The Best Chocolate Cake

The Best Chocolate Cake is combines cocoa and coffee to create a chocolate lover’s dream. The rich buttercream frosting makes it perfect!

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We’re a family that loves to double down on chocolate. Peanut butter is a favorite, too, and my No Bake Cookies combine both with oatmeal.

But since there was a birthday, I felt like I really needed cake. Deep, dark, chocolate cake.

For birthdays, we have to do it up right by making my version of cake bliss. But, as you may have caught on at some point by reading MBA, I have a little bit of a multi-tasking problem.

My family enjoys watching me flit from one thing to another like I’m their own personal reality show for entertainment.

They love to point out when my missing spatula can be found at the computer desk, or my phone in the pantry, and helpfully letting me know that the oven timer has dinged at least 15 times.

I also like to do things in excess – you know a little mound of frosting will never do in this household.

I need to swirl on a pile of it on top, and then top it off with ganache just for the fun of it. So when I organize birthday parties – I of course go a little overboard.

When we’re talking frosting, is there anything better than indulgent, deep, delicious chocolate frosting? I’m going to go out on a limb and declare that no, no there is not.

I started my chocolate cake adventure by baking this cake – twice. Twice because I was mixing it while on the phone. Only to realize after it had baked that I left out a full cup of sugar and all of the vegetable oil.

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake will become your favorite decadent dessert. Sinfully amazing!

I think you can imagine how well that turned out: i.e., not at all.

The struggle is real. I cannot multitask to save my life.

Recipe fails don’t happen that often around here, but when they do, boy, are they spectacular!

I quickly whipped it up again, this time focusing my full attention on the process. The cake turned out beautifully. Light and fluffy cake, with the ALLLLLLLL the chocolate flavor. That’s what I’m talking about!

I quickly frosted it while preparing the other gazillion components of the meal. Thankfully, frosting a cake is a much more forgiving process.

You’ll never believe this. After all the feasting, no one had room for cake – in fact, we left for the night without busting into song over lit candles.

So – a cake that was never meant to be blogged is here today simply because I made too much food (aaaand we’re right back to doing things in excess).

This cake is dark, moist, rich and incredibly decadent. Seriously, it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted.

Green Mountain Coffee’s Vermont Country Blend blended amazingly well with the cocoa to create the most intense and delicious chocolate cake that I have ever tasted.

It’s the perfect sort of cake for a birthday or a Tuesday. Make sure to enjoy it with a very large glass of ice cold milk – or coffee!

For an updated version of this chocolate cake recipe, be sure to check out my Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake.

The Best Chocolate Cake

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (450 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (224 grams)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (75 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (240 mL)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee (250 mL) (I used Green Mountain Coffee’s Vermont Country Blend)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (118 mL)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  2. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin.
  3. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  6. Frost as desired. I used a simple and delicious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life. One batch was perfect for this layered chocolate cake.

Notes:

  • The Black Cocoa from King Arthur Flour is optional - it simply provides a great depth of flavor and color to the chocolate cake.
  • This cake also pairs beautifully with a simple chocolate ganache.
  • The coffee really brings out the depth of the chocolate (you won't even taste the coffee at all!), but if you really don't want to use it, feel free to substitute water.
  • This recipe will make about 24 to 36 cupcakes. Bake at 350 degrees between 20 and 30 minutes.
  • Get tips on high altitude baking.
Recipe adapted from Hershey's Black Magic Cake

1,403 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake”

  1. Marie Noelle — January 20, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Hi Jamie,

    Am about to try this mouthwatering chocolate cake today, what can i use instead of buttermilk? Or can i completely leave it out of the recipe?
    Thanks.

    • Jamie — January 20th, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Hi, Marie! You can use regular milk if you like. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Ajenna — January 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Hi…
    I make the same recipe …but I got mine on from the Hershey’s cocoa box.
    Wow …did u contribute it?
    Instead of coffee boiling water and for buttermilk usual milk is provided on their box.

