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!

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 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!

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

1,068 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake”

  1. Jill — July 24, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Why do you put coffee in chocolate cake I can’t stand coffee what could I use instead

    • Jamie — July 25th, 2016 at 10:36 am

      Hi, Jill! You can use water instead, but I promise you won’t even taste the coffee at all. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  2. Aiesh — July 25, 2016 at 3:07 am

    What is buttermilk???

    • Jamie — July 25th, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Hi, Aiesh! Buttermilk is milk with a bit of acid. You can make your own by taking one cup of milk and adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, and you’ve got buttermilk. Enjoy!

  3. Pooja m — July 25, 2016 at 5:32 am

    What could be used instead of eggs?as I am a vegetarian

    • Jamie — July 25th, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Hi, Pooja! You can use a mashed banana for each egg or 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I hope you like the cake!

  4. Cheryl — July 26, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I made cupcakes with the recipe last week and they turned out fantastic. I baked the cupcakes for 15 minutes, but everyone’s oven is different, so check your timing.

    Also, for those who are concerned about the Coffee in this recipe. I can tell you this….I hate the taste of coffee. Seriously can’t stand the stuff. HOWEVER….yes, I emphasized that on purpose, I do use coffee in all my chocolate cake, and cookie recipes when I can, as you cannot taste the coffee. Seriously. You cannot taste it. It only enhances and deepens the taste of the chocolate. For those of you who don’t like coffee, you know that slice of cake you ate, the one that tasted so rich and chocolaty? The one where it was so moist you could easily eat 2 slices. Well, there’s a 99.9% chance, it had coffee in it to enhance the taste of the chocolate. And since I don’t drink coffee, I buy the little boxes of instant coffee, that has 6 individual coffee packs in it. It cost one dollar at Walmart.

    As for the King Arther Black Cocoa, I used 2 Tablespoons of Hershey’s Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

    As for the Buttermilk, it is essential in this recipe. It’s a cheap item to buy at the store and if you don’t use it often, you can buy it in the baking aisle at your store, in a powdered form. You just add water to it. 4 tablespoons added to 1 cup of water, is = to 1 cup of buttermilk. I know, because I keep it on hand too. Mainly for when I run out of buttermilk. (I hate buttermilk, but I use it in this recipe, my donuts and my bread recipes. Kind of like coffee. You can’t taste it. So don’t be afraid to use it.)

    • Jamie — July 26th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Cheryl! I agree with everything you said!

  5. Ma'Isha — July 27, 2016 at 9:54 pm


    I have made this recipe on a couple occasions and no matter what it never fails it always falls in the middle… I feel the recipe is too wet and has too much moisture so it isn’t working for me properly.. What am I doing wrong? I just don’t get it!

    Thank you!

    • Jamie — July 29th, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Hi, Ma’Isha! I’m sorry the cake is falling for you. Check your oven temperature to make sure it’s calibrated correctly, and you might try lowering the temperature 25 degrees to see if that works. I hope this helps!

  6. Christy b — July 27, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Looking for a dark chocolate cake for a friends 50th.  I think I just found it!

    • Jamie — July 29th, 2016 at 7:00 am

      I hope everyone enjoys it, Christy!

  7. karen — July 30, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Hi, is the coffee supposed to be hot or room temperature? 

    • Jamie — August 4th, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      The coffee can be added warm or room temperature. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Shivani — July 30, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Hi Jamie,

    This  cake looks lovely however  i am strict vegetarian with no eggs, can just leave out the eggs in this recipe? and not replace it with anything?

    • Jamie — August 4th, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      You would probably need to use an egg substitute as I don’t think the recipe will bake up correctly if you simply omit the eggs. Happy baking!

  9. Merideth — August 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Hi! I have made this cake twice to RAVE reviews. It is amazing and I highly recommend anyone made it even if you haven’t made a cake from scratch before! It wasn’t incredibly difficult. I made this for one of my friends baby showers and it was the first time I have been to a shower where the ENTIRE cake was eaten! I had to send the recipe out to everyone who attended and I was glad to!

    I am going to an event this weekend where there will be no silverware or plates so I am going to try and do cupcakes. Wish me luck haha!!

    • Jamie — August 4th, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks so much, Merideth! Happy to hear you enjoyed the cake.

  10. silvija — August 2, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Hi, can I use melted butter instead of oil?

    • Jamie — August 4th, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      I have not tried that substitution, so I am unsure as to how it will perform. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Tiffany — August 2, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    This may be a silly question, but just want to clarify. For the cup of coffee, are we talking coffee grounds or liquid? Thanks!

    • Jamie — August 4th, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      You’ll want to use liquid coffee. I hope this helps.

