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, 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, 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! If you

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!

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. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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 //
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4.82 from 2332 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
Servings: 12
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. The next day, the layers are ready to fill and frost.
Tried this recipe?Share a photo on Instagram and tag me with @addapinch and #addapinch!

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 of my chocolate cake recipe! 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.

8,079 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Would this work in two 8in pans with 2in sides?
    Thank you!

    • The recipe is sized for two 9 inch pans, so make sure if you use the 8 inch pans, that you don’t overfill the pans to make sure they don’t run out in the oven.
      It may take a couple of extra minutes to cook since in smaller pans. Thanks!

  2. Hello,

    We love this cake recipe and I was wondering you could give me some tips on temperature and bake time for baking it in a bagel pan. My son will not eat a slice of cake but put a donut in front of him and he goes nuts. Lol. His two year old birthday is coming up and I wanted to bake this for him as medium size donuts so he would actually have some. I would really appreciate your help!!

    • Hi Gloria,
      I’m so excited that you and your family enjoy the chocolate cake!
      I’ve never baked this in a bagel pan, so I can’t say the time or temperature.
      However, I do have my Best Chocolate Cupcakes recipe that I’ve adjusted from my chocolate cake recipe. If you decide to make these cupcakes, just follow the recipe and instructions for the cupcakes.
      You can use either frosting you wish on these cupcakes – they’re shown with my Vanilla Buttercream, but you can also use my Chocolate Buttercream as used on my chocolate cake.
      I hope that if he likes donuts that he also likes cupcakes. 🙂
      Happy birthday to your little guy – I hope it’s a very fun time for you all! Thanks! xo

  3. WOW!!!! I’m lost for words. This Chocolate cake is literally the best Chocolate cake I have ever had in my life and that Is a huge compliment coming from me who absolutely LOVES chocolate cake!! Will be making this for my sons 6th birthday party so everyone will think I’m an amazing Baker haha now I’m going to get my 4th piece of cake because it’s so good I cant stop eating it, good thing there’s 2. Thank you!!

    • This is such a sweet comment, Tash! Love that you are making this for your son’s birthday! Best Birthday wishes to him!
      Thank you! I’m so happy to have you here! xo

    • I can’t wait to try this recipe. I would like to make it in an 8 inch round pan instead of 9 inch. Do you have any suggestions on how I would adjust the baking time? Thank you.

  4. This recipe is AMAZING. I used coconut oil and coconut milk and it turned out perfect!!

  5. This is honestly the most delicious cake ever! This is a chocolate lovers dream. It’s definitely rich but not to the point where it’s overwhelming. I’ve also used this recipe to make cupcakes and after three days it was as if I had just baked them. 
    Is there any way to turn this into a white chocolate cake? 

  6. Hi,
    Is there any substitute for the sugar? Can I use stevia or coconut sugar?

  7. Just wondering if I were to make this on a Monday night and then make the frosting and put it together Wednesday night it would still taste perfectly fine Thursday night?? What’s the best way to store it (I don’t think it’d be worth freezing for 1 day). Thanks! 

    • Hi Sharon,
      If you are going to bake the cake on Monday to serve on Thursday, you need to freeze the cake layers after cooled completely on Monday night. I’ve shared directions for Freezing in the recipe.
      Thaw completely before you frost on Wednesday night. Then can keep covered on counter and will be perfectly fine on Thursday night to serve. Hope this helps! xo

  8. Can you substitute cocoa power for cacao powder?

  9. if i make the cake and then let it cool in the fridge for a good 30 min, could i take it out and the frost right away???

    • Hi Shae,
      No. For best results, follow the cooling instructions given in the recipe and frost once it’s completely cooled on its own, not in the fridge. Thanks!

  10. Has anyone ever had success subbing  hot coffee for the hot water?  Thinking I might want to try that!

    • Hi Tina,
      I don’t use coffee and always use boiling water as in the recipe. The espresso powder does not give the cake a coffee taste, it enhances the richness of the chocolate. There may be others who have substituted coffee though. I hope you enjoy the cake!

      • Hi, if using the melted butter instead….would the cake be more dense? I’d like to use it to make a sphere cake.

      • Sharona,
        Melted butter instead of oil would make this cake a little more dense. I’ve not used this recipe to make a sphere cake so not sure how it will work. Let me know the results. Thanks!

    • Hi. I’m in Trinidad in the Caribbean. I make this recipe all the time and my family loves it. I use the cake in many ways, layered or broken up and mixed with pralines, chocolate sauce , caramel and mixed nut pieces on the top. Wonderful. Thank you.

