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.

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.

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!

Yield: 12
Cuisine Dessert

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

Total Time 45 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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!
4.8 from 1937 votes
Did you make this recipe?


  • 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


  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

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.

6,727 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Made this for fathers day! Turned out great! Very moist. It baked very evenly too so instead of having to cut the top off, I just flipped it over before I frosted it. It tasted delicious too!

    Rating: 5
  2. I love this recipe!! I want to make it again but I don’t have buttermilk. Will regular milk make it less fabulous? 🙂

    Rating: 5
  3. Have you changed this recipe at all in the last year or so? I made it a few times within the last couple of years and it was INCREDIBLE!!! Seriously the best cake I’ve had and everyone I made it for loved it! But…..I’ve made it 4 different times since Christmas and every single time I make it now the middle sinks. It never puffs up and then sinks agree I take it out of the oven, it never rises in the middle during baking. I just bought new baking powder and baking soda, thinking that was the problem and tried again tonight and had the same problem. Help!! Do you know what would be causing this and how I can adjust?? I need this cake in my life, it’s so good!

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Colette,
      I’ve not changed the recipe at all and I’m sorry to hear that your cake is not rising in the center. I can’t be certain what is causing it, but a few ideas may be to check that the temperature on your oven is correct – sometimes they need to be recalibrated as they don’t cook at the correct temperature. I’m also wondering if you have changed any way you make the recipe (such as how you mix it, pans you use, etc)
      I hope some of this helps! Thanks so much!

  4. I loved the recipe. The cake turned out perfect. Will definitely share this with friends. Love from Pakistan..❤❤❤

    Rating: 5
  5. Do you use vegetable or canola oil? 

  6. My kids have been watching cupcake wars a ton lately, so I thought it would be nice to make this recipe with them (along with the chocolate buttercream icing).  

    I was surprised at how good the cake and icing was.  Best cake we have had in a long time.  Huge hit and they were very proud. 

    We made 24 cupcakes and had enough batter to make 6-12 more… same with the icing.  I think I’ll make a 2/3 batch next time to avoid the waste, but we will definitely make the recipe again.  

    Rating: 4
  7. Hi there, I made this once before and it was wonderful.

    Coming back to it again and wondering how many cups of batter this makes. I would like to size up to a bigger sheet cake pan. I’m guessing around 12 cups? Any thoughts are much appreciated.

  8. Hi Robyn,

    Can i use instant Nescafe coffee granules instead of espresso powder? Or should I just omit it. Thank you.

  9. Made the Whole30 version of this and it was a HIT! I used almond flour and a little of cassava flour blend, used dates instead of sugar, cacao powder, coconut milk and coconut oil. For the frosting I used soaked cashews that I blended into a mousse using coconut milk and almond butter and cacao. It turned into a flourless super moist delight that had a ganache finish. Could not have been happier with the results! Even talked about opening a whole30 bakery ….so we could make others happy!

    Rating: 5
  10. Hi,

    I’m looking at making this but in 5 or 6 inch cake tins. I assume cooking times would differ but would it still be possible to cook them this size without affecting the texture of the cake?


    • Hi Sally,
      I’ve not made the cake in those size tins so I can’t say exactly what your cooking time will be. I’m sure you’ll be using multiple tins if using that size, but just please be sure to not overfill so that it doesn’t run over as the recipe is sized for two 9 inch cake pans. Some that have used 8 inch pans without taking this into account have said theirs ran over. I hope you enjoy the cake – it’s so delicious! thanks! xo

  11. I made this for Father’s Day and this is the best chocolate cake we have ever had and it wasn’t overly sweet and it was super moist. It is  delicious and I paired it with my husbands favorite hyvee whipped frosting so thanks for this great recipe def will make it many more times!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so glad this was a hit for Father’s Day and that you enjoyed it! It’s one of our favorite cakes as well! Thanks so much for letting me know you liked it Danya! I’m happy to have you here! xo

  12. I love a splash of pecans or walnuts in my chocolate cake. Did you try it with nuts?? Or is it so good nuts would take away for the flavor?? Just wondering! Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Hi Lisa!
      I’ve not made this cake with nuts in the cake batter. I’d suggest baking the cake as written at least the first time baking it since I can’t tell you how the cake turns out with nuts.
      If you make the recipe as written and include the espresso powder (which enhances the richness of the chocolate), this is such a rich, delicious chocolate cake – actually is the Best Chocolate Cake that I’ve ever had! 😉
      If you wanted to use some nuts, maybe roast the pecans and add a few chopped pecans to the top of the cake after it’s frosted.
      I can’t wait until you try the cake! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do! xo

  13. Hi, do you have the uk version of this recipe using grams/ounces/mls?
    Also is the sugar, caster or granulated?


  14. Made the cake and everyone loves it. I definitely will use this for special occasions.

    Rating: 5
  15. Hey I really want to make this cake but I only have one cake tin, can I use half mix and bake while the other half sits out of oven until 1st cake had been cooked and cooled?

Leave a Reply

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