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 for sharing the receipe. My cake turned out just perfect. My 4 year old just couldn’t stop herself.

  2. Hello! I would like to know if it s possible to use this recipe for a roll? Thk u!!

  3. I’ve made this cake a number of times, with and without the espresso powder. It is a fabulous cake recipe. Rich chocolate flavor and wonderful texture. I generally enjoy cakes made with butter better, but this recipe is so great as is, I haven’t tried the modification with butter.

  4. I don’t have espresso powder – ok to just omit?

  5. This recipe as absolutely amazing!  Can you use the recipe for the 2 9×9 cakes to make a thicker 9×13 instead of using the 9×13 recipe?

    • Yes, you can do that Justin. On the 9×13 recipe, I do make note of that at the bottom of the recipe to do that if you prefer a thicker cake. I hope you enjoy it too! Glad you like the cake!

  6. Thank you for your recipe. Made it for my mother’s 90th birthday cake and as she likes dark chocolate topped it with a 70% cocoa chocolate ganache with mixed berry jam and whipped cream between layers. Devoured.

  7. Can I add extra espresso for a stronger flavor?

    • Hi Katie,
      I find that the amount of espresso powder in the recipe works well to enhance the richness of the chocolate. The chocolate buttercream frosting has it in it too. I hope you enjoy the cake! Thanks!

  8. Oh my my. Unbeatable flavor!

  9. This Chocolate Cake is absolutely AMAZING!!! I made this for my husbands Birthday. He really only likes teacakes but he loved it, 10 out of 10! my favourite chocolate cake recipe ever!! Thank you. X 

  10. Do you think this cake would stack well if I baked a double batch (for a big birthday party)??

  11. This really is the best chocolate cake recipe and my go-to for both cakes and cupcakes. So easy too – throw all ingredients in a mixer and mix!

  12. Are there adjustments to the ingredients for high altitude or baking at high altitude? I live at close to 6000 ft. and always have problems if the ingredients are not adjusted for altitude.

    • Hi Marie,
      Yes, you will need to make high altitude baking adjustments recommended for your altitude. This information is usually found through a local extension office or an online resource for your area. I hope you enjoy the cake! Thanks! xo

  13. Hi! I was wondering how hard it would be to slice the 2 cakes to make more layers. Do you think the cake could handle that or would it crumble? Thanks!!

    • You would probably just have to chill the layers. Don try to cut them while at room temp. Just wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30min or so. It’ll make it much easier to cut.

  14. This looks great! How long should I bake using a bundt pan? Thank you!

  15. Just like the buttercream frosting … the name is right ..absolutely “THE BEST” chocolate cake ever. Moist and delicious!!!

  16. Hello,

    Would I be able to replace the flour with coconut flour? So i don’t buy any more gluten free flour


  17. Hi Robyn,
    I super love this recipe. I have baked this countless of time and we love it!

    I have a question.
    For Baking Powder, do I use the regular one or the Double Action?

    When do I know which one to use?
    Thank you for your advise.


  18. can you plz say how many cake pops wil dis cake make

  19. The cake did not rise too much, not sure why

    • I’m sorry it didn’t rise, Dina.
      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

  20. Hello, your cake looks wonderful, can’t wait to make it. I was wondering, can you use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour?

  21. ive made this cake before, for a co-workers birthday-it was soo moist, best chocolate cake ive ever had,, lots of compliments on this.. i remember seeing another comment someone said instead of the boiling water, use hot brewed strong coffee instead of the water. thats what i did was very good 🙂

  22. how many calories/ kj

  23. Once it has the icing how long can it be stored ?
    Fridge or room temperature?

  24. I will be making this today for my son’s 16th birthday (he loooves chocolate!) Can I use instant coffee in place of espresso powder? Thanks, Nancy

  25. Thank you for this recipe. It’s my ‘go to’ chocolate cake recipe. I have been using it for many years .

  26. Looks great. I can’t wsit to make.  Making for thanksgiving. In the cake recipe you say 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa “powder” but in the frosting recipe you say unsweetened cocoa (word “powder” eliminated). I’m assuming it’s the same thing. Thank you!

  27. This was an excellent, moist, easy chocolate cake.  It turned out perfectly, as written.  Stayed fresh for days under a cake dome.

  28. Hi. this looks delicious. I only have 2 8 inch round pans- can i use these in this recipe?
    Thanks much

  29. 2 cups granulated sugar or icing sugar?

  30. I made this for my book club meeting last night. It was a big hit. That 11 gay men dived in on that cake within minutes of my arrival and then went back for seconds says a lot!

    I froze some cherry cordials, then put them in foil, pounded them with a mallet and then put that in the cake center with the chocolate buttercream. It really added a nice flavor. Next time I’m using more.

    Great recipes, thanks!

  31. Hello! Am I able to use 8×8 pans? would it change anything?

    • Hi V,
      I use my 9 inch pans for this recipe, so I’m not sure of the exact time, but if you use these pans, it may add some baking time to your cake. Just check at bake time given in the recipe and add a few minutes if needed. Thanks!