  12. Tati — August 3, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I made those cake but why always bubbling out when the bake going to finish then all the middle cake came out? Please tell me

    • Jamie — August 7th, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Hi, Tati! I think maybe your cake tin is too small. What size are you using? Let me know how I can help!

  13. Jeevan Kaur — August 5, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Can I make this recipe in a microwave? If so how long do it keep it for and at what wattage?

    • Jamie — August 7th, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Hi, Jeevan! I don’t think this recipe would work very well in the microwave. Here’s a recipe for a Paleo Mug Cake you might enjoy. If you’re interested in lemon, I do have a Microwave Lemon Curd that you can use on just about anything! Let me know how it goes!

  14. Erika — August 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    This is literally the best chocolate cake I have EVER HAD. I love chocolate. This only gets better each time I make it! 

    • Jamie — August 7th, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Thank you so much, Erika! I’m really glad you like it!

  15. laura dembowski — August 7, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I made this cake in a 9 by 13 and turned it into a black forest sheet cake. It was ah-mazing. I loved the cake. Thanks for a great recipe. I posted about my cake on my blog and I would love if you’d check it out :)

    • Jamie — August 7th, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Thank you so much, Laura! The cake looks fabulous!

  16. Sarina — August 8, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    What is the right weight for a cup of sugar? A cup of flour? 

    • Jamie — August 10th, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Hi, Sarina! A cup of sugar is 200 grams, and a cup of flour is 120 grams. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  17. Meghann — August 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Is this cake sturdy enough to make as a three layer cake?? 

    • Jamie — August 13th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Hello! I have made a 2 layer cake from this recipe, but I haven’t tried a 3 layer. I am thinking it should be fine though!
      Happy Baking!

  18. meema — August 16, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Jamie- made this cake several times with great success but last two times cake came out looking a horrible black mud colour and just fell apart even after I cooled it ?

    • Jamie — August 17th, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Hi, Meema! Are you cooling the cake in the pans? If so, you may want to remove the cake from the pans after about 10 minutes of cooling. Do you live somewhere where it’s humid? The humidity could also affect the cake. Let me know how it goes, and I hope you give it another try!

  19. pragati — August 22, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Hi Jamie, what can i use instead of eggs?  (other than banana) because i dont want taste of banana in chocolate cake. thanks . :)

    • Jamie — August 23rd, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Hi, Pragati! Use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce for every egg. I hope you enjoy it!

  20. Niz — August 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

    is it okayy to refrigerate the cake? ..the cake will not dry or hard when we eat? ><

    • Jamie — August 23rd, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I think the cake should be fine if you refrigerate it. Let me know how it goes!

  21. Niz — August 22, 2016 at 10:52 am

    can i use corn oil instead of vegie oil?

    • Jamie — August 23rd, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      You absolutely can, Liz. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  22. Cristina — August 23, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I only have a 9 inch round pan deep enough for the whole thing (aprox. 12 cm deep). How long should the baking last?

    • Jamie — August 24th, 2016 at 5:28 am

      Hi, Cristina! I’ve never really baked this cake in a pan like this, but I would say start checking around 35 minutes. Don’t fill the pan with too much batter…I’m afraid it may overflow! Let me know how things turn out.

  23. Aida — August 25, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Hi is the flour bleached or unbleached

    • Jamie — August 25th, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Hi, Aida! The flour is your choice. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  24. Victoria Howard — August 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Our family’s traditional Birthday cake is a Devil’s Food cake that was handed down from a recipe from our family in Germany. It also uses coffee in place of water. I use cold coffee with a chocolate recipe on a regular basis. My Mom used a recipe for chocolate fudge frosting that was cooked. It is the best!

    The original recipe called for measurements of “Hand fulls of” and “Pinches of”, rather than cups and teaspoons, lol!

    • Jamie — August 26th, 2016 at 9:26 am

      How wonderful, Victoria! I love family recipes!

  25. Felís — August 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Jaime,
    I’m about to make this cake, armed with King Arthur and a prayer. Can you please tell me what constitutes a serving by your measurements. Some people are reeeeeally generous with serving sizes and some are quite the opposite. Your recipe says that it serves 8, which looks like pretty generous servings. I need to make a cake got 20 people for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and I don’t want to send them home in a diabetic coma. How should I multiply my ingredients to accommodate 20 people (with not so huge servings)?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Jamie — August 29th, 2016 at 10:28 am

      8 servings is very generous for this cake, I think you easily stretch this cake to 10, or even 12 servings. If you’re wanting to feed 20, I wold suggest two cakes. I hope this helps.

