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, 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! If you

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!

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!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 12
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
  • 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


  • 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. The next day, the layers are ready to fill and frost.
Tried this recipe?Share a photo on Instagram and tag me with @addapinch and #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 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.

7,902 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Can I bake this cake in an 8″ springform pan?

  2. Hello 
    Is it possible to make this receipe sugar free?

  3. This is, hands down, THE BEST chocolate cake recipe EVER!! So moist and delicious!! 

  4. Can I use unsweetened condensed milk instead of buttermilk ?,

  5. This cake was great! I actually used banana milk in place of the regular dairy milk. I also used coconut oil. It was delicious, and I will definitely make it again!

  6. Is the cocoa powder used in this recipe, natural cocoa powder or Dutch process because that would affect the baking soda and baking powder amounts?

  7. This chocolate cake was AMAZING! And I’m not the best baker, but your recipe was on point. Thank you!

  8. Hi, 
    I’m planning to make this cake for my daughter birthday but I’m not really familiar with the measuring in cup, is it possible to have the conversion to gr instead?

  9. Would it be possible to have the cup measurement into grams instead ? I’m not really familiar with it but am really keen to make this chocolate cake :-😀

  10. I’ve made a lot of cakes. This chocolate cake is by far the best I’ve ever made. It’s always very well received by everyone I make it for. (Including myself!) This recipe has become my go to chocolate cake recipe. Hands down, the very best!!

  11. I’d never baked anything ever before baking this cake and it turned out AMAZING. It’s moist and rich and all around delicious. Everyone who tried it loved it and I can’t wait to make more. The recipe is clear and easy to follow.

  12. Hi, hoping to make the cake for my daughter’s 16th birthday this weekend but my oven is fan forced (only). Will I need to drop the baking temp down to compensate? Or reduce baking time? Thank you

  13. We love this cake! I’ve made it quite a few times. I’d like to double it and put in my large half sheet pan for my daughters birthday party. Any suggestions to change the temperature and/or length to bake it? 

    • Hi Kate,
      I’m so happy you enjoy the cake!
      If you want to make a Large Sheet Cake, here are instructions on baking time and temperature at the link. (That link shows a fudge icing, but you can still make the Chocolate Buttercream if you want just like used on the Best Chocolate Cake. You may want extra. 😉
      Thanks! xo

      • Thanks Robyn. I did see that in you post, however that’s a skinnier cake than I’d like. I have 35-40 people coming. Have you double this recipe before? If so, does it taste the same? 
        Thanks again!

      • UPDATE: I double the recipe and baked it in a 12″x18″x2″ pan at 325° for 40 mins. Turned out just as fabulous before. It was a huge hit with the birthday girl and her friends. Thanks again for such a tasty cake!

  14. Hi,
    I’d like to make this cake for my daughter’s birthday but I’m not really familiar with the cup measurement.
    Is it possible to have them converted into weight measurement instead ?

  15. This chocolate cake taste amazing! Do you have any advice to make the sponge more stable to be used for a wedding tier cake? Do you think I can reduce the water? Any advice can be very helpful! Thank you.

  16. Hello,

    If I decrease the amount of sugar by 1/2 or 3/4 cups, would I have to decrease the amount of buttermilk as well or leave the liquids the same amount mentioned in the recipe?


    • Hi Crystalle,
      I don’t advise decreasing any sugar or liquid amounts in the cake. It has been tested with these specific ingredients and amounts so I can’t say how it will turn out if make changes. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

    • I reduced the sugar to 1.5 cups and kept everything else the same. Turned out perfect!

  17. Just want to verify I’m reading the instructions correctly.  If I want to make this cake I need to prepare and cook 2 months prior to frosting it and serving it? Sorry if this is a dumb question…it’s been a long day haha. But the cake looks delicious!

    • No, that was a reference of how to freeze the cake and her recommended time frame for keeping the cake. Sort of like a ‘use by’ time frame for best results. And then to thaw it in the refrigerator, not at regular room temperature.  