    • I’ve always made this with hot instant coffee, instead of the espresso powder and hot water, and it works wonderfully!

    • I have and it’s delicious! I didn’t have espresso powder so I used my strong coffee. The cake was a hit.

    • I’ve made this cake several times and I always just use a fresh cup of coffee: everyone loves it! 

  11. What’s the weight of the cake once it’s baked? 

  12. I’m hungry now good job 

  13. Made awesome cupcakes, now I’ll try the cake, but I want to use a single round tin, wish me luck!!!
    Cheers Johannah 

    • Jon, so glad you liked the cupcakes. Be sure to use a large enough pan if you are making a single layer of the cake so that it does not cook out into your stove.

  14. Hi Robyn

    How does the cake carve? I need a chocolate cake for my son’s birthday – he wants a Bugatti Chiron – so any cake will need to stand up to some carving and fondant….

    Thanks so much!

    • This chocolate cake is a very tender cake and I would not use a fondant on it. I don’t think it would be a suitable cake for carving for a birthday cake. However, if the cake does not have to be chocolate, check out my Best White Cake Recipe which has been used for many wedding and birthday cakes. It’s a more dense cake than the Chocolate Cake and would be more suitable for carving and fondant. Be sure to read the notes in my post from a pastry chef about this cake. Hope this helps! Hope your son has a great party and a very happy birthday!

  15. No joke- this is the best chocolate I have ever made and ever tasted. Everyone who ate it also said it was the best chocolate cake. I’m going to make it again because I thoroughly enjoyed baking it and it tasted fantastic. 10/10 would recommend!

  16. Hello thank you so much for sharing your recipe, I’m looking forward to trying it… one thing – because I’m from England I don’t have American cup measures, and, whilst I can work out quantities using a measuring jug, what would be amazing would be if you could list weights, preferably in grams, next to your quantities – then the recipe will be more internationally accessible! Very warmest wishes

  17. Can I double this recipe and make a two layer 9×13 cake for a crowd ? Will it work in such a large pan? 

    • Patricia,
      Yes, you can double the recipe to make a 2-layered 9 x 13 cake. Be sure to butter and flour or spray the pans with baking spray before filling them with the batter. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes at 350º F. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then, carefully remove them from the pans onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. This is a tender cake so be careful when turning it out onto the wire rack and when transferring onto the cake plate to frost. Hope you enjoy this!

  18. This is my first review of a recipe but I had to comment on how great this cake turned out.  It was so moist and the frosting recipe in the link goes great with this cake. I divided the cake batter into three pans and had a triple layer cake. I baked it for a get together and everyone loved it. I saw people closing their eyes in pleasure – haha. They made comments like “incredible “ , “ wonderful”, “ sooo good”.

    It was my first from scratch chocolate cake I ever made so I made it a couple of times to practice. I was curious how changing the recipe to cake flour instead of all purpose would impact the cake. I liked the cake made with all purpose flour better. The batter  made with the cake flour was too thin and actually bubbled in the oven as it cooked.  The texture turned out ok – it was a finer crumb but Iwouldnt say that it was a better crumb. Also, the cake made using the cake flour was not nearly as moist as the cake made with all purpose flour. This was quite a surprise to me since it was such a wet thin batter.

    Thank you for such a great recipe. I wouldn’t change anything about the recipe.

  19. Hi Robyn
    This cake is absolutely amazing, thank you. 
    I’ve made it a few times for my allergy child’s birthday (with all your sub suggestions) and it’s that time again but the massive gluten free flour batch that I made is gone (toddler got to it and it was crazy!!!) 
    So want to make up some more but the link no longer works to your recipe? Could you please let me know the mix again 🙏 
    Thanks again for letting me eat amazing chocolate cake again ❤️

    • Hi Meredith,
      I don’t make my own gluten free flour. I always use an equal amount of Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour for the all-purpose flour in my recipes when I make gluten free cakes. Hope you can find the recipe for the flour or can get the gluten free flour to make your child’s birthday cake. Wish I could help! Wishing your child a very Happy Birthday!

  20. Hello,

    I’m browsing for a chocolate cake recipe for my brother’s wedding. Some of the features of this cake are reminiscent of recipes I’ve worked with the past (emphasis on past). Do you think this would hold up in two tiers? It just looks so moist and delicious I would hate for it to not hold up structurally.
    This is my first tiered cake attempt in years, thankfully they are excited for a free cake and have low expectations on decorations 🙂

    Thanks a lot!

