The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

The Best Chocolate Cake is combines cocoa and coffee to create a chocolate lover’s dream. The rich buttercream frosting makes it perfect!

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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.
  • For an egg substitute, simply add one mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for each egg.
  • 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

1,810 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. yukthi Aggarwal — May 28, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Hi i followed the recipe for half the amount and made if without eggs but added a banana. But the cake dipped in the middle and turned out dense and fudgy wet instead of spongy and moist

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 31, 2017 at 6:16 am

      Hi, Yukthi! I wonder if your oven isn’t heating properly? Maybe purchase an oven thermometer and see what the true temperature is. Let me know if this helps!

  2. Amy — May 30, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Hi, I would love this in a butter cake. Is there a similar recipe? Thanks!

    Reply

  3. Candy — June 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I made this cake as well and it dipped in the middle and now I’m stumped because I followed it to a T !!! 
    It’s my Sons wedding cake and I’m glad I started 2 days early :/( 

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 1, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Candy. I found this article that should help. I hope your son has a great wedding!

  4. Wikki — June 2, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Hi!
    This vdo keeps popping up on my facebook feed that I eventually had to make it. Luckily i had all the ingredients in my fridge (except) the black cocoa. I baked it at 176C in a rectangular tray and it took about 55 minutes altogether to bake before a toothpick test come out clean! My oven is quite reliable in baking time per recipes. The centre of the cake rose real high and had a massive crack to one side. While cooling, the centre drops back down and somehow ended up with a completely flat surface (but wrinkly) top. Would you know why this may have happened? The cake tasted great though. The sides were crispy though, but not burnt. I’ll try to make it again for sure.

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 3, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Maybe adjust your mixing time. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet and mix just until combined. You could also try adding an additional egg. Let me know if that helps! I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to make it again!

    • WIKKI — June 12, 2017 at 5:16 am

      Hi Jamie. Thank you so much for your advice. I tried it again as per advice but without additional egg..and it was spot on! It came out amazing! This recipe is going on the fridge:) thanks again for the tips and recipe! ! I’ve topped it with chocolate swiss meringue and it’s super yummy together

    • Gracious_bakes — June 16, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Try cooking it at a lower temp. When I want my cakes to be level and moist I cool them at 325 instead of 350. It creates less of a dome. Less trimming involved as well.

    • Jamie — June 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Great suggestion!

  5. Kate — June 5, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Amazing! Pinterest is such a hit and miss… but this receipe was simply perfect! I had my oven a little lower on 300f and baked 10mins longer.. was… Is a great chocolate cake recipe, thank you.xx K8

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Yay! So glad you liked it, Kate!
      -Jamie

  6. Sandra — June 10, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    This cake was delicious! I added an extra egg to make it even more moist and it was true perfection! Thank you for this recipe  and your “icing philosophy” matches mine! 

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      You’re welcome, Sandra. I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

  7. YiFang — June 12, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I have made this cake three times and everyone LOVED them!!!!! I put a layer of raspberry jam in between the layers.

    This really is the best chocolate cake, so rich, so moist and so yummy!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful receipt

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 13, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you!

  8. Yih-Shian — June 13, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Hihi, made the cake and it tasted awesome! However, my first slice was very crumbly and broke into pieces. I’m not sure what went wrong. It was very moist and crumbly. Did I underbake it? After it cooled, I got a very sticky top layer. Is that common? Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’m definitely going to try making it again.

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 15, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it! Maybe try baking it some more or adding an extra egg. I hope this helps!

  9. Gloria Katnick — June 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    My grandson wants a chocolate cake for his birthday party, your recipe looks delicious.   I need to make a 9 x 13 cake.  Should I double this recipe or 1 1/2 times to make a nice high cake?  Thanks for your help!
    Gloria

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 20, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Hi, Gloria! This recipes should convert to a 9×13 just fine. Happy birthday to your grandson!

  10. Thelma — June 19, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Would I be able to use regular milk or does it have to be buttermilk?

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 20, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Hi, Thelma! You can use regular milk if you like, but buttermilk does add a great dimension. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar into 1 cup of milk. I hope this helps!

  11. Aanya — June 20, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Hi just wondering if you had any good frosting recipe to go with this cake
    Thanks

    Reply

  12. Tresa — June 21, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Hi Jamie
     Can I use sunflower oil instead of vegetable oil?

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      I think you can, Tresa. I hope you enjoy it!

  13. Cindy — June 21, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Hi, I am about to venture out and make this amazing cake. First I have a question about the coffee. Do I brew the coffee or use it unbrewed? I know, Silly question, but a need to know! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 23, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Hi, Cindy! Brew the coffee. I hope you like the cake!

  14. elle — June 24, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Regarding the brewed coffee, is it best to use strong espresso coffee (made using a stovetop coffee maker) or filter coffee (which is a bit weaker)?

    Also, I can’t seem to source black cocoa powder in Australia. Can it be substituted for regular dutch processed cocoa powder?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 29, 2017 at 7:10 am

      Either kind of coffee is fine, Elle. And feel free to leave out the black cocoa…the cake will still be delicious without it!

  15. elle — June 24, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Also wanted to ask how far ahead the cake can be made (without freezing it). Thanks!!

    Reply

    • Jamie — June 29, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Hi, Elle! I would say a day or two. Enjoy!

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