No one can resist this rich, chocolatey, decadent homemade chocolate cake!

With its moist texture and rich chocolatey flavor there is so much to love about this homemade chocolate cake. Adding a touch of coffee to the batter is the secret to a deep and rich chocolate flavor.

To make it even better, top it with a delicious chocolate buttercream frosting.

slice of Black Magic Chocolate Cake

Homemade Chocolate Cake Made Easy 

  • This chocolate cake recipe, inspired by Hershey’s, is a must-try.
  • A splash of espresso or coffee is the secret to a rich chocolate flavor, but don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like coffee.
  • You can make it in a different cake pans such as a 9-inch round layered cake or a 9×13 pan.
  • Prepare it ahead of time, and bake and freeze for up to 3 months. Simply thaw, frost, and serve.
ingredients to make Chocolate Cake with labels

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

Batter – The base of this chocolate cake batter is made with sugar, all-purpose flour, eggs, and oil. A neutral flavored oil, such as vegetable oil, is recommended. Baking soda and baking powder are also added to the batter to give the cake a nice rise without affecting the flavor.

Chocolate – Cocoa powder is added to the batter to give the cake a rich chocolate flavor. Adding coffee or espresso to the batter enhances the chocolate flavor without adding a coffee taste to the cake.

Buttermilk – Buttermilk is acidic and it is added to the batter for flavor and to give the cake a tender crumb and a better rise. If buttermilk is not available, a buttermilk substitute can be used instead.

process of adding ingredients to pan to make Chocolate Cake

How to Make Chocolate Cake

  1. Whisk dry ingredients together per the recipe below. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.
  2. Pour the batter into prepared baking pans. Bake until a toothpick comes clean from the center
  3. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
frosted chocolate cake on a plate

How to Frost a Layer Cake

  1. To frost this chocolate cake, pipe frosting onto the top of one layer of cake, then top it with the second layer of cake.
  2. Give the cake a ‘crumb coat’ by lightly frosting the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Once the crumb coat is complete, chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the fridge and add the rest of the frosting.
cut chocolate cake on a plate

Tips for the Best Chocolate Cake

  • For the best results, measure flour by spooning it into the measuring cup instead of scooping it.
  • Let eggs come to room temperature before using so they whip up faster and fluffier. Avoid over-mixing and over-baking. This cake should have little pockets of air and a moist texture.
  • For an extra chocolatey filling between the cakes, use homemade chocolate ganache.

Frosting Tip

A crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting that is spread over the cake and chilled. This layer keeps the cake moist and sticks all of the crumbs to the cake giving a nice smooth crumb-free frosting.

Storing Chocolate Cake

A fully frosted chocolate cake can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 1 day uncut, however, keep it out of direct sunlight and heat sources.

The sliced cake will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Fave Frosting Options

Did you love this Chocolate Cake? Leave a rating and a comment below! 

a frosted layer chocolate cake
5 from 36 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Chocolate Cake

This easy chocolate cake recipe is moist with a decadent fudgy texture and a rich chocolate flavor.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling & Chill Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 16 slices
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  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 cup hot espresso or brewed black coffee, or water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and flour or cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat in eggs, buttermilk, espresso, oil, and vanilla on medium speed for two minutes. The batter will be 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.
  • Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 mins, then loosen sides with a knife. Remove from pans and cool on a rack for 1 hour.
  • Place the cooled cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread or pipe a thick layer of frosting over top for the filling layer.
  • Top with the other cake layer and spread a thin coating of frosting over the cake (this is the crumb coating). Chill for 30 minutes, and then add the final coating of frosting.



  • The batter will seem very thin, this is expected.
  • Swap for a 9×13 pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Feel free to replace the frosting with your favorite chocolate frosting recipe. 
  • Cake can be made in advance, stored in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for 1 day
  • Frosting may thicken when chilled but can be softened by leaving the cake at room temperature for a few hours
  • Sliced cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months
  • 6-inch cake pans can be used to make a 4-layer cake
Adapted from Hershey’s.
5 from 36 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 240 | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
plated Chocolate Cake with a title
slice of Chocolate Cake on a plate with a title
fork with Chocolate Cake piece on it with a title
plated Chocolate Cake and a piece on a fork with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. This cake was very easy and quick to make. Don’t worry that the mix is very liquid, it comes out fine, very moist and chocolaty. Excellent cake, I would make it for any birthday or special occasion. Made it for my poor sick husband (man’s cold) and he is very happy.5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Krista, but maybe another reader has a suggestion.

  2. I follow you on Pinterest and on Facebook and I always enjoy your recipes! I made this luscious cake and frosting today. It’s absolutely perfect in every way. Thank you for sharing yet another masterpiece. If you’d like a picture of how my cake turned out, let me know how to post it. Patti5 stars

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe Patti! You can share a picture on Instagram and tag us at @spendpennies.

  3. Hello Holly, Can you please tell me what ‘Kosher Salt’ is please. I really want to try this recipe and would like to get all the ingredients correct. I know now how to do the buttermilk, thanks to you but have no idea what ‘Kosher Salt’ is. I live in England.
    Thanks in advance. Janice.

    1. Kosher salt is a coarse-grained salt that is used mainly in cooking, it can be found in most grocery stores in England. If using table salt, you’d need just a little bit less than a teaspoon, about ¾ teaspoon should work!

  4. I have made this cake every year for my daughter in love’s birthday because she is celiac and gluten free. Everyone loves this cake and can’t wait for her birthday to roll around each year. The recipe for the buttercream frosting is also amazing! The coffee is a must. It makes the chocolate flavor really come out. I can’t say enough good things about this recipe!5 stars

  5. This is really a lovely moist cake my cakes usually flop this one didn’t wish I could put a pic really yummy

    1. I am so glad you love this recipe Vanessa! If you are on Instagram, you can post a photo there and tag us at @spendpennies so we can see your photo!

  6. I’ve made this a couple of times now. Both times for my stepson. Both times his daughter helped me make it. She enjoys baking and I enjoy her company. She LOVES this cake!5 stars

  7. ❤ Hi Sally, this chocolate cake was AMAZING!! I made it for my flatmate and she loved it! it didnt quite look like the picture much better! thanks for the recipe I’ll use it again soon! thanks Holly. ❤

  8. Easy chocolate cake,I made that 30years ago it’s always a favorite of ours and it’s the same recipe it’s very moist5 stars