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The Best Chocolate Cake

by Jamie on October 11, 2011

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We’re a family that loves to double down on chocolate.

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!

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The Best Chocolate Cake

October 11th, 2011

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time:

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.
2. 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. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
3. 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. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
4. 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


{ 458 comments… read them below or add one }

Kari Jaquith April 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Seriously this has to be the best chocolate cake I have ever made or had.

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Jamie April 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Kari-

So awesome to hear! Thanks so much for stopping in to share. Have a fantastic day and thank you for following MBA!

-Jamie

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Nicky April 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hi just wondered if you could do this recipe without the buttermilk please. I am unable to get it
Thank you

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Jamie Lothridge May 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Hi Nicky,
To make buttermilk, you can follow this recipe with regular milk:
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Buttermilk_Sub.htm
- Jamie

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yetty April 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm

PLEASE IS THERE A WAY TO INCORPORATE A TOUCH OF BRANDY AS PART OF THE INGREDIENTS? THANK YOU. I HOPE TO HEAR FORM YOU SOON.

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Jamie Lothridge May 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Yetty,
I’m sure that would work fine. Just add a bit to the cake batter (maybe a tablespoon or two) and then another in the frosting.
- Jamie

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Sarah May 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm

I just moved to Colorado, and haven’t yet mastered high altitude baking. So I followed your recipe as cupcakes instead of the two rounds. WOW. Fluffy, light and moist (even with the addition of flour). Can’t. Stop. Eating…

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Gabrielle May 8, 2014 at 11:17 am

hello, i just made the cake and followed the recipe, the cake looks yummy but it didnt rise much like in the picture.. i was wondering it didnt rise.. thank you

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Therese May 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi,
I’m excited to make this cake for my bf’s birthday :) Can I substitute Green Mountain Coffee’s Vermont Country Blend for regular coffee?

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Jamie June 19, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Therese, absolutely! I love that coffee.
- Jamie

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Hannah May 11, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Hi! Can you substitute something for the coffee? Or just omit it?

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Tara May 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I substitute the coffee with hot water. It works great!

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Jamie May 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, Tara! And yes, this works just fine, Hannah! :)
-Jamie

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Mandy July 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I often substitute Pero (Mormon coffee :)) for Coffee in recipes and it works really well!

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:55 am

I’m glad you found a substitute that works for you. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Lauren May 25, 2014 at 1:06 am

I made this as a cake twixe already and my family LOVED it. Thank you for sharing this! If I wanted to make it and make cupcakes how long would you recommend baking them for ?

Thank you again!

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Lois May 29, 2014 at 5:20 pm

My son is gluten intolerant, just found out. This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe, the only one I ever make. I’m wondering if you have ever played with the recipe in gluten free format and if you have had any luck.

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Jamie June 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Lois, I haven’t, but I hear wonderful things about the King Arthur Flour gluten free mixes. They make an all-purpose gluten free flour mix that you could use in this recipe. That’s the only thing in the recipe with gluten in it, so you should be able to swap it in without much effort.
- Jamie

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Janet June 5, 2014 at 11:31 am

This is really and truly an easy, delicious cake to make. I have easily doubled the recipe and use this for all my children’s birthday cakes. The children devour the cake!

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angela June 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm

I made the cake using all the same ingredients you did. Taste amazing but the layers were thin.. Is that normal

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Jamie July 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Angela-
Did you use the same size pan?
-Jamie

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L June 14, 2014 at 7:07 pm

I used a dry buttermilk a and added per the container instructions. Add powder to dry ingredients then add water to the wet. When it was ready to pour, there were white specks. Will comment later if it affected the taste. We have made the cake before and loved it, but first time with powder buttermilk.

Also, used the whisk attachment, but had lots of powder not blended into the liquid, switch out to the new attachment with a scraper. Fix the problem.

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Ashleigh June 15, 2014 at 6:38 am

I love this cake! I’ve made it twice now, once with a ganache and once with the frosting that you linked us to, and it’s been perfect both times! A real hit with all my housemates too, it doesn’t last long at all!

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L June 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Follow-up…. Made the cake with powdered buttermilk (following the instructions on the container of powder buttermilk). It worked great. Most specks melted into cake, few norticeable, bit didn’t affect flavor. I used Starbucks french roast dark coffee. People said no coffee flavor. I do t drink coffee so used that due to the individual portions.

