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.

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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.

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!

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!
4.81 from 2117 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

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.

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! 🙂

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.

7,296 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Made this Cake a few times already. its foolproof and absolutely yummy. thanks.

  2. Can I bake this cake on a Wednesday, decorate on Thursday and serve on Saturday?

  3. Yess!!!the best cake ever i made!!!so soft n fluffy!!thks a lot for sharing this wonderful recipe!!

  4. Tastes great!!

  5. Thought it was a great cake…not too sweet, but rich and moist.
    Will be my only recipe from here on in.

  6. My boyfriend loooooves chocolate cake, so I decided to bake him one for his birthday. I was super nervous because I’ve never baked anything before and I really wanted to get this right. I found this recipe and the cake turned out PERFECT! Thank you so much for sharing this magical recipe, Robyn!!!

  7. Does this cake need to be refrigerated after completion (with buttercream frosting). Would have to make it Sunday to take to fair on Monday, but they have no refrigeration on site.

  8. OH MY GOD !! THIS RECIPE IS SO AMAZING !! I FEEL LIKE BAKING IT EVERYDAY!!!

  9. Making it now. The recipe says buttermilk but you never say to add it in so I assume you add it in. In the modifications you note you use
    Buttermilk rather than milk. Can you clarify this. Just came out of oven and looks great. Will be chowing down later. 

  10. I am planning to bake this cake today, will definitely leave a review as soon am done! 
    Just one question since there will be lots of toddlers around, is it OK for them to eat the cake as is or I can substitute or cut the expresso powder? 

  11. I have made this cake loads of times – its our family favourite. A+++

  12. I forgot to give you 5 stars – lol

  13. Found this a couple of years ago. It is the only recipe I use. Thanks so much

  14. This has been one of my go to recipes for years !! Best chocolate cake I have ever had !

  15. Amazing recipe! Easy and excellent flavour . Loved the icing not to sweet.
    This cake was so good! Evan two days late, it tasted as fresh as the first day.

  16. Hi, I so want to try this recipe but I need to convert your American measures into UK measures – do you have a UK version? 

  17. Hi,
    Could I substitute olive oil for the canola? Not strong tasting EVOO, just the other other kind?
    Thanks

  18. Best chocolate cake i made..Kids love it…

  19. Hi, Am planning to make this cake this week. Was wondering if you sift your flour and cocoa powder and if so, do you do that before or after you measure? Many thanks.

    • Hi Cathy,
      I like to whisk my flour really well to remove any possible lumps before measuring. Sometimes I do the same to my cocoa if needed. I hope this helps! Thanks! xo

  20. Question. Looking for a chocolate cake recipe that will stack well for a three layer cake, would this work for that purpose. I was looking at this and your vanilla one.

  21. This cake was amazing! It was every thing I had hoped for…moist and rich. Thank you for the recipe! I will definately make this again!

  22. Could I make this using 8-inch pans? Do I split the batter three ways, increase cooking time, etc. Would appreciate the help. Thanks

    • I always use two 9 inch pans and the baking time is based on that Jillian. Be sure to not overfill if you do use those pans as they may run over in the oven since this recipe is sized for bigger pans. It could possibly take a bit longer to bake. Hope you enjoy it! xo

    • Did you get an answer to this? I have the same question…

    • I just made it using 2  8” pans and was able to make 10 cupcakes for the littles…perfection! 20 min for cupcakes and 30 min for cake at 350 degrees! 

  23. This cake recipe is amazing! Everytime I get a chocolate craving this is the recipe I go for! Thanks so much for the great recipe! Amon

  24. I just made this cake with raspberry buttercream frosting for a birthday dinner. It was unbelievably delicious and a huge hit. This will be my favorite chocolate cake recipe from now on. Thank you. I am especially grateful that it only messes up one bowl.

  25. Can i add some chocolate chip to the recipe?

  26. Do you know of any adjustments that need to be made for high altitude (5280)? I typically only add 2 tablespoons of flour.

  27. Do any adjustments need to be made for high altitude, 5280 feet?

    • Hi Lindsey,
      You’ll want to check baking adjustments for high altitude in your area. Enjoy! xo

    • I got the following information from an article on ‘AllRecipes dot com’ called “High Altitude Cake Baking”. If you do a google search you should be able to find the complete article for some additional information on the subject.

      1. Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon in the recipe, reduce by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
      2. Reduce sugar: for each cup in the recipe, reduce by 0 to 2 tablespoons.
      3. Increase liquid: for each cup in the recipe, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
      4. Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.
      5. Decrease baking time by 1 to 5 minutes.

      the high art of baking at altitude
      I also found an article at ‘Exploratorium dot com’ called “The High Art of Baking at Altitude.” It offers a more in-depth discussion of the science behind the adjustments made in baking at a higher altitude. I also found some additional information about what recipes need adjustments and which ones don’t, such as biscuits.

