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 2992 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 350ΒΊ 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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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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10737 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I tried this recipe last night and topped it off with chocolate ganache instead of buttercream. I can officially call this the everyday chocolate cake for my family, everyone loves it!

  2. The first bite I took I heard an applause and Ava Maria in the distance and began to cry like an incessant little girl on how good this cake was.

    10/10 Will Bake again.

  3. Thank you so much for this… I wanted to take the time to thank you and let you know how much we love this!
    As a caterer and baker… This is our go to recipe for chocolate cakes… It is the BEST Chocolate cake recipe by far! We have taken your recipe and revised it to make it gluten., and it’s perfect every time!

    Two Moms Catering

    1. I have baked this cake with great success although not iced and tasted as yet. My question is does this cake freeze well?

  4. hey robyn. this is the first ever time i have ever baked in my life but i think i am going to bake this for a start(the best choclate cake recipe){Ever}.i think this is a gooood cake. therefore i am going cook this for my whole entire famliy.

    great cake by the way……..


  5. I would love to try out this chocolate cake recipe but I am not sure what adjustments I would have to make for being at a high altitude (above 5000 feet).

    1. I would like a suggestion for this as well. I’ve made this cake twice now; today will be the third. The first time it overflowed the sides terribly and was low in the middle to I just cut and pasted to make it even. Still tasted delicious and you’d never know from looking at it. The second time I made it in 3 layers to keep it from overflowing, which helped but didn’t totally solve the problem. Any suggestions?

  6. I was wondering, can I leave the other half of the batter and bake it afterwards because I only have a small oven which only allows one baking pan (9″inch) at a time? Will be trying this recipe for my mom and dad’s wedding anniversary tomorrow! Thanks!

    1. Hi May,
      I would recommend that since you only have one baking pan, you bake the layers separately. Just pour about a third of the batter into the prepared baking pan and then once that layer has cooked and you’ve turned it out onto a wire rack for completely cooling, wash the baking pan and begin again with the next layer. Alternately, if you have a large rimmed sheet pan you can use this version of the recipe –

    2. PEEERRRRFFFEEEECCCTTT CAAKEE. my family don’t like cake much but after dinner, it was all gone. i was ecstatic, still is actually.

  7. can you taste the espresso powder? im thinking of making this for my soon to be sister in laws wedding but in cupcakes with your chocolate buttercream. Is the cake light and fluffy and fudgy? sorry for so many questions but I want them to turn out great!

  8. Oh WOW!!! With so many posts out there about the greatest, best, most wonderful chocolate I was skeptical. I made this cake and the frosting for a coworkers birthday today and it was FANTASTIC!!! I covered the sides in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for some added flare! Thanks for the recipe!! Its a keeper for sure!! πŸ™‚

  9. With all that review, i can’t wait to bake it for my mum in law’s birthday. Can anyone confirm how many gm is 3 sticks of butter pls. Tq

  10. I made this yesterday and frosted it with your Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

    It was amazing! We try to eat Paleo, but occasionally I’ll make a non-Paleo dessert – and this was well worth it!

    My family was visiting yesterday, and everyone kept having “just one more piece” more than once. My dad said, “I need to get away from this cake because I can’t stop eating it.” lol

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. very good, i had to tweek it a little because something isnt right with my oven. in stead of 1 cup water I put a 1/2 cup coffee because i didn’t have the espresso powder. so I guess it was a hole different recipe. lol it also took 45 min to cook not 35 and that was with cutting the water in half. πŸ™

  12. I would like to make this cake this coming easter. I can’t find espresso powder anywhere, can I substitute it with 1 cup of coffee and remove the 1 cup boiling water?


    1. You can omit the espresso powder if you are having a hard time finding it. You may find other substitutions that others have made in the comments. I believe some have replaced the boiling water with boiling espresso. Hope you love it!

  13. sorry for my weak english.
    i have question.
    egg in batter won’t get hard when we add boiling water?
    thanks for your recipe

  14. Hi. I have a question does the flour need to be sifted before or after being measured? or does it even matter in this recipe?

    thnx in advance.