It’s the go to cake for my family now. Easy and moist. thanks

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Avinesh June 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Hi Jamie. Absolutely love the recipe. I am opening a cake shop and this cake will be one of the stars!!!

I did make my own buttermilk with vinegar, which I think helps the bicarb react. Will try this with my red velvet aswell. I didn’t have the dark cocoa as the recipe requested, hence I added more of the same. I did use an extra spoon of baking powder in error, but out of about 20 individual critics, I did not get one recommendation to change anything.

Thank you!!!

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Nano June 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

Could you please convert this recipe into grams for us UK folk pretty please with sugar on top?

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Jamie June 26, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Nano, I do not bake using grams, so I wouldn’t even know where to begin. You are welcome to use google to do the conversions.
- Jamie

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DessertForTwo June 26, 2014 at 9:10 am

Ok, I’m making this for a client’s surprise birthday dinner. Wish me luck! Thanks :)

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Chanty June 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Can you omit the coffee? Will it still taste good.

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Jamie July 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Chanty-
You can replace the coffee with boiling water, the flavor will differ, but it’s still quite tasty.
-Jamie

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Stacie July 1, 2014 at 7:17 am

Jamie – been testing chocolate cakes for about a year, trying to find the ‘right one’…my go to. While a lot of them claimed to be the best, they were either (a) meh…ok, or (b) I couldn’t get the recipe to work no matter what I did (even paying careful attention to dutch process vs non).

About a week & a half ago, I tried this recipe. O.M.G. – this really IS the best & so easy to make. It’s chocolaty, super moist, and the texture is delicate, yet sturdy if that makes sense. I’m very clumsy, so fragile cakes don’t like me very much LOL.

The flavor was amazing, but it was even better the next day. Took some to work for my willing tasters, and they all loved it. Since then, I’ve already done 2 orders for friends (1 birthday, 1 graduation) and this is the cake they had to have!!

My search is over, thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!!

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Stacy Myers July 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Thanks so much for this great keeper recipe! I made it for my daughter’s 5th birthday and iced it with buttercream. It was so moist and chocolately. YUMMY! I used kefir instead of buttermilk and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Super duper good!!

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L July 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Is there a way to,print the recipe WITH the picture attached. It’s a keeper and want to add to the family book.

Thanks

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Jamie August 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

L-
Unfortunately there is not, we’re looking into that option though for future redesigns.
-Jamie

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L July 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Made into cupcakes today for a birthday party. Perfect! Cooked for approximately 15 mins. Filled each about 3/4 of the way. I only put one pan in at at time.

I did pour into a measuring cup as the batter is very liquid. Made it easier to portion each cupcake amount.

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Zaynub July 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

how many cupcakes did this recipe make?

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Jamie July 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Zaynub-
It will yield about 24 cupcakes.
Jamie

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Matea July 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

I need to try making this cake! I’ve heard adding coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, but I haven’t tried making a chocolate cake with coffee yet; this seems like the recipe to try!

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Sharon July 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I have made this chocolate cake last weekend, and the result is awesome. The texture is moist and with the strong coffee as part of the ingredients,it makes the taste bittersweet. Me and my family love it..love it,love it..my daughter even ask me to bake this cake for her birthday cake, and I sure will.

Thousand of chocolate receipes out there, and finally I found you. My search for chocolate cake recipe is over too. This receipe is a keepsake.

Thanks so much for sharing this great receipe. Will definitely recommend to my friends!

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Brenda July 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I have made this recipe as a cake 3 times and as cupcakes both normal size and jumbo a lot. We love it with salted caramel frosting drizzled with salted caramel, I get request for this cupcake all the time. They will not dome on top and you have to be very careful when filling your cupcake liners because they will spill over. I go just slightly over half full, mine come out with a flat or slightly dimpled top. Last time I made these I got 3 dozen regular size cupcakes.

Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I am getting ready to make them again for a get together at my husband work tomorrow.

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:53 am

I’m glad you found success with this recipe! Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Nancy July 31, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Cake looks wonderful, but can you make a recommendation/ substitution for omitting the coffee?

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 3:32 pm

You could use hot water in place of the coffee.

-Jamie

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Amanda G August 2, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I just made this for the first time tonight and it was delicious!! We had friends over for dinner, perfect excuse to bake, and a major hit. Thank you!

