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. I’m not at all a ‘believer’ in recipes, normally. But I saw this today and thought “why not?”. Wow, it is, without an iota of doubt, the richest and best chocolate cake I’ve ever baked! And I’ve been baking for more than 20 years! My kids are deliriously happy with it and I’m sure my colleagues will be too tomorrow! Thanks for a lovely and surprisingly amazing 42nd birthday present! 😊

  2. How deep will each 9″ cake be, please, once it is cooked?

  3. I’m not at all a ‘believer’ in recipes, normally. But I saw this today and thought “why not?”. Wow, it is, without an iota of doubt, the richest and best chocolate cake I’ve ever baked! And I’ve been baking for more than 20 years! My kids are deliriously happy with it and I’m sure my colleagues will be too tomorrow! Thanks for a lovely and surprisingly amazing 42nd birthday present! 😊

  4. I made this recipe, and I’ve to say the cake was delicious and the texture was perfect. The only thing that I would change is the amount of sugar to 1 and 1/2 cups, because it’s a little bit too sweet for my taste.

    Other than that I think it was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.

  5. Truly, the best, hands down. I didn’t have espresso powder, so I substituted 1 cup of hot coffee for the water in the recipe. Absolutely perfect. Got so many compliments. Everyone begged for another.. it’s a keeper. Look no further

  6. Best Chocolate Cake Recipe ever ! …wow ! …I just made it to go with supper tonight 💞Thanks for sharing your recipe 😉🎉

  7. Hi there! Delicious cake! Thank you for the recipe.

    One comment that may be helpful for others who are thinking about upping the chocolate factor. DO NOT ADD CHOCOLATE CHIPS.

    I even coated mine in flour- but since the batter is so thin they sunk to the bottom, burned a little, and kept the cake from coming out of the pan. I’m not even mad since I got to eat the jumbled chocolatey mess… while making another one :}

    Second comment- prepare for the worst case scenario folks! Things that can go wrong will, at the most inopportune time. Have a plan B 😉

    • Thanks so much for sharing your tip! This is a very thin cake batter as you mention, Sam, so that’s definitely something to consider.
      I am happy you enjoy the cake – and you can always add chocolate chips to the top of the frosted cake! Thanks Sam!

  8. The cake turned out so good with your simple recipe. I baked a cake for the first time in my life and I already feel like a pro. Thank you so much. May you keep coming up with beautiful recipes like these. More power to you!!

  9. This made such a fantastic birthday cake! I followed the cake and chocolate buttercream frosting recipes exactly, but my husband loves chocolate with peanut butter, so I added a layer of peanut butter frosting in between the layers and sprinkled the top with crushed butterfingers. It was amazingly moist with wonderful flavors, not too sweet, just perfect, and everyone wanted more! I’m so excited to have a go-to cake and frosting recipe now. Thanks!

  10. Hi there! I was wondering how much this cake rises? If I was to use other sized cake pans like 8 inch or 6 inch how full should I fill the pans?

  11. Hi, can I separate the batter into three 6 inch pans? 😮 Also, should I use Dutch cocoa powder or natural cocoa powder for this recipe? Thank you

  12. I’ve been making this cake for years, and it truly is the best chocolate cake ever. I literally hate chocolate, but I love this cake. Tonight, I had extra batter. I didn’t want to throw it away (because that’s just crazy), but I also didn’t feel like lining a pan and baking it. I thought maybe this would work in a mug in the microwave. IT DID!!! I microwaved some in a coffee mug for 45 seconds at 60% and then I think 20-30 seconds on 70%. The texture wasn’t as amazing as the oven baked version, but it was delicious. Do yourself a favor. Save some cake batter, put it in a mug, and “bake it.”

  13. My Fiance was in a day dream chewing this cake along with the butter cream icing!! He is in love!!! My entire family loves this recipe!! From Detroit!!

