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. plain milk OR buttermilk – either one? I just want to confirm before I get too far. Thanks.

  2. Hi, I have made this cake a few times now and it always turns out moist and huge!

    I love this cake, it is the best ever chocolate cake that I have ever made and it is so easy!


  3. Made your vanilla and loved it so much that I had to make your chocolate! I was not disappointed

  4. This cake and the buttercream frosting are without a doubt the best in the world. I made this a few years ago for my sister’s birthday, and everybody devoured it. My mom, who isn’t a big fan of cake or frosting (she especially doesn’t care for chocolate), couldnt stop eating the leftover frosting. There seriously wasn’t an ounce of cake or buttercream left by the end of the night. The other day, I told my fiance about this cake and he’s requesting it for his birthday next month. I’m just as excited to eat it again as he is to try it for the first time!

    • I’m so excited that your family all enjoyed the cake (and that you won over your non chocolate cake loving Mom!). I hope you fiancee loves it just as much! xo

  5. Fantastic!  My son requested chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream for his 7th birthday.  Made him a black forest style cake using this recipe for the chocolate cake part. It was a hit!!!  Will definitely make it again. Have since found a few more things on your website to try!!  Thanks. 

    • Happy birthday to your son! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake and love that you used it in your black forest style cake! It sounds scrumptious! xo

  6. This cake is just amazing. Thank you so much! I made the full recipe in just one 

  7. My family doesn’t love coffee like I do so the first time I made this it wasn’t love for them. I’m getting ready to make it again and am just going to omit the espresso powder in both the cake and icing. Is that going to ruin it?

  8. Quick query…are you able to use Stevia in place of the sugar???…and if so, what would the correct ratio be???

    • Hi Robert,
      I’ve not used stevia in this recipe so I can’t tell you from personal experience. I’m sorry I’m not of more help to you on that!

  9. I came across your recipe in searching for the most chocolate cake. I made it for my son birthday. I frost the cake with chocolate mocha butter cream and glaze with chocolate ganache. Delicious and moist, definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  10. The cake and frosting are THE BEST! Thanks for the recipe. Just wondering, do you refrigerate, or is the cake and frosting ok left on the counter at room temperature after serving/cutting?

  11. Hi Robyn, may I ask what makes the cake moist? If I replace the buttermilk with just milk, will the cake be as moist? I would really love and looking forward to try this recipe. Thank you.

    • Hi Amelia,
      Whole milk is delicious in this cake as well as buttermilk. Make certain you use the boiling water as instructed in the recipe and the cake will be super moist. The cake batter will be thin due to the boiling water added, but the result is delicious and moist! I give some tips and discuss this a bit more in the blog post. Enjoy! xo

  12. Best chocolate cake I ever made! Doubled the recipe for a large sheet cake and everyone loved it!

  13. Hello,

    I bought a Wilton 11 by 15 regular cake pan. How do I adjust your cake recipe and cooking time to make sure that I have enough batter? Thank you!

    • Hi Brenda –
      I have a link on toward the end of my writing to a Large Chocolate Sheet Cake with this Best Chocolate Cake recipe. You can still use the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on my round Best Chocolate Cake, but this gives you the instructions to adapt for a Large Sheet Cake. Hope this helps! Thanks!

  14. Absolutely wonderful!

  15. Can I use self raising flour instead if all purpose flou

  16. Can I use self raising flour instead

  17. Most delicious chocolate cake I ever tasted 

  18. Hi! I was wondering how far ahead I can bake this cake (with the frosting in it) and how to store it (counter, fridge, freezer)? Many thanks!

    • You can make the cake a day or two ahead of serving and leave out on a covered cake plate. No need to refrigerate the cake.
      I give details for the best way to freeze the cake at the bottom of the recipe.
      Thanks so much!

  19. Im going to make this!

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! It really is amazing! consistency and taste are all perfect!

  21. My cake also deflated and I’ve never had one do this. I however am a new baker to the Denver area so I’m sure the altitude had a ton to due with it because the batter was delicious!!!  I am going to I try again 🙂

  22. Hello! Does this recipe make enough for 3 x 6″ pans? Also do you think the chocolate buttercream icing will be enough to ice it?

  23. Made this cake on Saturday for my sons birthday… with vanilla buttercream instead of the chocolate.
    It was great!!  The cake was so moist, everyone loved it. Will definitely make again! 
    The tops of my layers did dip a bit while cooking but I trimmed the tops for layering.

  24. Hello,

    I need to adapt this recipe to be dairy free & gluten free. Do I just use 2 cups of gluten free flour instead of the normal flour & replace the buttermilk with soya milk? 

