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. Rej — February 4, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Thank you Jamie for the skillet life hacker link! You’re a star!


    • Jamie — February 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      You’re so welcome, Rej!

  2. Sameen — February 4, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    How u made coffee? I m gonna try this..


    • Jamie — February 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Hi, Sameen! I usually just use the leftover coffee in my coffee pot from the morning. Let me know how you like the cake!

  3. Tiffany — February 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Amazing! I have always failed miserably with trying to make a cake from scratch and gave up. This looked too good not to try, so I did and it turned out fantastic! It will definitely be my go to recipe for chocolate cake! Thanks!


    • Jamie — February 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Wonderful, Tiffany! I’m so glad to hear it!

  4. Mahwush — February 6, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Would it be alright to use 1/2 cup butter instead of 1/2 cup vegetable oil? Would it affect the texture or baking time of the cake?
    Many thanks!


    • Jamie — February 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Hi, Mahwush! I think the cake should turn out just fine. Melt the butter and measure after melting. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Lauren Meader — February 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    My 17 year old daughter is an aspiring baker. This has become my daughters “go-to” chocolate cupcake. We are desperately seeking it’s vanilla equivalent! Do you have one as yummy/moist/fluffy as your chocolate recipe here?


  6. Lily — February 8, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Hi! Great recipe. I made it in a Pyrex glass bowl to make a “Christmas pudding” chocolate cake for Christmas and just lowered the temperature and extended the baking time. This time I’m going to make a regular round cake but only have one tin. Will I be able to halve the complete batter, cook the first cake, then cook the second cake afterwards? Do you think the cake batter will hold up during the wait?


    • Jamie — February 8, 2017 at 11:41 am

      I think you should be fine, Lily. I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Pam — February 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Hi! I made the cake and it tasted great! However, I made a mistake and I don’t know what I did wrong. I let the cake cool in pan for 10 minutes and it came out cleanly. However the cake was sticky and was not easy to frost.


    • Jamie — February 9, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Maybe try refrigerating the cake before frosting. I think it may firm up a bit that way. I’m glad you enjoyed the taste, Pam!

  8. Denise — February 10, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Okay so I thought to try your cake and I must say it was good! I made it once and my co-workers loved it! So I made it again for Superbowl but tried something different I doubled the batter and added a 1/2 of cup of room temperature cream cheese and OMG it was even better! More moist and berry rich it was amazing, thank you for your awesome recipe.


    • Jamie — February 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      You’re very welcome, Denise! I’ll have to try the cream cheese next time!

  9. Medha — February 11, 2017 at 8:20 am

    What can I substitute for egg in the moist chocolate cake recipe?


    • Jamie — February 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Hi, Medha! You can substitute one mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. I hope you enjoy it!

  10. sameen — February 11, 2017 at 11:07 am

    i want to ask how you made coffee? i mean the method of making coffee.. u said leftover coffee of morning… i want to know your method of preparing coffee..


    • Jamie — February 12, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Hi, Sameen! I just use my coffee maker and add the coffee grounds and water and let the coffee maker do the work. You can use instant coffee if you like. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  11. Deb — February 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    This was amazing!!! It was so moist and chocolatey. It reminded me of the 7 layer chocolate cake at the Grand Lux Cafe!!!!


    • Jamie — February 12, 2017 at 8:09 am

      I’m so happy to hear that, Deb!

  12. Peace — February 12, 2017 at 2:19 am

    Do I have to use liquid coffee? What about just using coffee powder without missing with water, will it change the taste of the cake? 


    • Jamie — February 12, 2017 at 8:13 am

      My concern is the coffee powder may not dissolve enough, leaving a gritty taste. Feel free to use instant coffee if that’s easier. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  13. Angge — February 12, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Can  you pls send to my email the exact measurement of  best chocolate  recipe pls.
    thank you


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Hi, Angge! You’ll find all the measurements in the recipe at the bottom of the post. I hope you like it!

  14. Medha — February 13, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Hi …. Will substituting banana or apple sauce for egg leave a fruit flavour in the cake


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Hi, Medha! You shouldn’t be able to taste a fruit flavor. I hope you enjoy it!

