodates a southern kitchen. Thanks Robyn!! Happy Valentine’s day!!!

  31. I just stumbled upon this on Pinterest! I have to say, it will be the next cake I make. Having said that, I just got done celebrating 8 birthdays and Easter in a matter of 7 weeks, so I think it will be a while. But I have saved it on the top of my list. MMMmmm…

  32. Just wondering ebay the distilled vinegar do for the cake recipe

  33. Is instant espresso required?

  34. Can you use this recipe for cupcakes?

  35. Can I use vanilla bean paste in this recipe?

  36. Hi, can you use food coloring in this recipe, or will it turn out funny?

  37. Can you substitute apple cider vinegar for distilled white vinegar? I love your chocolate cake, but I make it all the time so I’m considering this for the SO’s birthday.

    • I’ve never used apple cider vinegar in this cake, so I can’t say how it would turn out. I think there might be an apple taste, but can’t say for sure.
      I’m glad you enjoy the chocolate cake! I hope you enjoy this one as well! Thanks so much! xo

  38. The recipe came out great. Was moist and flavorful,,but i think next time (for my own taste) I will add another tablespoon of cocoa. powder. I substituted the expresso with regular instant coffee , but made it strong. Would love the recipe for cupcakes in the future;;;though.. Thanks;;;;;Robyn.

    • Hi Connie,
      I’m so happy you enjoyed this cake! I’ve not made it substituting with coffee – I always use espresso powder. If you try it with espresso powder, it enhances the richness of the chocolate and doesn’t give the cake a coffee flavor. It is delicious – I’d love a slice about now. 😉
      Thanks so much! xo

  39. Merry Christmas! May I know if we could replace the all purpose flour with cake flour instead? Would the amount of flour required be affected? If yes, what should the amount be? Thank you in advance.

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