The Best Chocolate Cake

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!

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

749 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake”

  1. brenda — October 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    What could i use instead of coffee? im allergic to coffee bean. 

  2. brenda — October 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Guess i should read other comments. just read hot water for coffee. 

  3. Kenosi — October 30, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Wanna try this cake but was confused about 13/4 cups and in terms of coffee do I mix the whole cup with coffee or add aspoonful to water

    • Jamie — January 13th, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Hi, Kenosi! Just use 1 cup of liquid coffee. I find I have extra in my pot from the morning, or you could brew a small pot and use 1 cup of that. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Linnet — November 16, 2015 at 9:23 am

    this is the best chocolate cake ever!!! I have made it a dozen times and it’s always a hit. Easy to make and great taste. 

  5. Crystal — November 23, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Hey I’m planning on making this cake for my birthday
    Just wondering if halving this recipe would mean halving the baking time or lowering the oven temperature??

    • Jamie — November 23rd, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      It won’t be as cut and dry as halving everything. You’ll have to really start watching your cake at about the 15 minute mark. I’ve never halved this recipe, so I can’t really give you more details. Happy Birthday to you!

  6. lorenza — November 23, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    traduzione per  favore,in italiano grazie

  7. Maria — November 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I made this cake hoping that it was as moist as it looked in the picture and had a strong chocolate flavor.  This recipe did NOT disappoint!  It was so easy to make and very delicious.  I made it for a girls nite and everyone loved it.  Thank you, this is now my go to chocolate cake recipe!

  8. Aisha — December 1, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Hey. The cake looks delicious. Im gonna try it. One question though, Would it make a difference on the cake if i use full cream milk instead of buttermilk? Just a thought i wanted to clear.

    • Jamie — January 12th, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Hi, Aisha! I think either would work. Let me know the result!

  9. Hafsa Rajput — December 3, 2015 at 4:16 am

    I haven’t make it ever on Sunday is my father’s birthday I want to make it just I want to ask that after baking it what you have pour on last at cake the colour light brown mixture what’s name

    • Jamie — January 12th, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Hi, Hafsa! I think it’s the buttercream you’re referring to. Let me know if I’m not answering your question or if I can help you in another way.

  10. Stripes — December 3, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Hello– just a Quick question to clarify the Cocoameasurements. If I have black Cocoa do I subtract 2 tablespoons from the larger measurements or add an additional 2 table spoons ? Also if I do not have black Cocoa would I add two additional tablespoons of regular Cocoa?

    • Jamie — January 12th, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Hello! The additional 2 tablespoons of black cocoa are optional. You don’t need to add additional or subtract if you choose not to use the black cocoa. I hope you enjoyed the cake!

  11. Claudia — December 10, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I have a question… What temperature does the cup of coffee have to be? Hot or Cold? 

    • Jamie — December 11th, 2015 at 9:42 am


      Hot coffee works best. Thanks for visiting!


  12. Hannah — December 15, 2015 at 2:32 am

    HI, this is an amazing receipe for sure.

    I would like to know, if i was to use this recipe for cupcakes, how many cupcakes would it yield?

  13. Hannah — December 15, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Hey jamie , 

    I really love your recipe and want to make cupcakes instead of a cake.

    With these measurement, how many cupcakes would it yield?

    • Jamie — January 8th, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Hi, Hannah! This recipe would yield anywhere from 24 to 36 cupcakes and be baked for a shorter amount of time. I hope you enjoy them!

  14. Mariam — December 19, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Pls elaborate what do you mean by 1 cup strong black coffee? How much coffee should I mix to make it?

    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Hi, Miriam! I would make a small pot of coffee and measure it into a liquid measuring cup. You should have more than enough to use for the cake. Let me know how it turns out!

  15. Justin — December 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Made this today. Used a 9-inch springform pan as it was the only one I had (made one cake at a time). Mine aren’t nearly as “tall” as your cake layers are. Any reason as to why this may be? I substituted the coffee for a cup of hot (basically boiling) water. Everything else was followed to the tee.


    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Hi, Justin. Did any of the batter leak out of the springform pan? Maybe that was the reason for the layer being shorter? I hope you enjoyed the recipe and your holidays.

  16. Jacquelyn — December 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Will the cake have a coffee-ish flavor?

    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Hi, Jacquelyn! The cake really doesn’t have a coffee flavor at all. The coffee really brings out the flavor of the chocolate. I hope you enjoy it!

  17. Shruti — December 30, 2015 at 12:20 am

    This turned out to be one of the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made! Loved it!

    Well, I tried halving all the ingredients, keeping temperature and baking time same as mentioned by Jamie.

     I’m gonna bake it again tonight ( with actual ingredient qty suggested by Jamie) for 31st Party! Wish me luck! :-)

    Thanks a lot Jamie!


    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Shruti: I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  18. Joan Winston — December 30, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Can this cake be made into cupcakes? I’ve made the cake numerous times, but never cupcakes. Thanks so much!
    Happy New Year!

