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? 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!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
Preparetwo 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
- 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
cakecomes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
- Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
Do let me know how you like it.
Here are a few additional ways I like to make this cake!
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! 🙂
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!
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! 🙂
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From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2012.