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.

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!

It just needs to happen.


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

And here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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 //
Yield: 12
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

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}

Total Time 45 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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!
4.82 from 2211 votes
Did you make this recipe?


  • 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


  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

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.

7,577 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Hi. I’m planning to make this cake ahead of time. How can I store this? Does it need refrigeration? And how many days will it last? Thank you!

    • Hi Joy,
      I don’t recommend refrigerating the cake unless you are in a very hot or humid environment. I generally make it a day or two in advance. If you need to make it even more in advance, I would recommend freezing the cake layers.

    • This cake freezes incredibly well! I make this cake often and usually freeze one of the two 9″ cakes in a Ziploc. I thaw it at room temperature for a few hours and it tastes moist like it just came out of the oven! I’ve eaten it up to two months after freezing without any decline in quality. Hope this helps!

  2. Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for posting this amazing recipe! I’ve used it many times over the last few months and without exception, the cake has been a hit every time! (I always give credit where it’s due though) Looking forward to trying more of your recipes Robyn 🙂

  3. This is a super moist cake, I have made it four times and everytime was fantastic. Family and friends love it. Didn’t alter anything.

  4. Hi Robyn

    Wonderful recipe but for first time ever my cakes sunk in middle.  I’m fairly certain baking powder/soda fresh and measurements correct and oven temp accurate.  

    Could it have been that I over mixed when I added boiling water? I used a kitchen aid stand mixer and mixed water in quite well.  Should I have mixed in water by hand?

    ThAnks so much !

  5. This sounds amazing! To make a large sheet cake would you recommend doubling the recipe ingredients?

  6. Absolutely the perfect chocolate buttercream cake!!!  I made it for my father-in-law’s birthday, and EVERYONE loved this cake!!  I made no alterations to the recipe.  It is the best chocolate layer cake ever!!  Not only is the cake super moist, the frosting is incredible as well.  I was asked to make the frosting for decorating cookies next Christmas.  Thank you for the recipe!!

  7. This is so yummy! I altered it a little and made a 9×13 instead of layers.
    I had started another recipe and decided I didn’t really like the amount of ingredients so part way in… I abandoned that one.
    I used 1 cup of sourdough starter (because I didn’t want to toss it) 1 C of buttermilk and 2 C flour. I let that stand about 4 hours then used your recipe as well. I substituted instant coffee for espresso powder because I didn’t have any and it’s freezing outside so I didn’t want to get out. I used Kahlua instead of vanilla and I added frozen raspberries.
    I should’ve added more berries for more taste but I was using up what was available.
    The cake is perfect in texture and density. It’s not too sweet and I can’t wait to try it for breakfast with my mid morning coffee. So glad I found this recipe!! 

  8. Just baked this for my chocolate-loving coworker for her birthday. It turned out great! Very easy and moist. Instead of using espresso powder (didn’t have any) I used 1 cup of hot coffee instead of boiling water. I also baked it in 2 8″ cake pans instead of 9″ (just had to discard a tiny bit of the batter so it didn’t overflow.

    Very happy with it – thank you for the recipe!!

  9. It is a very wet batter.  I had to cook it closer to 40 minutes.  Truly delicious.  

  10. The best ever

  11. My wife makes this cake for every event . It is her birthday tomorrow an I made the cake for her, she loves chocolate cake an this one gets so many stars in our house. TKS CARLO’S .

  12. What can I use instead of espresso powder? 

  13. Looks delicious! Can i use sunflower oil instead of vegetable oil? Trying this cake for the first time to share with friends.

  14. Hello, this sounds so yummy! I’m planning to make this tomorrow for my husband’s birthday. Are you cooking both 9″ pans at the same time? If so, are they on the same rack? Thanks in advance!

  15. I just made this and it was absolutely delicious. Very moist, not overly sweet and even my sister likes it and she’s picky. I did mine in a glass casserole dish with parchment paper on the bottom, I poked holes and made a simple chocolate frosting a little on the runny side and poured it over top.

  16. Omg, I followed the recipe (minus espresso, used instant coffee powder) but it was amazing! So rich and moist and that buttercream was to die for *doing my happy dance*

  17. I’ve got this cake in the oven right now. I have a feeling it’s going to be almost exactly the same as the chocolate cake recipe I usually make from a wonderful bakery in a Boston. It is called “Rosie’s Famous Cake” and it requires the addition of 3 eggs instead of two, and 1 cup of very strong coffee instead of the espresso powder. It is a wonderfully moist cake and I think yours will be too! I can’t wait to try it! 