  28. Absolutely the BEST chocolate cake EVER!! It is true!! Ive made it twice. Even my cousin, who is a chocolate cake connoissieur, agreed.

  29. Is this cake good without the icing and with fruit on top instead? Thanks, it looks great x

  30. I have made this cake a few times now, including for a Birthday cake, and i cannot even remember how many times people told me that was the best chocolate cake they have ever eaten. I even froze it and thawed it before I iced it, then serve it the next day and it was still as moist as ever.

    Highly recommended!!

  31. I JUST made this cake for the first time–but I’ve baked enough to trust that it would turn out great just by looking at the recipe. IT WAS A TOTAL HIT!! I made it for my oldest son’s wedding today–And I made it vegan! I was already making it lactose-free when I found out a good number of guests were vegan (Please note that this is something for which your suggested chocolate buttercream frosting does NOT have any variations or substitutions–BUT I highly recommend the vegan “Earth Balance” baking sticks. They taste Great and held up well–high praise from someone who’s a butter user (especially for baking) AND they don’t contain any hydrogenated oils. At least where I live you can readily find these Earth Balance baking sticks in the dairy section of your local Publix, Ingles or Earth Fare/Whole Foods.) Back to the cake; I used vanilla almond milk. I also used 1/3 cup cinnamon applesauce and “Bob’s Red Mill flax seed meal” as an egg replacer/binder (mix 1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp of hot water. Stir and let sit for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Replaces 1 egg. *Note: you can NOT just throw some flax meal in the batter. You’ve got to mix the flaxseed meal with the hot water in a bowl separately!). Being my first vegan cake baking venture I wanted to heed the words of someone who had Far more baking experience than me. She suggested the flaxseed over the applesauce. I’m REALLY glad I went with the combination because it gave me the binding effects of the egg without having any noticeable mealy texture or flaxseed flavor and the moisture/sweetness of the applesauce. PERFECT! I also used a cup of strong home-brewed vanilla coffee in place of the cup of boiling water (as I didn’t have any expresso powder). Worked like a charm! Even my VERY picky son loved it from the first hesitant bite he shared with his new bride! His very words were, “OMG! That cake is richer than I am–And right now I feel like the wealthiest man alive!!” He also commented on how moist it was. Everyone remarked on how wonderful it was and how they never would’ve guessed that was VEGAN! I was barraged by people who wanted the recipe–the TRUE mark of when you’ve done something right!

  32. Love it so much!!! All of ur recipes! Thanku.. can i make the cake and ice it on friday to eat it on a sunday??? Or better to refrigerate and unfreeze 

  33. I JUST made this cake for the first time and IT WAS A TOTAL HIT!! I made it for my oldest son’s wedding yesterday–And I made it VEGAN (1st time venture)! I was already making it lactose-free when I found out a good number of guests were vegan (Please note that your suggested chocolate buttercream frosting does NOT have any vegan variations or substitutions–BUT I highly recommend the vegan “Earth Balance” baking sticks. They taste Great and held up well–high praise from someone who’s a butter user (especially for baking) AND they don’t contain any hydrogenated oils. You can readily find these baking sticks in the dairy section of your local Publix, Ingles or Earth Fare/Whole Foods stores.) Back to the cake; I used vanilla almond milk. I also found some liquid, NO flavor coconut oil at Target (my son HATES the taste of coconut). I also used 1/3 cup cinnamon applesauce and “Bob’s Red Mill flax seed meal” as an egg replacer/binder (mix 1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp of hot water. Stir and let sit for 5 mins. Replaces 1 egg. *Note: you can NOT just throw some flax meal in the batter. You’ve got to mix the flaxseed meal with the hot water in a bowl separately before adding to the batter!). Being my first vegan cake baking venture I wanted to heed the words of someone who had Far more baking experience than me. She suggested the flaxseed over the applesauce. I’m REALLY glad I went with the combination because it gave me the binding effects of the egg without having any noticeable mealy texture or flaxseed flavor and the moisture/sweetness of the applesauce. PERFECT! I also used a cup of strong home-brewed vanilla coffee in place of the cup of boiling water (I didn’t have any expresso powder). Worked like a charm! Even my VERY picky son loved it from the first hesitant bite he shared with his new bride! His very words were, “OMG! That cake is richer than I am–And right now I feel like the wealthiest man alive!!” He also commented on how moist it was. Everyone remarked on how wonderful it was and how they never would’ve guessed that was VEGAN! I was barraged by people who wanted the recipe–the TRUE mark of when you’ve done something right! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS AWESOME RECIPE!

