The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe – A one bowl chocolate cake recipe that is quick, easy, and delicious! Updated with gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free options!

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! //

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 decadent, moist chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, every single person around the table commented that this was the best chocolate cake they’d ever tasted.

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.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever

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 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 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, but I use it fairly frequently and it can become a little pricey. I’ve started making my own homemade espresso powder and since I have I’m not looking back! It is so easy to make and have on hand!

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 cake 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!

Let me just say again, this amped up classic chocolate cake + this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe = the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!

How to Make Ahead and Store the Homemade Chocolate Cake:

Both the cake and the chocolate frosting can be made ahead. Allow the cakes to cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap and place each layer into a zip top freezer bag. Freeze the cake layers for up to one month.

To frost the cake, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator with wrapping intact. Then, frost the cake once it has completely thawed.

Store the cake at room temperature on the counter. I like to store under a cake dome to keep the cake fresh.

Chocolate Cake Modifications You May Be Interested to Know About:

Note that I have updated the recipe to include some additional ingredients that I have tested through the years. I have found that this chocolate cake is even more versatile than I originally imagined! I’ve listed some of the modifications I’ve tested that I think may be of interest to you.

As a Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:

To make the cake as a gluten-free chocolate cake recipe, I’ve successfully used an equal amount of Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour listed in the recipe.

As a Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:

To make the cake a dairy-free chocolate cake recipe, I’ve used almond milk as well as coconut milk in place of the dairy. While not dairy-free, I’ve also used buttermilk in place of the milk with great results.

As an Egg-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:

To make the cake an egg-free chocolate cake recipe, I’ve used 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of the 2 large eggs in the recipe.  You will note that you may have to bake the cake just a few minutes more. Be sure to check with the skewer for doneness.

To Use Butter and Other Oils:

I’ve additionally tested the chocolate cake recipe with additional oils, as well as butter. I’ve tested using an equal amount of melted coconut oil to the vegetable oil called for in the recipe. I’ve also tested using the same volume of melted butter in place of the oils in the chocolate cake. While it does make the cake texture slightly different, it is still mighty delicious and worth trying if you’d prefer to use butter in place of oils in your chocolate cake.

Whew! See what I mean! This is the chocolate cake of everyone’s dreams, I think!

Best Chocolate Cake Ever //
Print Recipe
4.83 from 2477 votes

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe - A one bowl chocolate cake recipe that is quick, easy, and delicious! Updated with gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free options!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: best chocolate cake, cake, chocolate cake, chocolate cake recipe, dairy free chocolate cake, easy chocolate cake, egg free chocolate cake, gluten-free chocolate cake
Servings: 24
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk buttermilk, almond, or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe


  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

For the chocolate cake:

  • 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.
  • 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 until well combined.
  • 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 of the chocolate cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.


The cake batter will be very thin after adding the boiling water. This is correct and results in the most delicious and moist chocolate cake I've ever tasted! xo
Freezer Friendly
Let the baked cake layers cool completely. Wrap them well with plastic wrap and then with foil. Put each layer into a freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight with wrapping intact. The next day, the layers are ready to fill and frost.

Do let me know how you like it.

Here are a few additional ways I like to make this cake!

Chocolate Cupcakes

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. This recipe makes a perfect dozen so that you can scale the recipe to make as many chocolate cupcakes as you need! Talk about easy! 🙂

9×13 Chocolate Cake

I love this version! It is a delicious, scaled-down version that is just the thing for potlucks, reunions, tailgates, and travels perfectly! I’ve also scaled-down the frosting so that has the frosting to cake ratio that my family prefers. It is a definite winner!

Large Chocolate Sheet Cake

Scaled for a crowd, this recipe bakes beautifully in a rimmed baking sheet and is perfect for all sorts of get-togethers. Think of it as the 9×13’s big brother! 🙂 This recipe features Fudge Icing, but you can definitely substitute the icing for whatever you fancy!


And there you have it. There are so many ways to enjoy this delicious cake. Practically one for whatever need you might have. But, if I’ve missed one, be sure to let me know and I’ll work on it for you! 🙂

PS – Many of you have asked me if there is a way to make a Vanilla Cake Recipe that is just as delicious as this chocolate. Well friends, I’ve tested and tested and tested and now can proudly say – YES! It is definitely the best Vanilla Cake I’ve ever tasted, too! 🙂

Robyn xo


The Best Chocolate Cake recipe with decadent Chocolate Frosting that will quickly become your favorite! //

This post contains affiliate links.

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2012.

8,331 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. This looks delicious! I want to make this for my daughter’s bday. She wants a chocolate chocolate chip cake. Would this recipe be amenable to adding some choc chips?