    1. You could half the recipe and make only one layer or 12 cupcakes. That is still more than 2 or 4 servings, but you could always wrap any additional cupcakes tightly and freeze them for later use. πŸ™‚

  15. Just tried this recipe for my brother in law and its so moist my kids have almost eaten 1 completely. Cant wait to try the frosting. Thanks for sharing. I reduced the time to 20mins since I am in the tropics.

  16. Hi Robyn

    I have just moved in to a new house and it has fan forced oven. I am just wondering what temperature I should use for this cake as I do not have oven manual or never used fan forced oven before. As I can see in the oven there is no heating coil at the bottom. I have heard that I should reduce the heat than a normal conventional oven when bake in fan forced but Just wondering how to adjust the oven to get the temperature bottom of the cake as it has only top heating plus fan thing.

    1. I would recommend trying to find a manual for your oven through the manufacturer. That generally tells you exactly what you’ll need to operate your particular oven correctly. For a fan force or convection type oven, you can reduce the temperature by 25ΒΊ F and cook for the same time as in the recipe (although I do check a little early when baking convection) OR you can reduce the cooking/ baking time by 25% and use the same temperature in the recipe (again, I check a little early for baking). I hope that helps you somewhat! Good luck!

  17. I tried this cake when I had family over. My sons don’t really care much for sweets but no one could stay out of it. I added a layer of strawberries with seeds removed in the middle and replaced the espresso power and the cup of boiling water with a cup of espresso. upper easy and I always have the ingredients on hand. I can’t wait to try this on my church group πŸ˜€ Does anyone know how to make it gluten free?

  18. Hi, Robyn!
    I am about to cook this marvellous cake for my husband’s birthday. I wanted to ask. In my country we don’t measure in cups, could you please tell how much is it in gramms – flour, sugar, milk, oil…

  19. Can you taste the espresso? Making this for my daughters 1st bday and Easter. My family does not drink coffee or like the taste of coffee.

  20. Hi,

    I am currently baking the cake, as I type ! I note your recipe says bake for 30 to 35 mins but after 35 mins my batter is still wobbly, what has gone wrong ? The outer cake is fine just the centre. I followed the recipe religiously. Obviously I will now bake it for longer but was wondering what went wrong ?

    1. Hi Saema,
      I would recommend wrapping the edges of the cake pan with aluminum foil and letting the cake bake longer until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Various things can change baking times, different ovens, types of pans, where the oven rack is situated, etc. I hope that helps!

    2. to all you bakers with cake not cooking in the time stated, and having to cook longer. PLEASE don’t wrap in foil or anything until you go out and BUY a oven thermometer. Any of you that watch food network and watch Alton Brown gave the best advise. I DISCOVERED besides having to get rid of my older oven because thanks to my thermometer that you leave in the oven my oven was off by 50 degrees, thermostat could be adjusted so hence the new oven. But I also know your even supposed to check a new one. My new oven was off by 25 degrees, I made my adjustment by having to lower the temp to get it to where it needed to be according to my recipe. Checked my oven thermometer and discovered the temperature climbed even had dropped too low! So please before you go and start messing with the recipe GO OUT AND BUY A OVEN THERMOMETER. It amazes me THAT no one figures out if your cake is co0king longer then it should or cooks to fast leaving the outside getting to done and inside not finished THAT NO ONE THINKS GEE! MAYBE MY OVEN TEMP IS OFF!! JUST BECAUSE IT IS SET ACOORDING TO RECIPE IT DOENST MEAN THATS THE ACTUALL TEMP!!! DO YOURSELF A FAVOR GO TO WAL-MART AND BUY ONE AS I DID, YOU MIGHT HAVE AN AHHHHHH MOMENT!!!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing! This has become my “go to: chocolate cake recipe. My whole family loves it!! I have made it numerous times for different occasions, and everyone raves about it. It’s so good with your frosting, and it’s also good with just a bit of powdered sugar. Again, thank you for sharing this, if a cake could change lives this would be the one πŸ˜€

  22. This recipe looks wonderful. I need to make a 2 layer sheet cake (18×25) and I’m wondering if it can be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled okay. Also, I want to freeze the cake prior to decorating, and I’m wondering if you’ve frozen this and how it holds up.
    Thank you

  23. Great cake. Substituted one cup of hot espresso instead of hot water and espresso powder. It worked great. Thanks for this great recipe!!

