The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (2024)

By Sam 832 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jump to RecipeJump to VideoPrint Recipe

One of my all time favorites, this is my moist, fudgy, and completely from-scratch chocolate cake recipe. It comes together in one bowl and pairs well with any frosting! Recipe includes a how-to video!

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (1)

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • One bowl recipe! We’re keeping it super simple here today, just like my yellow cake and my spice cake recipes!
  • Basic ingredients. All-purpose flour, natural cocoa powder, and buttermilk (or my easy buttermilk substitute!) are as complicated as this gets.
  • No mixer needed! While I often use my stand mixer to make this cake, mixing by hand is absolutely an option here.
  • Adaptable: you can make a hefty two layer 8” cake or 9” cake, or you can do a 3-layer cake–instructions for this are in the printable recipe below!
  • Very little chance of over-mixing. I use a version of the reverse creaming method, which means it’s highly unlikely (but not impossible!) to over-mix this batter.
The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (2)

A long-time favorite recipe

This chocolate cake recipe is not new to the blog. I originally published it several years ago after a ton of trial and error…aton. In fact, it took me almost 5 months of failed cakes and frustration to perfect this recipe (not as bad as my macarons, but close!)!

And after many, many,many disappointing cakes, it was clear from the first fudgy forkful that this one was a winner. In fact, it’s one of my proudest creations on the blog to-date, and I even used it as the base for my German chocolate cake and my Ding Dong cake.

Today, I’m bringing it back with more notes and helpful tips, but the recipe remains unchanged (because there’s no need to mess with perfection!).

What You Need

Each ingredient in this chocolate cake recipe was carefully chosen to make for amoist and flavorful chocolate cake recipe.

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (3)
  • Buttermilk gives this cake depth of flavor and keepsit soft and moist. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use my easy buttermilk substitute in a pinch–but real buttermilk is best!
  • Oiland butter give us a moist cake with great flavor. This combination is especially important if you need to refrigerate your chocolate cake (which could dry out your cake). I originally used canola or vegetable oil in this recipe, but have learned avocado oil works just as well and this is my current go-to.
  • An extra egg yolk contributes to the tender, fudgy, melt-in-your-mouth crumb. If you don’t want to waste your leftover egg white, save it to make some candied almonds.
  • Cocoa powder. It’s important that you stick with natural cocoa powder here, since we are only using baking soda. Using dutch process cocoa could cause rising issues in this recipe.
  • Hot water/coffee will “bloom” your cocoa powder, fully developing its flavor. Note that using coffee won’t make your chocolate cake taste like coffee, but it will enhance the chocolate taste even more than plain hot water would. On the other hand, if you really like coffee and want a coffee flavor, you can always frost this cake with my coffee frosting (I actually like to use the variation in that recipe to make a mocha frosting with this cake)!

SAM’S TIP: The best way to keep chocolate cake(or, any cake) moist is to not over-bake it. Make sure that your oven temperature isn’t running hotter than it is leading you to believe (I keep two thermometers in my oven to make sure the temperature is accurate), as an oven that’s too hot will over-bake your cake in your hurry.

Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Make Chocolate Cake

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (4)
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients and sugars together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the butter and oil. The batter will be stiff at this stage–this is totally normal, just make sure all the dry ingredients are moistened.
  3. Add the eggs, extra yolk, and vanilla, then scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combining nicely.
  4. Gradually stir in the buttermilk. The batter will still be pretty thick here, but it will get a lot thinner with the next step!
The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (5)
  1. Pour in the hot coffee/water–slowly and carefully since it is very hot! I recommend scraping your bowl again at this stage just to make sure nothing is hiding on the bottom or sides. It’s important that the batter be smooth and uniform so that it bakes evenly.
  2. Divide the batter into your pans and bake. I love using parchment circles on the bottom of my pans (in addition to greasing/flouring them) to ensure there will be no sticking when it’s time to remove the cakes from the pans.
The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (6)
  1. Cool the cakes in their pans for a few minutes, then invert to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  2. Level your cakes if needed/desired. This is entirely optional, and most of the time this cake bakes up pretty level for me! Here is the inexpensive cake leveler I like to use.
  3. Frosting with your favorite frosting and decorate as desired. I have a post on how to decorate a cake if you need help with this step (but you can see I kept things pretty simple here).