    • Hi April,
      I’m sorry, I wouldn’t advise adding chocolate chips to this cake. I tried it and the chocolate chips sank to the bottom of the pan. This caused the cake to just stick to the pan after it cooks. Hope your daughter has a happy birthday!

      • My son asked for the same thing, and our solution was to stir mini chips into the buttercream instead of adding them to the cake. It worked great!

        PS–This really IS the best chocolate cake ever. For reals. <3

      • Hi Jackie,
        Sounds like you found the perfect solution for the chocolate chips. So glad your son loved it! Thanks! xo

      • Can I make this recipe with a 10 inch pan? If so what are the ingredient ratios?

  2. Can you use self rising flour?

  3. I am planning on making this cake tonight! I am very excited! Do you have any advice on how to make the process go as smooth as possible/any possible tripping points? Also would store bought frosting work?

    • Hi Page,
      This is a really simple recipe. Just follow the instructions and you should have no problem with this cake. You can use store bought frosting if you wish. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  4. Will fondant work on this cake?

  5. It truly is the best chocolate cake ever. I have made both with regular flour and gluten free at rhe same party and no one can tell the difference.
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    • Thanks, Joanna.
      So glad to hear your friends loved both versions of the cake!

    • I plan to bake this chocolate cake for Mubarak grandson. It look so so good. I have a question about the ingredients. In the directions it has vegetable oil listed to add but I don’t see vegetable oil in the ingredients. Can you tell never which is correct 

      • Hi Letricia,
        The vegetable oil is listed between the milk and the eggs in the ingredients list and #2 of the instructions tells you to add it with the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Hope your grandson enjoys the cake! Thanks

  6. Can you use Swanns Cake Flour in place of the plain flour and additions?  Also, can you use the Coconut milk that is used for making drinks?  It may be a little heavy for this. 

    • Hi Patricia,
      I have not used the canned coconut milk in this recipe but have used the coconut milk that’s in a carton in the dairy section. You also can use cake flour in this recipe if you want. Thanks!

  7. Honestly best recipe ever, thanks for that. so moreish

  8. I love this cake and so does everyone I make it for! Thanks!

  9. Absolutely best chocolate cake ever. I made it on Thursday and by Friday it was finished. Made for my daughter’s birthday as well. A real winner

  10. I was wondering if it would be possible to use 2% milk instead of almond/ coconut milk

  11. This is my family’s favorite chocolate cake ever! So moist and easy to make. I love turning it into a chocolate orange cake by adding some orange oil.

    Questions: If we want to make a vanilla cake that’s just as moist (and delicious!), what recipe would you recommend I use?

    • Hi Carly,
      I’m so happy your family loves this cake. It sounds delicious as a chocolate orange cake. You might want to try my Best Vanilla Cake Recipe. The first recipe I had written for the vanilla cake was based on my chocolate cake. Some people were having problems with it falling after baking although I didn’t have that problem. More recipe testers had good results with the recipe as written now. However, if you want to try the one based upon the chocolate cake, just substitute the cocoa powder with flour. Hope you like the vanilla cake as much as the chocolate cake! Thanks! xo

  12. Does the cake have a coffee flavour with the espresso powder?

  13. I made this as the 9×13 and loved it! I was wondering, is it possible to make the round cake with 8 inch pans instead of 9 inch? How long would I have to bake them for? Thanks!

  14. I love this recipe for the 9 inch and I’m planning it in a 12 X 18 Saturday. What changes should I make to the temperature and baking time and how much batter do I need? I really don’t want to have to use a different recipe because this is my all time favorite. Thank you!

  15. I tried this recipe today..was a bit apprehensive since I was baking in a gas oven..but the cake came out so well! It delighted me..and my husband who is not so fond of chocolate cakes also loved it 🙂 Thanks !!

  16. This was the first cake I have ever baked from scratch. I’ve made it several times for birthdays since 2016. My family loooves it. It tastes even better the next day. Thank you so much for this recipe. I dont change anything I bake it as per the recipe and not once has it disappointed me.

  17. I’ve been using variations of this recipe for a while now. Today I decided to prep ingredients for the amount of batches. Anyway, ended up needing one more batch but as I was weighing the sugar I realized I only put 200g(1c) in all the previous batches! Will this ruin the taste of cake?? I was wondering why the first 4 batches seemed so little! Ugh, I really don’t want to redo 3-12” layers and still need another 8” layer. 

    • I was wondering if I could use simple syrup… It’s going to have Oreo buttercream filling and fondant to cover it, so will anyone even notice 1/2 the amount of sugar?!

    • Hi Ashley,
      I’ve never made the cake with half the sugar so I’m not sure how it will do. The sugar does not only just affect the sweetness of the cake; it also affects the moistness and texture of the cake. It may not be as tender. So I wouldn’t think using a simple syrup will help.

