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

1,850 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. Meghan — March 25, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve made this cake before and it’s delicious though I’m now currently at 7200′ elevation and it have once had it bubble out of the pan and another time sunken in the middle. Do you have adjustments for high altitude baking?

    Reply

  2. Melina — March 26, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Hi, quick question…does the buttermilk need to be at room temperature? Thanks…

    Reply

    • Jamie — March 27, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Hi, Melina! No, it doesn’t. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  3. Jayne — March 28, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Hi im in tne UK what is buttermilk please?

    Reply

    • Jamie — March 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Hi, Jayne! Buttermilk is milk with an acid. You can make your own by taking 1 cup milk and adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. I hope you like the cake!

  4. Angie Garcia — March 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Hello there!!!

    Love your recipe I was just wondering if you had a recipe similar to this, but Vanilla. I have no luck finding a scratch recipe that is moist and fluffy all at the same time. Could you please help!!!

    Reply

  5. GINA — April 2, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Has anyone asked for the frosting recipe? I would LOVE it also.

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 5, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Hi, Gina! The frosting recipe is linked at the bottom of the recipe. Enjoy!

  6. Sandra — April 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Hi what is kosher salt please ?
    By the way great great pictures

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 5, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Hi, Sandra! The grains in kosher salt are a little larger. Thank you for the compliment!

  7. Fatina — April 3, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Hi there, quick question. Does the black coffe need to be warm or cold when you add it in the batter?
    Thank you X

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 4, 2017 at 7:26 am

      Hi, Fatina! It should be room temperature or cooler. Enjoy!

  8. Nancy — April 6, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Can anything other then coffee be used?? How about tea not coffee person

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 6, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi, Nancy! Feel free to just use water. I promise, though, you won’t taste the coffee at all! I hope you enjoy it.

  9. Afra nazar — April 7, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Can I skip the kosher salt..? 
    Is this recepie is enough for 9 inch pan..? 
    Wot is itz baking tym..?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Hi, Afra! You can use table salt if you like. This cake bakes in two 9 inch pans, so you could half the recipe and make one if you like. Bake for about 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Esta — April 8, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Hi Jaime, 
    I’ve made this cake before in my gas oven and it turned out great but I needed to cook it a bit longer than the recipe states. I’ve now got a new electric oven with a fan do you know if the timings are the same? Thanks x

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Hi, Esta! The timings should be the same. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake!

  11. Robin — April 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I made this and followed directions and it was very tasty. I greased and floured my pans but the cake still stuck. Any suggestions.

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      You could try using parchment paper to and see if that helps. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake, Robin!

  12. Frances Darcy — April 9, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Is this cake suitable for carving?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Hi, Frances! I’ve only made layer cakes with this recipe, so I’m not honestly sure. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.

  13. Nazma fareed — April 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Plz send me this recipe in written i want to make it for my son birthday

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Hi, Nazma! You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of the post. Happy birthday to your son!

  14. Simran — April 12, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Substitute for buttermilk

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 13, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Hi, Simran! You can take one cup of milk and add one tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let me know how you like it!

  15. Luisa — April 12, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    How can I achieve a more structure cake, less spongy ? And what happens if I replace the oil for melted butter? Thanks

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 13, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Hi, Luisa! You can substitute melted butter if you like. This cake is very moist and spongy, and you may want to give my Chocolate Stout Cake a try for structure. I hope this helps!

  16. Justin Gatilao — April 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Hey just wondering, the coffee needs to be brewed, correct? 

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Hi, Justin. Yes, it should be brewed and cooled down to room temperature. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  17. danny — April 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    This sounds amazing.  if i wanted to add raspberry preserves to this batter, how could I do that?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 14, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Hi, Danny! Raspberry preserves sound amazing! I would add the preserves after the cake has been mixed and right before you put it in the baking pans. Let me know how it turns out!

  18. Andrea — April 14, 2017 at 3:29 am

    I would like to know, does it have to be unsweetened cocoa powder or can the normal cocoa powder be used instead?

    Reply

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

      Hi, Andrea! The cocoa powder should be unsweetened. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  19. Josephine — April 15, 2017 at 10:54 am

    May i know what brand of flour did you use? Tnx

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 15, 2017 at 11:38 am

      Hi, Josephine! I really like King Arthur flour. I hope you like the cake!

