Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

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Craving chocolate? This is my absolute best chocolate cake recipe! Once you try it you’ll never go bought to cake mix again!

slice of chocolate cake on white plate with bite missing

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I’m a chocolate girl, I admit it, just look at my Eggless Chocolate Mousse, Double Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Melting Cake, or Dark Chocolate Mint Truffles for examples!

While I used to use good old boxed cake mix from the store to make chocolate cake when I had a craving, once a friend gave me this from scratch recipe I was converted!

If you think it’s difficult to make cake from scratch, think again! You can whip this up in one bowl and it takes just ten minutes to get in the oven.


First gather your ingredients:

  • sugar 
  • all-purpose flour
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • eggs
  • milk
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla extract
  • hot black coffee

Step by step

(Full recipe card below)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour two cake pans. If you have parchment paper I recommend using that to line your pans as this is a very moist cake that can easily stick to the pan.

pouring milk into bowl with cocoa powder and eggs for chocolate cake

Add all of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir, then add in everything but the coffee.

Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, then add the coffee.

cake batter in glass bowl being mixed with mixer

Place the cake pans on a baking sheet and pour the batter into them. The batter will be runny, this is okay!

two cake pans from overhead filled with chocolate cake batter
two chocolate cake layers on wire cooling rack

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a rack and allow to cool fully before frosting with chocolate frosting or peanut butter buttercream!

slice of chocolate cake on white plate with crumbs from the side view

Tips for best results

  • This cake tends to rise a LOT so place your cake pans on a baking sheet before filling in case of overflow and do not overfill them to protect your oven from a mess!
  • Do not use store brand cocoa powder, choose a high quality brand like Hershey’s or Ghirardelli for the best flavor.


Why do you add coffee to chocolate cake?

The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor and gives it that extra something special. If you don’t want the coffee in it, you can substitute hot water instead, but I highly suggest you try it with the coffee!

Can this be made ahead/frozen?

You can make this cake up to a month in advance and store in the freezer. To do so, allow to cool completely, then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before removing wrap and frosting.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

Keep this cake up to 3 days covered at room temperature., no refrigeration necessary.


  • Gluten free: use a gluten free baking flour
  • Dairy free: use almond milk in place of regular milk
  • Egg free: substitute 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and extend baking time until skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
  • No vegetable oil? In a pinch substitute equal amount of coconut oil or melted butter. The final texture will be slightly altered but it will still be delicious!

Need more decadent dessert ideas? Reader favorites include OREO Dirt Cake, Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting, and Chocolate Fudge Pie!

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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slice of chocolate cake on white plate with bite missing

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews


Craving Chocolate Cake? This is my absolute best chocolate cake recipe! Once you try it you’ll never go bought to cake mix again!


Units Scale
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot black coffee


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and flour two nine inch cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper if available.
  3. Add sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in coffee. Batter will be very thin.
  6. Place the prepared pans on a baking sheet and pour in the batter. The cake will rise a lot so do not overfill.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minute before removing from pan to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely before frosting.


  • If you don’t want to use the coffee you may substitute hot water instead.
  • Cake batter will be runny.
  • Cake rises a LOT, do not overfill cake pans and place pans on a baking sheet to protect oven in case they overflow.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 374
  • Sugar: 41.5 g
  • Sodium: 450.2 mg
  • Fat: 13.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 63.8 g
  • Protein: 5.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 37.7 mg

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  1. I did not have the 9″ cake pans called for in your recipe, as I’m from England, where cake pans, like closets, are smaller than those in the US. I found this an advantage, however, as I two-thirds filled my 8″ cake pans, & used the remaining batter to make six fairly large muffins. Prior to baking the muffins, I poked three (an arbitrary number) mini-marshmallows into the center of two of them, three (ditto) lightly salted peanuts into two more, & a teaspoon of crushed candy canes (yes, they were indeed left over from last Christmas!) into the remaining two. Both cake & muffins were a great success: deliciously light & flavorful, not too rich, & a worthy addition to my recipe box. Thank you, Melissa!

    1. I had to laugh at this Samantha, we lived in England for a year about 3 years ago and it was definitely a different situation than I was used to. We were on a British military installation and our home did have teeny tiny closets, and the sinks in the bedrooms were a different one for us as well! I am so glad you enjoyed the cake!

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