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!

4.8 from 1813 reviews
The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
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!
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk, buttermilk, almond, or coconut milk
  • ½ 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.
  5. Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
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.

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! 🙂

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.

6,201 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. This is the best chocolate cake ever! Do you have any white chocolate cake recipes you can recommend that bring out the same moist cake as this one?

    Rating: 5

  2. I followed the recipe to the letter but found the 9in cake tin specified waaay too large for the mixture.  Admittedly I have a bit of a dodgy oven in that it needs to be calibrated to equalise the temperature, but nonetheless as soon as I poured the mix into my square 9in tins I could see that the tins were wrong.  Perhaps you meant two round 9in tins?  If so you need to specify.  I thought the tins sounded too big for the mix but since this cake was supposed to be for a friend’s birthday I thought I had better not experiment with smaller tins.

    Oh well……back to the drawing board.

    • What ‘moderation’?  Or do you only print responses which exalt your skills?  

    • Hi Kathy,
      I’m so sorry that this recipe didn’t work for you. I’ve used square and round cake pans with great success. Yes, a square cake pan does have a bit more volume than a round cake pan which will cause the layers to be a bit thinner than if you were to use a round cake pan. However, I’ve never had an issue with using a square cake pan in place of a round and do so rather frequently.

  3. I made this cake and it turned out Absolutely excellent. I did not put any espresso or coffee granules into this recipe and it came out just fine. But I have made the recipe and follow the directions before and it Turned out wonderfully.I give this cake 5 stars and it is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made.

    Rating: 5

  4. Pls, would so lv 2 make this cake.can i get it in grams cos that would b easy.

  5. Omgosh. This cake is absolutely delicious. My son said WOW.  It sank in the middle some but I didn’t realize I put all the batter in one 9 inch pan. But it came out almost perfect. Instead of milk I used sour cream. I even got up in the nite and had another piece.  I went to bed  feeling guilty. But I’m over it. Lol

    Rating: 5

    • Hi Diane,
      I’m so happy it gets a Wow from your son and you enjoyed it too! 🙂
      Next time, try it split between the two 9 inch pans and it should turn out even better. Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed it! xo

  6. Please.
    Where I live I could not find “cups” on sale. Could you please say how many grams is a cup of flour for you?
    Thank you

  7. Please.
    Where I live I could not find “cups” on sale. Could you please say how many grams is a cup of flour for you?
    Thank you

  8. Went over fabulously among my family! The perfect semi-sweet sponge with a sweeter frosting created the most decadent cake I’ve ever had the honour of tasting.

    Rating: 5

  9. it came out very well… so happy for it.

  10. Thank you very much for this! Have you tried adding other fillings with the frosting (berries, nuts ect.). Making this for my mother tomorrow for her birthday.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Please wish your mother a happy birthday! Some have garnished the cake with berries or nuts. I usually just frost like the recipe states. I hope you and your mother enjoy the cake – it’s a favorite celebration cake in my family!

  11. Many thanks for your reply.
    Your “convertion chart” says: 1 cup = 225 gr but it doesn´t mention whether the cup is of sugar or flour because sugar weights more than flour.
    Sorry to disturb you but I would love to make this cake.

  12. I halved the recipe, used about 2/3 the amount of sugar, and subbing in soy milk. And it turned out perfectly! Everyone loved it. Thank you for sharing!!!
    I’ve had bad luck making cakes, my first attempt at a vanilla cake was a disaster and went into the garbage. The success with this chocolate cake recipe gives me the encouragement to keep trying to bake treats 🙂

    Rating: 5

  13. It is absolutely true, this is the best chocolate cake and frosting I have ever made! The occasion was my grandson’s 7th birthday and the cake was a huge hit. Even he loved it and he is not much for sweets. The cake is so incredibly moist yet holds together very well. The frosting is light and rich. For once, I had leftover icing instead of having to try to use every last bit to cover the cake. I sent the extra home with the grandkids to use on graham crackers for a snack. The expresso powder required a special trip to Williams-Sonoma (my local spice store didn’t have it), and it is an absolute must, well worth the extra stop to obtain. We have a local restaurant chain (Portillo’s)which is known for it’s chocolate cake but I am telling you, this cake and icing recipe has it beat! The recipe is uncomplicated and easy to make. I have never used a cake recipe which required boiling water so perhaps that works some extra magic. So yummy!!!

    Rating: 5

    • I am so thrilled that you loved it, Linda. Happiest of birthdays to your grandson. What a special memory for you to make his birthday cake! I know everyone loved it! xo

  14. I made this cake for my wife’s birthday last year, was incredible!! The only difference is I made a chocolate cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream, will be making this again tomorrow! Five Stars for sure!!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Rating: 5

    • I love that you made this chocolate cake for your wife’s birthday! Thanks so much for your sweet comment and I hope has a wonderful day! xo

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