  15. Pooja — February 13, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Anyting i could replace instead of coffee?


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Feel free to just use water. I hope you like them, Pooja!

  16. Pooja — February 13, 2017 at 1:51 am

    And can i use the same recepie for cupcakes?


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Hi, Pooja! Yes, you can. I have some hints at the bottom of the recipe. Enjoy!

  17. Michael O'Connor — February 13, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I’m a retired pilot, Army Officer, with 3 daughters. I’ve been making their birthday cakes for 40+ years. It used to be boxed cakes which progressed to boxed with my own modifications and it progress to only from scratch. I have to share that I made this for my chocoholic middle child for her 43rd Birthday. I did a milk chocolate ganache filling and a white chocolate buttercream frosting. This was her instagram post: standup3 This is hands down the BEST chocolate cake I have ever had. And I am a connoisseur. Thank you Dad!! Best birthday cake ever! #chocolateislove #bestbirthdaycakeever #darkchocolate #daddyslittlegirl #bestdadever
    Needless to say it will be done again and again….


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      You have no idea how happy I am to hear that, Michael! Happy birthday to your daughter!

  18. Georgia — February 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Can this be baked in a bundt pan?


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Hi, Georgia! Yes, you can make this in a bundt pan. You’ll probably want to bake it for about 35 to 40 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

  19. Petronia — February 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Hi there! Thanks for such a awesome recipe. One quick question? If we don’t have the king Arthurs flout, do we just add the same equivalent amount of regular flour , right? Also, if this recipe is used for cupcakes, does the recipe change at all? I’m finding out that mamy cake recipes vary when you are making cupcakes vs regular cakes. Thanks ! :)


    • Jamie — February 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Hi, Petronia! You can use any type of all purpose flour in the same equivalent. The recipe will not change for cupcakes except for the baking time (bake for about 20 to 30 minutes.) I hope you like them!

  20. Nalene — February 14, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Hi.. just made this for Valentine’s yesterday and it turned out great! My husband loved it. The cake was super moist. Will sure to make it again! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.


    • Jamie — February 15, 2017 at 9:00 am

      You’re very welcome, Nalene! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  21. Vinita — February 14, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    I’m planning to make this cake for my sons birthday tomorrow. Can I substitute kosher salt with regular salt and how much should I use.

    Thank you


    • Jamie — February 15, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Hi, Vinita! You may want to use about 3/4 teaspoon of table salt. Let me know how it goes!

  22. Vinita — February 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    I made this cake for my sons birthday and he loved it. I have tried so many recipes for chocolate cake and this is the best and will stick to it lifelong. This is just sooo soo awesome. It is dense, moist and with very rich flavor. This is the best chocolate cake I ever had and my husband agreed. My only concern was it was  little stick on top and crumbling a little when I cut it. Is this normal? Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.



    • Jamie — February 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Hi, Vinita! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed the cake. Sometimes it helps to chill a cake a bit before cutting to prevent the crumbling. I hope your son had a great birthday!

  23. ej — February 17, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Hi..What if i use milk instead of buttermilk..Is it ok..?


    • Jamie — February 18, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Hi, EJ! It’ll probably be fine, but it’s going to lose an acidic quality that makes the cake taste special. Whatever you like! Let me know how it goes!

  24. Kerry — February 17, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Hi I don’t like coffee, is it a must


    • Jamie — February 18, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Hi, Kerry! It’s not a must, but I promise you won’t even taste the coffee…it just enhances the chocolate flavor. Feel free to use water if you like. I hope you enjoy it!

  25. Alice — February 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Where is the frosting for this recipe


  26. Priyanka — February 17, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Jamie!!

    Thanks for uploading this awesome recipe. This cake looks temptingly delicious…i’m sure it tastes yummmmm!!!

    I want to bake this for my son’s 2nd birthday…a quick question on the above recipe.

    Can we bake it without adding the coffee? My husband doesn’t like the coffee flavor & its taste. Is it going to change the taste..fluffiness and the texture of the cake? Also do you have any other birthday cake designs for toddlers? Please let me know. Thanks a ton.