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Amanda August 3, 2014 at 1:54 am

I was wondering if I could bake this cake in a springform pan and if so do I have to double the recipe or anything. Looking forward to trying this cake looks like it has some great reviews

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

I believe you could bake this in a springform pan but you might wrap it in foil in case of the batter leaking through. The size of you pan will determine how much cake batter you will need.

-Jamie

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Nastassia D. (@TasciaD) August 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I made the cupcake version of this recipe, I used Hershey’s natural unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened almond milk, coconut oil and Jamaica Mountain Peak instant coffee. I got 21 cupcakes, they were extremely moist,light and scrumptious.

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Cathy August 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

If I want to omit the coffee, what other suggestions do you have for substitutions besides hot water?
Thanks!

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

Coffee or hot water will work best in this recipe. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Jillbilly August 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm

What’s the recipe for the frosting?

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm

You can find the recipe here: http://savorysweetlife.com/2011/04/chocolate-buttercream-frosting/ – thanks for stopping by!
-Jamie

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Monica August 5, 2014 at 12:10 am

This cake is amazing!! So easy and scrumptious! Probably the best I have ever had. Light and fluffy with wonderful flavor. I loved the butter cream frosting too with the almond extract. Its a keeper, thanks for sharing.
Monica

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Lauren August 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm

WOW! This looks incredible; I can’t wait to make up an excuse to bake a cake :) Thank you for sharing.

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Keisa August 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I have never heard or seen King Auther cocoa. Is there a substitute?

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

Yes, just substitute your favorite brand of cocoa. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Kristen August 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

This is my favorites ake and has been for a long time and I’ve made it countless times, but I was wondering if I could use this for cupcakes? Please answer!

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:40 am

I’m so glad you like the recipe! It should work perfectly for cupcakes, just adjust the baking time if necessary.

-Jamie

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Angie W. August 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm

The cake sounds like my great Aunt Betty’s recipe, but the frosting recipe she used was just melted chocolate chips, melted butter and an egg. SO good!

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Cathy Elliott August 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Oh my the best looking cake ever can’t wait to make. I know this is a long shot but do you have a recipe for a vanilla only cake. I am a Celiac and my daughter is gluten intolerant. She only likes vanilla. I love both. If you have any could you please share thank you so much.

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Jamie August 12, 2014 at 10:43 am

I don’t have a gluten-free vanilla cake recipe, but thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Kerri August 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Can you give me the linkmfor the frosting you used on this cake? Thanks so much!!

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Kerri-
You can find the recipe here: http://savorysweetlife.com/2011/04/chocolate-buttercream-frosting/ – thanks for stopping by!
-Jamie

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Maya August 10, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hello,

My name is maya, I from Israel and I want to ask what you mean by writing cup?
In my country a cup of flour is 140 gr and cup of liquid is 240 ml.
Is it the same unit in your recipe ?

Thank you and regards

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

The calculator I used said 1 cup is equal to 125 grams. I hope this helps.

- Jamie

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Maya August 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Hi,

Thank you very much for the response

What about the liquid ?
Is one cup of liquid is equal to 240 ml or 200 ml ?

Thanks a lot

Maya

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Maya August 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Forgot the sugar …. How much is one cup of sugar? In Israel it’s 200 gr

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Jamie August 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

I think 1 cup is equal to 128 grams. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

Jamie August 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

The conversion for liquid measurement of 1 cup equals 237 ml.

-Jamie

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saba August 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Hi there :) . Thank you for posting such a lovely recipe.
Can I substitute white sugar for brown sugar? Or do half and half?

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

You can substitute or use half and half but it may change the texture and flavor slightly.

-Jamie

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Eva August 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm

This cake is nice on the picture only.

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Jamie August 17, 2014 at 9:34 am

Thanks so much. I appreciate you stopping by!

-Jamie

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lisette August 16, 2014 at 9:59 pm

This cake is amazing. I’ve been looking for years (YEARS) for the perfect chocolate cake that is simple, quick and delicious with a moist crumb, a rich taste and adapts well to multiple types of icing. This is it. I’m so excited. I baked it last night as a test and wow. Thank you!!

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Jamie August 17, 2014 at 9:32 am

So glad the cake was just what you were looking for! Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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