Best Ever Chocolate Cake

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Chocolate Cake is a deliciously decadent dessert that has been a staple on our table for as long as I can remember! This easy recipe makes a rich and delicious cake that is perfectly tender and moist. 

Top it with the best ever Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, a drizzle of Easy Caramel Sauce or simply whipped cream and strawberries for the perfect dessert!

Lifting a piece of Simple Chocolate Cake out of baking pan with a spatula

Remember Gramma’s famous chocolate cake recipe that brought the whole family to the table after Sunday dinner? Or sold at a church bake sale? Or was enjoyed with a fresh, cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day?  Hershey’s famous chocolate cake recipe is one I’ve enjoyed pretty much my entire life. Simple. Delicious. Perfect.

Enjoy this easy to make chocolate cake anytime you feel an urge for something rich and sinfully divine!

How to Make a Chocolate Cake

Making this easy chocolate cake takes just a few simple steps!

  1. Choose your pan size: Preheat the oven and prep your cake pans. You will want to check the recipe notes below for more information on what type of baking pan you want to use or for “bite-sized” portions try making cupcakes!
  2. Combine dry ingredients: Whisk the mixture to incorporate all of the ingredients (and whisking means no sifting required).
  3. Add wet ingredients: Beat with a hand mixer until the batter is well mixed!
  4. Add boiling water: Slowly add boiling water to the batter – it will seem thin at this point, but that’s okay! It’s going to bake into a light, fluffy, spongy chocolate cake! Mmmmm….

Chocolate cake ingredients in a glass bowl before mixing together

How to Bake a Chocolate Cake

The time needed to bake homemade chocolate cake can depend on the size/shape of the baking pan you’re using!

  • 9×13 pan – 35-40 minutes
  • 8″ round pans – 30-35 minutes
  • Cupcakes – 22-25 minutes.

If making cupcakes, line the pan with paper liners and fill wells 2/3 full.

How to Tell if a Cake is Done

  • A great way to check if a cake is done is to insert a wooden toothpick into the cake and if the wooden pick comes out clean, it is ready.
  • If you don’t have a toothpick, gently press on the cake and it should spring back. If the cake leaves an indent of a fingerprint, it needs a few more minutes.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool either on a rack or on a kitchen towel on the counter. You will want to make sure they are fully cooled before moving onto decorating your cake or cupcakes. This keeps the icing from melting and sliding off! We’d hate to waste any delicious frosting!

Overhead shot of Chocolate Cake in a baking pan next to a bowl of chocolate frosting

How to Decorate Chocolate Cake

Homemade frosting is easy and honestly the best (this chocolate icing is my fave).

If you’re in a hurry, one can of frosting will cover a sheet cake or be enough for cupcakes, but two cans are needed for three layers (8” round).

We love changing the flavor of this recipe just by changing the delicious frosting we top it with!

Sprinkle on multi-colored sprinkles or chocolate jimmies. This is the best chocolate cake recipe for birthdays, so get some fun candles and celebrate someone special! They will love this yummy birthday treat!

Overhead shot of Simple Chocolate Cake in a baking pan

Got Leftovers?

If you can’t finish it in one sitting, no worries! Chocolate cake will keep covered at room temperature or sometimes you can put it in the fridge for a cold, tasty treat with a glass of milk at the end of the day!

To Freeze Chocolate Cake: Of course, this cake freezes beautifully but there’s never any left to freeze in my house!

More Amazing Cakes You NEED!

Lifting a piece of Simple Chocolate Cake out of baking pan with a spatula
4.92 from 235 votes
Review Recipe

Best Ever Chocolate Cake {Hershey's}

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This simple chocolate cake is better than boxed! Once you try this cake, you may never turn back!


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

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  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour your baking pan (see size information in the notes below) or line your muffin pan with paper liners for cupcakes.
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer on medium for about 2 minutes. Gently mix in boiling water. Note: Your batter will seem thin, it's ok.. it's supposed to!
  • Pour into pans and bake. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe Notes

9x13 pan: 35 - 40 minutes
3 layers (3 x 8" round cake pans) 30 to 35 minutes
Cupcakes: Line with paper cups. Fill ⅔ full and bake 22 to 25 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 248, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 138mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 80IU, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 1mg

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

Keyword chocolate cake
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Original recipe from Hershey’s!

A slice of Chocolate Cake on a white plate, with a bite being scooped up with a silver fork, with a title
A slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting being served from a baking pan with writing
A slice of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting being served from a baking pan with a title.
A piece of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting being served from a baking pan, and chocolate cake fresh from the oven ready to be frosted, under the title.
About the author


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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!

More Posts by Holly

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can I omit the baking soda entirely or cut down on the amount of it? I do not like how chocolate cake tastes with baking soda in it. Please let me know

  2. My husband said it would taste even better with a tot of brandy lol Can one put alcohol in this cake or would it spoil the flavour?5 stars

    1. While I haven’t tried it, you could probably replace a little of the water with some brandy! Let us know if you try it Tia!

  3. I only really learnt how to bake in lockdown and not being a big fan of chocolate cake, decided to give this recipe a try.Well now…I am utterly converted and in love with the moist, tasty deliciousness of this cake and have made it more than 10 x already.It is such a big hit with family and friends who fight over the last piece.Thank you for blessing me with compliments because of your recipe. :)5 stars

  4. I have not made this but wondering if the cake would go well with a cream cheese frosting? I recently made a cream cheese frosting that had almond extract that was delicious, thought it might also go well with a chocolate cake? What do you think?

  5. i added about a cup of chips to my cake i sure hope it turns out will post when its done

    1. You sure can Fabiana. You’ll see the baking information right on the recipe card! Enjoy!

  6. This is my go to recipe for chocolate cake, I use it all the time! It’s so moist and it’s perfect!5 stars

  7. I love your recipe this was my first successful chocolate cake it was so rich and moist and there was a lot of it I totally recommend this recipe to any one it also tastes really could with ice cream or whip cream thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe.5 stars

  8. Hi I am 10 years old I love baking I am so excited to try your chocolate cake recipe thank you for the salsa recipe!!!

  9. Omg I made this today for dessert for my family (Im 16) and it was so easy and delicious!! Even the batter was tasty. 11/10!!5 stars

  10. I v made so many chocolate cakes but this one is the easiest recipe and the most moist one . I never review a recipe before but this one is worth it 5 stars

    1. Hi Ericka, a couple things you can try to see if it helps with the middle falling. Check to make sure your baking soda is fresh, not expired. Make sure you put your cake into the oven as soon as the mixture is ready and try to avoid opening the oven door before it is done. :) Hopefully, that helps Ericka!

    1. Seeing as the batter is fairly runny, I’m not sure that a springform is best. Let us know if you try it Nina!

  11. Hi, I made this as a gluten free cake using Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour. It turned out fantastic and stayed fresh and moist throughout Christmas season in fridge. I put a thin layer of peppermint green icing and then topped it with chocolate buttercream icing. It is so good. My grandaughter’s birthday is Jan 1 and she said I want you to buy that cake for my birthday. LOL i said i baked that so okay i will make another one.
    Thank you so much

      1. I enjoy baking from scratch! Hands down this is an excellent recipe! The first time I made it I was visiting with my daughter (and family).
        They loved it. I did read the reviews and replaced the water with coffee which makes it that scrumptious!
        Not only do I make it when I go to visit them I’m also making it at home.
        Holly thank you for sharing.5 stars

      2. You’re so very welcome Cheryl! I love that you’re continuing to make the cake!