    • Jamie — February 18, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Hi, Priyanka! You won’t taste the coffee at all, but you can add water as a replacement if you like. You might like to take a look at my Oreo Dirt Cups…I hope this helps!

  27. Carol — February 18, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    This recipe has been around for years. I’ve been making this cake for 50+ years. Originally called Black Joe Cake.


    • Jamie — February 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

      I’m so glad you enjoy it as much as I do, Carol!

  28. Amy J — February 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve made this chocolate cake about 3 times and will bake another one tonight. Thanks for such a great recipe that turns out awesome each time!


    • Jamie — February 19, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Wonderful, Amy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  29. Linda — February 19, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Hello there! Love the recipe, but can’t seem to find the measurements for the ingredients. Have you posted them somewhere and I missed them? Sorry this is the first time I visit your site, and I love it! 


    • Jamie — February 19, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Hi, Linda! The measurements are toward the bottom at the end of the post. Let me know if I can help with anything else. Thank you for your kind words!

  30. Minal Rathod — February 19, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    The recipe looks awesome,will get back to you as soon as I make.On my urgent to do list.


    • Jamie — February 21, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Please let me know how you like it, Minal!

  31. MZ — February 19, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    This is the best chocolate cake made from scratch… I made it and put peanut butter icing on it SO GOOD!!
    The coffee is a must it really brings out the chocolate taste you would never know there is coffee in this cake if you don’t use the butter milk and the coffee you will be missing something in this cake it will not taste the same follow the recipe to a T and yes the batter is thinner then a box cake mix Thanks Jamie for the great recipe!


    • Jamie — February 21, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m really glad you enjoyed the cake, and the peanut butter icing sounds amazing!!!

  32. Gina Pereira — February 19, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    If I find have the King Arthur’s flour
    Do I substitute it with 2 T cocoa or 2T al purpose flour?


    • Jamie — February 21, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Hi, Gina! I don’t fully understand your question…you can feel free to leave out the black cocoa if you like; the cake will still be delicious! I hope you enjoy it. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  33. Hazel — February 20, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Hi, what can i substitute for buttermilk? Would really like to try this recipe but couldnt find any buttermilk. Thanks


    • Jamie — February 21, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Hi, Hazel! You can make your own buttermilk. Take 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let stand for five minutes, and you’ll be set. I hope this helps!

  34. Tan — February 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Jamie..can I use yoghurt jnstead of the buttermilk..also just bake it in one pan???


    • Jamie — February 21, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Hi, Tan! You could try yogurt if you like. I suppose you could bake it in one pan, but it would depend on the size of the pan, etc. I hope this helps!

  35. Caroline — February 20, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I’m wondering if I could substitute the coffee for kahlua? Do you know if you would still get the kahlua flavor after baking, or would it be better to just soak the cake with a little bit of kahlua/simple syrup mixture afterward?


    • Jamie — February 21, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Hi, Caroline! I think you could use Kahlua in both ways you suggested. It sounds amazing! Let me know how it goes.

  36. Saba — February 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

    The frosting looks so yummy 
    Could you pls share the recipe for that :)
    Thank you 


    • Jamie — February 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Hi, Saba! The recipe is at the bottom of the post. If you’re looking at the post on a mobile device, be sure to click the “Show Full Recipe” button, and you should be good to go!

  37. Jassa — February 23, 2017 at 5:29 am

    I just want to ask Did you make two quantities to make it 2 cakes or it’s the same amount but u Separated?
    Thx ..


    • Jamie — February 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Hi, Jassa! The batter gets poured into two pans and baked. They’re then stacked on top of each other to make one cake. I hope this helps!

  38. Elizabeth — February 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Hi! This recipe looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it. Did you use regular cocoa or Dutch process cocoa?


    • Jamie — February 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hi, Elizabeth! I use regular unsweetened cocoa powder. I hope you enjoy it!

  39. April — February 26, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Would it be better to refrigerate this cake?