  20. Cynthia — April 15, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose flour? Thanks

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I haven’t tried this, but you should substitute 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour.
      -Jamie

  21. DonP — April 17, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I am going to print this off and try it but I am wondering if you could also use a bundt cake pan to bake it, and if so would extra time baking be required?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Hi, Don! Yes, you can make this in a bundt pan. I would suggest baking it for about 35 to 40 minutes. Enjoy!

  22. Ima — April 18, 2017 at 10:53 am

    For 1 cup of coffee… how teaspoon of coffee granules needed?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 21, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Hi, Ima! I would use about 1 tsp. Let me know how you like it!

  23. nancy — April 19, 2017 at 2:19 am

    hi the batter in the video is it for 2 round pans or i need to double the ingredients to layer the cake?
    thanks!

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Hi, Nancy! This cake will make two layers. I hope you enjoy it!

  24. Lynn — April 21, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Can the frosting be made ahead & stored in refrigerator or refrigerate leftovers? If so, how long?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Hi, Lynn! The buttercream could be refrigerated for probably a week. Enjoy!

  25. Olukemi — April 22, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Hi! Tested and so wonderful loved it thank u.
    Wil it b alright if i put this recipe together with a red velvet batter in a pan to bake?

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 24, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Feel free to make this cake red velvet, Olukemi. Let me know how it goes!

  26. Olukemi — April 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Forgot to add, can i use warm water in place of the black coffee will it still b okay cause i used normal water when i tried it first…..thanks

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Room temperature water would be just fine, Oukemi. I’m really glad you liked it!

  27. Bharat Ratna Winners — April 23, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Ohhhhhh….looks yummy!

    Reply

  28. Marlene tobin — April 24, 2017 at 2:59 am

    Hi I live in the UK & we do not have all purpose flour only plain or self raising flour which is the best one to use please also we don’t have black cocoa either can you advise please

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Hi, Marlene! Plain flour should be just fine, and the black cocoa is optional. Let me know how you like it!

  29. Paula — April 24, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Hi,  do you have to use King Arthur’s coco flour?  I love using King Arthur flour for baking but I’ve never seen the coco brand in my local grocery store. 

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Hi, Paula! The black cocoa is optional. I hope you like the cake!

  30. Mae andersen — April 25, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Hello,
    What is other option for frosting for this chocolate cake..i will bake today for my friend bday..Can u send me the exact recipe..
    Thanks..

    Reply

  31. Samantha — April 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    This has become my go to chocolate cake recipe but lately when I take it out of the oven the centre has sunken a bit. Any idea why? Happens almost every time :( love the taste and moisture in this cake it’s just been doing that! Lol

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 30, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Hi, Samantha! 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!

  32. Uma — April 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    looks soooo tempting..

    Ma’am..one query.. What can I replace eggs with ???

    Reply

    • Jamie — April 29, 2017 at 10:19 am

      You can replace the eggs with 1 mashed banana for each egg or 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I say give into the temptation, Uma!

  33. anu — April 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I followed the recipe exactly but found that the cake was a little bitter. Is there any reason why that would be the case and how can I avoid this problem the next time? The only reason i can think of is that i sifted the cocoa n then measured out 32 gm as i only made one layer. Should i not do this the next time i try this recipe?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 2, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Hi, Anu! Try not sifting next time. Let me know if this helps!

  34. anu — April 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Also, I used Hersheys unsweetened cocoa powder n Bru instant coffee powder 1/2 tsp in 1/2 cup water

    Reply

  35. Danial — May 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Is it possible to substitute some of the cocoa powder and oil with melted chocolate?
    Or would i need to adjust some of the other ingredients too?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Hi, Danial! I think this article about substitutions for unsweetened cocoa powder should help. Let me know how it goes!

  36. Regina — May 4, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Hi! I love this recipe! I’ve made this a couple of times and it’s always a hit with the fan. I’m wondering if I can also use this recipe for cupcakes? What would be the adjustments? 
    Thank you! ❤️

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 4, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Hi, Regina! I’m so glad you like the cake. This recipe will make about 24 to 36 cupcakes. Bake at 350 degrees between 20 and 30 minutes. Enjoy!

  37. Thilini — May 7, 2017 at 2:15 am

    When making buttermilk, do we have to use fresh milk?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Hi, Thilini! I’ve always made homemade buttermilk with fresh milk. From what I understand, you could probably use evaporated milk, although I’ve never tried it. Let me know how you like it!

