The Best Chocolate Cake

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.

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.

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

I quickly whipped it up again, this time focusing my full attention on the process. The cake turned out beautifully and I quickly frosted it while preparing the other gazillion components of the meal.

After all the feasting, no one had room for cake – in fact, we left for the night without busting into song over 37 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. 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!

The Best Chocolate Cake

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 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
  • 1 cup strong black coffee (I used Green Mountain Coffee’s Vermont Country Blend)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  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.


  • 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.
Recipe adapted from Hershey's Black Magic Cake

940 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake”

  1. Shahana Naushd — May 24, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Is kosher salt must….i dont hve it…is there any substitute for it

    • Jamie — May 24th, 2016 at 11:39 am

      You could probably use just a little less than 1 teaspoon of table salt. I hope you enjoy it, Shahana!

  2. Shahana Naushd — May 24, 2016 at 10:28 am

    And plz recommend vry good froasting for this cake

  3. Bri — May 25, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Hey, I don’t drink coffee, is there anything I can use instead? Maybe hot cocoa? No?

    • Jamie — May 25th, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Hi, Bri! You can totally leave the coffee out if you like. Just add water if you wish. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Psych Nairo — May 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Hands down, the best chocolate cake ever!! It turned out perfectly moist! Thanks

    • Jamie — May 26th, 2016 at 8:58 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. huma — May 27, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Hey! Jamie the recipe is just awesome, too good n out of this world. Everyone just loved the cake. It was rich n moist. Thanks a lottt…

    • Jamie — May 28th, 2016 at 7:56 am

      I’m so glad to hear that, Huma!

  6. MomTom — May 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    This cake was very moist and delicious! I couldn’t keep my family out of it before I even got frosting on it. Thanks for this recipe.

    • Jamie — June 2nd, 2016 at 9:53 am

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad everyone enjoyed it!

  7. Ashwini — May 29, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Hi. Thank you for the recipe. The cake came out vet well and tasted great , but I couldn’t slice it properly. What did I do wrong? 

    • Jamie — June 2nd, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Hi, Ashwini! Can you give me some more information? Did it crumble when sliced? I’m glad you enjoyed the taste!

  8. SteelBreeze — May 31, 2016 at 9:27 am

    This is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe! Amazing! Would it work for cupcakes?

    • Jamie — June 2nd, 2016 at 9:46 am

      It definitely would work for cupcakes! It should make about 24, and you’ll want to bake them between 20 and 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy them!

  9. Allie — May 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Hey Jamie! Wow, this cake looks and sounds delicious. I have quite a few birthdays coming up for a few of my chocolate loving friends and I can’t wait to make this for them! Although I love coffee, my friends on the other hand don’t. Is there any way I could substitute coffee for hot chocolate? I want to be able to keep this creamy so I want to avoid using water. Again, looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

    • Jamie — June 1st, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Hi, Allie! I promise…you won’t taste the coffee at all in the cake. The coffee brings out the flavors in the chocolate. Give it a try. I hope you like it!

  10. Kuna — June 1, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Hi can i substitute with self raising flour and omit the baking soda?

    • Jamie — June 2nd, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Hi, Kuna! Try omitting the baking powder. I hope it works out!

  11. evans — June 2, 2016 at 5:49 am

    The cake looks awesome and thanks for the recipe though may not be able to prepare my wife is a great lover of confectionery have to share the link with her

    • Jamie — June 2nd, 2016 at 9:41 am

      I hope you both like the cake!

  12. Linda Cortez — June 3, 2016 at 8:53 am

    This cake was so good, my family loved it. Thanks for sharing I have been trying so many recipes but this is the winner! 

    • Jamie — June 3rd, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Linda!

  13. Amy Ingram-Gillson — June 4, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Jamie, just wanted to let you know that I made this cake for my companies bake-off and I won! So thank you for sharing!!

    • Jamie — June 6th, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Congratulations, Amy! How wonderful!

  14. Crystal — June 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    What size pans do you bake these in? 8 inch or 9 inch?

    Does the recipe double well for larger cake sizes?


    • Jamie — June 7th, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Hi, Crystal! I used 9 inch pans. You can definitely double the recipe if you like. I hope you enjoy it!

  15. Susannah — June 8, 2016 at 12:13 am

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday because he LOVES chocolate. What a winner! It was to die for! I had enough batter for three layers because I used my Grandma’s old round cake pans, which are shorter. Beautiful! I also put a touch of instant espresso on the chocolate buttercream frosting. Delicious! 

    • Jamie — June 8th, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it, Susannah!

  16. Tanui — June 9, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I love cakes

    • Jamie — June 9th, 2016 at 11:40 am

      So do I, Tanui!

  17. Sarita Giles — June 9, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Can I double  this recipe to make a sheet cake?