  26. Sally — August 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    What can I substitute instead of coffee?

    • Jamie — August 31st, 2016 at 10:55 am

      You can sub in warm water. I hope this helps!

  27. Megan — September 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I have to make chocolate cupcakes for a little boy who has tree nut and peanut allergies. Would this recipe be safe to make???

    • Jamie — September 4th, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      In order to make a cake for someone with an allergy, you would have to make sure all of your ingredients are nut free and processed in a nut-free facility. Ingredients vary, so I would definitely make sure you do your research before testing the recipe. Happy Baking!

  28. Shasha — September 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Jamie
    I have tried so many times making chocolate cake and evertime it was failed …I have some questions  
      When you add the wet ingredients to dry , and beating for 2 mins like does the sugar is fully dissolves  ?
        And  when beating after adding wet to the dry ingredients doesn’t the cake sinks from the middle ? 

    • Jamie — September 6th, 2016 at 6:25 am

      Hi, Shasha! I’m so sorry the cake isn’t working for you. The sugar probably won’t fully dissolve; you might see some granules, which shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not sure I understand what you mean about the cake sinking…is the cake sinking for you when you bake it? If so, make sure you don’t open the even door while the cake is baking. The change in temperature could cause it to fall. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. I hope you give the cake another try!

  29. Michelle — September 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    This is the best Chocolate Cake; my boys love it…



    • Jamie — September 4th, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the cake, Michelle! Thanks for stopping by.

  30. Jemima Kurian — September 5, 2016 at 10:48 am

    If I add water instead of coffee , how much water would I need ????

    • Jamie — September 6th, 2016 at 6:01 am

      Hi, Jemima! You can use 1 cup of water. I hope you enjoy it!

  31. Garima Bansil — September 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Can this cake be covered with fondant and used as a tiered cake

    • Jamie — September 6th, 2016 at 6:00 am

      Hi, Garima! I think the fondant might be a little heavy for the cake, but I think you should give it a try. Let me know how it goes!

  32. Gen — September 5, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Can i use powder buttermilk? Thank you.

    • Jamie — September 6th, 2016 at 5:55 am

      Hi, Gen! I think you can. I think you can mix 1 cup of milk with 1/4 cup powdered buttermilk, or check what the instructions on the package tell you. Let me know how it goes!

  33. Dandelion Pudding — September 7, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    This is a great chocolate cake recipe. Love love the dark cocoa and wouldn’t recommend leaving it out- buy it friends! It lasts a long time. 

    ALSO, the coffee flavor doesn’t come out in the cake to me. I think it truly just enhances and echoes the chocolate voice of the cake.  I used hot coffee because the recipe didn’t specify. I didn’t see a comment here that asked the same question- the cake ran over a bit and I think this is why. It baked in 30 minutes. 

    Do it!

    • Jamie — September 8th, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I totally agree!

  34. Annie — September 7, 2016 at 4:53 pm


    I’m checking around many recipe to look for my bf birthday cake. We both love rich chocolate cake and I think based on your photo, this is a type I want to try. I have few questions to clarify before trying this recipe:
    1. I only have a 17cm springform pan. Would this recipe be enough for 2 layers? Is this recipe ok with springform pan because I’m afraid that this batter is too liquid to run through the pan. I faced this problem several times with other recipe.
    2. My rich chocolate cake usually fell in the middle because it’s too fudgy. How to avoid this?

    I want to make a beautiful chocolate cake for birthday. I hope you will answer my question soon. Thanks in advance :)

    • Jamie — September 8th, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Hi, Annie! I do worry about the springform pan…the batter may run through. Try wrapping the pan around the bottom with some aluminium foil in a double layer; it may help a bit. Do you have any other pans that may work? This cake can also be made into cupcakes if you like. As for the cake falling in the middle: the cake may just be fudgy and awesome and may fall a bit because it’s so dense. Make sure the cake is completely done before you pull it out of the oven, and don’t open the oven while baking. I hope all of this helps! Let me know how it all goes!

  35. Kimberly — September 9, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Made this for my father’s birthday cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting and fresh strawberries. Turned out great! For those worrying about the coffee, you really don’t taste it. Also the buttermilk is essential and helps make the cake (or other baked goods) super moist. I get real buttermilk and freeze the rest of the quart in a muffin tin with 1/4 cup in each well, then pop them in a freezer bag to use when I need it.

    • Jamie — September 11th, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you so much for your comments, Kimberly! And the strawberries and vanilla buttercream sound amazing!

  36. Gloria Prine — September 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I found this cake recipe online one night and decided to try it out, My husband loved it, he usually dont eat sweets but he sure ate that cake, only thing he dident want icing on it, sure is delish just as is.

