This easy chocolate cake recipe is moist with a decadent fudgy texture and a rich chocolate flavor.
It’s easy to make in either layers or a 9×13 pan and can be frosted or even served with ice cream. It will become a family favorite all year long!
Rich and Moist Every Time
- This from-scratch cake is just as easy as making a box mix but with a much better flavor and texture.
- Bakery-beautiful with a deep, dark chocolate flavor, this cake is an adaptation of an old Hershey’s favorite.
- Every home cook needs a from-scratch chocolate cake recipe that’s got a fudgy melt-in-your-mouth texture!
- I love to layer this cake with a thick and rich frosting (buttercream or creamy chocolate frosting) but it can be served on its own with ice cream too.
Ingredients and Variations
BASICS: Sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt are the basics for any cake. Cocoa powder gives the cake its distinctive chocolate flavor, and the amount can be adjusted more or less.
BATTER: Buttermilk is the tangy complement to the rich dark taste of the chocolate and espresso. If buttermilk is not available, an excellent substitute is to use plain yogurt or sour cream in the same amount. Vanilla extract acts as a flavor binder in almost all baked goods and the espresso (or strong coffee) intensifies the cocoa powder and adds depth to the chocolate flavor.
The Secret Ingredient
Adding coffee (or espresso) to a chocolate dessert intensifies the chocolate flavor. Not a Coffee Fan? Don’t worry, you can’t taste the coffee flavor it just makes it a bit richer. If you simply cannot have coffee, substitute it for water.
How to Make Chocolate Cake
This chocolate cake recipe could not be easier to make in just one bowl!
- Whisk dry ingredients. Beat in eggs, buttermilk, espresso, oil, & vanilla.
- Pour batter evenly between two pans & bake until a wooden pick comes out clean.
- Prepare frosting (see linked recipe).
- Cool completely, frost, and enjoy.
How to Frost
- Place bottom layer on a cake plate, top side down (bottom facing up). Trim the cake if needed to make it even.
- Pipe or spread a layer of frosting over the top of the first layer to create the filling layer.
- Top the bottom layer with the top & apply a ‘crumb coat’ (a thin, first coat securing the layers together).
- Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before adding the final coating of frosting.
Tips for a Moist Cake
A perfect chocolate cake needs only a few tips and tricks for cake perfection!
- Be sure to measure flour by gently spooning it into the measuring cup.
- Use room-temperature eggs because they will be easier to whip into the batter.
- This batter will be very thin, this is expected and produces a beautiful cake. Do not add extra flour. Do not overmix the batter.
- Do not overbake, you want the cake to be nice and moist.
- Before frosting the bottom layer, secure it to the serving plate by spreading a little frosting on the bottom of the cake plate. This prevents the cake from slipping off the plate during frosting or serving.
Storing (make ahead and leftovers)
- This cake can be made in advance, the fully frosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 1 day uncut.
- Be sure to let the cake (and frosting) sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours before serving. Just make sure not to leave it in a really warm area or in direct sunlight.
- The slices of cake will remain good at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Although the frosting has milk in it, it’s cooked and stabilized by the sugar. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- The cakes themselves (unfrosted) can be frozen. Cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag, squeezing out any excess air and freeze for up to 3 months.
Did you make this Chocolate Cake? Leave a rating and a comment below!
Easy Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup hot espresso brewed black coffee, or water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Creamy Chocolate Frosting Recipe or Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two 9x2-inch round cake pans with butter and flour or cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. For best results, use bake-even strips.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Beat in eggs, buttermilk, espresso, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, the batter is going to be very thin.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared 9-inch pans.
- Bake the cakes for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean from the center.
- Cool the cakes in pans for at least 10 minutes and loosen from the sides of the pans before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
- After the cakes have cooled, place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or serving plate.
- Pipe or spread a thick layer of the frosting all over the top of the layer to create the filling layer.
- Top with the other cake layer and give it a crumb coat and chill for 30 minutes before adding the final coating of frosting.
You can also skip the frosting layer between the cakes and opt for a chocolate ganache filling.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)