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! // #chocolatecake

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.

Slice of cake on a stack of white dessert plates

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.

Fork holding a bite of cake with frosting on white dessert plates

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!

Photograph of a cake with swirled buttercream frosting on white cake plate.

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 gallon 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 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.

I’ve also used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer with great success.

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!
4.97 from 2665 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 24
Course Dessert
Calories: 124kcal
Cuisine American
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 homemade or store-bought
  • 1 cup milk buttermilk, almond, or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 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.
Nutritional information is for the cake only.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg
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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9122 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hi! This recipe looks absolutely amazing! I’m going to try it tonight, but I have a query about the best oven setting to use. I haven’t quite figured out the settings yet as we’ve just moved. My oven has the options of ‘fan-forced’, ‘fan assisted’, ‘grill’ and ‘convection’, and I just can’t figure out which is best. Help!

    1. I don’t know about all the settings you put down but I use convection for all my baking and it works well. Convection is when a fan to circulates the hot air throughout the oven so that your food gets evenly baked. I would recommend using this one. Hope this helps and good luck!

    2. Fan-forced, fan-assisted, and convection SHOULD all mean the same thing (that they use a fan at the back of the oven to help regulate temperatures while cooking so you don’t have hot spots and cool spots). I’m not sure what difference your oven model in particular is trying to achieve identifying them as 3 separate cooking methods.

      Grill will be a broiler or grill – just a single heat element on the top, ideal for browning things like burgers, steaks, or even toasting the sugar top of a creme brulee. This is NOT what you want.

      I would try out the fan-forced or fan-assisted settings, and just keep an eye on your temperature and time. Check your cake regularly, and turn down the temperature if the outside of your cake is cooking too fast while the inside stays raw.

      1. Hi I did this recipe and it was delicious!! I just have a question! When I added the boiling water I added a small amount at a time , half way through adding the water it started bubbling so I quickly added the remaining water and got it in oven as quickly as possible, is this the right thing to do ? Or should I add the water all in one go ? Thanks so much 😃 rachel

  2. Hi, if I make the gluten free version but don’t use the specific flour you use, and instead want to use like a bob mills 1-1 baking flour per say or a blend of flours I have, would I still add the exact amount of flour or do you have a different recommended quantity? Personally I would probably add a little extra Zantham gum. What are your suggestions?

    1. Hi I made this cake gluten free with the dove brand gluten free flour. It was no different to the cake when I made it with plain flour so I wouldn’t feel the need to add more xanthan gum. I also used the exact same measurements. I personally believe adding the water is what makes this cake so delicious and moist so the brand of flour wouldn’t impact the flavour much or at all for that matter.

  3. Hi i made this cake over and over it delicious just wondering if I could used thia as a mudcake recipe added chocolate on it

  4. I REALLY hope to make this for my son’s birthday party this weekend as he loves chocolate cake! Can you advise me on how much to increase the recipe for TWO 12-in round pans?

    1. This cake sounds so delicious, perfect for one of the tiers for my daughter’s 3-tier wedding cake. I’m thinking of making ahead and freezing them all, frosting the day before. Would this cake benefit from a simple syrup to stay moist, as sometimes I find the cakes are quite moist after being defrosted. As I’m Australian and an old-school baker, my experience was mostly in traditional fruit cakes for weddings so I’m feeling unsure. Your advice would be much appreciated.

      1. Samantha, this is a moist cake and I’ve found it is still moist after freezing. I have not used a simple syrup on this cake. I’m not familiar with the ingredients you would use in Australia so my advice would be to do a trial before you actually need the cake. Bake the cake, freeze it, and determine then how moist it is for you. Hope this helps. Best wishes on your daughter’s marriage.

  5. Hii! Thank you this is my favourite chocolate cake recipe , I always make it in this scale but this time I wanted to make a tall cake for my daughter’s 1st birthday . I was thinking to switch to 8 inch pans instead of 9 but can you please help me with the scaling ? Should I double this recipe for 4 , 8 inch pans ? pleaseee help !

  6. This recipe was my first attempt at a chocolate cake for my hubby that didn’t come from a box, and it was an unequivocal success! He RAVED about it, and now I bake it for him every year for his birthday. Even with his enthusiastic response I knew this recipe was a winner when I baked the same cake for his dad, who had talked about an impossible-to-beat chocolate cake his mother used to make. He declared this cake as good or better! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    1. I’VE MADE THEM COUPLES OF TIME AND IT NEVER FAILS ME… this cake is so moist n chocolatey, and what’s important, it’s not overwhelmingly sweet which makes it even more addictive. Best recipe ever!

  7. Hi

    I have made this cake multiple times in the last 2 years. It’s an amazing recipe.

    I wanted to ask would a chocolate ganache taste good in this cake ??