    • Jamie — September 11th, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Gloria!

  37. Veronica — September 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Definately one to bin. Fell flat and after 40 min was still raw in the middle. Cut out the raw centre with a cookie cutter … back in the oven for another 10minutes. Now to get creative and try to salvage. **feeling sad and disappointed**

    • Jamie — September 11th, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Veronica! If you’d like to give the cake another try, check your oven temperature…there’s a chance it may not be hot enough. An oven thermometer might tell you more. I hope you might give it another go sometime! All the best to you.

  38. Nirvana — September 14, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Hi. How would I adjust the recipe in terms of baking powder and baking soda if I only have Dutch processed cocoa on hand?

    • Jamie — September 17th, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Hi, Nirvana! I would add about 3/4 teaspoon extra of baking soda. Let me know how it goes!

  39. Steve — September 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve never received as much positive feedback after baking a cake than I did when I made this for my wife’s card club. It was very well received and had them all clamoring for the recipe. I did go the extra expense and use King Arthur Black Cocoa and Ghirardelli cocoa powder which I used to dust the pans after greasing them.
    Thank you for the great recipe.
    I’d like to use the recipe for cup cakes. How much time would you allow for them
    to bake?
    Thank you in advance, Steve

    • Jamie — September 17th, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Hi, Steve! You’ll probably bake for about 15 to 20 minutes; check for doneness at 15. I hope you like the cupcakes as much as the cake!

  40. Steve Petzar — September 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you a thousand times for this recipe! When my Wife and I saw it and the picture over the 4th of July we both agreed it would be perfect for her first card club party in September. I used the King Arthur Black Cocoa and cocoa powder which I used to dust the pans after greasing them. It cooked perfectly and was as moist as any cake I’ve baked. I used your buttercream recipe for between the layers and finished it off with a crumb coat then a full coat of ganache. The accolades and compliments were such that I’d never received after baking a cake. You’ve made me into a baking pro in their eyes. Of course I shared your recipe and gave credit where is was due. Now the hard part will be topping this. I’m going to try it with cupcakes for a church function. Thanks again a couple more times. Steve

    • Jamie — September 17th, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      You are so welcome, Steve! You made my day!

  41. Ihda'a — September 18, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Hello, Thank you for sharing us your recipe. I have a question, can I Put chocolate syrup on the cake before frosting cake ??

    • Jamie — September 20th, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Hi, Ihda’a! I think chocolate syrup would be wonderful! I hope you enjoy it!

  42. Myra — September 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Buttermilk is the liquid leftover after churning butter. It is alive in the same way that yogurt is. You can try to duplicate it by adding acid (lemon or vinegar) to milk and making it curdle but it will never be buttermilk and it won’t cause the same reaction to other ingredients that real buttermilk does. It will mimic the taste somewhat.

    You can buy buttermilk at grocery stores. Check to make sure that the active bacteria has been put back after the pasteurization process.

    • Jamie — September 20th, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Myra!

  43. Maria — September 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    I want to bake this cake in a bundt cake mold how long do I bake the cake in for and what temperature?

    • Jamie — September 21st, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Hi, Maria! I would use a 10 inch bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes. Let me know how it goes!

  44. Liliana — September 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Hola Jamie, en los ingredientes no menciona MANTEQUILLA, sin embargo en la preparacion SI MENCIONA MANTEQUILLA, quisiera por favor una aclaracion, gracias.

    • Jamie — September 25th, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Hi, Liliana! This recipe does not call for butter, but it does ask for buttermilk. I hope this helps!

  45. Madelyn — September 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Hi, I love this recipe! Would it be acceptable to use black cocoa powder in place of the 3/4 cup regular cocoa powder? I want to make this for my husband’s birthday. Thank you for sharing. Your site is beautiful btw. : ) PEACE!

    • Jamie — September 25th, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Hi, Madelyn! I would recommend using regular unsweetened cocoa powder. Since the cake recipe has baking soda in it, the baking soda may not work well with the black cocoa powder. I hope you husband enjoys the cake!

  46. Elizabeth — September 25, 2016 at 8:29 am

    OMG, this has become my go to chocolate cake recipe. Everyone loves this cake when I make it and the cake never lasts through the night. I did tweak the recipe slightly by adding only 1/2 cup of coffee and 1/2 cup of water because my family isn’t keen on mocha flavor like I am. Nonetheless this cake recipe is tremendous, and I now have the recipe memorized I’ve made it so many times.

    • Jamie — September 25th, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Wonderful, Elizabeth! I’m so glad everyone enjoys it!

1 10 11 12

Leave a Comment