    Thank you if you could reply asap

    • Hi Alison,
      I’ve given details in the blog post about how to make these type substitutions to the recipe. Both of these recipe modifications are given. I hope you enjoy the cake! Thanks!

  25. Original recipe? Can we have the original recipe from like two years ago? It was so perfect 

    • I’ve not changed this recipe, Amanda.
      I’ve added optional modifications in the blog post for those that need to make it dairy free, gluten free, egg free, etc. but I certainly haven’t altered this cake – it’s one of my very favorites! Thanks!

  26. I have made this cake a couple of times now and it is by far the best chocolate cake ever. I made it again today and again PERFECTION. Only problem is it is gone by one day. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes.

  27. Made this cake for a mates birthday it was just DELICIOUS made it the day before very moist and the butter cream icing was fabulous defidently make it again 

  28. Question for you… would this be good for decorating?? My sons birthday is coming… and I need a cake that will tolerate lots of icing and fondant

  29. I’ve made this chocolate cake twice now following the instructions as indicated and this has come out perfect and moist each time. I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking powder. I also place a glass dish with water in it in the oven before preheating it whenever I bake too.

    I also made your vanilla cake for the first time, and even though my edges were a little dry, the center of it was really good, not as moist as the chocolate, but still very good and way better than a box.

    Thank you so much for sharing;)

  30. Can this recipe be used to make cupcakes and can you add the espresso powder to the boiling water?

  31. Hi there,

    How can I substitute the recipe for coffee instead of espresso powder? Can’t seem to find it anywhere and i need to bake this cake ASAP! Thanks! 

  32. Hi! Can i use brown sugar and olive oil instead?

  33. I do not have a stand mixer, will the hand mixer work too?

  34. Best chocolate cake I have made. It is so rich and moist…great for all the chocolate lovers.

  35. Ok. So I am an accomplished baker. I’ve made many a wonderful chocolate cakes in my day. But I have to proclaim. This recipe really is THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER!! Made this for the first time for party at work this week for bosses day. I made it as a half a sheet cake. **(And a little side note: As a sheet cake – it was done & baked to perfection in 20 minutes!) I only made very subtle changes to the recipe. I made homemade buttermilk (using half & half and lemon juice) and used half & half in the icing instead of regular milk. I also used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for the cake and the icing – and added extra espresso powder – as I love what it does for chocolate cake. And WOW!! This honestly is the best cake and icing I have ever made! The cake is Super moist! Rich! Heavenly! The icing is rich without being overly sweet…and oh so creamy!! (I made my husband whip it till his arm fell off!! LOL). My co-workers DEVOWERED the sheet cake! And the compliments are still coming days after it’s gone! I already have requests for birthdays and upcoming parties to make this cake! Thank you, Thank you for this divine recipe!! It took it’s place in my recipe stash as my GO TO chocolate cake recipe – now taking the place of a recipe I used for years! Also note for those wondering – I made the cake batter without using a mixer – just by hand…but did use hand mixer for the icing.

  36. I tried this recipe and it’s amazing, best chocolate cake ever, made it for my daughter’s 23rd birthday today, sure she’ll love it, thanks for posting!!

  37. Just curious. Does this cake torte well? What could I do to make it more sturdy for making a 4 layered cake? Does it travel well?

    I made it once and it was delicious. However it was very soft and somewhat delicate.

  38. This is such a delicious cake! I cover mine with chocolate ganache instead of butter cream and it is a total success! I was wondering why you suggest that we bake it in 2 different pans. I bake mine in one single pan. Does it make any difference? Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

    • I’m so glad you enjoy the cake, Cris! Ganache is delicious with it as well the buttercream frosting.
      The recipe is for a 2 layer cake, using two 9 inch cake pans.
      I do have links within my writing for other size cakes where I tell how to modify this recipe – such as my 9×13 inch or my Large Sheet Cake sizes.
      I’m not sure what size pan you are using that you are using only one (as you mention) with this recipe, but I wouldn’t recommend using only one of the size round cake pans called for in my recipe.
      I hope this helps! Thanks Cris!

  39. This cake looks great I’m going to cook it sunday.. I live at 7300 feet, any recommendations for adjustments

    • Hi David,
      You will want to follow any high altitude adjustments for your area – they should be available through a local extension service website or via online information for your particular area.
      I hope you enjoy the cake! Thanks!

  40. I made this cake a couple of times. It’s very good and sort of a remake of my mom’s famous crazy cake. One question, each layer is small and only about an 1 1/2 tall. Your picture looks much bigger. Any idea why mine didn’t rise as much?