    • Kailie,
      This cake is a moist, tender cake. I have never made it as a tiered cake like you are talking about for your brother’s wedding. However, I have had several comments from people who have made it as a tiered wedding cake with great success. My suggestion is to do a trial run ahead of time to make sure this works for you. Hope this helps! Best wishes to the happy couple!

  21. I’ve not found a cake recipe from scratch that I actually like, let alone love. This recipe was great!  So soft, rich, and heavy. Paired it with your chocolate buttercream.  Everyone loved it and my son practically licks the plate. I’m going to try to make this gluten free for a friend.

    *I made this in three 8” pans and just baked until the center was cooked through. 

    • Thanks so much, Brandi. I have found that Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour works great in this cake if you can get it. Just use the same amount as the all-purpose flour in the recipe.

  22. So excited to try this recipe! How much approximately will the cake rise? Will it double? I want to bake in a 6″ tin and just want to know how full I should fill the tin!

  23. Hello, love how this recipe looks. My question is: if I am using a 6” round tall pan  should I half this recipe?
    I want to slice and layer with frosting. 
    Thank you 

    • Juds,
      I’m sorry I have never made this cake in a 6″ pan so I can’t answer your question. Maybe other readers have made it this size and can tell you how they did it.

  24. Is there a way to make this cake a bit fluffier? I used buttermilk and canola oil. I did use two 8” pans so maybe that’s why it was a bit more dense than I would’ve liked? Thanks! 

    • Kathy,
      Sometimes using another brand of flour can make cakes more dense. I use White Lily flour which is a soft wheat flour and is less dense than other all-purpose flours. Thanks

  25. Hi Robyn!

    Thanks so much for this recipe. Just wanted to make sure that you’re aware that Cup4Cup is NOT dairy free! It has milk powder in it. I’m excited to try this with a different gf flour, though 🙂

  26. I have someone asking for a cake that isn’t very sweet. Is it possible to cut the sugar in half with this recipe?

  27. Has anyone ever done this is a bundt pan? I’ve made this in 6, 8, and 10 inch..but my sister in law would like a chocolate cake with no icing. Since I love this recipe I’d like to try it as a bundt. 

    • Yes, Jacquelyn, you can bake it in a bundt cake. It will take a bit longer to bake. The oven temperature will be the same. Use the toothpick test to check for doneness. I hope you enjoy it! xo

  28. Hi there! This is my favourite cake recipe of all time! I went to make it again today, but I realized I didn’t have any cocoa powder!!!

    Q: Will it be okay if I skip on the cocoa powder? Will it just taste like a vanilla cake?

    • Kristen,
      I had made my vanilla cake using my Best Chocolate Cake recipe but just substituting the amount of cocoa powder with flour but some people were having trouble with it falling. You might want to try my Vanilla Cake recipe that worked best for me. Let me know how you like it if you decide to use this recipe. Thanks

  29. I just followed this recipe to make my first ever cake and it turned out lovely.  I made it for my 3 year old bday and it was a hit.  Thank you for the simple but delicious cake!

  30. From what I have read, to be able to use special dark cocoa you have to have baking powder.  So is it okay to use the special dark in this recipe?

  31. Thank you so much for this recipe, I tried it for the first time and EVERYONE loved it. Thank you

  32. I doubled the recipe for the 9×13 pan and baked it just a bit longer. It turned out fabulous – very moist. I used a coffee buttercream icing simply because I like chocolate with coffee. This will be my only go to chocolate cake. Thank you Robyn.

  33. Hi Robyn
    I can not tell you how much I have loved this cake. I made it today for my family in 2 x 6 inch pans. Its cute size. I have probably tried 6 or 7 recipes in past year but was not able to get this texture. It is soft and very moist. I made my own butter milk with milk and vinegar as I did not have it at home. I need to know if I want to make if softer what can be done.
    But a great this it was. I am going to try eggless version of it soon. 🙂

  34. I made this for Easter with gluten free flour. Then decorated it with a chocolate nest made out of melted chocolate and gluten free corn flakes. Put chocolate egg in the nest. It was divine!!! 

  35. This recipe looks AMAZING! Can you use wholemeal plain flour? And I only have a 9 inch square pan would that work out okay?! Thanks! Hoping to make it for my daughter’s 4th birthday this weekend!

    • Karen,
      I have never made it with wholemeal plain flour so I’m not sure how it would turn out. I have made this cake using 9 inch square pans and it worked perfectly. If this is for a birthday, I would do a trial run if you can before the big day to make sure it works with the wholemeal flour. Hope your daughter has a very happy 4th birthday.

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