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!

Black-Magic-Cake-Slice-1-of-1

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 (400 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (210 grams)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (64 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (11 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (12 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (6 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (240 mL)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee (I used Green Mountain Coffee’s Vermont Country Blend) (240 mL)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (120 mL)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 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.
  • You can also make a bundt cake with this recipe. The cake should bake for about 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Get tips on high altitude baking.
Recipe adapted from Hershey's Black Magic Cake

1,663 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake”

  1. Samantha — March 2, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Hi there! This cake looks AMAZING and so moist!! I have a question. How would I make this into 2 10″ pans or is that not possible? Thanks so much I look forward to trying it out!! Is there a vanilla equivalent? Ive struggled sooooo much finding a great moist vanilla cake recipe 

    • Jamie — March 3rd, 2017 at 6:59 am

      Hi, Samantha! I haven’t tried this in two 10 inch pans, but I think you could. You’ll probably have to reduce the baking time since the cakes will be thinner. I have a Vanilla Cupcakes recipe that I think you’ll like. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. Samantha — March 2, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Ooo I forgot to ask. The oven temp.. I have a conventional oven would that be the same temp or should I do 325 degrees 

    • Jamie — March 3rd, 2017 at 6:59 am

      I would keep it at the original temperature. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  3. Krystal — March 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    hi jaime.
    what did you use to frost the chocolate cake do you have a recipe?

    • Jamie — March 6th, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Hi, Krystal! Use this recipe for the frosting. I hope you like it!

  4. Berenice — March 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Made this cake for my son’s 3rd bday yesterday. I have to say the best cake we ever had!!! No more box cakes for me! Fell in love with this supper easy cake!!! Thank youu :)

    • Jamie — March 6th, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Wonderful, Berenice!

  5. Shelley — March 3, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I made cupcakes with the recipe and wow, BEST EVER. Now that I have tried your Best Chocolate Cake recipe, I’m wondering if you have a Best Vanilla Cake recipe?

    • Jamie — March 6th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Shelley! Give these Vanilla Bean Cupcakes a try…I hope you like them!

  6. Hanie — March 4, 2017 at 12:44 am

    If I wanted to make this child friendlier, could I just substitute the coffee with hot water? Thank you.

    • Jamie — March 6th, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Hi, Hanie! You could absolutely substitute water….make sure it’s cool or room temperature, though. I promise you won’t even taste the coffee; it just enhances the flavor of the chocolate. I hope you like it!

  7. Alma — March 4, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Hi! How do you make the frosting?!

    • Jamie — March 6th, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Hi, Alma! Here’s the recipe for the frosting. Enjoy!

  8. Samantha — March 6, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Tried it this weekend! Omg got great reviews including from my husband who is a vanilla kind of guy! Lol! Paired it with a creamy hazelnut filling and it was amazing. Great taste texture and moisture. Loved how the coffee brought out the flavour without tasting like coffee!! Made it in 2 8″ pans twice and cut and filled the cakes and was able to cover in fondant as well. Cake stayed nice and together when it was cut as well. Fantastic recipe definitely my new go to my chocolate search is over! Thanks soooo much!! On to vanilla!! :)

    • Jamie — March 6th, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Samantha!

  9. Farrah — March 7, 2017 at 2:52 am

    Hi Jamie ! Do I need to sift any off the ingredients? Can’t wait to try this lovely cake !!!

    • Jamie — March 7th, 2017 at 11:33 am

      Hi, Farrah! You don’t need to sift them, but you’re welcome to if you like. I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Farrah — March 7, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Jamie ! Thanks for being so responsive. Another question. For the coffee can I use 1 teaspoon of Nescafé and fill it with boiling water and let cool and put into the cake ? Thanks in advance :)

  11. Farrah — March 7, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    To be more clear, can I use 1 teaspoon of Nescafé with 1 cup hot water and then let it cool to room temperature to be used in the cake ?

    • Jamie — March 9th, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Perfect, Farrah! Let me know how you enjoy it!

  12. Candice — March 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    Will the recipe be ok with 2 8-inch pans? Going to try this recipe for my bosses birthday. She loves chocolate cake and your cake looks delicious! 

    • Jamie — March 9th, 2017 at 6:44 am

      Hi, Candice! I think you’re going to be just fine. You’ll probably have some batter left over, and you’ll have to bake just a bit longer. I hope you and your boss enjoy it!

  13. Karen — March 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Hi Jamie, can I use this recipe as a base for 2 tire cake? 

