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

Ingredients:

  • 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

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.
Recipe adapted from Hershey's Black Magic Cake

1,022 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

    Hi!

    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.
      -Jamie

  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

      Hello-
      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!
      -Jamie

  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.
      -Jamie

  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

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

  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 :)http://piesandplots.net/black-forest-sheet-cake/

    • 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

      Meghann-
      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!
      -Jamie

  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!

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