SAM’S TIP: A crumb coating is always a good idea! To do this, apply a thin, even layer of frosting to catch all of your crumbs and then place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove and finish frosting for a crumb-free finish!

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (7)

Frequently Asked Questions

What frosting pairs well with chocolate cake?

I typically use my favorite chocolate frosting; however my chocolate fudge frosting works just as well (and that’s what I used in the photos here!). The fudge frosting is thicker, richer and, well, fudgier, while the “favorite” frosting is lighter, sweeter, and more buttercream-esque.

I included a few additional ideas below if you are looking for more. Chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, coffee frosting, or even Oreo frosting would also be good…so many options!

Can I use this recipe for chocolate cupcakes?

You absolutely can, but my preference for cupcakes is my easy chocolate cupcake recipe instead; it yields a light, springy texture that just suits the cupcake form so well.

However, if you want to make this cake as cupcakes, know you’ll get approximately 24 cupcakes. Fill your liners ⅔ of the way full and bake for 16-18 minutes.

You said the chocolate cake recipe wasn’t changed, but the amount of flour looks different, why?

I perfected this recipe years ago, before I’d developed weight standards for using a kitchen scale across my website. Back then, I would measure everything into my measuring cups and then I would check those measurements on the scale and record them. As I’ve developed a standard, I’ve updated my older recipes to reflect that standard. Weights are the most accurate, so I have kept the weight the same but updated the cup measurement to reflect the standard.

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (8)

This recipe has already earned lots of 5-star ratings, but I’d love to hear whatyou think! Leave me a comment and a rating once you try it out (please!).


Let’s bake together!Subscribe to mynewsletterto be notified of all the newest recipes, and find my free recipe tutorials onYouTube💜

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (9)

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is the BEST chocolate cake recipe! Fudgy, chocolatey, moist, and made completely from scratch! Be sure to check out the VIDEO!

4.99 from 216 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 20 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes minutes

Total Time: 1 hour hour

Servings: 12 slices

Calories: 755kcal

Author: Sam Merritt


  • 1 ⅔ cup (208 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (75 g) natural cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup (118 ml) neutral cooking oil (use avocado, canola, or vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk
  • ½ cup (118 ml) hot coffee or hot water
  • 1 batch chocolate frosting see note

Recommended Equipment


  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare two 8" round cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing and flouring the sides. Set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) stir together flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

    1 ⅔ cup (208 g) all-purpose flour, 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar, 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, ¾ cup (75 g) natural cocoa powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt

  • Add melted butter and oil, stir well. Batter may be thick, this is fine, just stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.

    ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (118 ml) neutral cooking oil

  • Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir until well combined. Pause occasionally to scrape sides and bottom of bowl.

    2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Gradually add buttermilk and stir well.

    1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk

  • Add hot coffee or water, stirring carefully until ingredients are well-combined (be sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl to ensure batter is uniform).

    ½ cup (118 ml) hot coffee or hot water

  • Evenly divide batter between prepared pans. Transfer to center rack of350F (175C) and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.

  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely before frosting with your favorite frosting (I recommend the one linked in the recipe above, or one of my favorites linked in the notes below!).

    1 batch chocolate frosting



In the video I used my favorite chocolate frosting (linked in the recipe card) but for the photos in this post I used my chocolate fudge frosting (I love both of these options!). Here are some other frostings that work really well with this cake:

  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • Peanut Butter Frosting
  • Coffee Frosting


Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


You can freeze the completely cooled layers by wrapping them very well with plastic wrap and then freezing.

You can also freeze the fully frosted cake. To do this, place your cake in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes or until the frosting is firm. Remove it, wrap very well with plastic wrap, and freeze for up to a month.

Different sized pans

Two 9″ pans: Cakes will need to bake for less time, start checking at 27-30 minutes. Please keep in mind that if your pans are dark-colored the cake may need less time to bake.

Three 8″ pans: Bake approximately 23-26 minutes.

