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!


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?


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


  • 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


  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.
  • 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

1,866 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. Eliana — October 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Looks absolutely glorious. It’s chocolate heaven.


  2. Ambar — October 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    OHHHHH YUMMY!!!!!!!


  3. Annie @ Annie's Cooking Lab — October 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Wow, that looks amazing! My brother loves a rich chocolate cake, I bet he’d love to have this on his birthday!


  4. Becky @ Becky Bakes — October 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    LOVE chocolate cake and this one looks perfect!!


  5. Brooke — October 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    WOW!!! That looks soooo moist and delicious, I am going to have to try this SOON!


  6. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — October 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Wow…this looks absolutely decadent. I may have to make this for one of the many fall birthdays I have coming up!


  7. Paula B. — October 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Oh my! I would love to have a piece of this cake right now. Will have to get the King Arthur cocoa. extra yum.


  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Mmm this sounds lovely! Yum.


  9. Paula — October 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Seriously, this scratch cake is one of the moistest looking I’ve ever seen and your frosting is perfect.


  10. Leslie — October 11, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Ohhh ahhh. this reminds me of the Black Magic cake from hersheys! YUMMO


    • Jamie — October 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Yep, same cake which is also very similar to Ina Garten’s “Beatty’s Cake. Both delish!

  11. Lauren at Keep It Sweet — October 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    This cake does look insanely good! No wonder it is such a hit.


  12. Ann P. — October 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    oh MY WORD! that looks like heaven!! so moist and dense. wow :)


  13. Amber — October 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Most beautiful chocolate cake I’ve ever seen. Really.


  14. Now that’s an amazing birthday gift, chocolate and more chocolate. Lucky man!


  15. sara — October 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Gorgeous cake! This looks SO tasty…yum! :)


  16. Miranda @ The Pinterest Project — October 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    This reminds me of Ina Garten’s chocolate cake – that addition of coffee is GENIUS. It’s one of my favorite things to do with a chocolate cake! YUM. I’ve never heard of black cocoa – I need to look for that.

    And Vermont Country Blend is one of my favorite coffees! Good choice :)


  17. Paula @ Dishing the Divine — October 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    This looks aaaaaamaaaaaazing. I want some. With an extra dollop of frosting, please. :) and if I can have it on one of those cute square plates, all the better.


  18. Jennifer (Delicieux) — October 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Oh my God!!! This cake looks divine!!! I love how dark and rich it looks, but moist at the same time. Man, what I wouldn’t give for a slice of this right now!


  19. jen — October 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    This cake sounds amazing! I will test it out for a birthday next week.
    Thanks for another great post!


  20. Rosa — October 12, 2011 at 1:48 am

    That cake looks gorgeous and devilishly chocolaty!




  21. Chels R. — October 12, 2011 at 1:54 am

    What a heavenly sight that is! I wish so much I could munch on a slice of that right now :)


  22. Jannette — October 12, 2011 at 2:11 am

    This looks wonderful! I’m going to try and make it tomorrow in cupcakes. I just happen to need some for work.


  23. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen — October 12, 2011 at 2:23 am

    This looks like the perfect thing. I’m mean how good can a chocolate cake be than this? Love it!


  24. Valeria — October 12, 2011 at 2:28 am

    I just made a very similar chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting and pistachio cream filling…Delicious. It’s my fiancé favorite! Just used hot water instead of coffee, next time I’ll surely try this one!


  25. a spoonful of yumm — October 12, 2011 at 3:10 am

    love the dark color :-)


  26. Kathryn — October 12, 2011 at 4:54 am

    The colour and texture of this cake look perfect, it looks so good. I’d love a giant slice right now!


  27. Brian @ A Thought For Food — October 12, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I’m not even a chocolate cake fan and I want a slice of this right now… actually, you take a slice and i’ll keep the rest of the cake.


  28. Anita Menon — October 12, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous cake. Drooling off the screen. Bookmarked.


  29. Mary at n00bcakes — October 12, 2011 at 7:39 am

    That recipe sounds just like the one I used to make a wedding cake recently…it’s absolutely delicious – moist, rich, and tasty. I recommend trying it with a coffee/mocha buttercream…to die for! :)


  30. Savorique — October 12, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Jamie, may I recommend Brian (and you) to have a look at a chocolate cake that is not made of cocoa but made of a chocolate couverture from Barry (hit my link).
    I like the quick, easy and affordable way of making chocolate cake with cocoa but nothing compares to a cake using melted chocolate couverture and other noble ingredients. It’s amazingly rich, dense, moist like a brownie with no sugar overpower and the texture is way superior to that of a spongy cake. You have to try to believe it.


  31. Aimee @ Simple Bites — October 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I’ve got buttermilk in the fridge and now I want to abandon my to do list for today and make this cake instead!