  24. This cake is delicious! I haven’t made a chocolate cake for so long but made this for the family lunch. Everyone loved it! The coffee addition is superb. I don’t use instant powder so brewed a nespresso instead. Perfect, 10/10!

  25. Hi Robyn,

    Oh my goodness ! I love baking and believe me I have baked many a cake, some disasters and some great ones but your chocolate cake is the best cake I have ever baked. I have to say I did keep the cake in longer and was worried that everyone else managed to bake it well but I muffed it up but I have to tell you, it was good the same day that evening when I tasted it, the next day the cake was so amazing it was better than restaurant / cafe standard. I am so impressed I am making it again this Thursday night for my nephews birthday oh and did I mention I am baking it for my work colleagues tomorrow as well ! I am very very impressed and will so religiously follow your website and your recipes. P.S. I have made so many buttercreams and they always taste grainy the chocolate buttercream was so smooth and tasty, I am speechless (evidently not as I have written such a long message) but I just had to share. I wish I was standing before you as I would kiss your hand for making such a divine dessert ! Thank you so much. P.S. I was wondering if you also have the same moist cake in a non-chocolate version and can these cakes be iced, like a birthday cake ?

    Thank you Robyn.

  26. Omgosh!!! After searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe, I made this cake thinking, “yeah, sure…sure it’s the best” So, I made it..and the chocolate frosting as well. Thinking of it as just another failed attempt in my search, I froze it to use later. That was 3 months ago and let me just tell you that I used it to take to yesterday’s resurrection dinner as a chocolate tower of death cake and …let me just say that I WILL NEVER USE ANOTHER CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE AGAIN!!! I am going to print this and put in my arsenal!! Thnak you and God bless you for sharing!!

  27. Hello Robyn Stone,

    Your cake recipe looks very exciting but I have one question. Being that it is the day after Easter, I just came home with pounds upon pounds of bargain-basement chocolate and I’d like to start making chocolate cakes from scratch. If I were to use your chocolate cake recipe but remove the cocoa and the espresso powder but put in melted chocolate in their stead, how much chocolate would you suggest I use? 6 ounces? 8 ounces? Or would you simply not recommend doing this?

    1. dear sophie:

      the recipe IS for just one cake…or at least that’s all I could get out of it…instead of halving the recipe, make all the cakes the recipe will yield, keep what you need, and give the rest of it away…as good as the cake is, SOMEONE will surely take it…hope this helps…

      *signed* ben d.

  28. Hands down the best cake I’ve ever had. SO easy to make. I am a notoriously bad baker so my family was hesitant to try it at first but the entire cake was completely finished by the end of the night and everyone was raving about how good it was! Thanks for making me look like a pro! Will definitely definitely be using this again!

    1. Hi Helen,
      I’ve not made this in a bundt pan. I’m not sure why not though now that you ask! Please let me know how it works if you do! That would make it so much easier to make when we are camping!

  29. Made this cake for my Nephews 7th birthday last night and it was amazing. I did reduce the icing by only doing 2/3 of the recipe which seemed to work very well as there is still a full cup left over – will be doing a small batch of cupcakes today with this same recipe (halved) to use up the rest of the yummy buttercream. Have been looking for a new chocolate cake recipe and this is perfect! This was super simple and easy too make and the cake was so amazingly moist!

  30. Hi Robyn,

    OF course the best chocolate cake I ever made. It looks very rich and moist. I baked it in one piece and had to bake it for 45 minutes in a dark non-stick pan. Very fluffy and mouth watering appearance. Thanks a lot Robyn.

  31. I successfully substituted Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GLUTEN FREE flour cup for cup. Added 4 tsp xanth gum and baked my cake in a 9 x 13 with a water bath.

    EXCELLENT! Your cake is amazing, and translated well into gf world
    yummy, moist, rich. Sunday Supper at Grandmas worthy!

  32. Have been looking for a good chocolate cake recipe for awhile. Tried this (the cake recipe, not the icing) last week for my son’s birthday and it was delicious. Didn’t have the espresso powder but it was really good even without it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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