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! // addapinch.com

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever. The Best Chocolate Cake recipe with decadent Chocolate Buttercream Frosting that will quickly become your favorite! // addapinch.com

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.


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.

Promise.

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!

4.8 from 1774 reviews
The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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!
Author:
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk, buttermilk, almond, or coconut milk
  • ½ cup vegetable, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Instructions
  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.
  5. Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
Notes
The cake batter will be very thin after adding the boiling water. This is correct and results in the most delicious and moist chocolate cake I've ever tasted! xo


Freezer Friendly

Let the baked cake layers cool completely. Wrap them well with plastic wrap and then with foil. Put each layer into a freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, the layers are ready to fill and frost.

Do let me know how you like it.

Here are a few additional ways I like to make this cake!

Chocolate Cupcakes

If you are looking for cupcakes from this recipe, I’ve shared my recipe for the best chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting for ya. This recipe makes a perfect dozen so that you can scale the recipe to make as many chocolate cupcakes as you need! Talk about easy! 🙂

9×13 Chocolate Cake

I love this version of my chocolate cake recipe! It is a delicious, scaled-down version that is just the thing for potlucks, reunions, tailgates, and travels perfectly! I’ve also scaled-down the frosting so that has the frosting to cake ratio that my family prefers. It is a definite winner!

Large Chocolate Sheet Cake

Scaled for a crowd, this recipe bakes beautifully in a rimmed baking sheet and is perfect for all sorts of get-togethers. Think of it as the 9×13’s big brother! 🙂 This recipe features Fudge Icing, but you can definitely substitute the icing for whatever you fancy!

 

And there you have it. There are so many ways to enjoy this delicious cake. Practically one for whatever need you might have. But, if I’ve missed one, be sure to let me know and I’ll work on it for you! 🙂

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

 

The Best Chocolate Cake recipe with decadent Chocolate Frosting that will quickly become your favorite! // addapinch.com

This post contains affiliate links.

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2012.

6,042 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.

  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 🙂

    Rating: 5

  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.

    Rating: 4

  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!!

    Rating: 5

  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!! 

    Rating: 5

  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!!

    Rating: 5

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

  10. The best ever

    Rating: 5
  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 .

    Rating: 5

  12. What can I use instead of espresso powder? 

    Rating: 5
  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.

    Rating: 5

  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*

    Rating: 5

  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! 

    Rating: 5
  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!

    Rating: 5
  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!

    Rating: 5

  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?

    Rating: 5

  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!)

    Rating: 5
    • 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

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