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 2356 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: 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 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.

8,222 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s delicious. I made you chocolate buttercream icing too. I wasn’t able to buy the espresso powder in time to use it for the cake so i just used 1C of brewed coffee in place of the hot water. I also baked in a bundt pan. I baked it for 40 minutes and it did fall apart a little so maybe I should have baked slightly longer. But it was moist and delicious and the slight crumbling wasn’t anything “motaring” with icing couldn’t fix :). I made the icing with no espresso and it was still sooo yummy. Can’t wait to try with espresso next time.

  2. Will using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil change the flavor of the cake?

    Thank you in advance !

  3. Thank you for this AMAZING recipe! I made this cake and it was heavenly!!

  4. I made this as a gluten-free vegan cake. I replaced the flour with an all-purpose gf blend, and used 3/4 cups apple sauce instead of eggs and coconut milk instead of milk. It was SOOOOOO GOOD. My family always teases me for my gluten-free vegan attempts at things, but hey were amazed by this, it actually tasted excellent and people wanted to take pieces home. I had to cook it about 10-15 minutes longer and the center collapsed a tiny bit but once stacked we didnt notice it. 

  5. I made this cake and my husband and our best friend said it’s the best cake I’ve ever made. It lasted half a day and I’m making another one 4 days later because they asked for more!! 

    Can’t wait to try the cupcakes. This is lush!!! 🙂 xxx

  6. Hi I like to weigh everything so can you please tell me how much the ingredients are in Grams? it never turns out right when I use cup measurements, I must have big cups 😂

  7. Hi,
    Thank you for your recipe. Nice and no fuss for chocolate cake. I used non- Dutch processed cocoa. It’s what I have, I think your recipe could work for either type, since you have the baking powder and soda.
    Some modifications I did: if you don’t have espresso powder, something similar is making some dark coffee as the “boiling water”. Also, I made the milk part 3/4 milk, 1/4 whipping cream and a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar – that’s if you don’t have buttermilk handy. I like my chocolate cake with a touch of tanginess, but didn’t have buttermilk at the moment.
    Maybe not everyone’s taste, but it gives it a subtle boost in my opinion.

  8. Hi, my daughter birthday cake cutting is on friday evening. I am wondering if I bake the cake on thursday evening, cling wrap it and fridge (not freeze) overnight. Will the cake still be moist or harder in texture? I intend to frost the cake on friday afternoon.

    • You can certainly bake it Thursday evening, Susie. Let the layers cool according to the recipe instructions, wrap well as you mention or cover, but don’t refrigerate it. Leave out but well wrapped or under a cake dome, then frost the cake on Friday. Enjoy! Hope your daughter has a great birthday!

  9. Can I put the cake in tight air container and leave it in the fridge for 4 days before icing it?

    • Hi Waffles,
      I’ve made it a day ahead and stored it air tight under a dome and frosted it the next day. No need to refrigerate.
      I think four days ahead is a bit too far ahead for the cake to stay fresh – unless you freeze it. I have freezing instructions shared in the notes of the recipe.
      I hope you enjoy it! xo

  10. I found yoir page when i googled ‘best chocolate cake recipe’ and this definitely is an amazing cake. I always use this recipe if i want the cake to be perfect. It tastes even better a few days later. I have made it many times and have always had compliments. Thank you for the recipe!

  11. This cake is amazing, I’ve made it three times and use a vanilla buttercream frosting! Question, my cake has always stuck to the pan despite using non-stick pans and a non-stick spray, do you have any suggestions how to combat this? I’m concerned using parchment paper under it will not work since it is so liquidy.

  12. Hi, will this cake taste like coffee? I’d like to make this for my fiance’s birthday today but he specifically asked for a “mocha” cake so I’m wondering if I should increase the amount of espresso powder in the batter and the frosting? Thank you for your help, the recipe seems delicious!

  13. HI Susie. At what temperature did you bake the cakes?

  14. Made it for my husband’s birthday. This was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted in my life. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

  15. Very moist and I mixed it up in my Ninja batter bowl.  The power was out after Typhoon Mangkhut (Guam) but we had gas to the oven, sooooo, made a chocolate cake while charging cell phone in car!

  16. Hello .. I tried this recipe .. I loved the texture .. but I guess the sugar is very suttle .. but may be if I frost it will be delicious .. ❤️ thank you for such a soft and yummy recipe❤️❤️

  17. Amazing recipe!!! Was total success!!! The most moist, delicious chocolate cake ever!!!! Thank you so much!!!!

  18. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I’ve tried lots of other recipes which came out horrible !!! This on the other hand was delicious! Moist just as you described it . I’m so happy I finally found the best chocolate cake ! Thank you for sharing! 

