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!

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.

Is there any other way to be? Not if you’re Jamie.

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’m just really lucky I realized before I frosted the cake. Could you imagine the birthday boy’s face to take a bite full of cake with no oil or sugar?

Yikes!

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 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.

You can also use espresso powder, or just water, if coffee isn’t your thing. (I know there are a few of you out there!)

Just to cover that aspect, you cannot taste coffee in this cake. It simply enhances the chocolate flavor, deepening it.

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

1,842 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!

    • Veronica Barrios — June 30, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      I used safflower oil and it was perfect! This is the BEST cake recipe ever!!!!

    • Jamie — July 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks, Veronica!

  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!

  16. Madison — July 2, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    When I came upon this recipe I just had to try it. Let me just say this is one of the BEST chocolate cake recipes I have made yet! First I was a little worried about how much coffee I would taste in the cake, but there was no reason to be worried (I could not taste the coffee at all). In fact, the coffee flavor brought out more of the chocolate in the cake. One thing that I did change was I did not have the black cocoa, so I just substituted dark cocoa powder in for that.  Anyways if you love chocolate cake, this is a must make cake!!!

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 3, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, Madison! Glad you liked it!

  17. Denise — July 4, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I made this cake many of times and im making it now it always comes out great! I love it and my family and friends always request it

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, Denise!

  18. Jem — July 8, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I only have 2 8 inch round cake pans. Do I need to adjust the cooking time or temperature? I’m so excited to make this cake!

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Hi, Jem! You don’t need to adjust the temperature. You might need to bake it just a bit longer…keep an eye on it so it doesn’t over bake. Let me know how you like it!

  19. Robyn — July 11, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Hi there can I use self raising flour

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 12, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Hi, Robyn! This article should answer any questions you might have. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  20. Corinne M.B. — July 12, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Wow! I made this cake for the 1st time and it is the “BEST” moist deep chocolate cake ever! My son and staff devoured it … not a crumb left. Thank you so much for sharing it!
    C from Canada

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 12, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Wonderful, Corinne! I’m so glad everyone liked it!

  21. Rosa — July 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    We do not have black cocoa and king author flour in Perth WA, Australia and cant get it shipped here either. It really sucks.

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 14, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Rosa-
      You can just substitute it with regular cocoa powder – no worries :)
      -Jamie

  22. Helen — July 14, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Hi Jamie! I was wondering do I have to cool the coffee before adding it or pour it in hot?

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 14, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Helen-
      No you can add it hot and it will be fine.
      -Jamie

  23. Teri McGuire — July 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

    If making cupcakes with this recipe, don’t fill the papers too full. These really rise a lot. But they make delicious dark chocolate cupcakes.

    Reply

    • Sarah Roberts — July 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Teri,
      I’m wanting to make cupcakes as well. How long did you bake them for?

  24. Lauren — July 14, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Hi – I am baking a wedding cake and the couple has requested that two layers of the cake be chocolate! I am using an 8 X 3″ pan for the middle layer and a 6 X 3″ pan for the top layer (only one layer each as this is an extremely small wedding!) Can you tell me how many batches of this recipe I will need to make to fill both of these pans? Any help will be appreciated! Thanks

    Reply

  25. Sarah Roberts — July 14, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    How long would you bake these if using a cupcake tin? Looking forward to trying this recipe!

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Hi, Sarah! This recipe will make about 24 to 36 cupcakes. Bake at 350 degrees between 20 and 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy them!

  26. Laura — July 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Where can I find the dutched cocoa powder

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Hi, Laura! You can buy Dutch cocoa powder on Amazon. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  27. Cindy — July 18, 2017 at 3:22 am

    I tried to make it yesterday. I don’t have all the ingredients so I used all cocoa powdered instead of black coco. When making coffee I mixed coffee with milk, for butter milk I use milk and vinegar. Is that because of all these the cake turn up very dense and pack. Is not moist and soft. Any suggestions what should I do to improve it? When in oven it rise but when cook I took it out It then sink down a lot to only 12-14cm i.e. To half it height in the oven. Welcome suggestions for improvement. Thanks

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      I’m sorry your cake didn’t turn out, Cindy. If you want to give the recipe another try, just use plain liquid coffee instead of mixing it with milk. Maybe the cake was dense because it was over mixed? Let me know if you give it another try. Good luck!

  28. Tiffany Kokal — July 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    So I made this cake for my daughters first birthday and the first time I made it I thought the “cup of strong coffee” meant using actual coffee grounds and my cakes and cupcakes sunk in the middle (still tasted awesome). When I realized it was supposed to be an actual liquid form cup of coffee then I remade it and it turned out (excuse my language) but the best damn chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my life and everyone at the party agreed. I’ve seriously never tasted anything like it. I froze the cakes a few weeks until the birthday party then took them out and decorated them. I will forever make this cake and I made it to a “T” even buying the ingredients I didn’t have off of amazon. So for everyone who is saying their cakes are sinking in the middle, maybe see if they did the coffee wrong like I did. Thank you for this amazing recipe! It should seriously win awards for how amazing it is not only in taste, but the texture is incredible!

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 20, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, Tiffany!

  29. Lays — July 23, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Can we subtitute whole wheat flour for all purpose flour. In that case do I have to make changes in the recipe?

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Lays-
      I have never tried this substitution, so I am uncertain as to how it will perform.
      -Jamie

  30. Leslie — July 25, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Can I make the cakes a few days ahead of time and refrigerate them or freeze them, then frost them the day of?

    Reply

    • Jamie — July 26, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Leslie-
      I haven’t tried this, but I am thinking they will be just fine!
      -Jamie

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