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 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 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!

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 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 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 //
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4.83 from 2477 votes

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
Course: 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
Servings: 24
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 with wrapping intact. 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! 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.

8,331 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. This is the best cake ever . So moist and easy
    My husband has had me make several times
    I was wondering if I left out the cocoa powder would it be a white cake
    I would love a white cake that is just as moist

  2. This is the best chocolate cake EVER!!! I’m a cake decorator and this is the chocolate cake I offer. All my clients love it!! Thank you for this recipe!! Amazing!!

  3. I’ve been making this deliciously moist cake for years now, it’s my “go to” recipe for both cake and cupcakes. It’s so easy to make and rises perfectly, making it a great cake for decorating. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  4. Have you ever made this with cake flour as opposed to all purpose flour? Curious to know the difference.

  5. Do you have to add espresso powder? 

  6. Can this recipe be halved to make a smaller cake? 

  7. I would like to make two 9 by 13 cakes. Can I just double the recipe for the 9 by 13 cake?

  8. I’ve had great success with several of your recipes. I don’t regularly have espresso powder on hand so I used a cup of strong brewed coffee instead of boiling water and it was SO yummy! Added a lot of depth to the chocolate

  9. Good easy to follow recipe, thank you. Not the *best* choc cake ever for me, larely as it doesn’t contain chocolate but cocoa, and oil rather than butter, which makes it less rich than say a choc fudge cake style cake – but it is very moist and light and worked very well with a coffee cream cheese frosting. I would make this again. I also used one deep pan, and baked for 55 minutes and then sliced in half through the middle when cold.

  10. Can this be baked as one cake instead of two smaller ones? 

  11. I made a half recipe and put in a 8 inch square pan turned out great. Now am making regular full recipe, will there be enough batter for a 11 x 17 sheet cake, making a cut out cake for granddaughters birthday cake. Do I need to make 1 1/2 of the recipe.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Gigi,
      I have a link in the post to a Large Sheet Cake. I’m glad you enjoy the cake and hope your granddaughter has a wonderful birthday! Hope this helps! Thanks! Xo

      • Hi Robyn, 

        I live in Northen Ireland and have made this cake LOADS now and absolutely love it! I make it every year for my husbands birthday, I’ve to make it for a wedding on Monday and it seems like a simple question but to make it in a square tin I take it I just cook it for double the time? I normally make them round and spilt the mix as the receipe states but I only have 1 square tin 🤔

      • Hi Gabrielle,
        I am so happy you enjoy the cake!
        I’m not sure what size the “square tin” is and am afraid to tell you to cook it for “double” amount of time – especially since this is for a wedding. I have modifications listed in the blog post right under the recipe for various sizes of this cake that will tell you how to make this for a Large Sheet Cake (which is a large rectangle – not square) or a 9×13 size cake. Please take a look at the recipe notes on the 9×13 regarding the thickness of the cake too.
        The large sheet cake recipe has a poured fudge icing, but you can go ahead and make the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting I use on my Chocolate Cake if you wish.
        Even though you have made this cake many times, with any special event – especially a wedding – I always suggest giving the cake a “test run” ahead of time, especially when changing sizes etc.
        I hope this helps! Thanks so much!

  12. Hi Robyn,
    I made this cake for my future daughter-in-law’s birthday a few months ago. She absolutely loved it and has now asked me to make her wedding cake using the same recipe (gulp)!! I am going to be using three pans …..
    1 x 9″, 1 x 7″ and 1×4″. Do you think if I 1-1/2 times the original recipe I’ll have enough batter for all three? Also, would you bake them all separately due to the different size pans and if so, how long would you recommend for each one?? The wedding is this Saturday, August 18, 2018!
    I would appreciate your reply.
    Thanks ….. Lesley

    • Wow, what an exciting time for you and your family, Lesley! I’ve never baked those different sizes of this cake, so I really can’t tell you exactly how many recipes’ worth or how long it will take to bake each size…I would suggest doing a test run ahead of time since this is such an important event. That way you get your baking times and amounts perfected ahead of making THE cake. 😉
      What I think I’d do if I was undertaking this would be to make a couple or three recipes worth and use the batter needed to fill the pans to the correct amount. You can always make cupcakes with any extra batter. It may be safer to bake them separately since they are such different sizes and the smaller sizes should bake faster.
      I hope this helps and would love to see pictures of your finished wedding cakes! If you are on instagram, just tag me @addapinch. Best of luck to you and to the happy couple! XO

  13. I too have made this and every time I make it – it is a hit, its my go to cake for all things celebration!!

  14. This REALLY is the best chocolate cake recipe around. I have made it for years for my son’s birthday and even for my dad’s 81st birthday. Regardless of the audience, it is a crowd pleaser. My best friend has now started making it for her daugthers’ birthdays as well. It is excellent with the Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Recipe! 🙂 I have made it with the espresso powder which is awesome and then one time, I forgot it and had positive feedback about it being a bit sweeter so I think you could go either away or adjust depending on the taste buds of the people you are serving it to!

