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.

Chocolate Velvet Cake Recipe

5 from 6 votes
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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24


  • 1/2 cup (113 g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (297 g) sugar
  • 2 large (100 g) eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (15.75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2.6 g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.16 g) espresso powder
  • 1 cup (227 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.7 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon (14.9 g) distilled white vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 350o F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with butter and flour, taking care to remove any excess flour.
  • Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs one at a time, completely incorporating after each addition.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder in a separate medium bowl, set aside.
  • Pour buttermilk and vanilla into a measuring cup, set aside.
  • Alternately, mix flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  • Scrape down sides of mixing bowl to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Reduce speed of mixer and stir in baking soda, making sure incorporated into batter. Then, stir in the vinegar, taking care not to over mix.
  • 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. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
  • 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.


Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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

Robyn xo

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review


  1. Hi Robyn,

    Tried and loved the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever! recipe. I recall you saying it could be placed in the freezer. I’m wondering about the red velvet recipe. Can the cake be frozen, thawed, and frosted and still turn out okay?


    1. Yes, Jen, the red velvet cake can be frozen, too. Just follow the same steps as for the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever for freezing, thawing, and frosting the cake.

    1. I haven’t tried this recipe with the regular white vinegar so I can’t tell you if you would work. If you have used it in baking before with good results, it should work fine with this cake recipe. Thanks, Tina.

  2. 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.

    1. Merry Christmas! Yes, you can use cake flour instead. All else should be the same. Enjoy – thanks!

  3. 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.

    1. 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

  4. 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.

    1. 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