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! // addapinch.com #chocolatecake

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.

Slice of cake on a stack of white dessert plates

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.

Fork holding a bite of cake with frosting on white dessert plates

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!

Photograph of a cake with swirled buttercream frosting on white cake plate.

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 gallon 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 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.

I’ve also used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer with great success.

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 // addapinch.com

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!
4.97 from 2665 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 24
Course Dessert
Calories: 124kcal
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

Ingredients

  • 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 homemade or store-bought
  • 1 cup milk buttermilk, almond, or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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.
 
Nutritional information is for the cake only.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #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! 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! 🙂

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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

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

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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9122 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Absolutely delicious. Hoping you will take the time to help me. what is the best and easiest way to get a cake from the pan? Mine broke and usually does. I spray and flour and waited ten minutes. Please help!

    1. Cindi, once the cake has cooled about 10 minutes, place a wire cake rack on top of the cake pan and turn the cake upside down onto the rack. Take a second rack and place over the bottom of the cake and, similar to a sandwich, turn the racks so that the bottom of the cake layer is resting on the rack. Remove the rack from the top of the cake and let the cake cool completely. The cake bottom is not as likely to stick to the rack as the top of the cake is. Some people spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray before turning the cake out onto it, although I have never done that. Hope this helps!

      1. TA DA! The chocolate cake tasted so good – ten times better than a cake mix, I decided to try the vanilla cake and your flipping instructions. Like I said, TA DA 😂. You are teaching me to bake !! THANK YOU

    2. Hi! You don’t need the flour. Just spray and use parchment paper! I’ve been baking professionally for years and this never fails!

  2. Hi! Is this something I could add chocolate chips to the batter? I may be trying to be more adventurous than necessary…I’m excited to bake this today!

    1. Kristen, 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.

  3. Hi, I was wondering if you have tried it with almond flour and xylitol? I really want to try this cake, but we have a diabetic who is trying to lose weight in our family, so I need to find substitutions… same goes for the buttercream – any ideas here? Thank you!

  4. Amazing cake! My family and I loved it! By the way, is the nutritional information for one slice of cake or the whole cake?

  5. Do you have adjustments for high altitude? I live at 5400 feet about sea level. I usually add extra flour and water to brownies but am not sure how much to add for cake! Thanks!

  6. Hi Robyn,

    I am thinking about decorating the cake as well. What would you use? I am thinking fresh raspberries or coconut. Also, what other frosting would you recommend? I love anything dark chocolate.

  7. Great cake and easy to make.
    I decorated my cake with white chocolate and I also melted white Chocolate and dribbled it on.

  8. Thank you so much for this recipe! I helped a friend make this for her husband’s 40th birthday and I’m about to make it again for my son’s 2nd birthday this weekend. I added 1/4 cup less sugar and added a tbsp of salt to the cake and buttercream frosting and it tasted delicious.

    Just wanted to clarify if the sugar you used is normal sugar or castor sugar? I think in the US normal = granulated sugar and castor = super fine but not powdered like icing sugar/confectioners sugar. I am in Australia.

    1. Charlene, I use granulated sugar for the cake and confectioner’s sugar for the buttercream frosting. I hope your son has a very happy 2nd birthday. Those birthdays are so special.

  9. I’m excited to try this recipe, but I don’t have espresso powder, can I use instant coffee? or would I better to leave it out?

    1. You can just omit the espresso powder, Dorreen, if you don’t have it. The espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor but the cake is still delicious without it.

  10. Just wondering, what do you put inbeteeen the cake? Just some more of the frosting or something different?
    Making this for a friends birthday 🙂

  11. Hello! Can I use instant coffee for this instead of espresso? And How would I use it? My parents can’t have caffeine do I have to use Decaf stuff. Also does it have to be in the fridge or is it ok to put it on a cake stand? Thank you un advance for any suggestions or advice!

    1. Glory, you can just omit the espresso powder. You won’t need to refrigerate the cake; you can leave it on a covered cake stand on the counter. Hope everyone enjoys the cake.

    2. I didn’t have espresso powder so I used one tablespoon of instant coffee dissolved in two teaspoons of very hot tap water and adjusted the volume of liquid by using slightly less boiling water. Delicious!

  12. My daughter and I just made the cake for her 13th birthday (tomorrow). Both of us asked, boiling water? I convinced her it was part of the recipe and we should follow it. Oh My! We are waiting for it to cool enough to frost it, but the small part we shave off was EXCELLENT. I can hardly wait to try it with the buttercream frosting!

  13. Made the cake and it turned out AMAZING! It was exactly what my partner and I needed. Thank you for the recipe!

  14. Made this with cream cheese frosting for my daughter’s birthday – it was a hit! Everyone loved it! Thank you!!!

  15. This cake was best, I’ll never buy another store bought cake mix. Do you have recipe for white cake that’s just as delicious and moist as this one?

  16. Delicious-fluffy and moist. Perfectly chocolatey.
    Only change was reduced sugar to 1 1/2 cup (will try 1 cup next time.) Cooked in 9 x 13″ with parchment paper for 34 min (at sea level). My children and I enjoyed as-is. No icing was necessary.

  17. Thank you for this recipe. It is one of those chocolate cakes that just melts in your mouth. The buttercream knocks it out of the park. I can’t wait for my family to taste it!

  18. Hi Robyn,
    This is probably a silly question, but if I want to add an extra layer or two, should i just double the recipe? I wanted to make the cake extra special for a birthday 🙂

  19. Haven’t made this yet but would love to give it a whirl – can I use a Bundt pan for this recipe?
    Also – I won’t be using espresso powder because that’s not in my pantry…
    Thanks!

    1. Jenifer, you could bake the cake in a Bundt pan. Just bake the cake a little longer. Also, you can just omit the espresso powder. The cake is still delicious without it. Hope you enjoy!

  20. I only have one 9-inch pan available as of the moment. Is there any way I can bake this recipe with only one pan available?

    1. Hi Thea, I would not recommend baking all of the ingredients at one time in a 9-inch cake pan as it will overflow while baking. If you only have one pan available, I would recommend dividing the batter and baking the layers separately or dividing the recipe and baking just one layer. Hope you enjoy!

  21. Just made this for my son’s birthday…was amazing! I even did the gluten free, dairy free and egg free (using apple sauce) version! and am incredibly impressed
    Many thanks

  22. I’ve made this cake several times with the buttermilk, mentioned in recipe that you can use almond milk or coconut milk do either of this change flavor or texture. Really do love the recipe.

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