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.

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 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 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!

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!

Let me just say again, this amped up classic chocolate cake + this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe = the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!

How to Make Ahead and Store the Homemade Chocolate Cake:

Both the cake and the chocolate frosting can be made ahead. Allow the cakes to cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap and place each layer into a zip top freezer bag. Freeze the cake layers for up to one month.

To frost the cake, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator with wrapping intact. Then, frost the cake once it has completely thawed.

Store the cake at room temperature on the counter. I like to store under a cake dome to keep the cake fresh.

Chocolate Cake 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 //

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!
4.83 from 2509 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 24
Course Dessert
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 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


  • 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.


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 with wrapping intact. The next day, the layers are ready to fill and frost.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #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! 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! //

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

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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8531 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hi Robin I live in Australia and our measuring cups and spoons are different to yours is there any chance you could tell me your recipe in grams . I have looked but I keep getting different figures. Would love to give this recipe a go. Thank Michelle

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I’m from Canada so I definitely understand where you are coming from!
      Hopefully the conversions below help!! This recipe is delicious!! I always use it as my go to for chocolate cake! 🙂

      To convert this recipe to grams, I would suggest converting to mL first.
      For example, 1 cup = 250mL, which would equal 250 grams.
      The recipe would be as follows:
      500 grams all purpose flour
      500 grams sugar
      180 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (a quarter cup = about 60 mL)
      10 grams baking powder
      7.5 grams baking soda
      5 grams salt
      5 grams espresso powder
      250 grams (mL) of milk
      125 grams (mL) oil
      2 large eggs
      10 grams (mL) vanilla extract
      250 grams (mL) boiling water

      1. Anyone use the gms measurements and did the recipe?
        I more comfortable using gms, So I weighed out the recipe and out of curiosity went on google which showed 1cup All purpose flour is average 130gms so the recipe should scale to 260 gms ….the conversation comment here shows 500gms for 2cups of APF I have all my dried ingredients scaled n mixed what should I do? Experiment or have I wasted it all?

      2. Hi Robyn,
        What a great cake …!!!! Sooooo rich and icing is the best ever….!!! Taste of cake incredible !!
        I used organic cocoa powder and organic expresso baking powder ….
        Had a problem w cake cracking …any suggestions … I followed recipe exactly.
        I want to make it again …. just don’t know what I did wrong. Also because oven is new and runs hot, I baked at 340 not 350. Would appreciate any tips …!!! Thank you so much !!

      3. I’m sorry your cake cracked, Rose. The main reason a cake cracks is the oven temperature being too hot. The outside of the cake will cook more quickly than the inside and the cake cracks. If your new oven is running hot, I would suggest checking the temperature with an oven thermometer. You would then need to adjust your temperatures for your baking according to the temperature of your oven. Hope this helps. Thanks

    2. I did the same recipe in 9 in rounds for 40 minutes and it came out wonderful!

      Not a Baker but this is my def go to chocolate cake recipe

    3. Hi Michelle, I too live in Australia and I just use our cups etc and have never had a failure with this amazing recipe. Hope that helps. I use 72g eggs usually.

  2. I’ve made this cake numerous times and it’s been great each time! In the past I’ve used 8” pans and extra batter is always welcomed as it adds to the height of the cake. Thanks!
    This time around I need to make it for a pretty large group and was thinking of using a 10”. How will the measurements be affected? I’d like to, again, have a tall cake.
    Thanks in advance.

  3. Hi Robyn can you just make the cake without adding the frosting to the middle?? So just a plain chocolate cake?? With the frosting only on top??

    1. Hi, I’m not Robyn but I am a baker in training. I would not go without frosting between the layers because the frosting is essentially glue for the cake. If if goes without the glue it might fall and crumble and lean and all sorts of things could go wrong. My suggestion to you if you don’t like frosting is to add a thin layer of it between the layers. Just enough to help the glue stick if that makes sense. I hope this helps! 🙂

  4. Love this recipe – have made it several times in Texas … but here in Colorado – yikes! Cake has bombed- I need suggestions on how to adjust for altitude of nearly 8000 feet…? Thank you!

    1. Hi Molly,
      I’m so glad you had success with this recipe in Texas but am really sorry you are having a problem in Colorado. I live at an altitude of 1100 feet so I know one of 8000 feet will make a huge difference with this cake. My advice would be to search for cake baking at high altitude for changes you would need to make to cake recipes at your altitude. There are some comments on here for this cake from people living at high altitudes and the changes they had to make to amounts of ingredients and baking temperature and time. Hope this helps and you can enjoy this cake again. Thanks. xo

  5. Amazing easy consistently good recipe. My regular go to recipe for birthday cakes. Just made it vegan (used sweetened apple sauce and almond milk as suggested) – AMAZING!! Seriously, I’ve tried loads of vegan baking and this really was amazing, all the non vegan friends liked it. Thank you!!

      1. Hi Emily,
        Yes, you can make this cake the day before. Be sure to cover with a cake dome. Then it is fine to leave out on the counter. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  6. You mentioned the icing can be made ahead. How would you store it? In the fridge and then let it come to room temp before frosting the cake?