  15. My kids (4 and 2) absolutely love this cake. First time I made it for my 4 year olds birthday and today is the 4th time I am making this because he requested the “special chocolate cake” as he calls it. Thank you so much for the delisous recipe. 

  16. I have made this cake several times and every time it turns out great!! This is the best recipe ever!! Thank you so much for this awesome version of chocolate cake!! My family and friends love it and always gives me compliments 😊😊

  17. I love this recipe soooo much❤😊
    For all you eu kids I converted this into grams and ml:

    Flour 256g
    Sugar 402g
    Cocoa powder 96g
    Milk 250ml
    Oil 125ml
    Boiling water 250ml

    Hope this helps

  18. Hello,
    I am going to make this cake in a few hours and I was wondering if the butter should be salted or not?

    Also, should eggs and milk be at room temperature?

    Kind Regards!

  19. Hello,


    I will be making this cake later on today and I was wondering if the butter should be salted or unsalted?

     Also, should the eggs and milk be at room temperature?

    Excited to try this out!!


  20. The cakes over flowed while baking! I  am experienced home baker and I followed this recipe to a T. I don’t know what went wrong!

    • Hi James,
      I am so sorry your cakes overflowed. I have never had that problem when using the two 9 inch pans as in my recipe. When other readers have mentioned using 8 inch or other pans instead of the 9 inch ones, they have sometimes told me they had overflow. I hope this helps – Thanks

  21. I baked this cake and it was absolutely perfect. I fixed it just as the recipe lists, and the birthday girl was very, very happy! I’m looking forward to having another slice of it tonight. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe, along with your “Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe” with the world. Scrummy!

  22. I was so proud of this cake and was handing it out to everyone! So so so delicious.

  23. Thank you so much for this. The recipe truly is versatile in a way nothing else I’ve adapted is. We have an allergy family who have issues with eggs, dairy, nuts, gluten and soy, plus a couple of vegans and I used some adaptations (rice milk, aquafaba for the eggs, doves farm gf flour). I was absolutely delighted with the results (no other cake recipe I tried to adapt still tasted / held together as I wanted It to) and we served this at my brothers wedding! Thank you so much! X

    • Your comment really means so much to me, Liz! I’m so excited that this recipe worked for your family and that you enjoyed it! How neat that you had it for your brother’s wedding! Thanks so much for sharing this with me! So glad to have you here! xo

  24. I always get rave reviews when I make this! Everyone tells me it’s the best cake they’ve ever eaten! 

  25. Thank you. I love this recipe. Made it many times before.

  26. I made cupcakes with this recipe, I used gluten free flour instead of regular flour. These muffins were absolutely AMAZING. They didn’t taste like gluten free at ALL, so imagine how good they would be with regular white flour?! They were tender, moist, chocolatey, and straight up delicious. This recipe truly is the BEST cake recipe ever!!!!!!

  27. Hi, can I cover this cake with fondant? 

  28. Followed directions carefully, but both of my cakes have huge cracks in them.
    They smell wonderful and I will still use them with lots of frosting.
    Any ideas about what may have gone wrong? Thanks!

  29. Just wondering if the cakes cut in half easily after cooled to make 4 layers? 


  30. hey robin i loved your chocolate cake recepie and it worked very well except I don’t know if i did something wrong on my part but the icing was very liquidy im sure that was my fault but besides that i enjoyed that thoroughly.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake, Charissa! I’m sorry your frosting had too “liquid” of a texture. I’ve not had that happen. While I can’t be sure what happened, I do know that if the amount of sugar or other ingredients were changed, it can impact the consistency of the frosting. Also, make certain to follow the steps in the instructions exactly for best results. I hope this helps! Again, I am happy you enjoyed the cake. Thanks!