Three 9″ pans. Cake layers will be quite thin. Bake approximately 20-23 minutes.


You’ll get about 24 cupcakes, evenly divide into two lined 12-count cupcake tins and bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Readers have commented that they have successfully made this recipe by substituting Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 baking flour for the flour called for in this recipe.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 755kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 433mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 857IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.

Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @SugarSpun_Sam or tag #sugarspunrun!

Recipe originally published 02/27/2017.

Related Recipes

  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
  • Triple Chocolate Cake
  • Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cake
  • German Chocolate Cake

« Homemade Granola Recipe

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe »

Reader Interactions


  1. Angella

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (14)
    I made this cake (but I used your chocolate buttercream frosting) for my husband’s birthday. He said it’s the BEST Chocolate Cake he’s ever had!


  2. Cindy

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (15)
    Loved it! New favorite chocolate cake!


  3. Carol McGehee

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (16)
    love seeing how you made it


  4. Monica

    can I substitute the buttermilk if so what can I use?


    • Sam

      Hi Monica! I would recommend making my buttermilk substitute. 🙂


      • Susanna Pennes

        Hi, Sam! When I’m wanting a baked good recipe, I look for your recipes first. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
        How much espresso powder & hot water can I use en leiu of coffee?
        Thanks, Susanna

      • Sam

        Hi Susanna! You will want the liquid amount to be the same, but you may want to air on the side of caution when using the espresso powder as it’s going to be much more potent. 🙂

  5. kathryn vasil

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (17)
    Love this cake it is my family go to recipe but I’m trying to make a numbered cake, can I bake it into a single pan? How long might it take? Or do I need to double the recipe? Thanks as always.


    • Sam

      Hi Kathryn! It can be baked in a single pan, but I am not sure what pan you are using or the volume of that pan. This will produce about 8 cups of batter. I’m not sure how long to bake it in your particular pan. 🙂


  6. Jasmine Hidalgo

    Can I use 6” pan? Do I have to keep it longer in the oven or less time?


    • Sam

      Hi Jasmine! This will likely fill 3 6 inch pans. It will certainly take less time in the oven. 🙂


  7. Megan

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (18)
    To get 3 10” layers, should I double the recipe?


    • Emily @ Sugar Spun Run

      Hi Megan! Doubling will work, but you may have some batter leftover. Enjoy!


  8. Betty Curtis

    Best chocolate cake ever


  9. Erin Rankin

    The recipe calls for 1 2/3 cups of flour while the video states 1 3/4 cups. Which is it?


    • Sam

      Hi Erin! The written recipe is correct 🙂


    • Shawnee Seese

      The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (19)
      This was a good chocolate cake, easy to make. I enjoyed the taste. Was it the best? No. The chocolate cake I had in Vienna was much more moist and the chocolate was delicious. However, I really did enjoy this cake very much. It’s definitely a quality cake for any occasion.


  10. CakeB

    I’m can this be made in advance and stored at room temp?


    • Sam

      Sure thing! You will want to wrap or cover it tightly so it doesn’t dry out. 🙂


  11. Mariam

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (20)
    Another successful cake recipe. I made chocolate ganache for frosting. Thank you very much


  12. Theoncereluctantcook

    The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (21)
    Amazing recipe! I made this for my son’s birthday and he loved it. I had to do it twice because I forgot the baking soda and vanilla the first time, but I served the sodaless version to friends as “fudgy cake brownie bites” and they still raved about it. Thanks Sam for all the great instructions and demos – you are my go-to dessert recipe source.


    • Jerry

      Nice to know I;m not the only one to forget the baking soda ‘;)


« Older Comments

Leave a Reply

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Last Updated:

Views: 6109

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Birthday: 2001-01-17

Address: Suite 769 2454 Marsha Coves, Debbieton, MS 95002

Phone: +813077629322

Job: Real-Estate Executive

Hobby: Archery, Metal detecting, Kitesurfing, Genealogy, Kitesurfing, Calligraphy, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Gov. Deandrea McKenzie, I am a spotless, clean, glamorous, sparkling, adventurous, nice, brainy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.