  38. anu — May 7, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    hi! thnx for your advice! the next cake tasted fabulous! However, there was slight doming near the sides while the centre looked as if it slightly caved in or maybe it didnt rise sufficiently from the centre. Any idea as to why that could’ve happened? I tried again with same results.

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Hi, Anu! There’s a chance the cake is falling due to overmixing. Mix just until combined and bake. Let me know if this helps!

    • anu — May 10, 2017 at 12:38 am

      hi! i tried again n this tym i only mixed for about 30 secs after adding the wet ingredients to the dry.. still the same problem. Dunno what m doing
      wrong :(

    • Jamie — May 11, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Hi, Anu! Is there a chance you live in a humid climate? The humidity could be making the cake fall. Here’s an article about how to keep a cake from falling. I hope this helps!

  39. Cris — May 8, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    What if I don’t have baking soda will it still work?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Hi, Cris! I think the cake may not rise without the baking soda, making it too dense. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  40. Sara — May 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Hi! Can I substitute oil with butter? 

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 9, 2017 at 11:33 am

      Hi, Sara! You absolutely can. Melt the butter and then measure. I hope you like the cake!

    • Sara — May 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Hey Jamie. I decided to use oil as the recipe calls for and the cake turned out great! Only thing is that the center took longer to bake, so the cake dried out a bit at the edges. 

    • Jamie — May 16, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, Sara!

  41. Tally Academy online — May 10, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I’ve made this and it really is delicious.

    Reply

  42. Mansi — May 12, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Hi,
    I would love to try this cake but I m vegetarian. So can you please tell me what is the substitute for egg? Please also tell me what should be the proportion.

    Thanks
    Mansi

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 13, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Hi, Mansi! Substitute a mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for each egg. I hope you like it!

  43. shalini — May 13, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Substitute for egg?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 13, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Hi, Shalini! You can substitute one mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for each egg. Enjoy!

  44. Min — May 14, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Can i use brown sugar instead of white sugar? Will the texture be changed?

    Thank you.

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 16, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      Hi, Min! The texture may be changed a bit but I don’t think too significantly. I hope you like the cake!

  45. Ilaf — May 14, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Hi, one quick question can I use a large square pan instead of a round pan? 

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Hi, Ilaf! I’ve never used a large square pan for this, so I honestly don’t know. I say give it a try and keep an eye on it as it bakes. Let me know how it goes!

  46. Marj — May 17, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Hi Jamie! This cake looks decadent, hoping to try it very soon. Just have a question, can i use honey instead of sugar? And spelt flour instead of what you used? Thank you.

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 17, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Hi, Marj! I’ve never used spelt flour in this cake, so I honestly don’t know. From what I understand, you should substitute 25% spelt flour for the white flour. I’ve also never tried using honey in this recipe, but I found an article about substituting honey for sugar that may help. Let me know how it goes!

  47. Wendy — May 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Can I substitute butter for the oil? Or will that change the chemistry too much?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Hi, Wendy! Butter will work wonderfully. Melt and measure after melting. I hope you like it!

  48. Kayla — May 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I’d like to make this into cupcakes, how should I adjust my baking time? Thanks

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

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

    • Kayla — May 19, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you!! I’ll definitely let you know tomorrow. I’m behind on schedule, so I’ll be making them in the morning for my daughters party tomorrow evening!!

    • Kayla — May 20, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      They turned out amazing! They were a huge hit! I ended up yielding 24 cupcakes and my bake time was about 17 minutes! Thank you!

    • Jamie — May 22, 2017 at 6:28 am

      You’re so welcome, Kayla! I’m glad you liked them.

  49. Laura — May 26, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Would it be possible to bake the cake into 3 9″layers or would it be too thin?

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 31, 2017 at 6:17 am

      Hi, Laura! I haven’t tried this with three layers, so I honestly don’t know. Let me know if you give it a try!

  50. Rebbeca — May 27, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Every time I make this cake it tastes delicious but sinks in the middle.  I don’t understand why I followed the recipe? Do you have any suggestions? 

    Reply

    • Jamie — May 31, 2017 at 6:36 am

      Hi, Rebbeca! Check and see if your oven is heated properly and if your baking soda and powder are fresh. I hope this helps!

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