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
5 from 181 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Best Ever Chocolate Cake

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


  • 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


  • 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.



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.
5 from 181 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!

Follow us on Pinterest

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.


Recipes you'll love

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!
See more posts by Holly

Follow Holly on social media:

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Free eBook!

Subscribe to receive weekly recipes and get a FREE Bonus e-book: Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals!

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

latest & greatest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


  1. This cake was insanely good, and so easy (I made it with my 3 year old!). Moist, chocolate-y, fantastic!! I’d definitely make it again.

  2. I tried for my husband birthday, it was a huge success!!!! My daughter booked one for her birthday, too!!! I used almond milk instead normal milk, because I am lactose intolerant.5 stars

  3. I love this recipe, probably the best chocolate cake I have had. The last several times though when I pull it out of the oven it’s pretty sunken in. I check it and it cooked all the way, so I’m not sure what the cause would be. Overall excellent cake.4 stars

    1. Hi Mackenzie, a couple of 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!

  4. This is a great basic recipe! Since we prefer our desserts to be less sweet and also like using whole grains, however, I used one cup sugar rather than two and used 50% whole wheat flour. I also used one whole egg and one egg white. The cupcakes were unbelievably light and delicious.5 stars

  5. OMG best chocolate cake from scratch ever ! I will never use box cake again. I didn’t have any plain milk so I used almond milk. Didn’t make a difference. Thank you for this delicious recipe!5 stars

    1. Oh no, I am sorry to hear that Kris. We haven’t had that problem with this recipe. It sounds like they may be undercooked slightly. To ensure they are fully cooked use a toothpick to insert in the center to make sure it comes out clean.

  6. Hi! I am so excited to try this cake! I’m going to make it for my son’s 3rd birthday coming up :) I do have one question. If I want to remove the cake from a 13×9 pan to put on a platter after it’s finished, is that easy to do? Do you have any suggestions on how to do it so I don’t ruin the cake? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Dorothy, it should be easy enough to remove if you grease and flour your baking pan. But you can also try parchment lining your pan so it’s easy to lift out.

  7. Amazing! I’ll use this recipe forever. Topped with a bakery style white frosting. I was concerned with the runny batter but the texture swt perfectly as it cooked!5 stars

  8. Hi my cake didn’t cook for a long time. I used a different pan but cooked it for longer, it fit perfectly in the pan too.
    Is that normal?3 stars

  9. This is my go to chocloate cake recipe…Simple ingredients..excellent moist tasting cake…WOW! .My family loves it…as my 34mth son says.”this is soo yummy in my tummy”..i sometime add chocolate chip diced up in it…but i love the hot water coffee idea….I made this cake last week Sunday and now this Sunday…..

  10. I’ve made this tons of times with great success as a chocolate cake. It’s the best! My question is: how many cupcakes does the recipe yield? Thanks!5 stars

  11. Wonderful recipe! The whole family loves it and it is so easy to make. Like other people have said, I put in a cup of boiled coffee instead of water to increase the taste of the chocolate. This is the third or fourth time I’ve made this cake and it is a hit every time! Thank you very much for this recipe5 stars

  12. My cake fell instantly. I read the review about expired baking soda and I don’t have that, as well as I never opened the oven at all till the end. I found out that it can be too much baking powder and soda to how much flour there is. Won’t be trying this again2 stars

    1. Sorry to hear that Theah. What size of pans did you use? Did you use boiling water? Is it possible that you overmixed the batter?

    1. I’ve not tried the recipe with butter, but you could try it with the same amount of melted butter. Let us know how it turns out for you Theah!

    1. Hi Simran, it will make 24 or more cupcakes depending on how full you fill the cupcake tins. Enjoy!

  13. Haven’t used this recipe yet, but I’m so excited! I’m using this to make a 3-4 tier cake for Mother’s Day. I was wondering how many cakes this recipe will give me.5 stars

    1. As mentioned in the notes, this cake will make 3 layers (3 x 8″ round cake pans), so it seems perfect for your Mother’s Day cake!