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Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is easy to make and satisfies chocolate cravings for any chocolate lover! Whether you’re making a layered cake, sheet cake or bundt cake, you’ll use this recipe again and again.

Cake server removing a slice of 3-layer Hershey's chocolate cake with chocolate frosting from a full cake on a white cake plate

For any true chocolate lover, the quickest way to their heart is with a slice of rich chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Sure, brownies are always a favorite. Homemade chocolate pudding is hard to beat. And few can resist my favorite chocolate chip cookies

But for those people who really, really love chocolate? Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is a true slice of heaven. 

I’ve made plenty of chocolate cakes over the years – from Dark Chocolate Cranberry Bundt Cake to Chocolate Zucchini Cake – but the best chocolate cake recipe has always been popular with readers. 

But that cake recipe uses coffee, which not everyone loves. So while this Hershey’s Chocolate Cake  is similar, it’s coffee-free and still oh so delicious.

Overhead view of the ingredients for Hershey's chocolate cake in bowls on a marble counter


This Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe is moist, rich, and perfectly chocolatey, and made using…hot water?

Yes! You read that right. Hot water!

Hershey's chocolate cake frosted with chocolate frosting on a white cake plate with a mug holding forks in the background

Here’s the thing about cocoa powder: It doesn’t always want to play well with others. Sometimes it can get clumpy when you try to mix it with liquids.

And I don’t know about you, but clumps of cocoa powder in my cake is not what I think of as delicious.

But using hot water helps to bloom the cocoa powder and helps it to incorporate better into the batter. The batter is nice and smooth and bakes up like a dream.

Batter for Hershey's Chocolate Cake in a white mixing bowl on a marble counter, being stirred by a white spatula


This cake recipe is one of the easiest you’ll find. It might not be as easy as Doctored Cake Mix, but it’s pretty close. 

Start by mixing together the dry ingredients. Then add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Slice of Hershey's Chocolate Cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate, with more cake and cups of espresso in the background

(I recommend bringing the eggs to room temperature before adding them.)

Then stir in the boiling water. You’ll notice that the batter will be quite thin. That’s ok! It’s supposed to be.

Pour the batter into prepared pans (more on this later) and bake. Let the cake cool completely before frosting and decorating! 

Close up view of slice of Hershey's chocolate cake on a white plate with a fork cutting off a corner of the cake

Because this cake is so easy to make, it’s a great one to make with kids. Depending on the age of your child, you may need to help them with the boiling water and of course with the oven, but most of the rest they can do on their own! 

And just think how proud they’ll be to serve a slice of a cake they made on their own.

Overhead view of 3 layers of baked Hershey's chocolate cake cooling on a wire rack on a marble counter


This recipe is really versatile and can be used to make:

  • One 9-inch 2-layer cake,
  • One 8-inch 3-layer cake,
  • One 13×9-inch sheet cake,
  • One bundt cake, or
  • 30 cupcakes

Seriously! I love when a cake recipe is so adaptable because it means I don’t have to dig into my recipe file and find a different recipe if I need cupcakes instead of a layer cake. 

Just make sure you grease and flour any cake pan you use or use cupcake liners if you’re making cupcakes. 

Chocolate-frosted Hershey's chocolate cake on a white cake stand on a marble countertop


What cake would be complete without frosting??

I think this recipe for Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is perfect with the accompanying homemade chocolate frosting recipe.

Overhead view of 3 slices of Hershey's chocolate cake on white plates with cups of espresso

After all, we already discussed how chocolate cake and chocolate frosting are a match made in heaven. 

But if you want to change it up, you could always turn to homemade buttercream frosting instead. Marshmallow frosting would be a fun option, too! 

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter which frosting you use, because when there’s homemade chocolate cake, you know everybody will be happy.

Slice of 3-layer Hershey's chocolate cake on a white plate with a fork cutting off a corner
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Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

By: Jamie
4.43 from 102 ratings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 12
Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is easy to make and satisfies chocolate cravings for any chocolate lover! Whether you’re making a layered cake, sheet cake or bundt cake, you’ll use this recipe again and again.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat with a mixer on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting with homemade chocolate frosting or your favorite frosting.


For a 13×9-inch Cake: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350° F for 35 to 40 minutes. 
For a 3-Layer Cake: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. 
For a Bundt Cake: Grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.
For Cupcakes: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350°F for 22 to 25 minutes. Makes about 30 cupcakes.
Via Hershey’s.


Serving: 1slice (unfrosted), Calories: 312kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 404mg, Potassium: 144mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 73IU, Calcium: 69mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Homemade Chocolate Frosting

By: Jamie
4.50 from 223 ratings
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Homemade chocolate frosting is a delicious way to top cakes and cupcakes. This chocolate frosting is so easy to make, you will never bother with store-bought frosting again!


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Melt butter. Stir in cocoa powder. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to desired consistency for spreading.
  • If needed, add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time. Stir in vanilla before spreading or piping onto cake or cupcakes.


If you ran out of powdered sugar, learn how to make powdered sugar to save yourself a trip to the store.
Makes 2 cups.
Via Hershey’s


Calories: 200kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 5mg, Potassium: 86mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 247IU, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. MS says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this classic recipe. It is really perfect, much like the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. I was looking for a “hot water” chocolate cake to go with some leftover ganache, and I landed here. This cake is perfect as a vehicle for ganache since it is flavorful and not heavy. I like to reduce the sugar to 1 1/3 cup and add some instant espresso.

  2. Rita says:

    Hi! Anytime I try to make this cake, the cake sinks in the middle slightly. It is never under baked. The center has some kind of bubbles and then it sinks a bit. Do you have any idea what this could be due to?? I love all your recipes, thank you!!

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Rita – Hmmm, I haven’t had this issue with this recipe, so I’m not sure. There are a variety of things that can cause a cake to sink in the middle – the most common are underbaking and/or opening the oven door before the cake has set, the oven running too hot or too cold, or expired baking powder, so those might be some places to start. Good luck!

  3. Dawn M says:

    I found this recipe 4 years ago and have been baking it ever since. A favorite among my guests and husband’s coworkers! Occasionally I’ve added espresso to the cake, as if it isn’t rich enough! Delicious!

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad you love this recipe, Dawn! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback. Happy baking!

  4. Georgia says:

    Hi, if i am using hersehys cocoa powder and not unsweetened cocoa powder should i still add additional sugar or not?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Georgia – Hershey’s cocoa is just a specific brand of unsweetened cocoa, so it will work just fine in this recipe. Hope this helps! Happy baking –

  5. Stan says:

    Greetings! My wife and I made this cake tonight with your buttercream icing (sometimes I like chocolate cake with white icing) and we both agree that this is going to be our usual chocolate cake recipe. Next time we’ll try it with your chocolate buttercream icing.

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Stan! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback! Happy baking.

  6. Sadie says:

    Im a young age and dont know if this would be a great starting cake any help?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Sadie – This is a great cake to start with! Just follow the instructions and measure carefully and you’ll do great. Thank you so much for stopping by and please let me know how it turns out for you! – Jamie

  7. Marieli Holmes says:

    Thank you. I’m going to make it now

  8. Em says:

    This is my go to cake for any occasion. Just a question as I e changed cake pans recently: do you have Any idea if this will work for only two 8 inch pans? I’m making this for my daughter’s birthday in a few days and I don’t want to mess it up!