    • Jamie — June 10th, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Hi, Sarita! You definitely could. I don’t know if you’re making it in a jelly roll pan or a 9×13 pan, so make sure you check the doneness of the cake early. It’s highly likely it’s going to be done in less time than the round cakes. Good luck!

  18. ANA — June 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I’m going to bake your cake tomorrow for my boyfriend’s birthday, couse it sounds sooo delicious!! but please tell me, if i’ll not add coffee, will it be as moist as if i’ll add it? if no, how strong is  a coffee taste?

    • Jamie — June 12th, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Hi, Ana! The coffee taste isn’t strong at all–you won’t even be able to taste it! Just add water if you like. I hop your boyfriend enjoys the cake!

  19. San — June 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Hi! Recipe sounds great. 1 question, what is the purpose of the 2 tablespoons of King Arthur flour, black cocoa? What does it add to the cake?

    • Jamie — June 13th, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Hi, San! The King Arthur Black Cocoa adds some more depth to the cake, but it’s totally optional, and I think you’ll still enjoy it without. Let me know if I can help any further!

  20. Patricia Ng — June 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

    This is very frustrating,  i have to repeatedly key in the stop spam text even though i have keyed in the correct text. How do i subscribe. 

    • Jamie — June 13th, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Hi, Patricia! I’m so sorry you’re having a frustrating time. I’ve put your email in for a subscription. You should receive a confirmation email giving you further instructions. Feel free to follow me on Facebook for updates as well. Let me know if I can help you further!

  21. Dana — June 14, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Hii Jamie! Regarding the 1 cup of coffee, is it 1 cup of coffee from the coffee machine (pure liquid coffee) or 1 cup of instant coffee powder (Nescafe)? 

    • Jamie — June 14th, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Hi, Dana! It’s one cup of coffee from your pot. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  22. najma — June 14, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks alot for such a superb recipe. Just tried it today n the cake was super moist.just loved it. Wanted to ask that it was so moist that it was difficult to handle, as it started to break from one side.  What could b the reason? Used all the ingredients mentioned.

    • Jamie — June 15th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Hi, Najma! I’m sorry the cake crumbled. A few suggestions: only handle the cake when it’s completely cool. Also maybe you could add an extra egg. Let me know how it goes. I’m glad you enjoyed the taste!

  23. martha — June 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I HATE using vegetable oil. Could I use melted butter instead?

    • Jamie — June 15th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Hi, Martha! You absolutely can use butter. I hope you enjoy it!

  24. Crystal — June 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    question: Should the coffee be hot or cold. Silly question huh?

    • Jamie — June 16th, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Not a silly question at all, Crystal! The coffee should be room temperature or cooler. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  25. love to bake — June 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I live in Ghana and there is no king author flour can I skip it?

    • Jamie — June 20th, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      You can absolutely skip the black cocoa. I hope you like it!

  26. Ayesham — June 16, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    What can I use instead of buttermilk

    • Jamie — June 20th, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Hi, Ayesham! You can actually make your own buttermilk. Take one cup of regular milk and add either a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let the milk rest for about five or 10 minutes, and you’ve got buttermilk! I hope you enjoy the cake!

  27. Omema — June 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    I have a question. Do I have to use butter milk? Can I use anything else instead of it? Because that is the one ingredient that I do not have in my kitchen. Thank you.

    • Jamie — June 20th, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Hi, Omema! You can actually make your own buttermilk. Take one cup of regular milk and add either a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let the milk rest for about five or 10 minutes, and you’ve got buttermilk! I hope you enjoy the cake!

  28. Bnny Slpprs — June 18, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    This recipe was a HUGE success – I received a round of applause at the function. I was told I could quit my day job. I used vanilla whipped frosting and garnished with freeze-dried raspberries. The cake was cut and consumed within 6 minutes. It truly is “the best chocolate cake recipe”. Thank you!

    • Jamie — June 20th, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that!

  29. Sheree — June 19, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Hi. Can i use this recipe to make cupcake?

    • Jamie — June 20th, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Hi, Sheree! It definitely would work for cupcakes! It should make about 24, and you’ll want to bake them between 20 and 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy them!

  30. SAIMA — June 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Hi. I’m a beginner in cake baking and I just wanted to get my basics right. do I use whole sugar or plain powdered sugar in this recipe?

    • Jamie — June 21st, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hi, Saima! The sugar is granulated sugar, not powdered sugar. I hope you enjoy it!

  31. Ying — June 22, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Can I bake this in a square pan? Would baking time be the same?

    • Jamie — June 23rd, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Hi, Ying! I think you’d probably have to bake it in two square pans. The baking time should be the same. Let me know how it goes!

  32. Jesithra — June 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Hi..Jamie thank you very much for your wonderful sharing. Very useful recipe for everyone ..Keep sending…

    • Jamie — June 23rd, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Jesithra!

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