  18. I have made this as a layered cake and it was amazing.  I made it on Saturday and it was still moist on Friday.  My question is, how about making it a bundt pan?  Do you see any possible issues with that?

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

  20. Hi, I was wondering if I would be able to make this cake in a 6 inch pan and how long I would have to bake it for? Also, is it possible to bake the cake in the morning, chill it in the fridge, and then frost and stack it in the afternoon? Would that be enough time for it to chill enough to stack?

    • Hi Mia,
      I have not made this cake in 6 inch pans so I can’t tell you exactly how long it would take for them to bake.I don’t put my cake in the refrigerator to cool. I let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack top side up and let cool thoroughly. I usually let the layers cool around 1 to 2 hours before I frost. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  21. This cake worked out just perfectly. I made the 9 x 13 and baked for 28 minutes. We just finished it off 4 days later and it’s still moist and delicious. This is now our go-to chocolate cake recipe.

    • Thanks, Kim. I love to hear that the cake turns out well for people and stays moist. So glad you enjoy it! xo

    • Hi I’m wanting to make this for my daughters birthday in a few days time, we live in New Zealand and it looks like I can only buy the espresso powder on line and I don’t think it will get here in time, I was wondering if there is anything else I could use or how would it go without? Many thanks. 

      • Hi Janine,
        You can omit the espresso powder if you wish. It just enhances the chocolate flavor but the cake can be made without it. Hope your daughter has a very happy birthday!

  22. Any thoughts why the center didn’t rise as much as the sides? Ingredients not being at room temp, maybe?   The cake came out wonderful. It’s cooling so I can layer and cover with buttercream. 

    • Hi Nari,
      Sorry your cake didn’t rise as it should. Your ingredients should be at room temperature before making this cake. Sometimes cakes will not rise properly if the ingredients are cold. That could definitely be the issue. Hope you enjoy the cake though!

  23. Hi Robyn

    Every single time I make this recipe it is loved by my clients..
    I have made cupcakes and they are truly amazing too.
    I need to ask if instead of applesauce can I use something else which doesnt leave flavour. I tried apple sauce but it gives flavour.

  24. I just wanted to say that this cake was truly awesome. Very easy to make and easy to give a little tweet or two. I added a little more cocoa and instead of an espresso powder I just used what was in my cabinet, tablespoon of coffee. It was fantastic, thank you so much this. I even got creative with the frosting and made a combo butter cream/ cream cheese/ coffee frosting. It was great!   

  25. Hi Robyn,
    I am thinking of using 10″ cake pans. Do you think I need to 1/2 or double the recipe?

  26. All time my favorite chocolate cake recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  27. This cake was delicious and a bit hit with my family – thank you for sharing such a superb recipe! I do have a few comments/questions though. Firstly, the cake seemed to stick to the pans in the middle, and I couldn’t tell from the instructions if I need to flour the pans if I use cooking spray, or only if I use butter. I used cooking spray – should I flour it as well, or should I just add more spray next time to prevent the sticking? Additionally, I *would not* recommend using a stand mixer for this cake. I have a KitchenAid mixer, standard size, and it created a huge mess when I tried to mix the dry ingredients (on lowest setting – stir), so I did it by hand, which was easy enough. Using the stand mixer as suggested for the boiling water seemed pretty dangerous as it splashed (also on lowest setting – stir), so I mixed by hand again – also pretty easy. I recommend changing the instructions as the stand mixer does not seem like a good option for this recipe, unless someone has an industrial grade mixer.

    • Hi Gauri,
      I’m sorry your cake stuck in the middle. If you don’t butter and flour your pans, you would need to use baking spray like Baker’s Joy, not cooking spray like Pam. You don’t use flour if you use the baking spray. Next time, I would just use more baking spray to prevent it from sticking. So glad it was a hit even with it sticking!
      I use a KitchenAid stand mixer when I make this cake and have not had a problem but some stand mixers seem to be more high-powered than others. Thanks!

  28. This really is the best chocolate cake ever! My husband has it on request and would probably eat the buttercream in the bowl if I left him to it. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Tried this recipe yesterday and turned out amazing
    I have been trying to perfect my chocolate cakes for years, it finally turned out amazing!
    It tasted exactly like store made chocolate cake
    Thank you soooo much.

  30. I made this cake yesterday for my brothers birthday, he is a chocolate cake fanatic and said this cake was the best he’s ever had. (added maltesers and flake chocolate on the top for decoration) . I’m not a fan of chocolate cakes normally but I had a taste literally 10 minutes ago and oh my gosh it is amazing! Thank you so much!

  31. Can you use a tsp of coffee grounds instead of espresso powder? Making this today and don’t have time to get espresso powder. 