    Btw used almond milk instead of milk
    Olive oil instead of coconut
    Cocoa nibs instead of espresso
    And apple sauce instead of eggs


  14. Love this recipe! I use it all the time. I was wondering would it work the same as a vanilla cake? Soo the same just no coco powder.. Thanks in advance

  15. I’m sure that i followed the recipe correctly but i replaced with gluten free flour and almond milk. However, my cake is not raising enough and it cracks when i remove it from the pan :(( Helppp!!!

    • Hi Joanne,
      I’m sorry that your cake didn’t rise as it should have! I’m sure that was frustrating, so I’ll see if I can help with some ideas.
      As I mention in my post, I’ve tested and had great success with making this gluten free with Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour.
      I can’t be certain what happened for the cake to crack, but some reasons can be from fluctuating oven temps caused by opening and closing the oven door to look at the cake while it’s baking. Another reason could be from an oven that is too hot. Sometimes ovens need to be recalibrated if temperature is off.
      I hope this helps and that you have better luck with the cake the next time. Thanks so much!

  16. Hey is espresso powder
    Nescafe espresso instant cofee

    • Hi Kat,
      I don’t use that product or instant coffee. In the baking section or online, you will look for a product called espresso powder. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, I’ve purchased several times online. Hope this helps! Enjoy! Thanks!

    • I make this cake all the time and never use espresso powder – instead of boiling water I use hot coffee.

  17. Thanks for a great recipe! I made this yesterday, for a friend’s 60th birthday, and it was a fabulous success. I used coconut oil and spelt flour and it was wonderful.

  18. I’ve made this recipe 2 times already it’s the best chocolate cake ever,and also very easy to make.
    Love it.

  19. I agree that this cake is delicious, but I would say it is a bit TOO moist. It came out so soft that it was hard to apply frosting without breaking it into crumbs. If I make this again, I will only add 1/2 cup boiling water at the end. 

  20. My husband is very picky about chocolate cake. I made this for his birthday and he absolutely loved it! 

  21. Delicious, rich moist cake. So easy and quick too!

  22. Looking forward to baking this! Just wanted to ask, if I wanted to make this a choc orange cake would i just substitute the espresso for orange zest? Thanks xx

    • I’ve not made this recipe with orange zest, Arusa, so I can’t say. The espresso powder enhances the richness of the chocolate and does not add a coffee flavor. Hope this helps! Thanks!

  23. My cakes are rising!! Redid this recipe straight away and it happened again! Not only did they not rise the second time but cracked revieling the cake tin’s base!! How do I make it rise?

  24. Does it work well with a 9×13 pan?

  25. This cake is lovely!!! My family devoured it!

    I was wondering how many batches of this recipe would I need to make 2 12×18 layers?

  26. I made half a recipe of this in a 9×9 – it was moist, fluffy, and stinkin perfect. I have dreams about this cake.

  27. Tried recipe with all ingredients except espresso and turned out moist and delicious. Worked amazing thanks will save recipe

  28. Will this work in a 15 x 11 – 3” pan? If not what do I need to do to make it work?

  29. This recipe is awesome even without the espresso powder! Thanks for sharing

  30. This recipe is awesome!!! Even without the espresso powder! Thanks for sharing

  31. Can I add hot coffee as well or will this change the texture and taste of the cake? thank you

    • Hi Diana,
      I don’t make it with coffee. I use the espresso powder as it enhances the richness of the chocolate and doesn’t taste like coffee. The boiling water makes the cake super moist. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

  32. Hi! I love this chocolate cake and everyone I’ve ever made it for has loved it as well.  thank you so much for sharing it.  It gives a lot of joy 🙂   Do you have any suggestions for using gluten-free flour alternative?  I know you mentioned you made a GF version, which flour did you use?

    Many Thanks!!

  33. I just made this cake and it is simple to make and delicious! In my opinion it even passes other cake recipes that claim to be “the best”. It’s super moist and delicious. I’m especially amazed at how simple it is to make. I’m definitely going to make this again and others will be asking for the recipe!