  19. So this has been my go to chocolate cake for 3 years already! I still love it but trying to think of how i can change it a bit…I thought of adding plums and nuts-do you think it would work or would it get too soggy-ish?

    • I’m not sure that plums would work in the batter, Anna. I’ve not baked them in this cake before to be able to tell you the results. You can always garnish with fruit or nuts on the frosting if you wish!
      Thanks! I’m so happy you enjoy the cake! xo

  20. What is your favorite brand of cocoa and vanilla extract  that you use?

  21. I’m not a chocolate cake fan, or cake in general, but I have a lot of free time on my hands right now and wanted to give this a try to feed to my coworkers. This is one of the tastiest chocolate cakes I’ve ever had the pleasure of making. It’s quick. It’s easy. And frosting it was a real breeze. Thanks for the deliciousness I won’t be ashamed to taste test on my co-workers!

  22. Coconut oil doesn’t suit this cake. I tried it. It taste weird!

    • Hi Jerin,
      It may depend on the brand of coconut oil that you used. Some of them have a much stronger coconut flavor & aroma than other brands. I’ve baked the cake successfully with coconut oil and works as an option for those who want to use it instead of vegetable or canola oil. I hope you try the cake recipe again with one of the other oils I list in the recipe and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks! xo

  23. Very tasty moist cake. Took 30min has setting 178.

  24. Hi! I just wanna know the recipe for just a 6-inch chocolate cake? Thanks!

  25. Outstanding chocolate cake, this is the 2nd time I’m making it. My go to choc cake recipe for special occasions. 

  26. Hi Robyn,

    Thank you for presenting this recipe, I have used it and still use it as my go to recipe for home and work and I added some changes that works for me there. But at home I have used it for Vegan, Gluten Free and Sugar Free as well. It’s very versatile with changes added to it. So thank you so much! I of course acknowledge your site at work for my recipe book. Actually my boss found your recipe, but I have used this for 3 years and counting, and no one has ever been disappointed!! 😉🤗

  27. Fabulous Moist chocolate cake, best cake ever.

  28. I made this cake and it’s amazing! I want to make the cupcakes (24) for a charity event and would like to know if I can double this recipe or have to use the cupcake recipe (quantity is less). Please let me know thanks!

  29. I am really not good at baking but I promised to make a cake for a family occasion. I was looking for a simple recipe that was easy to follow. 
    I am so glad I found this recipe. The instructions were really clear and easy and I didn’t need to use any fancy equipment. 
    The cake came out delicious. A really rich moist chocolate cake. I baked it for 30 mins but wasn’t quite ready so I left it for another 5. Perfect. I used almond milk because I wanted it dairy free and coconut oil which gives the cake a really delicious hint of coconut. 
    I used the buttercream frosting recipe too which is OMG divine. The only thing is that the quantity in the frosting recipe is far too much for the 9” cake. I could have frosted two cakes. 
    So I made another batch of the cake mixture and made cupcakes. 

  30. Best cake ever!!
    So moist and tasty

  31. Hi.. what kind of sugar are you recommending to use in the recipe?

  32. Hello 🙂
    I have medium eggs in my fridge, should I use 3 eggs? 

    Thank you!

  33. Can you make this cake with out espresso powder?

  34. I may have commented already. I made this 2 years ago for a special occasion and it was to die for. I had a hankering for a chocolate cake and found this again. I had forgotten about it. It is absolutely the best!! As a momma to 6 boys it doesn’t last long haha

  35. I tried alot of recipies and this one beats them all ! I really want to thank you !

  36. I’m planning to make this cake for my son’s birthday and need a dairy-free vanilla frosting as well. Do you have any suggestions for a good one that doesn’t require any ingredients that can’t be found at the average grocery store? So many recipes call for specific vegan substitutes that just aren’t available here.

  37. Did search for chocolate cake recipes and man I am glad I came upon this gem 
    Absolutely the best chocolate cake ever! 
    I would not have believed it was this good by how thin the batter was 
    I was worried 
    Sooo good ! Thanks so much for sharing 
    This is going in my families  permanent recipe book !

  38. Hi, I plan on making this cake next weekend for a birthday party, but the boys prefer vanilla icing. Do you have a good recipe for a dairy-free vanilla frosting that I can decorate with?

