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

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 // 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 2551 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
  • 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

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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8666 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. This is the best chocolate cake recipe ever! I bake this cake for so many parties. Everyone loves it. It is great with chocolate butter cream, cream cheese frosting, and white mountain cream (boiled marshmallow frosting). This cake never fails me!

      1. I made this dairy free and it was so amazing. It’s been so long since I’ve had cake so thank you!
        I was just wondering with the egg replacement if it worked out just as good?

      2. Thanks, Chloe. I’m happy you loved the dairy-free version of this cake. I have used egg replacement in this cake and everyone liked it. I hope you do as well.

      3. Yep! Best chocolate cake recipe ever! Everyone at the table said the cake is amazing, not too sweet, and so moist, and of course chocolatey. I could eat this cake without frosting and I’m a frosting kinda girl! I made it with coconut milk and coconut oil.

    1. This was amazing! I didn’t have high hopes as I’m not a baker. Used half the sugar, with icing you don’t need. Also didn’t have time to roast the beans so just added 1 tsp of ground espresso. Turned out great!

  2. I made this cake yesterday for my husband’s birthday and it turned out DELICIOUS!
    I am an excellent cook, but I do not love to bake so I don’t have a ton of experience. Basically I make my husband a birthday cake each year and sometimes bake for Holidays. This cake and the frosting were pretty simple but I did have one major problem. I could NOT get the cakes out of the pans. Both cakes came out in pieces and a lot of it stuck to the pan. I used a butter knife and spatula to try to coax it out but that didn’t really work. I prepared the pans with olive oil cooking spray- could that be the problem? Or maybe it should have baked it a couple more minutes? I did let them cool for 10-15 minutes before trying to remove them. I patched them up with frosting the best I could. It wasn’t extremely beautiful but I did manage to get it stacked and on my cake stand. And the flavor was on point! Any tips to get them to come out the pan easier? Because I’m definitely making this cake again!

    1. Elizabeth, try a baking spray like Baker’s Joy instead of the olive oil spray or you can butter and flour the pans. The cake will also stick to the pan if it is not done. I’m glad you still liked the cake even though you had these issues.

    2. Elizabeth Minkler- Best way ever to get cakes out of the pan: Grease and flour the sides of the pan, then cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the pan bottom, no need to grease or flour that part,- works EVERY time! Also great for banana bread, zini bread etc.

  3. This cake is SO GOOD! No regrets! Not only is it delicious, but it’s easy to make and not very time-consuming. Make sure you enjoy it!

  4. Fantastic! My wife and I are trying to start a new hobby together and with the kids. This was our first ever from scratch cake and buttercream frosting! It turned out great and we had a great time. Thanks for the detailed instructions and tips. We are forcing ourselves to give a lot away before we eat it all. No one can believe we actually made it, haha. We look forward to trying out more of your recipes.

    1. What a great hobby, Connor! My family loves to cook together, too. I’m so glad everyone loved the chocolate cake and hope you find many more recipes you love making together.

  5. This is my first time to give feedback on anything on line. I just have to do this! I was looking for a chocolate cake recipe for my daughter’s 15th birthday when I saw the picture of a slice of a truly moist chocolate cake. I said to myself, I have got to try this recipe and see if it will live up to the title ( The Best Chocolate Cake Ever!). I was ecstatic when I had a bite! I finally found a truly moist chocolate cake and it’s not too sweet either! We all loved it! All her friends said it was the best chocolate cake they’ve ever eaten! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m including it in my food compilation. More power to you Robyn! Do you have a red velvet cake recipe as good as this? My 12 year old daughter is asking me to bake her favourite cake.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comments, Malyn. I’m so glad your daughter and her friends loved her birthday cake. This is my Red Velvet Cake recipe that my mother always made for me when I was growing up. Hope your daughter likes it as much as I always do.

  6. if making this in a 9×13 pan and using this recipe vs the 9×13 version to make the cake thicker, should the baking time be adjusted at all? [longer/short amount of time?]

    1. Is there a difference between using Dutch processed cocoa vs raw cocoa powder? Also is there a difference in the type of milk used? Does the cake have a different texture with each type of milk? Thanks!

      1. Karen, you will need to use a natural cocoa powder like the raw cocoa powder in this cake since the recipe includes baking soda. Dutch processed cocoa will not react to baking soda and your cake may not rise as well as it should. There can be a slight difference in the texture with the different types of milk.

  7. Hi Robyn, would the cake give same results if mixed with a wooden spoon instead of a stand/hand mixer. Can I combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder) and keep it in an airtight container and later use it (2 – 4 months) as a cake mix. Would it make a difference in the texture or taste? This is my go to recipe for chocolate cake. I just want to make it more easier.

    1. Helena, one of the things I love about this cake is that you can mix it by hand with a wooden spoon. I have not tried mixing the dry ingredients and storing them but it sounds like a great idea. Just make sure all your ingredients’ expiration date is after you would use the stored mix.

  8. This is my go to chocolate cake recipe. I lost it, and I haven’t made for a few years and I’m so happy I found it again! Had to post. Look no further- this is an excellent chocolate cake, especially with the frosting. Beats every bakery I’ve tried.

  9. This recipe was pretty easy to follow and the cake came out moist. The only issue I had was the edges of my cake were quite crisp almost while the center was perfect. What did I do wrong?

    1. There are a couple of things that could cause your cake edges to be crisp. Usually the cause would be an oven that is too hot. I would check the temperature inside the oven with an oven thermometer to make sure it is displaying the correct temperature. Another cause would be if the pans were greased and not floured or there was not enough flour on the edges of the pan. Hope this helps.

  10. Robyn, your cake and frosting recipes are my go-to favorites…I won’t use any other recipe!! I’ve made your {Best Vanilla Cake} and Vanilla Buttercream frosting for years now and it always comes out flawless. I have one big QUESTION about this chocolate cake: Can I bake it in my Wilton giant cupcake-cake pan?! I have done this with the vanilla cake and adjusted cook times accordingly; it’s come out perfectly. I’m wondering if the same will hold true with this recipe. Thank you!! If I try it before you post an answer I’ll let you know how it goes! Regardless of the results, a big thanks to you for ensuring countless happy people NEVER go back to box mix or fake canned frosting again 😝🤩😀

    1. Meira, I haven’t tried this cake in those cupcake pans but I don’t see any reason they would not work with adjusted cook time. I’m so happy you enjoy the Vanilla Cake and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipes. Hope you love this recipe just as much.Thanks!

  11. I love love loveeee this cake! It is my go-to for like, everything. Every occasion. Every not-occasion. I love it!

    I am curious, though…have you ever made it into a bundt cake? Do you think it would work (other than probably a longer bake time)?

    Thanks!

  12. Hi Robyn,
    Thank you for the easiest and best chocolate cake recipe ever! I have made it countless times and it is always a hit. I usually do rounds, but for my son’s soccer party I want to do a two layered 9×13 cake. Do you suggest using the original recipe and dividing it, or the 9×13 one and make two batches?
    Cheers, Leanne.

  13. I have 8.5 inch cake pans, though your recipe calls for 9 inch, should I make any changes to the oven temperature or just possibly change the cook time? Thanks.

  14. This recipe never fails.. I have probably made 50 60 cakes for customer. Never never never had issues. I use it for black forest too. Awesome recipe. Very easy to make.

    1. You probably will need to make adjustments for high altitude, Jean. I live at 1000 feet. Several people who live in Denver area have said they had to make adjustments for the altitude. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  15. I tried this cake as is without any changes. It’s raising over the top and onto my oven. It definitely needs changes for high altitudes.

  16. I am planning on making this for Christmas, but want to make sure I do it exactly right. I know it says it’s simple, but I am not a baker so I need real simple! My question is, is a 9 inch pan a round pan? And then when you make the 2 cakes, you frost each one and then just stack them on top of each other, I assume? I can’t wait to make it! It looks delicious!

    1. If I did it…You can do it! This was my 1st from scratch cake.

      You will need 2 separate 9” round pans. You will split your batter between the 2 pans. Also, don’t freak out, the batter will appear quite watery.

      I put parchment paper on the bottoms of my pans so they would come out easily. I traced them and cut them out. Don’t worry the weight of the batter will uncoil the liner. As they were cooling I ran a butter knife around the edges.

      Once cooled I put bottom cake on serving platter and coated the top of it with icing. Don’t skimp. Then I added the top cake layer and iced the top and sides.

      Good Luck and I hope this helps.

  17. This is the most DELICIOUS AND MOIST chocolate cake I have ever had!! I didn’t have baking soda so I googled what can be a substitute, so I put extra baking powder. It turned out amazing!! Thanks for the recipe!

      1. Hi
        I’ve made this cake twice now and it’s a very delicious cake.
        Could I please ask how can I divide the batter into 8 inch pans just to make the cake taller ?
        Has anyone tried that ?

  18. Hi Robyn
    Your recipe is amazing, everyone loves it, and my boys and me love making it.
    Do you think these sponges would hold up to being a 4 layer sponge cake?

    Kirsty😊

  19. So funny, I googled “best chocolate cake recipe ever” and this one came up. It is SO GOOD and easy to make. This has replaced my now second favorite chocolate cakes recipe (a 1960’s era recipe). Now I have to look at other recipes on this site.

    1. I stumbled upon this recipe because I was making cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday. I don’t even like chocolate cake but this is one of the most amazing chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. I have a cookbook of award winning recipes that I write recipes in and and this is now been added to my personal cookbook. This is a must recipe, if you were looking for chocolate cake, this is the winner.

  20. I made this yesterday for my daughter-in-law’s birthday. It is delicious!!! I used 2T of left over coffee in place of the espresso powder, lessening the hot water by 2T. You can’t go wrong with this recipe.

  21. This is the best chocolate cake ever! Thank you for your tips on gluten-free. We are very new to the gluten-free cooking due to a family member. I would like to make a very small gluten-free version. Do you have tips on how to make your recipe for an 8 by 8 cake?

  22. WOW!! made this chocolate cake for my Granddaughter’s 10th birthday and it really was the Best Moist Chocolate Ever!!! I followed the recipes – cake and frosting exactly – and everyone loved the cake…looked just like the picture and tasted fabulous…my go to chocolate cake from now on!

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