    • Jamie — March 9th, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Absolutely, Karen. Enjoy!

  14. Anum — March 9, 2017 at 4:32 am

    Hey
    Can you pls tell which cocoa brand is good for chocolate cakes? I use Cadbury and when I add 3/4 cup I find it a bit more strong taste of cocoa. Which isn’t sweet. Can you pls help ?

    • Jamie — March 9th, 2017 at 6:30 am

      Hi, Anum! I really like Hershey’s and Ghirardelli. I hope this helps!

  15. Adam brown — March 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    A friend of mine wants a chocolate wedding cake, I made this for her to try along with an orange flavour buttercream and it was amazing!!! Wanna make it again now!! 

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Great, Adam! I love the idea of the orange buttercream!

  16. Yasomie — March 9, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. Need to find out the baking time in centigrade units. My oven does not have other options. Pretty old one!

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hi, Yasomie! The Celsius temperature would be about 176. I hope you enjoy it!

  17. Suzy — March 10, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Hi Jamie.
    I don’t have a big oven. Is it okay to bake the cakes one at a time?

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Absolutely, Suzy! I hope you like it!

  18. Pratibha — March 10, 2017 at 3:57 am

    Please let me know the exact quantity of all the ingredients which u have used to make this yummy chocolate cake please

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Hi, Pratibha! The recipe is located at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

  19. Karen — March 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Hi! Do you think using canola oil instead of vegetable oil would be okay? Thanks! 

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Absolutely, Karen! I hope you like it!

  20. Rachel — March 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Delicious. It was devpured by my son in less time than it took for me to show him your website’s photo. I usually put real chocolate and butter in a cake so since tour recipe uses neither I melted chocolate with butter and chilled it til spreadable because my son doesn’t like fristing made with powdered sugar. Many thanks for the recipe and video.

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:35 am

      I’m so glad you and your son liked it, Rachel!

  21. Rachel — March 11, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Typo above: devoured!

  22. Melanie — March 12, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I made this cake according to you directions and it fell apart coming out of the pans and while I was frosting it. Any suggestions on how to fix this next time.

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Hi, Melanie! Maybe put the cake in the refrigerator for a bit to harden the layers. Let me know your results if you give it another try!

  23. Pooja — March 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Hi cani use corn oil??

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Yes, Pooja! I hope you like it!

  24. Pooja — March 13, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Omg!’!!!just made it and its soooo yummmi!!!thank u so muchhhJamie!!!!
    I wanted to try with no eggs as m sister is vegeterian,anyting i could put instead off eggs??

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Hi, Pooja! You can try one mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for every egg. I hope your sister likes it!

  25. Pooja — March 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    One think i realised once cooled it was have of the size any reason?in oven was ok

    • Jamie — March 13th, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      I think a lot of cakes “flatten” a bit after baking. Maybe take them out just a bit sooner? Let me know if this helps.

  26. Nihal Allam — March 14, 2017 at 3:17 am

    This is wonderful. I have tried it, followed the steps carefully,  and I got the best cake ever. Thank you for such recipe.  

    • Jamie — March 14th, 2017 at 7:47 am

      You’re welcome, Nihal!

  27. Nihal Allam — March 14, 2017 at 3:19 am

    I forget to say that I have mixed oil and butter to have a half cup, I like the taste of butter in the cakes, this made it soft and fluffy. :)

  28. Lan — March 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Hello, I would like to make this for my three years old son. Is this okay to put coffee in the cake?

    Thank you for your time! 

    • Jamie — March 15th, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Hi, Lan! Yes, it should be fine. I promise you won’t even taste the coffee! Enjoy!

  29. Karen — March 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Was that citron in the photo on top of the frosting??

    • Jamie — March 15th, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Hi, Karen! I think what you’re seeing is the salted caramel sugar pieces from the Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake. Let me know if I can answer anything else!

  30. T — March 15, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Hi love this cake recipe! Can it be baked in 1 deep tin and then cut in half after its cooled? Thanks

    • Jamie — March 16th, 2017 at 11:07 am

      I’m so glad you like the recipe! I’ve never baked it in a 1 inch deep pan, so I don’t honestly know what advice to give. If you give it a try, let me know how it comes out!

  31. Meag — March 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Hey there….looking to make this for a party…how far in advance can I make it??

    • Jamie — March 16th, 2017 at 11:12 am

      You can definitely make the layers in advance and freeze them. Thaw before frosting. I hope this helps. Enjoy!