  32. The Sweet Cupcaker — October 12, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I feel the same way as I run around the kitchen! Reading the story was like reliving any night in my kitchen! Love the chocolate cake-yum!!


  33. Jen at The Three Little Piglets — October 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I can’t believe you didn’t cut into that cake! I think I would have skipped dinner and gone straight to dessert…


  34. Karyn - Pint Sized Baker — October 12, 2011 at 8:38 am

    This looks sooo incredibly decadent! Love it! My husband will love it! What is there not to love? I don’t understand how the family missed out on this cake!


  35. angela@spinachtiger — October 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I love chocolate cake and am always looking for that perfect recipe. Tell me, why oil in a cake instead of butter. I’ve always wondered about the differences.


  36. Frostine@ThatReallyFrostsMe — October 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I once made a chocolate cake and forgot to put any sugar in at all. Yuck!


  37. SamCyn — October 12, 2011 at 9:47 am

    LOL, your story sounds similar to mine at home. I’ve always got dozens of things going on at the same time. By the way, the cake looks delish!


  38. Kristen — October 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I make a very similar cake like this from Ina Garten… I can attest to the coffee making all the difference in the richness. It is like chocolate cake heaven!!


  39. Wenderly — October 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    THAT is stunning. I want. I want, now.


  40. christina — October 12, 2011 at 10:15 am

    What brand of unsweetened cocoa powder do you use? Can you use dutch processed?



  41. Mary Jo Zilveti — October 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Well, it seems a wonderful yummy yummy treat. Congrats
    Mary Jo Zilveti


  42. Michael Black — October 12, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Ok i am goin got try this one.. i made ina gartens chocoate cake 3 times and it sunk in the center all 3 times.. i even change the baking soda and powder for new ones just to see if that wa the problem… i was so crazy Sergio was watching and shaking his head.. i just could not get it right.. so ill try this again.. cross your fingers for me….
    It looks great !!!


    • Ginger — October 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Have you checked your oven temperature? Often the cause of a sunken middle is under-baking. I wouldn’t advise this with yellow or white cake mixes, but I’ve never come across a dry chocolate cake recipe. Make sure you don’t open the door of the oven at all until the lower baking limit has passed (a lot of sites say 20 minutes, but I find that’s not enough) and don’t be afraid to go past the upper baking limit if the cake doesn’t seem done. Additionally, if you live in a more humid location than where the recipe was created there could be more moisture in the batter not accounted for in the recipe that has to bake out before the cake can set properly.

    • MICHAEL BLACK — October 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

      thanks ill try this.. and yes i am in florida and it can be humid here ( like all the time ) lol

    • Steve — December 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      I made this cake and had problems with the center of the cake rising. I was wondering if you had a high altitude recipe? I live at 8700 feet.

  43. Kelly — October 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Is there any coffee taste? I really don’t care for coffee but this cake looks amazing!


    • Jamie — October 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Depending on the coffee that you use, there may be a slight coffee undertone. The coffee seems to intensify the chocolate more than anything. Have a great day and thanks so much for stopping by.

    • Joely — September 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Do you use coffee grounds or prepared coffee?

    • Jamie — September 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm


      I used prepared coffee for the recipe. Thanks so much for stopping in and have a lovely day!


    • Frostine@ThatReallyFrostsMe — October 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

      I made this cake just the other day for my husband. He HATES coffee and never knew it was in there. I didn’t use the black cocoa since I didn’t have any and it was still fabulous. I thought it tasted even better the second day.

  44. brandi — October 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

    absolutely gorgeous. i could take a slice of that right about now…


  45. New Orleans Honey — October 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm



  46. Ginger — October 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Except for the buttermilk and an extra tsp of baking soda, this is identical to a one-bowl cake I already make, but the batter for my recipe is already super thin – I’d be terrified that the extra cup of liquid would make the cake too thin to do anything! At the same time, I’m very, very curious to try it out!


    • Jamie — October 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      The batter is definitely thin, but it transforms into an amazing cake – I promise!

  47. New Orleans Honey — October 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm



    • Jamie — October 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks for you input. We are actually working on that feature, so stay tuned.

  48. YayaOrchid — October 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Where can I find the recipe for the ganache? Cake looks amazingly delicious!


  49. YayaOrchid — October 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    nm found ot on the blog link you posted THANK YOU!


  50. The Picture Perfect Baker — October 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    This absolutely IS the BEST Chocolate Cake EVER!!!! Soooo excited that you posted a blog on it!!!! Now I want to go make it. Ugh…. and it’s not even my birthday! lol I was just wondering if you could tell us which frosting you used on the cake in the picture? It looks perfect, and I’m always looking for a good fudge frosting :o) Please share!!!


    • Jamie — October 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. There is a link to the frosting in the notes section of the recipe.

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