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Hi, Ajenna! I know the Hershey’s recipe is a classic and goes back a long ways, but I would have loved to have contributed it!

  3. Shushanik — January 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Hi, is the chocolate buttercream frosting also what you use in the cake between the two layers? And if yes, does the amount you gave in recipe suffice for both inside and outside covering?

    I also wanna know if you separated the mixed stuff in 2 pans or you made two of them? 
    Thanks a lot!

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Shushanik! The buttercream recipe listed in the post is perfect for a two layer cake, and goes around the cake and between the layers. I’m not sure I understand your second question, but if you need more help, let me know!

  4. Ruhina — January 21, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Hi.. beautiful recipe :)
    Ive got to make an almost 15 pound rectangular cake. Was wondering whether this one would do? Will it hold up to cream/ganache topping? And should I double or triple the recipe?
    Thanks :)

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Hi, Ruhina! I have to say I’ve never weighed this cake, but I would say five people could eat one pound of cake. I think you would have to do more than double or triple the recipe. I’m giving this advice very reluctantly because I’ve never tried converting this cake to such a large one as you would like to make. Let me know if this helps you at all. Good luck!

  5. Lili — January 22, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Hi , can I use regular milk instead of butter milk?

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 11:59 am

      You definitely can, Lili! I hope you enjoy it!

  6. Charlene — January 22, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Hey there,
    I was just wondering do you use hot coffee? Or let it cool down?

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Hi, Charlene! Let the coffee cool before you add it. I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Teresa — January 22, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Can I use Bailey’s instead of coffee?

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Hi, Teresa! I’ve never tried Baileys, but I think you should give it a try. Let me know how you like it!

  8. Deidre — January 23, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Hi, so I’m on my second try with the cake the first time i put to much cake batter into the pan which overflowed… now I need about 5 min left to bake the 2nd one and the middle is sinking in… I substituted the buttermilk for 2% milk.. do you think it can be that?
    TIA
    Deidre

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hi, Deidre! I don’t think the buttermilk would have affected it in the way you describe. I really appreciate you give it a another try! Did you enjoy the taste?

  9. Shanita Harry — January 23, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Hi…I just want to know if the coffee must be hot or cooled off
    Thank you
    Could I use nestle cocoa…south Africa does not have the one in the recipe
    I cannot wait to try this…..I love chocolate cakes with oil
    They are so moist

    • Jamie — January 23rd, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Hi, Shanita! The coffee should be cool or at room temperature. I think Nestle would be just fine. Let me know how you like it!

  10. Mary — January 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Hi! The cake looks delicious! I’d like to know if the coffee needs to be at room temperature? 
    Thank you! :)

    • Jamie — January 24th, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Hi, Mary! Yes, the coffee should be at room temperature. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  11. Teresa — January 23, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Can I distribute the batter evenly using 4 eight inch pans 3/4″ deep each? I just got the pans from Wilton for my birthday

    • Jamie — January 24th, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Hi, Teresa! I think you probably can. You’ll probably have to cut the baking time short by a bit, so keep that in mind. Let me know how everything turns out!

  12. Dee — January 24, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Hi,
    Can I use self raising flour to make this cake

    • Jamie — January 24th, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Hi, Dee! I haven’t tried it, but I think you probably could. You’ll probably have to cut back the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon and the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!

  13. Filiz — January 24, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Hi. I just wanted to ask, what could you replace the egg with? My little one loves chocolate but is allergic to eggs. Thanks

    • Jamie — January 24th, 2017 at 11:54 am

      You can replace an egg with one mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce. I hope everyone in your house enjoys it!

  14. Aisha — January 24, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Hey jamie! This cakes looks amazing and I really want to try it.. can you list down the quantity of each ingredient used? Also the recipe of the frosting.. thanks

    • Jamie — January 24th, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Hi, Aisha! The recipe is at the bottom of the post. I hope you enjoy it!

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