  32. Fatima — March 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Hi, 
    This cake looks super moist. Can I use it under fondant? Xxxx

    • Jamie — March 16th, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Hi, Fatima! I’ve never used fondant with this cake, so I honestly don’t know. My concern is the fondant may be a bit heavy for it. If you give it a try, let me know!

  33. Teresa Wasson — March 16, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Can this be done in a 9×13 pan? If so, how long and what temperature?

    • Jamie — March 18th, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Hi, Teresa! Yes, you can bake this cake in a 9×13 pan at 350 degrees. I’m guessing the cake will take about 30 minutes or so. Start checking around 20 or 25 to see how it’s going. Enjoy!

  34. Lonna — March 17, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I was wondering if I could use a gf all purpose baking flour and some xanthan gum instead of regular flour? And then make cupcakes, but drastically reduce the baking time. Is it worth a shot?

    • Jamie — March 18th, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Hi, Lonna! I’ve never made this cake gluten free, but I think you should give it a try. Let me know how it goes for you!

  35. Abbby — March 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Hi! I don’t have buttermilk…could regular milk be used instead???

    • Jamie — March 19th, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Hi, Abby! You could use regular milk if you like, or you could add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk to make your own buttermilk. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  36. Farah — March 18, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Hi!
    Please help me! I want to bake this cake for my parents because their birthday is tomorrow! I want mine to look exactly like yours, in the video!! Did you double the recipe?? :) 

    • Jamie — March 19th, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Hi, Farah! I didn’t double the recipe for the cake in the video. The recipe will make two layers, so you should be all set. Happy birthday to your parents!

  37. May — March 19, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I’ve been using this cake recipe fo 20+  years. It’s my no fail chocolate cake. I’ve added pecan nuts, cherries and chocolate, fudge and caramel pieces, plus made cupcakes.  If you don’t have buttermilk, normal milk works as well and it still has a moist consistency.  You can’t taste the coffee in it, but a coffee frosting goes well. As does no frosting and a caramel topping. I usually bake mine in a roasting pan, which is ideal for the A4 icing prints for birthday cakes.   A fantastic recipe! 

    • Jamie — March 19th, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Your additions sound amazing, May! I’ll have to try them!

  38. Selina — March 19, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Hi There

    Does this cake have to be separated or can you bake this as one whole cake?
    What would the length and temp be if so?

    Thanks

    • Jamie — March 19th, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Hi, Selina! I usually separate this cake, but if you bake it in one pan, the size of the pan would determine the amount of time in the oven. What size pan were you looking to use? Let me know if I can help further!

  39. Rick — March 19, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Just to make sure that proper attribution it’s given where appropriate … isn’t this just an ina garden recipe?   http://m.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/ina-garten/beattys-chocolate-cake.html

    • Jamie — March 19th, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Hi, Rick! This recipe is actually adapted from Hershey’s Black Magic Cake, and a link is provided at the bottom of the recipe. It’s a great cake, and I hope you enjoy it!

  40. Britney — March 20, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    What ganache recipe do you use?

    • Jamie — March 21st, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Hi, Britney! You can try this ganache recipe. Enjoy!

  41. Angie W. — March 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    This almost exactly my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe. Simple and delicious. But what really makes it is the frosting recipe that she made with it. Nothing but semi-sweet chocolate chips, butter and an egg. Rich and delectable on this simple chocolate cake.

    • Jamie — March 21st, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      That sounds wonderful, Angie!

  42. Steohanie — March 22, 2017 at 1:27 am

    I’m going to use Maxwell House instant.  Should it be a fresh cup of coffee or a cup that has sat out for a while?

    • Jamie — March 22nd, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Either one should work. Make sure the coffee is room temperature or cooler. Enjoy!

  43. Shyam — March 22, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Hi I wanted to know if it would be ok to just triple the recipe to bake a large cake for 40 people.

    • Jamie — March 22nd, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Hi, Shyam! You can definitely triple the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

  44. chaitanya — March 22, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Can you let me know which brand baking powder and soda is good?

    • Jamie — March 22nd, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Hi, Chaitanya! Any brand will work as long as it’s not expired. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  45. Aiminaraany — March 22, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    hi…… will the measurements of this recipe yield a one pound cake….. if not how many pound cake is this recipe???

    • Jamie — March 22nd, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Hello! I’ve never weighed this cake, so I honestly don’t know. Let me know if you give it a try!

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