    • Hi Joan,
      I’m so happy to hear you enjoy this! I’ve not heard of a crazy cake before. 😉
      As far as it not rising as much, I can’t be sure why it didn’t rise as much as mine other than it could be a difference in flours we used.
      Thanks so much! xo

  41. Hi, tried this recipe today and the batter was kind of liquidy. it is in the oven for 40 minutes and the cake is still like batter, no where near solid. I followed the recipe to the tee. What could have I done different?

    • Hi Vivi,
      The cake batter will be very thin due to the boiling water ingredient.
      I’m not sure why it’s taking longer for your cake to bake.
      If you’ve baked in the sized pans and at the temp given in the recipe instructions, it could be possible that the your oven temperature may be slightly off, but I can’t be certain of that.
      Something else that causes the temperature to drop is opening the oven door while the cake is baking as the temperature drops quite a bit each time the door is opened.
      I hope some of this helps you to find what may have happened, Vivi.

  42. How can I adjust this for cupcakes?

    I’ve made a cake with this recipe before and it turned out well. But when I tried to use this recipe for cupcakes all of the cupcakes sank in the middle.

  43. I am never someone to review recipes; however, I religiously look through them before trying a recipe. The fact that I am taking time to do this speaks volumes to the quality of your recipe. I made both this cake and used the white cake recipe for cupcakes today for my son’s second birthday. This chocolate cake made an excellent construction cake but more importantly was raved about for it’s flavor. I referred almost everyone to your site. I think what makes the biggest difference in your recipes is the time you gave taken to detail technique. The high speed blend between wet and dry ingredients on frosting is a game changer. Thank you for wonderful recipes!

    • This means so much to me to read, NRock! Thank you so much for your kind words. I want to share what I find works best, so I’m glad to hear that it helped you! Thank you so very much!!! xo

    I fill mine with fresh raspberries! And ice as your recipe!
    I make it for my Grand Son now! And will be my one and ONLY go to Chocokate Cake!
    I am called NaeNae by my grand son. So I call this Cake, ChocoNaeNae! All my cake names have my name attached to them here!!
    NanaNaeNae, HummingNaeNaeBird:)
    I have spent months baking lots of chocolate cakes to find the Best and I finally found it! It’s just Beautiful, beautiful, delicious! And I only started eating Cake again after 35 years! I’ve turned Fifty years of age and I’m cutting loose:)!!!!!🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂

    • I love this comment, NaeNae! Thanks so much for sharing it with me!!! I’m so happy you like the cake and enjoy baking it and sharing with your grandson! The best memories!!! Thanks!

  45. Hi Robyn,

    Can I use only one 9inch round cake and just cut it horizontally to make it into two? If yes, how many mintues do I need to put it in the oven? Thank you. 

    • Hi Angela,
      You will need to use two 9 inch cake pans because the recipe is sized for that. I’m afraid you might have cake batter run over in the oven if you try to use only one pan.
      Also, this cake is so moist, I’m not sure how it will do to slice horizontally. I’ve never tried that as I always make two cake layers as per the recipe. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

  46. The chocolate cake recipe is amazing just adjusted the sugar to 1 cup

  47. I was on a mission for the right chocolate cake. The recipes I tried were either to dense or dry. I came across this and the picture caught my eye. I made this over the weekend and received rave reviews. It was so moist and tender. My only question is, will it hold under fondant? I was too scared to used it as a two tiered cake but I made sure to put a strong support. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. 

    • Hi Simone,
      I’m so happy you enjoy the cake too!
      I’ve not personally covered this cake in a fondant, so I can’t speak to the results, but there may be comments from other readers who have used it. Hopefully some other readers who’ve used fondant will comment here as well.
      Thanks! xo

    • Hi Simone. 
      That’s exactly my concern.
      Can you please share if you have tried fondant icing on this cake. I’m planning to use this recipe for my daughters birthday cake tomorrow. Don’t want the cake to dismantle itself if I use fondant.


  48. Thank you so much for publishing this recipe! This is the BEST chocolate cake recipe ever and I will never use a different one haha. I love it so much, it’s so simple and easy to make! I love making this cake for my family and friends and they love it as well. It defiantly is moist and soft, making it so perfect and delicious!

  49. The cake was delicious and moist and sinful. Every crumb went in a flash

  50. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’ve substituted the flour for gluten free & used unsweetened  soy milk for the buttermilk but the cake has a bad taste. 

    Do you have any idea what is causing it. I need a gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake. 

    Thank you 

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