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!
4.98 from 2875 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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10175 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Amazing recipe! I’m new to baking and honestly this comes out fantastic everytime. So moist and tasty. We absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’ve tried your recipe before and it was so good so now I’m back for more. I wanna make 3 layer 6in cakes with this recipe, should I scale down the recipe? Thanks!

      1. Melissa, I have not made this cake as a 3 layer 6-inch cake but others have commented that they have used this recipe for that size cake. Hope this helps. Thanks.

  2. I have been making a very close variation of this cake for about 6 years. You will not find a better chocolate cake recipe. This is the recipe I use for all my chocolate wedding cakes. (The only changes I make are using almond milk to make it healthier and instead of using hot water and espresso I use the same amount of strongly brewed coffee to make it easier)

      1. The best chocolate cake ever. The recipe is so easy to follow and the buttercream recipe was also great. Looking forward to making more cakes from ur recipes.

  3. Have you tried a strawberries buttercream with this recipe? Have been thinking about it but not sure if it will go well.

      1. Hi Robyn,
        Thank you for the recipe… the cake turned out to be super delicious..Best Chocolate cake ever!!!

  4. Do I need to sift the flour and other ingredients before adding the milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla? If so do I measure before or after sifting?

      1. This recipe seems interesting can I use cake flour instead of AP flour. As well why do you put hot water in?

    1. Haven’t finished the cake yet but instead of adding boiling water I added coffee which I normally do with my chocolate cakes. This made is slightly more bitter, so I added a lot more sugar until me and my taste tester found it the way we liked it. Will it still turn out well even with all the extra sugar?

  5. easy to follow, very yummy. Made 4 layers with smaller pans. Still moist and delicious. Thank you. Used the buttercream recipe as well

    1. Thank you Robyn for sharing this recipe. I made the cake with the frosting today for my husband’s birthday and it was amazing! Best chocolate cake I have ever tasted! It’s moist and the frosting takes it to another level of deliciousness!

  6. I loved the cake !! So moist !! However this time im making it for kids n would like to omit expresso powder. Would the flavor change a whole lot ??

  7. When you say 9 inch cake tins, are they deep or shallow (4cm) Ones? And for a standard cake should i use the ingredients list for 12 servings or 24? Thanks 🙂

  8. This looks amazing! Is there a way to make a scaled down version of this cake? We are only 4 of us and 24 servings is a bit too much for our family. Is there a way that I can modify this recipe so it produces half the number of servings (while looking as pretty 🙂 ).


    1. Can I just add some cherries (sweet cherries canned or fresh) to the batter before baking? Will that alter the texture or taste?

  9. Wonderful recipe! Do you think I could bake it in one tray and then cut it?:) getting ready for my boyfriend’s brother 11th birthday, I am in charge of a cake since we bake together once a week.

  10. I made the cake and frosting for my adult daughter’s birthday. She and the rest of the family loved it! The recipe is easy to make and the ingredients are readily available at any grocery store. Thank you Robyn for a wonderful recipe.

  11. Tried the 12 cupcake version with your white buttercream recipe. Yum. The cupcakes are so moist. Thank you for this recipe.

    Question: if I want to use cake flour, is that okay? If so, please send the measurements I would use for both the cake and cupcake recipes.

    Thank you!

  12. This truly is the best basic chocolate cake recipe ever. It is the only recipe I use for this type of cake. I reduce the milk in the icing a bit and just add a few splashes to get the right texture—it was too soft for me as written.

      1. I have a 11 in x15 in sheet pan. Is the 24 serving enough? Thank you for you help! Super excited to try this recipe out.

    1. I’ve not added chocolate chips or chunks to the cake batter. The batter is so thin in this cake that I worry that the chocolate would sink to the bottom of the pan and cause the layers to stick.

  13. Made this cake for an anniversary. Decided to bring some over to family gatherings. It was a HUGE hit. Everyone commented on how much they loved it! My bf isn’t a huge chocolate lover, and believe me this cake is SO chocolat-y, he still couldnt get enough! Stayed moist for days and it was just so simple to make. Best cake I have ever had, hands down!

    Only change i made was using strongly brewed espresso instead of espresso powder and water, as mentioned in another comment, convient and taste great!

  14. amazing recipe the cake turned out great i sprinkled crushed raspberry’s in the middle of the cake and it added even more depth of flavour into this cake loved it!

    1. I use Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder but you can use your favorite brand of natural unsweetened cocoa for this recipe, Mya. I hope you love the cake.

  15. Made this yesterday for my Mum’s special 80th Birthday—and it is absolutely divine! This gem of a Recipe is a keeper, for sure. Very easy to prepare—and will be making it for all special occasions from now on! The frosting is totally sublime too! Thank you so much. So grateful to have found it on the google. Kindest regards, leslee-Anne
    From Eswatini (Swaziland),
    Southern Africa

  16. This is the best chocolate I’ve made! It turned out so well and was so easy! I brought it into work for someone’s birthday and everyone at work loved it.