  32. Should it just be plain sugar or can you use caster sugar as well?

  33. I doubled up this recipe to make three 8 inch layers and a batch of mini cupcakes and it worked out great. I wasn’t able to find espresso powder unfortunately, but after some research apparently you can replace it with instant coffee– just find one that’s dark and rich and add about 50% more, taste as you go to make sure it’s not making it bitter. Worked perfectly, and way cheaper if you’re in a pinch! Thanks for the recipe, my daughter will love it on her birthday.

  34. Its that time of the year again, of course this is my go to recipe for my choc cake but im needing to use it in a pop out cake tin, previously if i tried this, due to the thin batter it has leaked through. Im wondering if I do 1/2 cup instead of 1 cup if this may thicken it enough to stop the leaks?

    • I’m sorry, Beck, but I wouldn’t make this cake in a springform pan. It will always leak out. Even with reducing the water, if that is what you are asking, I think the batter would still leak out. Also, I’m not sure how the cake would turn out.

  35. This cake was absolutely fantastic. It was so easy to make and the taste and texture was just perfect!! My sister and I made for our moms bday , and we received a flood of compliments!
    Thank you so much for this recipe ❤️

  36. Hi,

    I am going to be making this for my nephew’s birthday party. I will be making it the day before, do you have any advice on storage requirements to keep it fresh?

    Thank you

    • Hi Teena,
      In my post for this recipe, there is a section titled “How to Make Ahead and Store the Homemade Chocolate Cake” that gives full instructions on what you need to do. Hope your nephew has a very happy birthday and enjoys his cake! Thanks!

      • Thank you for this.
        One last question, would you know how to scale this to a 12inch cake. Or where I can find this information??


  37. Does anybody have these measurements in grams?? I’m in the UK and we use grams as opposed to cups.


  38. This cake recipe is absolutely phenomenal and always my go-to. I like to get creative with the fillings by making my own raspberry jam, peanut butter mousse, jellies and creams and usually I make a thick, buttery icing to top it with but the recipe for the cake itself is absolutely flawless and fool proof. Thank you so much for making a delicious recipe that I will be passing down in my family for generations!

  39. I made this cake with the buttercream frosting for the first time a few weeks and it was amazing.  I redid it today, but in a bundt pan.  I was concerned because of some things I had seen about the leavening agents having to work overtime to get the rise in the pan.  I did not make any adjustments and it still came out perfect.  Instead of the buttercream, i used a bourbon glaze made with milk, powdered sugar and butter and then topped with toasted chopped pecans.  Lord, have mercy!

  40. I made this cake for my boyfriend for his birthday, and he said that it was literally the best cake he’s ever had! (I quite enjoyed it too!) Highly recommend, especially with the chocolate frosting you suggested!!

  41. Hi, I am trying to make a marbled cake for my son’s birthday and we love the chocolate cake recipe. I am wondering what your recommendations would be on using your “Best Vanilla Cake Recipe” together with the chocolate to marble his cake. I realize the baking time is slightly different and I know the chorale recipe is a bit on the runny side… what do you think? go for it or try a different recipe all together? thanks!!

  42. Hi! Do you have a 3-layer variation for this cake?

  43. o.o I actually forgot to do the last step with the boiling water and the cake was still delicious.

  44. Hi there!  I’m Just wondering if I would be able to substitute mayonnaise for the vegetable oil?

  45. Hi I’m making this gorgeous looking cake tomorrow for my daughter’s bday on Sunday. Can someone tell me is it better made with veg oil or coconut oil ? I’ve got both & not sure which one to use.
    Thanks 😀

    • Hi Kay,
      I think the cake tastes great with either oil but it’s just personal preference. I personally like it better with vegetable oil. Hope your daughter has a very happy birthday on Sunday and enjoys her cake! Thanks!

  46. Hi Robyn,
    if I size the recipe down to 12 servings (since I won’t be having that many people over, haha), would I still be able to make two decent layers using 9-inch pans? Or would you recommend using a different size baking pan?


    • Hi Marike,
      The layers would be thin if you downsized and then baked in the 9-inch pans. I would either make them in smaller pans and bake a little longer than 9-inch pans would require or make the full recipe and freeze any cake you have left over. The cake will also last several days at room temperature if covered with a cake dome. Hope you enjoy the cake! Thanks!

  47. Hi Robyn , I have made this cake a couple of times before and had a lot of love from the people I made it’s completely delicious! My question is, could you tell me approximately how many cups of batter each recipe makes? I am assuming around 10 c due to the recipe calling for 2 x 9″ pans, which hold 5c each… I am making 12 x 18 cakes for a wedding this Saturday and want to make sure I have enough batter…
    Donna 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *