The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

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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. 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.

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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.

Promise.

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 // addapinch.com
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4.82 from 2318 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

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. 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! 🙂

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

 

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

This post contains affiliate links.

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

7,975 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. I lowered the oil to one quarter and added a half cup of mashed bananas… my father never eats a whole piece of cake… not only did he have two pieces, he asked me immediately to make another one

  2. Really good cake. I will lower the sugar in the icing a bit for my taste but was very tasty and the cake itself moist. It did taste a bit like coffee but I really liked it! Thank you I feel so accomplished and I am excited to add this to my family favorites!

  3. Any chance of getting the measurements in grams, not cups? Would love to make this but in the UK it’s difficult to hold of the cup measurement. Or does anyone have any tips on converting? Thank you

    • On your internet browser enter ounces to grams or cups to grams. There are calculators for that kind of stuff all over the internet

  4. Do you have to use the express powder?

  5. Do you know the metric measurements for this? I’m trying to only weigh out ingredients, but this recipe looks so good!

  6. hi! this is our go to cake for birthdays; my son’s fav!
    question: could i sub sunflower oil for the canola oil?

    Thanks!

  7. If I’m making the cake the day before – what’s the best way to store it? 

  8. Hi Robyn

    Am just about to try this recipe for my son’s 2nd birthday – but I just have an 8″ inch springform tin.
    How should I adjust the quantity of ingredients in this case?

    • This cake recipe works best in the two 9 inch cake pans, Neha. Also, it is a very thin cake batter and may run out of a springform pan.
      I hope your son has a wonderful birthday! xo

  9. Are you able to leave out the espresso, or perhaps substitute it for something else? Is the espresso purely for deeper flavour or does it also affect the moistness of the cake?
    Thank you!

  10. Can I opt out to not add the coffee or replace it with something else? Really excited to try this one out!

  11. My cakes stuck to the pans. 🙁 I used canola spray. Should I have used flour in addition? Any tips? Thanks 

    • I’m sorry they stuck, Sarah. To prep the cake pans, you could have coated them thoroughly with a “baking spray” that has the flour in it or buttering and lightly flouring. I hope this helps you next time. Thanks! xo

  12. Ohhh my goodness! I’m SO glad I tried out this recipe!  Instead of regular vanilla, I used a pricier bourbon-vanilla, and it was on point! I agree with what the author said, this recipe is not for the faint of chocolate heart. This is a decadent, dense, rich, well-rounded (not too sweet), chocolat cake. Thank you, very much, for these two (chocolat cake and chocolate buttercream) recipes. As an aside: (after reading the commenter above me) I used instant espresso powder by Nescafé, and it worked great. I also wanted to add, that I am in France. All the ingredients were easily calculated into metrics. I used Francine Farine T45 tous usages. You must also use GROS œufs, as American eggs are much bigger than average European eggs. For baking powder use 2 c à c de levure chimique. Baking soda is bicarbonate alimentaire (you will find this were the salt is.) Also, 175 C au four sans chaleur tournante! Bon appétit à tous!

  13. I’m going to try this recipe for my sons first bday! I tried another chocolate cake that promised to be moist and super chocolatey and it was NOT that at all. Will this be a dense, fudgy cake and how do I accommodate the recipe for (2) 10” round pans? Will the time be the same in the oven?

    Can’t wait to try and review it!! 🙂

    • Hi Anhdao – this is not a dense cake. The recipe is written and tested for two 9 inch pans, so you may have a bit thinner cake layers if you use the 10 inch pans. The cake layers may bake faster too. I’ve not used 10 inch pans with this cake recipe. Happy birthday to your son – what an exciting time!

  14. This is my go to recipe. I’ve made this cake at least 10 times. It’s moist and delicious!

  15. Can I replace the espresso powder with a cup of strong hot coffee in the final step?

    • That’s what I did. I thought it almost gave it too much of a coffee taste, but it depends on your preference.

      Can I leave it on the counter in a closed container for 2 days? I made it a day and a half before I’ll be able to decorate it.

      • Hi Karissa,
        You can leave it in a covered container for that long before serving if you need to do so. Make sure to wait until the layers have completely cooled before covering, etc.
        Sometime I hope you try using the espresso powder like in the recipe as it doesn’t give the cake a coffee flavor like you’ve described when substituting with coffee. The espresso powder enhances the richness of the chocolate. xo

  16. Can this recipe be done by hand without an electric mixer?

  17. Made this cake for the first time yesterday for my granddaughter birthday party.   It is very moist and chocolatey.  I added mini chocolate chips to the batter.    Everyone loved it.  This is the recipe I will be using from now on.  Try this recipe you will not be disappointed.

    • So happy you and your granddaughter enjoyed this on her special day! Thanks so much! xo

      •  First I want to say thank you for the white cake recipe. It is now my go to recipe and everybody loves it. I used it for the last wedding cake I made and also birthdays. Everybody loves it! 
         Sorry if this question has already been asked and answered! I am just not wanting to read through every comment. Is this chocolate cake recipe able to be used in a tiered cake? Didn’t know if it’s sturdy enough. I do used stablizers between my tiers. But my next cake is going to have fondant so want to make sure it will hold up. 
         Thank you so much!

      • Hi Steph,
        I’m glad you enjoy my white cake! It’s one of our family favorites as well.
        This Best Chocolate Cake is a very moist, tender cake and not nearly as dense as the White Cake.
        I’ve not made a tiered cake with it and have not covered in fondant, so I’m not sure if it’s sturdy enough. I hope this helps. xo

  18. Hi is it normal sugar or Castor Sugar that you use.

  19. What happens if I leave out the espresso powder? Can I substitute something else?

  20. The best ever chocolate cake and its my go-to recipe 🙂 Thanks Robyn Stone

    I have 2 quick questions:
    1. Have you tried this cake with Dutch cocoa powder in place of regular unsweetened cocoa powder(as in the recipe)? Shall i replace it with dutch cocoa powder
    2. Shall I substitute 1/2 cup canola oil to 1/4 cup oil + 1/4 cup melted butter, since I dont usually like oily taste in cake

    • I always use the unsweetened cocoa powder as I have in the recipe, but you can use the other if you wish.
      As far as the oil, like I mention in the blog post, you can substitute 1/2 cup melted butter in place of the 1/2 cup oil if you wish. Enjoy! xo

  21. This is indeed the best chocolate cake ever. I have successfully made it with and without the espresso powder, both to rave reviews. I pair it with your Chocolate Buttercream icing for a decadent, fancy presentation that is perfectly satisfying. Last night, for a twist I roasted pecans in a tad of butter in a cast iron skillet, cooled them and then coated the side of the cake with them. Amazing!
    Thank you for a perfect and flawless recipe that makes me feel like a wonderful cook 😉

  22. It was really good!

    Is it also possible to make it in 1 tin with lower heat and a bit longer?
    I’m making 4 cakes in 1 day so i have to work as efficient as possible…

    kind regards!

    • Glad you like it, Esmee! I’m not sure what size tin you are speaking of using, but the cake recipe is sized to fit two 9 inch cake pans. You won’t be able to use all of the batter in just one of these sized (or smaller) cake pans. I’ve not changed the baking temperature and time on this recipe, so I can’t speak to that.
      Thanks!

  23. Hi, can this recipe be used for Keto too by replacing the sugar with erythritol as a substitute and the flour with almond flour? 

  24. Have you tried with the grapeseed oil? Thank you! That’s all I have and don’t really have time to get something else. Thank you!

  25. I’ve made this many times with great success! I’m so impressed with both how easy and delicious this recipe is. I’m wondering if I could replace the water with boiling hot stout beer to make it festive for St Paddy’s Day? Has anyone tried that and know how it would affect taste and texture? Thanks! 

    • Hi Milia,
      I’m so happy you enjoy the cake!
      I’ve never tried making this cake or any other cake with hot beer, so I can’t say what would happen. I do believe the boiling water is important to this recipe. Somehow I am afraid the beer may not react well with the baking ingredients in the cake, but again I’ve never tried it. Maybe try a festive frosting? Thanks!

  26. Hello!!

    So I am going to attempt to make this cake dairy free. The kicker is that I have to make this in a football shape so I bought a football pan. It says it takes 5 cups of any cake mixture. Do you have any tips or suggestions?
    Or do you think it will ruin the cake if baked in this pan?

    • Hi Danielle,
      I have details about making the cake dairy free in my blog post. As far as the special pan, I haven’t baked it in one like this, so I’m not sure how long it will take to bake. I hope you enjoy it! xo

  27. How many cupcakes does this make? I need 24. 

  28. This cake is absolutely delicious. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever baked. It really was easy too. Do you store leftovers in the fridge or on the counter?

  29. Can I bake with out espresso and replace the oils with vegetable sunflower oil as well as cutting off the milks?

  30. Dear Robyn,
    I just want to let you know I made this delicious cake and butter cream.
    I made it with my blend of gluten free flour and a bit of xanthum gum.

    I served this to my gluten tolerant friends and they rolled their eyes in indulgence. They now request this rich chocolate moist beauty. I also made it in cup make form. So look good. Thank you.

  31. This is the only chocolate cake recipe I use. It comes out perfectly every time and everyone who has tasted it has loved it! It’s delicious, rich, not too sweet, and don’t even get me started in the texture

  32. OMG❣️I very rarely comment on recipes but this recipe exceeded my expectations. I thought the chocolate cake I made last year was the Best Chocolate Cake {Ever} but this one edged it out. I’m not a big icing lover and usually scrape most off because of the sweetness, this Chocolate Buttercream I couldn’t keep my finger out of the bowl. I especially liked just the hint of the espresso on the back end of it. I purchased just a handful of bulk Reserva espresso beans and roasted them in my toaster oven to save on the full oven electric use. Lots of powder left over for future use and cut down on the expense of buying a full bag.
    This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  33. This is hands down the BEST Chocolate Cake I’ve ever had! It’s such an easy cake to make too! I usually only bake for special events such as birthdays and holidays, but I have been baking a long time. I just love how easy you’ve made this cake recipe, Robyn. I also love how this tastes SO much better than any other recipes out there that I’ve tried! 
    Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe! It is definitely the BEST Chocolate Cake Ever!!!

  34. I just prepared this cake for my daughter’s 29th birthday. My nephew gave me this recipe after the holidays, and I tasted his and absolutely loved it! My cake was not as dark as his cake. I prefer the darkest most chocolate flavor, so I was surprised that mine looked and tastes like milk chocolate. I used Hershey cocoa powder and the amounts were correct. I can’t imagine what I did wrong!

    • Hi Petrina,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the cake when you tried it earlier! Tell your nephew thanks for sharing the recipe with you! xo
      I’m not sure why your cake would be lighter than it should have been. I’m wondering if you possibly made any other substitutions or changes… This is a very dark and rich chocolate cake (see my photos) so I’m not sure what could have happened. Maybe check to make sure the cocoa powder was an unsweetened cocoa powder used in baking. I hope this helps and you enjoy the cake when you try it again! 🙂
      I hope your daughter had a happy birthday! Wish her my best! Thanks so much! xo

  35. Hi , is it possible to get the measurements in weight to help those are trying to scale it ? I guess I could do the math based on cup sizes ? 

  36. This looks so good! I’m going to make it for my husband’s birthday. Can I use duck eggs?

    • I can’t wait for you to try it, Sarah! I hope your husband had a fantastic birthday! It’s a go-to for birthdays in our family too. 😉
      I’ve not baked it using duck eggs and I would love to hear how you like the cake using them – you just may want to pay attention to the size and use comparable sized eggs.
      I hope you enjoy it! Can’t wait to hear how you like it! xo

  37. Delicious and everyone loved it. Can you use 9 inch square glass pans?

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