  18. What brand of coco powder do you use? It is Dutch coco?

  19. I must have done this recipe about 20 times and it’s always a favourite. thank you !

  20. Is there any substitutes for the espresso powder? I dont have time to order it. Can I use actual espresso?

    • Tina,
      I used instant dark roast coffee instead, becuase I had it on hand. I sprinkled coffee granules directly into the batter, before adding the boiling water. I just eye-balled it, but I’d guess it was 2-3 tablespoons.
      The cake was a hit, andyou could taste the coffee.

    • Hi Tina, I just made this cake this weekend and I didn’t have espresso powder either. I just used some freshly brewed coffee for the boiling water in the recipe and it was amazing. Also, for the frosting I just made it without the espresso powder. I can’t even imagine how this cake could be any better. Truly Robyn is a saint for sharing her recipe and I am a huge huge fan!!!

  21. I didnt realize until just now that your website is the same one I get the buttercream recipe off of that I always use, along with the vanilla cake recipe.  And now I can add chocolate cake as well!  I guess your blog is a one-stop-shop for all the best recipes!!  I have not tasted the chocolate cake yet, but I can smell it in the oven, and my mouth is just watering (plus, the batter was devastatingly tasty)!!  Thank you for always having clear directions, and for catering your recipes to a broader group of people by making them easily adaptable to allergies, preferences, or just what I have available in my fridge!  I look forward to making everything from your site because i know it will be easy to follow, and simply delicious!!  Thanks!

    • This is such a sweet comment, Samantha! I hope that you enjoy all the other recipes as you try them. Doesn’t that cake smell amazing while it’s baking?! Thanks so much Samantha! I’m so happy to have you here! xo

  22. Can I make this as a bunt cake?

  23. I didn’t have espresso powder or buttermilk so instead I used yoohoo in the place of the milk and coffee instead of water and it was amazing.

  24. Hi! I’ve made this cake in the past and it was delicious! This time I was hoping to add some GMS powder because I heard it helps emulsify the cake. How much do you think I should add? Also I was hoping to bake a 3 tier cake with 8″ pans- what are your recommendations for that? Thank you so much for this great recipe! 

    • I’ve not used that powder – I just use the ingredients as listed and it turns out great every time for me. I hope you enjoy it, Lexie! I also use the 2, 9 inch pans. Be careful to not overfill and it may take longer to bake in a smaller pan. Thanks!

  25. What a lovely recipe Robyn! I’m a new baker and the cake was so moist and delicious.

    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with exact measurements and that’s why the cake which I recreated also turned to be luscious!
    I did few changes since I dint have handy buttermilk and espresso powder.

    I used whole milk instead of buttermilk and instant coffee powder instead of espresso powder.

    Hands down.. best chocolate cake recipe ever!

  26. I’ve baked chocolate cakes using many other recipes online, but, Robyn. I must admit to you. This recipe is going to be my go to chocolate cake recipe forever! My whole family of 4 agrees that this chocolate cake is the best they’ve ever ever EVER had. The texture and moisture and espresso aroma…. we can eat a slice everyday for breakfast and dinner forever (sans frosting, even)! Thank you for making and sharing such wonderful chocolate cake recipe.

  27. This recipe was moist, it was flavorful, and it was rich. My family loved it, I loved it, and it was a huge success I give it 5 stars

  28. Amazing recipe it always comes out perfect. I use coconut oil and it’s just delicious!

  29. Hi there! This is my first time making a homemade cake! My oldest daughter is turning 10 and requested a homemade cake. So far, so good! Everyone loooooves the batter. Not sure if this is a silly question, but does this cake need to be stored at room temp or in the fridge? I will be using your recipe for the icing as well. Thank you for this recipe! I’m really looking forward to see how this turns out. Maybe there’s a baker in me somewhere. 

    • How fun, Samantha! The cake does not have to be stored in the fridge. I cover mine on a cake plate and serve it all within a couple of days. Thanks so much! xo

  30. This has been my go-to chocolate recipe ever! However, is it possible to omit espresso powder? I didn’t notice that I don’t have one in my pantry anymore and I need a cake tomorrow. It’s for a kids party.

  31. I love this recipe so much and am making it again for my boyfriends birthday! Thanks so much I’ve been looking for ages for a good recipe. 

