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.

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, 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 chocolate cake + this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe = the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!

How to Make Ahead and Store the Chocolate Cake:

Both the chocolate cake 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 unwrap the layers. Then, frost the cake while it is still frozen and allow to thaw before serving.

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 //
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4.83 from 2346 votes

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!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
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
Servings: 12
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. 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! 🙂

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.

8,161 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. This is the only chocolate recipe I bake. Everyone loves it. I have just one concern. Whenever I have to cover in fondant because it is so tender. I have covered in almost any buttercream frosting and turns out beautifully. Is there any adjustment that can be made in the recipe so it can be covered in fondant? I’ll really appreciate. I’m baking this cake for saturday.

    • Damaris,
      I would not recommend covering this cake with fondant. The cake is a very tender cake and a buttercream type frosting works much better. Sorry but I don’t have adjustments for the cake that would make it more compatible for fondant. My Best White Cake Recipe would be more appropriate for using fondant.

    • Hello! I’ve covered this cake with fondant many times and never had a problem with it crumbling or being too tender.

  2. Hello! I have a coffee grinder and dark roast beans. Would they still work, even though they aren’t espresso roast? Thanks!

    • Hi Jenna,
      I’m sorry I have not tried this with dark roast beans, only with espresso. But other people have commented that they have used dark roast coffee powder in the cake and it was fine. Let me know how you like the cake. Thanks!

    • Do I refrigerate it or leave it out? I’m Making it for a birthday tomorrow so I just wanted to know if I should put it in the fridge until tomorrow

      • Hannah,
        I do not refrigerate this cake. Store the cake at room temperature on the counter. I like to store under a cake dome to keep the cake fresh. Thanks!

  3. I made this cake for my boss son birthday party and the comment was overflowing with a amazing comment and its really a nice and yummy cake…by the way i made 4layers and cover it fondant icing🥰🥰🥰

    • Hi, MAY gamed,
      I have never tried fondant with this cake because I thought it would be too tender. Sounds like you made it work! So glad everyone enjoyed it. Thanks! xo

  4. what could you use instead of espresso powder and roast dark coffee is there anything else you could use

    • Hi, Emma,
      You don’t have to use the espresso if you don’t want to. It just enhances the flavor of the chocolate but can be omitted if you prefer. Hope you like the cake. Thanks!

  5. Perfect cake recipe, I bake often, but first time baking a cake from scratch. It is delicious and moist. I did not have espresso powder, but I do have an espresso machine, I brewed two shots of espresso, then added boiling water to make a cup of liquid. It worked perfectly. Thank you for such a great recipe!

  6. I made this for Mother’s Day and my mom (and everyone else) loved it. Tender, moist, and delicious. I am definitely converted on adding espresso powder! I’ve always avoided adding it in the past because I hate coffee, but you can’t taste it add all–it just adds depth of flavor. I made it with almond milk because that’s what I had, and it worked perfectly. I loved that the recipe assured me that this substitution would not be a problem.
    My only recommendation would be to check your cakes starting at around 28 minutes–it could just be my oven, but 30 minutes was exactly the right amount of time and any longer would have been overcooked.

  7. This is a good, reliable, oldie-but-goodie chocolate cake. I made it last night for Mother’s Day dinner and everyone thought it was yummy.

  8. I want to try baking this cake for an upcoming party! Is it alright to use normal whole milk for the recipe? 🙂

  9. I would like to make this in a 9×13 pan. Will this recipe work for that size pan, or would I have to double the recipe?

  10. OMG… I love this cake, I used butter instead of oil for the cake, yummm. I used less sugar for the icing and did add the Expresso powder to both.

    I even made your chocolate cupcakes and they were fantastic!

    The cake stayed moist, even in the fridge!

  11. Amazing! I’ve been baking cakes for weddings, etc for years and this is hands – down the best chocolate cake recipe that I’ve ever made! The buttercream frosting was delicious and perfect as well… almost like a mousse in its lightness. The cake was moist and light, but held up well to multiple layering, frosting and fondant. Thank you. This will now be my chocolate cake staple.

  12. This has been my go to chocolate cake recipe for a few years now and it has yet to let me down. Thanks for sharing!

  13. This is a solid favourite! So easy! My oven is a bit sketchy but this came out perfectly!
    I used a shot of espresso in with the boiling water. Amazing! Thank you! 

  14. Hi, love the look of this recipe! I’ve only got 2 round 7 inch cake tins on hand, is there any way to modify this recipe to fit these dimensions (cups or grams) and if so, how much should the baking time be reduced by?

  15. Hi , i made this cake for my mom and her friend and topped it with  some cream cheese mixed wit icng sugar ,then finally  added  passion fruit for colour.
    It turned out fantastic and I feel this is going to be my permanent chocolate cake recipe 

  16. Hi good afternoon, im making a 3 tier cake for this weekend and Im wondering how many times do I double the chocolate buttercream to cover a 12 inch cake. I’ve used you chocolate cake recipe which is delicious. Thank you

    • Hi Maria,
      I think if you just doubled the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe one time you should have enough for a 3 layer 12-inch cake. Hope you like it!

  17. Love this cake! I made the dairy free version with almond milk and it worked out so well. I added orange oil to the frosting to make it a Jaffa version (choc-orange for the non-Aussie’s). I was wondering about making a dairy free vanilla version. Have you tried omitting the cocoa and I assume replacing it with the same amount of flour?

    • Thanks, Emma!
      The frosting with the orange oil sounds delicious. I have made a vanilla version of this cake and just replaced the cocoa powder with the same amount of flour but some people had trouble with it falling. I then made this recipe for my Best Vanilla Cake that you might like. I found that this recipe produced the most successful results by a wider range of recipe testers. Hope this helps!

  18. Is this the same as a devils food cake? Sorry if its a silly question, but I am looking to make a devils food cake – nt sure if this is like it or if it is the same

  19. What temperature do I roast the espresso coffee beans?

  20. I love your cake!! I am trying to make one now but I only have 1 of the 9 inch bake pan, would it be ok if the half of batter is sitting there while the other one finish baking? Or it has to be bake all together?

    • Hi Melissa,
      If the cake batter sits out too long, the cake may not rise correctly. If you have other size pans, it might be better to use them to bake the cake. So happy you love the cake! xo

  21. Any remedies for my cake constantly falling in the middle? It’s happened every time I have made this recipe. It’s definitely delicious, but I usually have to flip the layers over to get a flat surface, which leads to a large cavern of icing in the middle. 

    • Hi Alicia,
      I’m sorry you have had a problem with this recipe. Living at a higher elevation will require adjustments to the recipe and cooking times and temperatures based upon your area. Hope this helps!

  22. One word AMAZING 

  23. Could this work in a bundt pan?

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