    Hoping to get a quick reply please

    Thank you xx

  8. Hi! I’m wondering if anyone has successfully made this cake using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free Flour? I prefer not to use cup 4 cup bc of the very high cornstarch content and it’s also not available in my town.

    Thanks for any feedback!

  9. This sounds fabulous and I was thinking about making for my son’s birthday – just wondering can you taste the espresso? Does it have a hint of coffee flavor, full coffee flavor or really no detectable coffee flavor. Thanks in advance!

    1. I’ve never been able to taste a coffee flavor, Karen. It just enhances the chocolate flavor to me. You can certainly omit the espresso powder if you want. Hope your son has a happy birthday!

      1. Thanks for your response, Robyn! I did make this cake for my son’s celebration with his friends and decided to play it safe so omitted the espresso powder. It was delish and so easy. Since he wanted a chocolate cake or oreo cake, I made this and used oreo buttercream frosting. Sooo good – everyone loved it. I will definitely try it with the espresso powder next time – it’s a keeper!

      2. The cake with Oreo buttercream frosting sounds amazing, Karen. I’m so glad it turned out so well for your son’s birthday party. Thanks for letting me know how much everyone loved it.

  10. This is my second year making this recipe, last year our family; including the ones that don’t even enjoy cake loved it! Although I did cut back the sugar by a bit.

      1. Hi,
        Planning on making this for my mahjong group. Celebrating 2 ladies turning 90!!
        Question 1 – I don’t want to freeze but want to make a few days in advance. Can I wrap & leave room temperature for a few days?
        Question 2 – Instead of boiling water can u add hot brewed coffee instead of the expression powder.

      2. You can leave the cake covered in a cake dome at room temperature for 3-4 days, Rebecca. I don’t use hot brewed coffee but other readers have said they did with good results. Hope this helps and your group loves the cake. xo

  11. I give this recipe 5 stars despite my having destroyed it! With all the craziness out there re: refined white sugar, I subbed coconut sugar — don’t do it! I couldn’t figure out why the whole cake turned into a crumbled mess when cutting it. A few days later I googled and found a test kitchen website that showed the different results of using different sugars on a butter pound cake. Coconut sugar results were exactly what I experienced with this cake. So I’ll just have to make it again for my sister whose birthday was a crumby mess. (We’re eating the leftovers in bowls with whipped cream — still delicious.)

    1. I haven’t tried making this cake with coconut sugar but it sounds like it didn’t work so well for you. But it sounds like you and your sister still loved the flavor. You should see a completely different texture with the cake using granulated sugar. xo

      1. I’m going to call this the O M G chocolate cake!!! This is amazing. I was so excited to open my oven to find that it had risen very evenly. So incredibly moist, just what I’ve been looking for, for about 20 years!! Looks huge and there’s a very generous amount of icing using the chocolate butter cream recipe. Hooray 😀 this is going to be my ‘go to’ recipe. I can’t wait to try Robyn’s other recipes. The only downside is that I have managed quite easily to eat most of the cake myself in the last couple of days! so I think I better wait at least a couple of weeks before I make it again 😝 thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful and super easy recipe that is failsafe and delicious x

  12. Hi, you mention the cake can be frozen. How long does it keep fresh, for example if I bake and frost it today (Monday) will it still be fine for Thursday? Many thanks.

  13. Hello,
    I can’t wait to make this cake as I know it will be absolutely delicious.
    I am from Australia and only use weights for baking. I have noted that there does not seem to be a uniform cup weight for flour…..some have 125 grams, some 130, others 140 or 142 grams.
    Could you please tell me what weight your cup of flour is? I will be making it gluten free as my daughter is a coeliac. GF flour it can be very drying so I want to use the right weight.
    Your help would be greatly appreciated.
    Warm regards from Australia,

  14. hi! do you think it’s ok if i make a raspberry filling in between the layers? then have the chocolate frosting outside? or it’s not a good combination due to the coffe taste? wants to try making this.😊

    1. I think it would be delicious with raspberry filling. I have had other readers say they have done this and it was great. I don’t taste coffee in the cake but you can omit the espresso powder if you prefer. Hope you enjoy!

    1. Kathy, I live at an altitude of about 1000 feet. You will need to make adjustments for your altitude if you live at a much higher one. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  15. I am very new to baking, I wanted to make all sorts of things from scratch. I HAVE TO SAY THIS IS MY GO TO CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE. It is the most wonderful, fluffy, moist cake I’ve made to date. However, I have one question, do you have a vanilla cake recipe like this one or can I leave out the cocoa?
    I’ve tried several vanilla cake recipes and I’ve yet to find one that is like the chocolate cake. Any suggestions or vanilla cake recipes that you think are the BEST EVER, please let me know.
    Again, thank you for this recipe. It really is the BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER.

  16. I have made this recipe many times and it is absolutely delicious!! I was wondering if it could work as cupcakes too?