  32. How would using a 9″x9″ square pan instead of a 9″ round pan change the recipe?

  33. We love this cake recipe. I really do think it’s the best one out there. We double the salt as we love saltier chocolate. When we have time, we also make Swiss buttercream frosting instead of traditional buttercream. It has a much smoother texture and makes this a truly luxurious cake.

  34. I would love to try this recipe with the supreme sponge flour but it’s a self raising flour. How would I use it in this recipe.Please help. This cake it’s a really beautiful recipe always make it. 

  35. My mom is not a chocolate fan by any means, but I made this cake and she actually ate more than one piece and raves about it! So thank you for this recipe. You made it easy to understand for a girl who was very weary about her baking skills lol. Now I’m going to make it for my co-workers, since I have to work this thanksgiving, at least we’ll have bomb cake haha.

    • I love this, Faith! I’m so glad you’ve converted your Mom to a chocolate cake lover! I hope you and your co-workers enjoy it and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! xo

  36. Do you have a video for this?
    Or can you send me the photos of the utensils n mixer that you have used? I am new to this so 🙂

  37. I love this recipe. It really is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had. I also used the frosting recipe listed but I cut the sugar almost in half. It was the bomb….a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  38. I made this recipe for the first time yesterday and although the cake itself is very tasty it clung mightily to the baking pans and by the time I could get them out, they were both wrecked. All was salvaged with buttercream frosting (the glue lol) and whipped cream to help disguise imperfections – but in the end it was still a lumpy awkward looking cake that tasted great.
    If anyone has any suggestions on how they successfully retrieved their cakes from the pans I’d be grateful! And yes, I did butter and flour the pans even though they were non stick.

    • I’m sorry your cakes stuck to the pans, Sara. I’m sure that was frustrating.
      If the cake pans were prepared well prior to pouring in the cake batter, another reason cakes sometimes stick is how they are cooled. If cakes stay in pans too long and are not removed as directed in the recipe instructions, they can sometimes stick. I’m not sure if that happened with your cakes, but wanted to mention in case it could help you.
      Thanks so much!

    • You can also try using parchment paper in the bottom of your cake pans as well. 

  39. Is it okay to use a product that is coconut oil and ghee already mixed together with this cake?

    • Hi Brianna,
      I’ve not used such a product, so I can’t answer specifically. It sounds like it should work okay in theory.

  40. Would you know the weight of whole baked cake without frosting? I’m trying to do a cost analysis for this recipe and i forgot to weigh the cake before cutting and packaging it in smaller portions with frosting. Thanks for the help and for this amazing recipe!

  41. I kept the cakes in their pans for 10 mins after cooking and both cakes spilt into pieces on the cooling rack. Aaah! I’m hoping once they cool and I ice the cakes they will stay together. It’s my husbands birthday today and I’ve made the cakes for his party tonight.

    • Hi Belinda,
      Happy birthday to your husband! So sorry that they didn’t come out of the pans easily for you. You’ll definitely want to be certain that the cake pans are well prepared with either nonstick baking spray, like Baker’s Joy, or well buttered and floured so that the cakes easily release. If your house is very warm, you may also want to be sure that the cakes aren’t ‘sweating’ in their pans as they are cooling. You’d want to place them on a wire rack if so. xo

  42. Hi, this cake looks amazing! Just a quick question; can I use regular milk or does it have to be buttermilk?

  43. I made this recipe and I can taste the baking soda. Is that normal? And I follwed the recipe.

  44. Awesome recipe, it really is moist without being too sweet, I would recommend using whipped cream and a little mint essence in the middle, and some icing on the top. If you don’t have any cream, fresh raspberries in the middle really cut through the sweetness. My go-to chocolate cake recipe!

  45. Hello, do you know a UK version of this? e.g. grams

    Thank you so much, Becky

  46. I’ve lost count of how many times i’ve Made this cake now (in various forms). It’s always perfect, always a crowd pleaser. It’s also one of the easiest cakes to make. 
    I’m making it tonight for my friend’s daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. She ordered it heart shaped and covered with smarties just as it was at my daughter’s birthday in September. I only have 1 heart shaped pan so half the mixture sits on the side for about 40 minutes and it still works wonderfully. Another time I split it and did it in 4 layers…perfect. 
    I don’t change anything in the recipe. I use full fat milk and sunflower oil. As I live in Italy I get the best espresso powder….this is definitely my go to for any celebration. 

  47. I’ve made this recipe several times! It’s always a hit!! I even use a bit more espresso powder because it makes it so much more chocolate-y! Lol! And I also use a straight bundt cake pan! My mother absolutely loves it!! 

  48. Hi
    Can I use milk instead of butter milk and is espresso really needed? I don’t have at the moment. 
    Also planning to make them on two 8inch pans.. will that work? 

    It looks delicious:)

    • You can omit the espresso. You can use milk or buttermilk as well, Nabeela.
      The recipe is sized for two 9 inch pans, they stand the chance of running over in the oven if you use all the batter. If you do use the 8 inch pans, just make sure to not fill too full and it may take a few extra minutes to bake. Thanks!

  49. Can I substitute melted chocolate in place of the 3/4 cup of cocoa powder?

  50. Everyone loved this cake at our Thanksgiving celebration! I followed the recipe and used buttermilk. Thank you for posting this delicious easy to follow recipe!

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