  34. This is my Thanksgiving go to cake. Can it be made in a springform pan… I would like to use an alternative cream filling that will also compliment your chocolate butter cream  frosting. Any suggestions.

  35. hi robyn,
    isn’t five cups sugar too sweet for your chocolate buttercream

  36. This recipe is SO GOOD! I have made this many times, and is never a fail. My only good chocolate cake recipe! I have also tried it without the espresso. I recommend using it, as it is a compliment to the chocolate.

  37. This is the best cake I have ever made. My grandson said for his birthday he wanted a homemade chocolate cake from scratch as his birthday cake this year. If you are a Mimi, Grandma, Nanny or what ever when your grand kids say they want something you try to give it to them. Well long story short he absolutely loved this cake. It’s truly the best cake you will ever put on your mouth. 😋👏🏻👍

  38. I made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday and everyone LOVED it. I got so many comments on it, and the whole room went silent as they ate it. (they’re really chatty people)

    They loved how it was moist, but not heavy. My father in law, not usually big on chocolate cake, asked me for seconds. I have to make it again for christmas dinner with my in-laws!

    So yeah, this cake lives up to the hype. Go make it if you’re still somehow in doubt.

    Thanks so much for this recipe!

  39. Not sure what I’m doing wrong but the cake will not rise. I’ve followed the recipe twice and both times the entire center is flat!

    • Hi Rebecca,
      I am sorry your cake didn’t rise. Mine always rises just fine, so I can’t be sure of the exact reason, but here are some common reasons for that problem.
      Out of date, or stale, baking soda/baking powder can cause cake to not rise – make sure yours is fresh.
      Beating the cake mixture – Make certain to follow the exact recipe instructions for beating the cake mixture – times, speeds, etc. to make sure that air is beaten into the recipe as per the instructions. Also make sure to incorporate the eggs as described in the recipe instructions.
      The oven temperature is also an important factor. If the temperature is not as required in the recipe – either from an oven that doesn’t heat to and maintain the correct temp, or the oven door being opened and closed too often while the cake is cooking (temp drops every time door is opened) – the cake may not rise as it should or cake may fall.
      I hope some of these possibilities may help you and that you enjoy the cake! Thanks! xo

  40. I am planning on making cake dairy free and gluten free. Can you make icing dairy free too? What do you recommend?

    PS I made the cake before and it was outstanding! Thank you.

  41. Hi. This looks great and I was going to try this for my son’s birthday this week. Do you think it would stand up to some sculpting or would it be too moist?

    • Hi Peter,
      I’ve not sculpted this cake before so I can’t definitely say how it would turn out. This is a very moist cake if that helps. I hope your son has a wonderful birthday! Thanks!

  42. This is my go to recipe. It is one of the BEST chocolate cakes I have ever made. I recommend using a really good Dutch cocoa powder, like Penzies Dutch Cocoa.

  43. Has anyone made a successful and most accurate conversation of this into the metric system? When i search 1 or 2 cups of x into grams, the variance can range by up to 30grams! That’s a big difference.

  44. In the past three days, I’ve baked this cake 3 times perfecting it each time as the first batch was a failure (on my part.) Today the final batch was perfect, and not gonna lie, the first time I actually succeeded at baking a cake (from scratch) ever hahaha. The recipe and methods are so simple and it makes such a beautiful cake. Thanks for your recipe!! I am treasuring it and using it for the rest of my life hehe :))

  45. Hi Robyn, If I were to put Baileys, should I take off some of the oil or the hot water? Thanks

  46. Hi can you tell me what the recipe is in grams not cups please 

  47. I’m looking to make this into a large sheet cake but the link just sent me to the same recipe. Do you have the correct link for the sheet cake? Thanks 

  48. Will one batch of your chocolate frosting, fill and cover this cake. As want it to look like ur picture or should i do double.
    So excited about baking this friday.

  49. i made it and loved it.
    my best chocolate cake recipe.

  50. Hi! this looks delicious! i’m going to try it tomorrow, but does it work as a bundt cake? if so, how would i modify it? 

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