  18. Hi
    Can this recipe be used in a bundt pan?

  19. Hi,
    I baked this cake and it is absolutely delicious! I just have a question: Can I bake this cake in an 8″ x 8″x 2″ square cake tin and make a 4-layer cake? I want to make a Minecraft block cake for my little brother’s birthday, and I feel this cake would work perfectly!

  20. This is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever used!!!! It’s my go-to! Never take it off the blog I only have it saved on Pinterest!

  21. Hi Can I add chocolate chip for this recipe?

  22. Hi, I love this recipe and have made it lots of times. The only thing I find is that in the oven it rises beautifully but as soon as I take it out it deflates quite a bit. Do you know why this would happen?

  23. I baked this already last week so delicious

  24. This is the best chocolate cake recipe ever! I’m making it for a friend’s daughters birthday this weekend and will have two different sizes, 26cm and 22cm to stand on top.

    How long do you reckon it will take to bake with the whole mixture in one tin rather than splitting between two? Double the time?

    Thanks so much for this recipe, I credit you whenever someone compliments me on the cake (which is a lot!)

    • Hi Harriet,
      How exciting that you are baking this cake for a birthday celebration! Please give my birthday wishes to your friend! I’m so happy you enjoy the cake!
      I’ve not tried baking it in other sizes, so I’m sorry I’m not much help in that respect.
      I do recommend dividing this cake between the two 9 inch cake tins for my recipe best results and so that the cake batter doesn’t overflow. I’m not sure from your message about the size pan you are planning to put all of one recipe into (26 cm is a little over 10 inches, so it would not hold all of the cake batter from this recipe).
      You may want to bake a test layer prior to the big event if trying other size pans.
      I hope the birthday party is great fun and that everyone enjoys the cake!
      Thanks so much, Harriet! xo

  25. Hi I’m making this gluten free as a wedding cake I was going to do 3 layers in a 12 inch round tin. I don’t suppose you have the measurements for that. I was thinking of trippling the recipe. Thank you looks amazing xx

    • Hi Georgina,
      What a beautiful idea for a wedding cake! I’m sorry I don’t have those measurements for you. xo

      • Thank you. I think if your measurements do 2 9 inch that’s 18 inch I need 36 inch so times your recipe by 2 and half should be 36 inches. Lol I will try xx

  26. Hi! I want to make this for my sons first birthday cake smash, in two smaller rounds so that it’s a taller cake and not as wide in diameter, 3,  7”x3” rounds. Will I need to double the recipe? 

    Thanks in advance! 

  27. Heya, I am about to make this cake for my hubby’s bday. But I only own 20 cm cake tin, and two 10 cm’a cake tins. How to adjust the meassurements in this situation. Please help.

  28. Hi Robyn,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe for us.
    Apologues for being a pain, as I do not possess two 9 inch pans, may i use a ordinary 9 inch pan and then slice cake into half for sandwiching with buttercream?

    • Hi Annie,
      If you just have one cake pan, you could prepare the pan, pour in half the batter from the recipe, bake it, let cool according to instructions. Then clean and prepare pan again and bake the second half of the batter. It will take longer, but you can get the entire cake that way. This cake is so moist I am not sure I’d try to slice it in half for frosting. I hope you enjoy it! xo

  29. Oh my goodness. I made this tonight. It’s not only the easiest cake but also the yummiest! 

    • I love how easy this chocolate cake recipe is to whip together in no time, but tastes like you’ve spent tons of time on it or bought it from the very best bakery! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it, too! xo

  30. I absolutely adore this recipe but I didn’t have any espresso powder 🙁 . Instead, I used an 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon. Turned out lovely

  31. Hi Robyn,
    I’m planning to make a two tier birthday cake and apply fondant for my daughter’s birthday. Would this cake will hold the fondant? Thanks in advance. Love to try this recipe.

    • Hi Kanchana,
      My family doesn’t like fondant icing, so I’ve not used it on this cake and can’t answer from personal experience. I believe there are a good number of previous commenters who have used it though that you might find helpful.

  32. what sugar do you use in this recipe, caster or granuated sugar. I would love to make it for my friends bday!

  33. Hey Robyn,
    Can I make it in a single 10″ springfoam pan? Thinking of increasing baking time by 15-20 min and then being vigilant.

    • Hi Shilka,
      I wouldn’t recommend using a springform pan since this cake batter is extremely thin. I would imagine it would run through the bottom edge of the springform pan and cause a serious, serious mess!

  34. Would it be possible to take this recipe as it is and make it a three layer? If I were to increase should I just add about 1/3 of the recipe?

    • Hi Sam,
      I’ve divided the cake into three 8-inch cake layers and adjusted the cooking time. Your layers will be slightly thinner, but I’ve found that it wasn’t enough to be noticeable.