    • Hi Jenn,
      I use my Classic Vanilla Buttercream frosting recipe with this Chocolate Cake and my Best Chocolate Cupcakes often.
      I’ve not personally made it dairy-free, but there is a comment left from Patsy, a pastry chef, on the Classic Vanilla Buttercream post that says the frosting turns out perfectly made as is and “vegan as well as dairy-free”.
      Hopefully you can give this a test with a dairy-free milk to make sure you like it and it turns out as you wish before time to frost the cake. I’d love to know if you give it a try and I hope the birthday party is a great one! xo

  39. Hi Robyn!  This looks amazing. Thank you!  I’m going to try try recipe for my daughter’s birthday next week.  You mentioned using almond milk or coconut milk as dairy substitutes.  Do you think Soy milk would work as well? I’m wondering if replacing the buttermilk would change the flavor much…. Thank you for your time!

    • Hi Kiersten,
      I’ve never tried this cake with soy milk, but have made it with the others mentioned. The cake is still delicious made with the other milks besides buttermilk. I hope your daughter has a wonderful birthday and that you all enjoy the cake!

  40. When omitting the espresso do you still use one cup of boiling water? 

  41. hi can you add raspberries inside of this cake

  42. I baked the cake for our weddings two years in a row. Guests were just amazed! Thank you for sharing! I added a shot of bailey’s and regular fresh bourbon vanilla to give it my touch 😊

  43. Made this with a coffee buttercream as a mocha cake. Was excellent!

  44. Made this cake yesterday and it is delicious! I plan on using the large sheet cake recipe for a birthday party in a few weeks, so I tried this one out this weekend. Delicious! It will be my go-to chocolate cake!!! The only thing I did different was – I didn’t have espresso powder, so instead of a cup of boiling water, I did 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup coffee- and heated it to boiling in the microwave!! Delicious! Thank you!!!

  45. Super easy to make, which was important because I do not bake! Turned out great, made a butter cream chocolate icing for it. Fabulous!

  46. This hands down the best chocolate cake ever!  My family has requested every family function and doesn’t matter who’s birthday, just make this cake.  It’s a very versatile and can be made with any type of frosting.  I’ve made it mocha chocolate, chocolate whip cream frosting and a cream cheese whip cream frosting…too die for.  I think though, different ovens will bake differently.  After making it a few times I found that for my gas stove I perfected at 26 min.  If you haven’t tried this recipe you must.  In fact addapinch recipes have never let me down.  I have one in the oven as we speak 😊


  47. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe! This was my first foray into a dairy-free cake, as my partner has a dairy allergy. I underbaked it a bit, as my gas oven is being ridulous (1970s, so it’s doing the best it can, lol) and I am still figuring out how to deal with the fluctuating temps, plus I am a fairly new baker and making rookie mistakes. I will make it again soon and get it right, eventually. However, still edible, this time around. Moist and total YUM. I am calling the cake Molten Chocolate Espresso Cake. 💕 Thank you so much!

  48. The cake deflated and stuck to the non-stick pan. The cake felt very grainy as well. And yes, I followed all the directions. What can help this problem? Is it the high altitude?

    My wife’s birthday was ruined. Not that it’s your fault. It is user error. Maybe I should stick to Betty Crocker.

    • Hi Jack,
      I’m so sorry your cake deflated and stuck. I’m sure that was upsetting.
      I have not had this issue and have never had the cake seem grainy as you mention. I can’t be sure what happened, but you mention high altitude and that can definitely cause a cake to deflate and adjustments usually need to be made when baking.
      I don’t live in a high altitude, but always advise readers who are baking in high altitudes to seek recommended baking adjustments for their area.
      I’m not sure if this applies, but sometimes cakes will stick if left in the cake pan too long after baking to cool.
      I do hope you give the cake another try after getting the recommended high altitude adjustments. Please wish your wife a happy belated birthday from me! Thanks!

  49. Was looking for a light cake, usually homemade recipes are dense, this will now be my go to chocolate cake, make it for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Thank you!

  50. I can attest: this is the best chocolate cake recipe ever! It’s my only go-to recipe for chocolate cake. Everyone loves the moistness and decadent chocolate taste! Thank you for this amazing recipe. Also – putting together the ingredients could not be any easier! With two little guys and birthdays every year in a household that loves chocolate cake – I am so grateful for a recipe like this! Never fails for a busy working mom who still wants to bake her boys a birthday cake 🙂

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