    • Jamie — February 27, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Hi, April! You could refrigerate the cake if you like…it’s a matter of personal preference. I hope you enjoy it!

  40. Christine — February 26, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk? I don’t really have a need for buttermilk. I know there is a way to make buttermilk by using regular milk but I just don’t know how. Thx. The recipe looks delish!


    • Jamie — February 27, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Hi, Christine! If you’d like to make your own buttermilk, you can take 1 cup of milk and add either 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. I hope this helps!

  41. Glaze — February 27, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Recently,I have the interest to bake.can I bake this in a convection mcrowave oven or can I steam it??tthanx in advance


    • Jamie — February 28, 2017 at 7:31 am

      I think it’s best to bake this in a regular oven. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  42. Linda — February 28, 2017 at 2:29 am

    May I ask why is there more sugar than flour in this recipe, I would like to try it but do not want to waste products if it turns out heavy. Thank you.


    • Jamie — February 28, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Hi, Linda! Less flour makes for a moister cake. I think you’ll enjoy it. Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

  43. Hannah — February 28, 2017 at 2:53 am

    Hi there! I am planning on making this tomorrow.. But i don’t really like the taste of coffee in a chocolate cake. What can we replace it with so it still tastes as good? (Or is the coffee not noticeable). I want to make a yummy moist, rich chocolate cake! I notice you haven’t used real chocolate either.. Would I add this to make it richer?


    • Jamie — February 28, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Hi, Hannah! You won’t notice the taste of the coffee at all! Unsweetened cocoa powder is real chocolate, and there’s plenty of it in there to make a wonderful cake! I hope you enjoy it!

  44. Jo — February 28, 2017 at 1:17 pm

     Have you tried making this recipe with any sugar substitutes? For a less sweet and more chocolatey flavor have you tried less sugar? Thanks!


    • Jamie — March 2, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi, Jo! I haven’t made this with any sugar substitutes, but I think you should give it a try. Let me know the results if you do!

  45. Bebo — March 1, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Hey looks yummy….m a lill confused to use coffee …as in how much coffee n how much water…cld u please explain….


    • Jamie — March 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Hi, Bebo! You can eliminate the coffee if you like and just use water, but the coffee makes the chocolate really stand out. One cup of liquid coffee will be perfect. I hope you enjoy it!

  46. Mridula — March 1, 2017 at 6:28 am

    I followed your recipe to the T and it came out so perfectly!! Thank you for this…definitely the Best Chocolate Cake Ever!
    Also the butter cream frosting was delicious. My dad and hubby loved the cake :)


    • Jamie — March 1, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Wonderful, Mridula! I’m so happy to hear that!

  47. Bebo — March 2, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Jamieeeeeeeeeeee luv u heaps…….this is wonderful n yes coffee does wonders to this cake…..tried it luvd it….
    I baked this recepie in 6 inch mould n got 4 of thm…..
    Wonderful simple fast n no mess ….ur a rockstar n the recepie rocks…


    • Jamie — March 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I’m so glad to hear that, Bebo!

  48. Courtney — March 2, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Hi. I want to make this cake. I have a large 9×13 round cake tin that I want to use.
    Can I put this whole mix into the tin, if so, how long would I bake it for? Or do I have to split it into 2 smaller cake tins? Thanks.


    • Jamie — March 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Hi, Courtney! Here’s a conversion chart that might help, and it looks like you could probably put it in a 9×13 pan. I would suggest baking for about 30 minutes or so, but double check to make sure it’s to your liking. I hope you enjoy it!

  49. Margaret — March 2, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Made cupcakes – what a disaster – filled them with too much and they have risen over muffin tins and all over my oven. How much ml is needed per muffin. Live at southern tip of south Africa.


    • Jamie — March 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I’ve had that happen to me, too, Margaret…it’s so frustrating! Fill your muffin tins about 2/3 full. I hope this helps! Good luck!

  50. Sandra — March 2, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Can I make this in 1 9 inch pan? Do I need to adjust for time or temperature?


    • Jamie — March 2, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Hi, Sandra! I would halve the recipe and keep the baking time and temperature the same. I hope you like it!

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