    1. Hi Natalie,
      Here are the make ahead instructions for my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. You can refrigerate or freeze this frosting. If you refrigerate it, it’s good in the fridge for about 3 – 5 days. Just make sure you store it in an airtight container. If you want to freeze it, put in a freezer safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use after freezing, remove from freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Right before you get ready to frost your cake, allow the frosting to come to room temperature and mix it well again to make it fluffy before using.
      Hope this helps! Thanks so much

  7. I’ve got this cake in the oven right now!

    I’ve used your cupcake version of this many times however I always have massive problems with the baking time.
    The cupcake recipe says 20 mins but when they don’t seem anywhere near ready. (Stab with a cocktail stick and it comes out covered in goo). I have to give it a minimum of 40 minutes, close to an hour on many occasions which just seems like an insane amount of time for cupcakes.
    They come out super sticky too.

    I’m waiting to see the results with the cake in the oven now, but I strongly suspect it’ll need longer than 30 minutes.

    Am I doing something wrong? I live in the UK at a normal altitude and I’m positive I’m measuring out my ingredients correctly.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I’m not sure what is happening with your cupcakes. The cupcakes should not take 40 minutes to bake at 325º F and they should mot be super sticky. I live at 1000 feet altitude so not sure if altitude is the problem. Also, I’m not sure if the ingredients would differ that much. Sorry I couldn’t help you more.

  8. Hi Robyn,
    I’ve heard that this is the best chocolate cake recipe and I can’t wait to try it! Can you please clarify that I can use any instant coffee powder for expresso powder?

    1. Hi Swetha,
      I’ve never used instant coffee in the recipe. Some people have commented that they used a dark roast instant coffee and it worked fine but I haven’t tried it. You can always leave the espresso powder out of the recipe if you want. The cake is still delicious. The espresso just enhances the chocolate flavor. Hope this helps.

      1. I used instant coffee granuals, it worked just fine. Just push them thru a sifter. I think it’s better to do it that way to distribute thru the cake evenly. So good!!!

    1. Hi Jeni,
      I have never used raw cacao powder in this recipe so I can’t tell if it would work or not. I understand that cacao powder is more absorbent than the cocoa powder so the cake might be more dense. Hope this helps.

  9. Great recipe I use one cup coffee instead of 1 cup boiling water and espresso. Comes out great!!!! Thank you for sharing
    Five Star *****

  10. I’ve tried this recipe in the 9×13 version and it came out delicious. I would love to have this recipe for a bundt cake. How would I adjust the measurements and baking time?

      1. I just finished making this cake and OH MY GOD-it’s HEAVENLY. I never leave reviews and I couldn’t help myself this time because it’s THAT good. I’m an avid baker and this is one of the easiest, most delicious cake recipes I’ve tried. Perfectly moist cake with a nice, rich flavor. I used dark cocoa and it made it even more bold. 😋 10/10 recommend!!!

  11. I forget if I reviewed this already but this has been my go-to for the last three years. I substitute the boiling water for coffee and everything else stays the same.

    Perfect moist cake every time

      1. Hi Ariel,
        Yes, you can omit the espresso powder if you want. The cake still tastes great without it. The espresso just enhances the chocolate flavor. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  12. I have tried the cake about twice ,nice but not as soft as I would like. I think from comments I’ve figured our that it might be because of measurements. Will use grams instead of cups

  13. This is the best chocolate cake ever! Seriously! Everytime we bring it to a party it’s a hit. Even the dieters go back for seconds. I was wondering if any of you know how to make it keto?

  14. So good!
    I’m in Colorado and baked this at 350 in a 9×13 for 35 minutes and it was perfect!!!
    I had no coffee or espresso powder but did add a teaspoon of cinnamon and it tasted delicious!
    Thank you for this recipe!!!

  15. Hi Robin, I screwed up making this recipie and it kind of exploted in the oven lol. But taste was great! I have a feeling it had to do with the fact that the water i mixed into the batter wasnt at its greatest boiling point yet and continued boiling in the oven? Also, i made it in one large round pan only instead of two separate ones. Do you think that had something to do with it?

    1. Hi Paulina,
      I’m sorry you had a problem. I would think the issue would be trying to bake the cake in one pan and there was too much batter for that one pan. If you have a 9×13 pan, you could bake the cake, using this same recipe, in it. Hope you have better luck next time and enjoy the cake. Thanks.

  16. A little disappointed, but I understand there may be necessary revisions to the recipe if making cupcakes. Cupcakes didn’t rise at all. Good thing I’m hollowing out the center anyway to fill with marshmallow fluff!

    1. I’m sorry, Janessa, that your cupcakes didn’t rise. Did you use the Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe or the one for the layer cake (The Best Chocolate Cake (Ever)? I made adjustments to the chocolate cake recipe to make the cupcakes. Over-mixing can cause the cupcakes not to rise. Some mixers are more powerful than others and can overmix the batter easily. I don’t know if you live in a higher elevation than mine (1000 feet) but if so, adjustments need to be made to the recipe for higher elevation. Hope this helps!

  17. This recipe was super filling and delicious! I made this recipe into cupcakes. Instead of chocolate frosting, I used coconut. The cupcakes looked great too! 🧁👌

  18. So, I’ve made choc cakes before……let me tell you, this is by far the best chocolate cake ever!!!! Super moist, rich, decadent, yet not heavy!! I Recommend sifting all the dry ingredients as you go. The same with the icing ingredients. It deff makes the difference!! I wrote down the recipe for future use…’s deff a keeper! Thanks for such a delicious cake! Margaret

  19. My go to chocolate cake recipe! I always trade out the espresso powder and boiling water for a fresh cup of coffee and it works beautifully! Thanks for the recipe.

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