  35. I did try it sometime last year. Twice actually, the 2nd time was for my daughter’s 1st birthday. It was a vanilla and chic sandwich cake. The cake was moist and nice. I think the 2nd time, I added some yoghurt and Mayo or so. Thanks for sharing. Will be making it today as well

  36. can you please convert this recipe im in the uk in to grams please? i do believe different cup sizes vary in different country’s.

  37. Absolutely delicious!
    I was looking for a homemade recipe to make a chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday and came across this one. I was a little hesitant because I’d never made a chocolate cake from scratch before, and this one had to come out perfectly because it was an important occasion. I followed the directions given above and everything seemed to go very well until I added the cup of boiling water. The batter became very, very watery at this point and I thought for sure that I’d ruined it… but I didn’t have any boxed cake mix to replace it so I jut put it into the oven anyway and hoped for the best. The cake smelled wonderful while baking and was done in exactly the time the recipe specified. When I tested it, it was SO moist that the cake clung to the butter knife in every place I tested it. I took it out of the oven and allowed it to cool, then frosted it with homemade chocolate icing. This was easily the BEST homemade cake I have ever made, and I have made several other flavors/kinds before. It is EXCEPTIONALLY moist, light, flavorful and just downright delicious. I am so glad I came across this recipe. My husband absolutely loved his birthday cake, and so did the rest of my family. This recipe will definitely be a staple for us moving forward. Thank you SO much for sharing!!!

  38. What could I substitute for baking soda?

    • Hi Deanna,
      Generally speaking, three times that amount of baking powder can be used in place of baking soda called for in many baking recipes, but I find that it leaves an off flavor in baking recipes when I have used it. I recommend using the baking soda if at all possible.

  39. This actually is the best chocolate cake ever! Big call but the result was justified!! Thanks so much!

  40. Such an awesome cake. I felt really doubtful adding in the boiling water and seeing how thin the mix went, but it turned out perfectly. I used cacao powder in place of cocoa and it tasted great. I’m going to hunt around for some espresso powder to add to it next time. Thanks for the recipe.

    • I’m so glad you love this cake, Dani. Yes, it can seem a bit off when you see how thin the batter is, but it just bakes perfectly!!! xo

  41. Made this as a tester cake for my daughter’s birthday. My family loved it. The only thing I did differently was added a black raspberry filling instead of the chocolate frosting.

  42. Really loved this cake! I want to make it again but cover it with fondant for my son’s birthday. Is that possible?

    • Hi Karin,
      I’m so glad you loved the cake! My family doesn’t care for fondant so I’ve not personally used it with this cake. I do believe there are a few comments throughout of those that have used it, if you’d like to check those. xo

  43. I made this cake along with the chocolate frosting for my mother in law for her birthday. Everyone was in awe! The cake was so moist and rich and the frosting was perfect! This is definitely my go to chocolate cake from now on…. Thanks Robyn!

    • I’m so glad everyone loved it and Happiest of Birthdays to your mother-in-law. I know she appreciate your making her cake for her special day! xo

  44. Can i bake this in a bundt pan?

  45. I just made this cake and followed the recipe exactly as written but my cakes came out thin and didn’t rise?! Wondering if this is normal? 

  46. Fantastic!!! I used a 9×13, so it took about 40-45 minutes for the center to get done. Totally worth the wait, though. As I write this, I am debating on whether or not to have a THIRD piece! ???? P.S. my husband who doesn’t even like icing is gobbling this up!

  47. Thank you so much Robyn. I have a question. Do we mix it at the end with the wisk attachement or with the paddle to get air in it? Mine does not rise that high. 

  48. Hello,

    I have attempted to make this cake several times and it always comes out extremely dense. The flavor is amazing but my cake doesn’t rise and my two 9 inch cakes stacked equal one 9 inch :/ What could I be doing wrong? I’ve literally tried about 6x and follow the steps very precisely. Could it be that I’m using a dark pan? I haven’t given up! A relative of mine shared the recipe with me and hers always turns out fantastic! Thanks! 

    • Hi Juliana,
      I would replace, or at the very least check, your baking powder and baking soda to make sure that they are fresh.

  49. Hi, I’ve made this cake many times over and absolutely love it. However, I’m wondering whether this can be tweaked for a vanilla cake please? I tried in the past by just swapping the cocoa for more flour but it was just a little bland and not the same moist cake as when it is chocolate. Are you able to advise how I could tweak it so that the chocolate and vanilla have the same texture please as I want to do a cake with both layers in? Thank you xx

  50. I have just made this chocolate fudge cake for my granddaughters 25th Birthday. Just one word ….Wow!! This is now my ‘go to’ chocolate cake for all occasions. Thanks so much for sharing, it truly is the best chocolate fudge cake, ever.

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