Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Add'l Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins

This is my BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe! With chocolate buttercream frosting and a chocolate sauce drizzled on top, you are going to love this moist chocolate cake.

Loving this gorgeous layered cake? Check out my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Or, are you looking for an easier chocolate cake recipe? Check out my creamy and decadent Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate cake slice being pulled out of whole cake with a spatula.

An Easy, Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is what dreams are made of. My easy homemade Chocolate Cake is layer after layer of chocolate fantasies, kicking your sweet tooth to the curb! Every bite has a deep, robust flavor that is irresistibly moist. 

Sharing my BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe with chocolate buttercream frosting and a chocolate sauce drizzled on top. You will enjoy bite after bite of this moist chocolate cake! #ChocolateCake #ChocolateCakeRecipe #HowToMakeChocolateCake #ChocolateButtercreamFrosting #CakeRecipes #BirthdayCake #ChocolateRecipes #ChocolateDesserts

But best yet, this recipe is so easy to make! Put the electric mixer away – all you need is a handheld whisk and a spoon! We’re going to combine melted dark chocolate, butter, oil, and eggs and mix them together with simple dry ingredients for a melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Chocolate cake on a cake stand with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top.

It’s All About the Buttercream

A beautiful cake like this needs a decadent frosting! Buttercream is an easy icing that combines unsalted butter and powdered sugar. There are many additions you can include to elevate a simple buttercream, such as vanilla extract, milk, espresso, caramel, peppermint extract, food coloring, and much more. 

Use my recipe for Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for this cake if you want a double dose of chocolate. It’s a sweet and creamy mix of unsalted butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, powdered sugar, and evaporated milk. It is perfect for those of us who love chocolate on chocolate!

For an elegant detailing, add a drizzle of my quick and easy homemade Chocolate Sauce to the decoration on top! 

Ingredients for cake in bowls on a blue background.

Recipe Ingredients

This delicious cake will surprise you, as it’s made of nothing but common baking ingredients! Everything on this list is easy to find at the store or is probably already be in your pantry:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Dark chocolate
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs

What Makes This Chocolate Cake So Moist?

Unlike a typical cake recipe, we aren’t using many tools, meaning we don’t run the risk of over-mixing the batter (making the cake dry or dense). We’re using heat to dissolve sugar into water, melting chocolate and butter into the mixture, then combining it all with oil, vanilla, and eggs. Since the batter is more wet than dry, we end up with a cake with double the moisture than an ordinary recipe!

Three cooked layers of chocolate cake cooling on a bakers rack.

How To Make Chocolate Cake

I promise you’ll have a ton of fun creating this beautiful chocolate cake. Follow these easy directions to get started:

  1. Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Dissolve: Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves (about 1 minute). 
  4. Lower The Heat: Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until melted.
  5. Wet Ingredients: Whisk in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Crack the eggs into the mixture, beating them quickly to avoid cooked or scrambled eggs. Stir in the dry ingredients until the chocolate cake mix is smooth.
  6. Bake: Divide the cake batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool: Let the cakes cool in the pans until they’re all cool to the touch.

Can I Make This Recipe As Two Layers?

Absolutely! Butter two 8-inch round cake pans instead before baking. Divide the batter evenly in both cake pans, filling to about half-full in each. The baking time may need to be extended to 30-35 minutes.

Chocolate cake on a cake stand pedestal with sprinkles in background.

Tips For The Best Chocolate Cake

  • Use a high-quality cocoa powder and dark chocolate for the best tasting cake. 
  • Let the cake cool completely before decorating, otherwise, the icing will melt. The cake layers can be made a day before adding the frosting.
  • Use room temperature eggs to help the cake rise better.
  • If you’re looking for extra protection in your cake pans, flour the edges of each pan after you’ve buttered them and/or add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom. There’s will guarantee your cake will not stick!
  • After you’ve finished decorating the cake, allow it to set in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Slice of chocolate cake on a plate with a fork.

Recipe Modifications

  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake: Use the same amount of a gluten-free flour blend instead.
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake: You’re in luck! This cake is naturally dairy-free, as high-quality dark chocolate and cocoa powder both contain no dairy. You will need to use a different frosting recipe or sub the evaporated milk for coconut milk. 
  • Cake Without Eggs: Yes, it can be done! Check out my recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake where I substituted oil and raw eggs for mayo. Alternatively, leave the eggs out of this recipe and replace them with ¼ cup of plain yogurt. It’s not exactly the same, but will work in a pinch!
  • Espresso Powder: Adding 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to the dry ingredients will only enhance the chocolate flavor and NOT make the cake taste like coffee. Or, add a couple of tablespoons of espresso powder for a chocolate coffee cake! 
  • Peanut Butter Frosting: Add a nutty flavor by using my Peanut Butter Frosting instead of Chocolate Buttercream!

Up close image of the top of chocolate cake with sprinkles and chocolate sauce on top.

How to Store Chocolate Cake

This cake is so good I doubt you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, cover the cake with a lid or plastic wrap and keep it in your fridge. It should stay fresh for up to 3 days.

You can freeze chocolate cake as well. Bake the cake layers as normal, wrap them individually in plastic wrap once cooled, and freeze for up to 3 months. A frosted cake will last just as long when kept covered in the freezer. To thaw, leave it in the fridge overnight and serve cold.

Chocolate buttercream can be made up to 4 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before using. You can also freeze the buttercream for up to 3 months.

A layered slice of cake with chocolate buttercream and sprinkles on a white cake plate.

I know you are going to love this cake almost as much as my family does — they are Chocolate Cake fanatics! We have been making this for birthday cakes for years and it never disappoints. It’s a great versatile cake that will hold up to many different flavors of frostings so you can change it up for each special person’s birthday. 

Please leave a review or comment below letting me know how this recipe turns out for you! 

Yield: 12

BEST Chocolate Cake

Slice of chocolate cake on a plate with a fork.

Sharing my BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe with chocolate buttercream frosting and a chocolate sauce drizzled on top. You will enjoy bite after bite of this moist chocolate cake!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Toppings

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of your cake pans. (This ensures your cake does not stick.) Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until melted.
  4. Whisk in vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Quickly beat in eggs (do this quickly so they don’t cook) into the chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cakes cool in pans until cool to the touch – then frost as desired!

Notes

If you like a lot of frosting on your cake, I reocmmend making 1.5 batches -- or even doubling the recipe for the chocolate buttercream frosting.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 509mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 2gSugar: 41gProtein: 4g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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