  32. I’ve been making this cake since 2014. I’ve made it as a 4-layer cake (splitting two 8” cakes) and cupcakes many times. I went to cooking school and pastry is my specialty. This is hands down thee best chocolate recipe ever! And I don’t change or add anything. The recipe is perfect just like it is 

  33. Do the eggs and milk need to be room temperature?

  34. Today marks the third time making this cake! Hands down best chocolate cake ever!! It blows box mix out of the water and leaves you begging for more. Thank you for sharing!

  35. This recipe is was awesome!! Usually everytime I try to bake a cake it comes out a little off but this cake was literally perfect! I made it yesterday with my family & it’s already almost gone today lol. Thank you sooo much for this recipe. 

  36. This cake had a very nice intense flavour; moist but not overly wet. I’ve occasionally made other chocolate cakes before but not successfully. To my pleasure it turned out well! Already copied this recipe down to keep.

    My cake really domed. Is there a way to have it rise more evenly? Or do you simply cut off the dome then coat?

  37. Truly entitled as “THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER”; just add the word EASIEST as well; baked it n loved it!

  38. Robin, If I wanted to make a nine inch three layer cake what would the amounts be?

    Thanks in advance

  39. I made this with Stevia instead of sugar and coconut oil. Texture was wonderful but mine us not even close to as dark as your pictures and it’s not very chocolatey even though I over measured my coco powder. I just can’t figure out how to get a from-scratch cake to be as chocolatey as a box mix.

    • I’m sorry it didn’t look like mine, Jacqueline. I think the problem is that you used stevia. I’ve not tried baking this cake with stevia and can’t say how the cake will turn out using it. It is really a delicious cake made according to the recipe. Thanks.

    • I used hershey’s dark cocoa powder, and added instant coffee for the espresso poweder. The cake was delicious!

  40. I have made this cake so many times, including some other recipes of yours! It is moist and I always get compliments from the family. I’ve been baking and cooking for around four years now, and although I do not consider myself a chef, I know when a recipe is good or bad. This definitely falls in the former! Although, one question, does dutch processed cocoa powder work well in this cake? Other than that, thank you for publishing such an amazing recipe!

  41. Why do all my chocolate cakes–no matter the recipe–always cave in in the middle?

  42. This cake is absolutely fantastic, and lives up to its name. I under baked it a bit, and OMG the people at work want crazy for it.

  43. Robyn –
    I’ve made this cake many times before and always delicious. This time, I need to make a 12 inch 2 layer cake for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Do I double the recipe? I’m trying to figure it out and afraid I will mess this up. Will it cook evenly in the middle on such a large cake? I’d appreciate any advice.

  44. Best cake I’ve ever made! Better than any store bought cake, a hit at every birthday party!! Best cake ever!!

  45. I cannot believe how incredibly delicious this recipe is! This is my go-to recipe!

  46. My stepson asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for his birthday this weekend. So I decided to google ‘best chocolate cake recipe’ and I found yours. I’m glad I did! The cake turned out amazing. The hot water step freaked me out a bit because the batter was very liquified, but the cake is delicious. Moist but still rich, dense and very chocolatey. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for sharing it!

  47. I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free flour. My mom (who has eaten many gluten free treats because of me) said it was the best gluten free cake she had ever had.

    Everyone loved this cake and complimented how moist it was.

    Personally, I thought the cake could use a little more chocolate flavor – it was very subtle – but no one else thought so!

    I used a peanut butter frosting with mine. 

    Loved it!

  48. I made this cake and it was delicious!  I baked it gluten free by just substituting the all purpose  flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1- to-1 flour. I made a mistake and grabbed my 3/4 cup measuring cup thinking it was my 1 cup. Someone put my 1 cup in a place it didn’t belong and when I discovered it, I nearly fainted because I was baking this for someone for a birthday and didn’t realize I didn’t put enough flour in it until just hours before. It still turned out fabulous and very moist. I made espresso butter cream for my filling but frosted the outside with the chocolate buttercream recipe provided. Thanks for this recipe. It truly is one of the best cakes I’ve baked! 

  49. I am so excited to try this recipe along with your recommended chocolate buttercream frosting. I did have a quick question. If I do a two tier cake, what would you recommend for the inside layer? Will more chocolate buttercream be too rich?

  50. What milk preference do you have? Three options is too overwhelming for me!

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