  34. This is hands down the best chocolate cake I have ever made. It is soooo easy and the result is moist and light but also dense enough to have that decadent feel.
    I put all the mixture into one 23cm spring pan (as I didn’t have two) and cooked it for about 50mins and it was perfect.

  35. This cake looks great! I am hoping to use it in place of a sponge for a black forest cake as I haven’t found a sponge that I find moist chocolately and rich enough..

    I would partially freeze it to enable slicing in half, but do you think this recipe would work for a two layer Black Forest cake?

    Thank you!

  36. The cake turned out to be unbelievably super. Super moist and rich. Loved baking it and enjoyed eating it. I served the cake with vanilla ice cream to husband and it was his best Sunday, today. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe. Love.

  37. Can’t wait to try this! Any recommendations for a good espresso powder?

  38. This cake was really good. However I would say that you need buttercream to go with it, as it is not the sweetest. My oven is also really bad so it created a mountain on top of the cake. It is especially good if you put berries in-between the layers, i used frozen raspberries and strawberries. It was gone really fast. Overall it was pretty good, I will use this recipe again. (I also used melted, unsalted butter instead of oil)

  39. Very Moist and delicious. I got lots of praises for this cake 

  40. I really want to try this recipe, I was wondering how much boiling water to add? Does it depend on the batter?

    • Hi Veronica,
      Please make sure you add the amount of boiling water called for in the recipe. The batter will look thin, but if you follow the recipe exactly as written, this will be a wonderfully moist and delicious cake! xo

  41. Hi!
    Was wondering since you give the choice of using either almond milk, buttermilk, or coconut milk, which one is best in the cake? Also would nonfat milk work well?

  42. Hi! 
    Was wondering since their is the option to use either almond milk, buttermilk, coconut milk, or regular milk In this recipie, I wanted to see which you have found to taste best with this cake? Also would fat free milk work well?

    • Hi Grace,
      I have tested and baked with all of the milks I’ve listed in the recipe and they are all delicious. I personally bake this cake often and use whole milk or buttermilk most of the time. I don’t think I’d use fat free milk though. Enjoy! xo

  43. Our families standard for birthday cakes, love it.

  44. Dear Robyn
    You have no idea how many times I have used your delicious recipe. It’s absolutely amazing and never fails! My 4 go crazy for this cake, my hub too. I hope you know how much I appreciate the fact that you published it for everyone to see, says a lot about you!
    One question I wanted to ask, can I increase the recipe by half to make more layers? And if so then do all the ingredients add by half including the boiling water?
    Look forward to your reply!

  45. Hi Robyn,

    What type of sugar did you use in this cake?

    Thanks,
    Steph

  46. I made this cake for a friend of my moms and it turned out really good. The only issue I had is that I was trying to bake cupcakes at the same time and put them in the oven when the cake was halfway through baking. This caused the cake to sink slightly in the middle; oops :P! However, that ended up not mattering since I frosted it afterward anyway. I guess next time I will refrain from baking two different sizes of cake at the same time.

    One thing I was wondering about is if you use room temperature eggs or milk when adding them to the recipe?

    Thanks again for the wonderfully moist chocolate cake!

  47. Hey Robyn,

    I googled best chocolate cake and yours came up with stellar reviews! I was wondering if you knew what would pair well with it in terms of filling. I was going to have a layered cake and wanted the layers to be a whipped cream of some sort. Any suggestions based on the cake consistency? I’m super excited to bake it 🙂

  48. Hey there! This cake looks absolutely delicious and I plan on making it this weekend for my sister in law’s birthday, but I had a question– I will be using two 6 inch pans that are 3 inches tall, so it will be quite a tall and narrow cake, but will this change the bake time or oven temperature?? Thank you!!!

  49. Any recommendations as to which milk works best for this recipie!!?

    • You can use either of the milks listed in the recipe as I’ve tested them all and they all work well in this delicious cake. I personally use whole milk or buttermilk most often when I bake this cake for my family. Hope you enjoy this Grace! Thanks!

  50. I have now baked this delicious chocolate cake recipe about 10 times for various occasions. It really is fool proof and sooo delicious. This time I made the egg free, lactose free version because of a few allergies. I used lactose free milk, coconut oil and applesauce as substitutes.  I was a bit worried, thought the applesauce would not taste too good as an egg substitute. It’s perfect! Cake is moist and full of flavour. What a fab recipe. Thanks. 

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