  17. I’m thinking of making this cake but a mini version. I’m wanting to do use 6” x 2” pans and just make it two layers. What measurements should I use for that?

  18. No joke, this is one of the best basic chocolate cake recipes I have ever made! It is tasty and stays moist for days unlike other chocolate cake recipes. Definitely my “go to”!

  19. I thought you may be exaggerating but I made this recipe for my son’s birthday cake and it was a real success. Soft, moist and rich. My son used to eat the icing and ignore the cake but he eats this cake even without icing and asks me to make “the special chocolate cake” all the time! Thanks so much

  20. OMG. So delicious. It came out perfectly and is so easy. I now have my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Thank you thank you. My family thanks you too!!😀

  21. This has been my go to cake for the last 2 years, and I thought I should finally leave a review just to say that this is TRULY the VERY BEST chocolate cake you will EVER bake! 😍

  22. This is my husband’s favorite! He requests it to every birthday and holiday! It is delicious. However, every time I make it, it majorly sinks in the middle. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong?

  23. I’m making this cake for my granddaughters 4th birthday. Our local store has DeLallo Instant Expresso Powder. Is this okay to use? I don’t have a coffee grinder to make the power from scratch. Very excited to make this cake!😆 Will let ya know how things work out.

  24. I’ve made this cake several times now and it’s delicious. However I do have one question. Is the type of oil added created equal in contributing to the moistness of the cake? Some cakes even use lite olive oil. I used coconut oil. Tastes really good to me. I’m curious about the different types of oil.

  25. Oh my Lord this is just the best chocolate cake recipe ever! And so easy- I made it with my twin three year olds using a bowl with a whisk and wooden spoon; I just measured the ingredients (omitting the espresso) and left them to it (with just a little supervision!) and it came out great! Dropped some off to our neighbors to cheer them up and they loved it too. Can’t wait to try your other recipes, thank you!

    1. I always loved baking with my son when he was little. It was such fun. I love how easy this recipe is so your twins could help make it. Thank you and I hope you find many more recipes you like here. xo

  26. I agree that it was the best chocolate cake ever…made it for my daughter’s bday and she loved it…thank you for sharing the recipe!!!!

  27. I made this cake for my son’s birthday party and everyone agreed it was the BEST chocolate cake! It’s still moist three days out. Which is good, because my first attempt would NOT come out of the pan and ended up broken up and messy so I put those aside and tried again. For my second attempt, I cut out two circles of parchment paper to fit into my cake pans and the second batch slid right out of their pans without a flaw. So I recommend the parchment paper for pretty, perfect cakes. The cake served at the party was gone before the day was over, but we’re still eating on the imperfect first batch and it’s just as moist and tasty as the first day! 🙂 For the ingredients where options are listed: I used whole milk, did use the espresso powder that was linked in the recipe, I only had jumbo eggs and used 2 of those, I used vegetable oil as my fat. Oh and I used the frosting recipe that went with this, but used heavy whipping cream in that instead of milk for a richer frosting. 🙂 SO GOOD!

    1. Thanks, Leah. I’m sorry the first cake stuck to the pan. I haven’t had a problem with the cake sticking when I grease and flour the pans but I’m glad the parchment worked for you. I hope your son had a very happy birthday! xo

  28. Made this with whole wheat flour, cow milk, extra light olive oil and a Nutella ganache – turned out really well. I think what made the difference was the boiling water which I haven’t seen used in any other recipes. But this was by far, the best chocolate cake I’ve made! Thank you so much for the recipe! I wish I could share a picture of the slice dripping with dense, moist goodness!

  29. I have seen countless “BEST” chocolate cake recipes before, but I chose this one and made this for my husbands birthday lunch. I can say that I will be throwing out all my other chocolate cake recipes after trying this. My husband said 4 times how good it was and that I must “make this one again”. It was really extremely good and really lives up to its claim of being the best! Thank you for sharing this.

    1. I have not made this as a wedding cake but many others on here have said they did. I would advise doing a trial run making the cake as you would for the wedding before the big day.

  30. So I read a blog post from someone that reviewed different chocolate cakes and this one came in second. My husband and I had a hard time believing anything would be better than your cake, so I made the cake this blogger rated as first. I followed all instructions and I can tell you that yours is THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE! The other one was good, but did not even come close to this one, in our opinion.

  31. Best chocolate cake as mentioned, I made for my daughter’s bday and every one loved it. Very easy to make and tastes really yumm.

  32. This cake is everything you want! Light, moist, chocolaty and a beautiful rich colour! My family and friends were super impressed. All of this and it is one of the simplest cakes I have ever made. Thanks for sharing 🤩

      1. Great cake! This was my first cake making and turned out amazing. I loved the buttercream. The cake tasted really good refrigerated overnight.

  33. I tried this recipe and it turned out to be the super moist delicious cake ..thank you so much for sharing this recipe..Love from India

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