    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 9:42 am

      Joan: Absolutely! Cut the baking time by 1/3 to 1/2. Cupcakes usually bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Just keep checking them so they don’t get overdone. Take care!

  19. Janel @nelliebellie — December 30, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    “Black cocoa”. Sigh, that sounds wonderful! I need to get some of that and see if I can make this cake look half as good as you have! Yummy.

    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 9:39 am

      Janel: black cocoa is really wonderful. I hope you’re having a great new year!

  20. Lela — December 31, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    would this work as cupcakes? If so what is the recommended bake time? 

    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hi, Lela! Cut the baking time in 1/3 to 1/2. Cupcakes usually bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them to check doneness. I hope you enjoy them!

  21. Maguerite — January 3, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Thank you so much – what a beautiful creature this cake is.
    What would be the end result if I used slightly more eggs or even egg yolks just a bit more? Cheers for this.

    • Jamie — January 5th, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Maguerite: I think the cake would be firmer and more moist. Let me know the result if you try!

  22. Kitty — January 8, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    If the black cocoa is optional and you chose not to use it, do you add the same amount in regular cocoa? Thanks!

    • Jamie — January 11th, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Hi, Kitty! Just use the 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Let me know if you need anything else!

  23. Brandy — January 10, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Hello! I am making this for my son’s birthday party…a Minecraft cake. Will the layers of this cake hold up well to be stacked and Coversed in fondant? This recipe sounds fabulous!

    Thanks :)

    • Jamie — January 11th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Hi, Brandy! I think this cake should be just fine. What a happy kid your son will be with a Minecraft cake!

  24. Citlali — January 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Hi! In making this cake for my boyfriend he’s a chocolate lover and I tryed to look for the best recipe and yours caught my attention! But I have a question, in my groceries I can only find low fat buttermilk, is that ok or do I need to buy whole buttermilk?

    • Jamie — January 12th, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      Hi, Citlali! The low fat buttermilk should be just fine. If you’re interested in full fat, take a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and add it to one cup of buttermilk. Let it sit for five minutes, and you’ll have full fat buttermilk. I hope you enjoy it!

  25. Veena — January 12, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Hello ,
    Could you please let me know the size of your cup ? I mean how many ml in 1 cup ?

    – Thanks ,

    • Jamie — January 12th, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Hi, Veena! There are about 237 ml in one cup. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  26. Minsun — January 22, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Hi can I use dutch processed cocoa? that’s the only kind i have. I really wanna try this cake today! thank you! your chocolate cake looks fabulous!

    • Jamie — January 22nd, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Hi, Minsun! Dutch processed cocoa has been stripped of acids, so it may not work in the recipe. I would recommend just using the regular cocoa powder. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  27. Rabia Aasimr — January 23, 2016 at 5:32 am

    This recipe sounds to be wonderful….i hav one query that whenever i add hot boiling water dissolved coffee or cocoa the cake becomes tooo sogggyyyy n moisty…plz sort out

    • Jamie — January 24th, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      Hi, Rabia! The batter is supposed to be very thin. Were you able to bake it? Let me know if you try again. I hope you enjoy it!

  28. Kaumadi — January 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Its a fabulous cake! Made for hubby’s birthday coz he’s a chocoholic and he loved it.

    • Jamie — January 26th, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      I’m so glad, Kaumadi! It’s a favorite of mine as well.

  29. Misti — January 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I have made this a zillion times and just love the texture…
    How can I do an eggless version for the same texture…any help will be much appreciated… thank you

    • Jamie — January 28th, 2016 at 8:11 am

      Hey Misti,
      I’ve never made this eggless, so I’m not going to be of much help. I do hear that “flax eggs” provide a similar richness. For each egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (measure after grinding) with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the result should be a sticky egg-like substitute. Hope that helps, and that it works out!
      – Jamie

  30. Shrilatha — January 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    The cake looks amazing….. I’m gonna bake this for my wedding anniversary. 
    Just wanted to know whether I can use instant coffee.

    • Jamie — January 28th, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Hey Shrilatha,
      You can absolutely use instant coffee, though I’d probably use a little extra granules, and a little less water, so that it’s stronger, like espresso powder. Happy anniversary!
      – Jamie

  31. Rita — January 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Mom used instant coffee in hers every time. Turns out perfectly 

  32. nicole — February 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Do you have high altitiude adjustments for this recipe? I made this and it tasted wonderful, but it sank in the middle.  Thank you.

  33. Oli — February 2, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I want to try this cake but i dont have buttermilk. What can substitute it?

    • Jamie — February 2nd, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Hi, Oli! You can actually make your own. Take one cup of milk and add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, and you’ve got your buttermilk! I hope you enjoy it!

  34. Minahil — February 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Jamie
    This is a great recipe!!!!Ive tried different chocolate cake recipes but except this one none of them turned out like the boxed mix ones .This cake is full of flavor and has a great texture.Will surely make it again!!!!

    • Jamie — February 5th, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      So happy to hear you enjoy the cake. It really is such a delicious, classic recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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