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! // 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.

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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, 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.

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!

Yield: 12
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Keyword best chocolate cake, cake, chocolate cake, chocolate cake recipe, dairy free chocolate cake, easy chocolate cake, egg free chocolate cake, gluten-free chocolate cake

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!
4.81 from 2107 votes
Did you make this recipe?

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

Directions

  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.

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.

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! 🙂

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.

7,262 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe! This was my first foray into a dairy-free cake, as my partner has a dairy allergy. I underbaked it a bit, as my gas oven is being ridulous (1970s, so it’s doing the best it can, lol) and I am still figuring out how to deal with the fluctuating temps, plus I am a fairly new baker and making rookie mistakes. I will make it again soon and get it right, eventually. However, still edible, this time around. Moist and total YUM. I am calling the cake Molten Chocolate Espresso Cake. 💕 Thank you so much!

  2. The cake deflated and stuck to the non-stick pan. The cake felt very grainy as well. And yes, I followed all the directions. What can help this problem? Is it the high altitude?

    My wife’s birthday was ruined. Not that it’s your fault. It is user error. Maybe I should stick to Betty Crocker.

    • Hi Jack,
      I’m so sorry your cake deflated and stuck. I’m sure that was upsetting.
      I have not had this issue and have never had the cake seem grainy as you mention. I can’t be sure what happened, but you mention high altitude and that can definitely cause a cake to deflate and adjustments usually need to be made when baking.
      I don’t live in a high altitude, but always advise readers who are baking in high altitudes to seek recommended baking adjustments for their area.
      I’m not sure if this applies, but sometimes cakes will stick if left in the cake pan too long after baking to cool.
      I do hope you give the cake another try after getting the recommended high altitude adjustments. Please wish your wife a happy belated birthday from me! Thanks!

  3. Was looking for a light cake, usually homemade recipes are dense, this will now be my go to chocolate cake, make it for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Thank you!

  4. I can attest: this is the best chocolate cake recipe ever! It’s my only go-to recipe for chocolate cake. Everyone loves the moistness and decadent chocolate taste! Thank you for this amazing recipe. Also – putting together the ingredients could not be any easier! With two little guys and birthdays every year in a household that loves chocolate cake – I am so grateful for a recipe like this! Never fails for a busy working mom who still wants to bake her boys a birthday cake 🙂

  5. plain milk OR buttermilk – either one? I just want to confirm before I get too far. Thanks.

  6. Hi, I have made this cake a few times now and it always turns out moist and huge!

    I love this cake, it is the best ever chocolate cake that I have ever made and it is so easy!

    Di

  7. Made your vanilla and loved it so much that I had to make your chocolate! I was not disappointed

  8. This cake and the buttercream frosting are without a doubt the best in the world. I made this a few years ago for my sister’s birthday, and everybody devoured it. My mom, who isn’t a big fan of cake or frosting (she especially doesn’t care for chocolate), couldnt stop eating the leftover frosting. There seriously wasn’t an ounce of cake or buttercream left by the end of the night. The other day, I told my fiance about this cake and he’s requesting it for his birthday next month. I’m just as excited to eat it again as he is to try it for the first time!

    • I’m so excited that your family all enjoyed the cake (and that you won over your non chocolate cake loving Mom!). I hope you fiancee loves it just as much! xo

  9. Fantastic!  My son requested chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream for his 7th birthday.  Made him a black forest style cake using this recipe for the chocolate cake part. It was a hit!!!  Will definitely make it again. Have since found a few more things on your website to try!!  Thanks. 

    • Happy birthday to your son! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake and love that you used it in your black forest style cake! It sounds scrumptious! xo

  10. This cake is just amazing. Thank you so much! I made the full recipe in just one 

  11. My family doesn’t love coffee like I do so the first time I made this it wasn’t love for them. I’m getting ready to make it again and am just going to omit the espresso powder in both the cake and icing. Is that going to ruin it?

  12. Quick query…are you able to use Stevia in place of the sugar???…and if so, what would the correct ratio be???

    • Hi Robert,
      I’ve not used stevia in this recipe so I can’t tell you from personal experience. I’m sorry I’m not of more help to you on that!

  13. I came across your recipe in searching for the most chocolate cake. I made it for my son birthday. I frost the cake with chocolate mocha butter cream and glaze with chocolate ganache. Delicious and moist, definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  14. The cake and frosting are THE BEST! Thanks for the recipe. Just wondering, do you refrigerate, or is the cake and frosting ok left on the counter at room temperature after serving/cutting?

  15. Hi Robyn, may I ask what makes the cake moist? If I replace the buttermilk with just milk, will the cake be as moist? I would really love and looking forward to try this recipe. Thank you.

    • Hi Amelia,
      Whole milk is delicious in this cake as well as buttermilk. Make certain you use the boiling water as instructed in the recipe and the cake will be super moist. The cake batter will be thin due to the boiling water added, but the result is delicious and moist! I give some tips and discuss this a bit more in the blog post. Enjoy! xo

  16. Best chocolate cake I ever made! Doubled the recipe for a large sheet cake and everyone loved it!

  17. Hello,

    I bought a Wilton 11 by 15 regular cake pan. How do I adjust your cake recipe and cooking time to make sure that I have enough batter? Thank you!

    • Hi Brenda –
      I have a link on toward the end of my writing to a Large Chocolate Sheet Cake with this Best Chocolate Cake recipe. You can still use the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on my round Best Chocolate Cake, but this gives you the instructions to adapt for a Large Sheet Cake. Hope this helps! Thanks!

  18. Absolutely wonderful!

  19. Can I use self raising flour instead if all purpose flou

  20. Can I use self raising flour instead

  21. Most delicious chocolate cake I ever tasted 

  22. Im going to make this!

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! It really is amazing! consistency and taste are all perfect!

  24. My cake also deflated and I’ve never had one do this. I however am a new baker to the Denver area so I’m sure the altitude had a ton to due with it because the batter was delicious!!!  I am going to I try again 🙂

  25. Hello! Does this recipe make enough for 3 x 6″ pans? Also do you think the chocolate buttercream icing will be enough to ice it?

  26. Made this cake on Saturday for my sons birthday… with vanilla buttercream instead of the chocolate.
    It was great!!  The cake was so moist, everyone loved it. Will definitely make again! 
    The tops of my layers did dip a bit while cooking but I trimmed the tops for layering.

  27. Hello,

    I need to adapt this recipe to be dairy free & gluten free. Do I just use 2 cups of gluten free flour instead of the normal flour & replace the buttermilk with soya milk? 

    Thank you if you could reply asap

    • Hi Alison,
      I’ve given details in the blog post about how to make these type substitutions to the recipe. Both of these recipe modifications are given. I hope you enjoy the cake! Thanks!

  28. Original recipe? Can we have the original recipe from like two years ago? It was so perfect 

    • I’ve not changed this recipe, Amanda.
      I’ve added optional modifications in the blog post for those that need to make it dairy free, gluten free, egg free, etc. but I certainly haven’t altered this cake – it’s one of my very favorites! Thanks!

  29. I have made this cake a couple of times now and it is by far the best chocolate cake ever. I made it again today and again PERFECTION. Only problem is it is gone by one day. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes.

  30. Made this cake for a mates birthday it was just DELICIOUS made it the day before very moist and the butter cream icing was fabulous defidently make it again 

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