  17. This is truly the best homemade chocolate cake I have ever made. I made it yesterday and it turned out perfect! Everyone loved how moist and delicious it was. This cake will always be on my holiday list for dessert. Would like to try some more of your recipes. Your cooking skills are AWESOME!

  18. Have you ever tried freezing it after it is frosted? I have half a cake which I intended to take to my girlfriend’s for her kids, but left it at home! I don’t eat desserts right now, and most of my friends are on strict diet restrictions so I was hoping to freeze it for future events. I made the white chocolate frosting and the combo was awesome.

    1. I don’t freeze my cakes after they are frosted, Peggy, but you can freeze leftover cake. Place the cake uncovered in the freezer and flash freeze, usually about 4 hours. Once frozen, then wrap cake airtight in plastic wrap and then foil or place in an airtight container and place in freezer. The cake should then be good for about 3 months. Once you are ready to serve the cake, remove from freezer, place it in the refrigerator and let thaw at least overnight. Hope this helps.

  19. hi this is cressa bartosek could you please send me some chocolate cake receipe and slices and other deserts recipes because then i can look at it on my emails i love cooking and i know you are great thankyou you for your time cressabartosek

    1. Cressa, you can subscribe to my emails that will be sent to you with each post I do. Just enter your email address in the area next to the SUBSCRIBE banner at the bottom of my website page.

    1. You would use the same amount of melted butter as the oil, Sandra. Look at the section in my post To Use Butter and Other Oils regarding this issue. Hope you like the cake!

  20. Best chocolate cake ever!!! I made it using a Bundt cake pan and put chocolate ganache in the middle so it resembles a huge chocolate lava cake

  21. This was an amazing cake. We wanted something sweet late at night and it was super fast to make. I only had dark cocoa in the house so the cake looked black but was still amazingly moist and fluffy. Let it cool a bit and then drizzled a bourbon-vanilla glaze. I will definitely be using this recipe for chocolate cake in the future.

  22. I’ll be honest — I wasn’t sure I believed this whole “best cake ever” assertion. But, I made the cake following the instructions carefully and it is definitely (DEFINITELY) the best homemade chocolate cake I’ve ever made (and I’ve ever tried). I took the cake to work and although I’m in Europe and people here prefer desserts that are slightly less sweet (as compared to American desserts), it was a total success. I had to hide the last few pieces so I could take some home. Thank you, truly amazing!!

    1. Maria, thank you for letting me know how you and your friends loved this cake in Europe. Now, you need to make a cake you can keep at home so you can have more of it. xo

  23. I NEVER leave reviews but…with a few changes for elevation, this made an amazing double birthday cake as we celebrated 2 birthdays and had a little fun. Thanks for providing such a lovely decadent recipe for a group of TWENTY in the mountains of Sri Lanka! Oh yes, omitting the espresso powder was no problem and I love that coconut oil is an option. I haven’t seen recipes with that option…much easier to source that up here than other things. Thanks! Stay healthy!

  24. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Can I use ground espresso bought at the store (Cafe Bustelo) for the espresso powder or does it have to be finer? Thanks!

  25. Hi there! Baked this cake last week and it was a reason of cheer. It’s being demanded for yet again this weekend, so it was definitely loved 🙂 I did use a ready made vanilla frosting instead of making one. Nevertheless, thank you for this recipe. Have already passed it to friends in UK, who are trying it today as well.

  26. I made this for my daughter’s 15th birthday. I luckily had all the ingredients at home so I didn’t have to go out to the store. I was skeptical when adding the boiling water to the batter. But, wow!!!! This IS the most amazing chocolate cake I have EVER had. And thank you SO much. This added a little joy to her day.

  27. Absolutely love this recipe. This is my go to recipe right now for a chocolate cake. I haven’t made it with the espresso powder but even without it it has a really fudgy taste. I use milk. I also have tried adding two cups of hot water and it makes the cake more moist if that’s what you’re looking for. I love the moist, fudgy consistency. It’s everything I want in a chocolate cake!!!

  28. The recipe sounds great. Does this cake resemble a dark chocolate cake with the espresso powder and also what would I need to do to convert it to a three layer cake. I am making this for my grandson and daughter-in-laws combined birthday

    1. This is a dark chocolate cake, Sherry. I would increase the recipe by 1/2 for a 3 layer cake. Hope everyone loves the cake and your grandson and daughter-in-law have a very happy birthday! Thanks

  29. I`m going to try this cake today for my daughter`s birthday. Can it be sweetened cocoa powder or does it have to be unsweetened?

  30. There was only self-raising flour left on the shelves that I could purchase. Could I use it instead of the all-purpose flour? Should I just not add the 2 tsp of baking powder and the 1 1/2 tsp baking soda? I would appreciate your help as I would love to make your delicious sounding cake.

  31. This truly is the BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER! I have made this recipe around a gillion times and people love it. Make sure to make the accompanying icing with it and ENJOY!

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