  31. Absolutely amazing! My go to recipe. From birthday cakes to cake pops, this one is a keeper!

  32. What can I use instead of espresso powder??

  33. Do you find they are dense enough for a tall layer cake? Xx

    • I’ve not tried making a “taller” cake than the one in my recipe, Nicole, so I can’t say for certain. I do know this cake has such a moist, soft texture. Hope this helps! xo

  34. Made this for my husbands birthday and everyone absolutely loved it. Everyone said it was the best chocolate cake ever!

  35. Very moist cake… it was excellent! Instead of espresso powder and boiling water I used 1 cup of hot coffee. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  36. Hello Robyn
    Do you think I can bake this cake the night before?
    Thank you

  37. I made this for my husband’s co workers and it was the best chocolate cake they have ever had! It even got better after freezing it. The feedback was so strong that I was requested to make it for the boss’ wife’s birthday!

  38. This is the BEST chocolate cake recipe that I have ever used.  I have no confidence in other recipes after experiencing the moist, flavorful cakes that it produces.  

  39. Hi Robyn,

    I’m making this delicious cake again, but I’ll be using an 8” pan. Do I need to adjust the temperature or can I still bake it at 350°?

    Thank you!

  40. Hi, my friend is requesting chocolate chips in the batter. I know you mentioned that the batter is thin, so I wanted to ask. Do you suspect that the chocolate chips will remain suspended if coated in a bit of flour or will they ultimately sink?

    • When she says it’s thin, she means it! The batter is about the same consistency as heavy cream. I personally don’t think coating the chips in flour would be enough. Maybe talk your friend into a layer of chips under, or possibly in, the frosting?

  41. I made this for a girl I have a crush on, known her for 5 years and she was like “a guy has never made me a cake before.” and long story short, she said it was amazing and almost teared up. I can’t even make rice so thanks for the recipe lol. 

    • Oh my goodness, Joell!!! How incredibly sweet that was of you to bake her a cake! I can guarantee you she will never forget it. This just made my day – and I did just tear up!
      Thanks so much for sharing this with me! Best of luck to you and your friend!

  42. Easy and delicious! Thank you

  43. THIS cake is literally bakery soft cake! My husband asked “how did you get the can He THAT soft” 😅 the best part. My 5 year old hand mixed (with a fork) everything together! Next time I’ll add chocolatechips inside and this cake is dreamy! LOOOOOOVEEEE it! I actually bought CUP measuring tools, since we handle in grams here 😁 love he cake. Thank you 😍

  44. Love this recipe! I was wondering if there are any modifications I need to make to bake this in an oven on the convection setting? Such has temp and time? 

  45. We love this cake and make it often with gluten free flour and works perfectly. It’s very yummy with macadamia or hazelnut oil instead of vegetable or melted coconut.

  46. This recipe is now my family’s favorite cake recipe! Even my sister who does NOT enjoy chocolate cake, loved it. I didn’t use espresso powder, and replaced the oil with coconut oil and it still turned out perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  47. can this cake be baked in a Bundt pan?

  48. Dear Robyn, thank you for this stellar recipe! My friends and family adore it. Only thing is, most of us aren’t fans of icing on our cake. Is there a way to bake this in a single round pan that doesn’t require a layer of icing in the middle? How should I adjust the baking time/temperature?
    Thanks again! 🙂

    • I’m so happy you enjoy the cake, Ella! I’ve shared links within the post to a couple of different size cakes made with this recipe, as well as my Best Chocolate Cupcakes. For this recipe, it’s best to use the two 9 inch cake pans like in the recipe instructions, but you can always make a different size like I mention at one of the alternative sizes I mention. You can certainly omit the frosting if you wish, or top with fruit and whipped cream too if you want. Hope this helps! xo

  49. Delicious!!!!! I was worried about how thin it was it at first but it came out perfect!! 

  50. Hi. I’ve made this cake a few times. Each time it comes out very fudgy. We don’t have all purpose flour, so I’ve used cake flour instead. Could this be the reason for the difference in the cake texture? Any advice on how to remedy this? Tia

    • Hi Natalie,
      I’m not sure why your cake is too fudgy. Your flour could possibly give the cake a bit of a different texture, but not sure. Please make sure that you are using the other ingredients and instructions in the recipe and following the boiling water step as in the recipe too. Also check to make sure that your cake is completely done when baking too as it’s possible your oven may take a minute or two longer (sometimes ovens can be “off” from other ovens). I hope some of these tips help to figure out what may be happening. Thanks!

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