The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

If you’re looking for the most amazing Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, look no further. This from scratch recipe is perfect. Rich and fudgy and easy to make!

Creating cakes from scratch is easy and delicious. Try my Coconut Cake for a sweet white cake twist, or give this classic Yellow Birthday Cake a try for your next birthday!

Slice of chocolate layer cake being removed from cake plate with a spatula.


Devil’s Food Cake from scratch

Do you ever just get a craving for chocolate cake and chocolate frosting? I do, like all the time! (sure I love a good Lemon Cake, but chocolate is always in need).

Buying cake mixes, like Devil’s food cake mix, is cheap and convenient, but until you try making one from scratch, you’ll never understand the taste difference!

Today’s recipe is going to be the best chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted!

Why this Recipe Works

There’s no doubt this cake is phenomenal. Here’s why:

  • Super moist (don’t be hating on that word)!
  • A soft crumb that is firm enough to layer and frost.
  • Easy to make and follow recipe directions
  • No fancy decorating skills required.
  • Covered in the creamiest chocolate buttercream frosting!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make the most amazing chocolate cake recipe.

What I love about this cake is the simplicity to make. Most of these ingredients I have on hand in my kitchen at all times!

  1. Chocolate- you’ll notice today’s recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder. Do not use a dutch processed cocoa.
  2. Brewed coffee- the hot coffee enances the chocolate flavor while adding moisture to the cake, without giving it a coffee flavor. Use water if you need to substitute.
  3. Milk- using whole milk or make our buttermilk substitute to give this cake a rich flavor and soft crumb.
  4. All-Purpose Flour- unlike my white cake recipe, today’s recipe needs the all-purpose flour which gives the cake more structure with the cocoa powder. Make sure to learn how to measure flour correctly!
  5. Butter- I always use unsalted butter in my baking, because brands vary with the amount of salt in their sticks of butter. If you must use salted butter, omit the extra kosher salt from the cake batter.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make a chocolate cake.
  1. Combine Dry Ingredients- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine Milk and Coffee- in a measuring cup, combine the brewed coffee with milk, and set aside.
  3. Make the cake batter- In a mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Beat in eggs. Alternate additions of dry ingredients with the coffee mixture, beating after each addition. I usually do 3 additions.
  4. Bake Cakes- Pour cake batter into greased and floured 9- inch cake pans (or use my homemade cake release). Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove and cool for ten minutes IN the pan, then cool completely on a parchment paper lined wire rack (this keeps the cake from sticking).
  5. Frost the Cake- Make my homemade chocolate buttercream frosting and spread evenly over the cakes.
Slice of chocolate layer cake on a white plate with a bite removed and soft crumbs exposed.

Tips and Tricks

  • Grease and flour your pans so your cake is easy to remove. You can use shortening and flour or a baking spray for this. Distribute grease evenly throughout the bottom and sides of the pan. If using a spray, spray liberally. Add another layer of flour to ensure extra protection between the cake and the pan. Just grab a spoonful of flour and dust it gently over the pan. Then line your pans with parchment paper.
  • Use Wilton Bake Even Strips for even baking. These strips help your cake bake evenly with no crowns or cracked tops. They’re great to use for layer cake recipes.
  • Swap out coffee for an equal amount of hot water if you prefer. The coffee doesn’t change the flavor, it just enhances the chocolate flavor.
  • Top this tasty cake with a Cream Cheese frosting for a tangy twist!
  • Need cupcakes? Try our delicious Chocolate Cupcakes recipe! Try our Chocolate Bundt Cake if you’re craving a sweet bundt recipe.
  • Got leftovers? Toss a slice of cake into your milkshake and make a delicious Cake Shake!
  • 13×9- Make this tasty cake in a 13×9 pan instead using our easy chocolate cake recipe!
Whole chocolate layer cake with three slices cut and one being removed with a spatula.

Recipe FAQs

How do you store Chocolate Cake?

Store this chocolate cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days for best taste. If there’s still cake left after 5 days, you can freeze it!

Can I freeze Chocolate Cake?

Make the chocolate cake as directed and enjoy a slice. Then you can freeze the rest of the cake by wrapping each slice in parchment paper and sliding into a freezer bag. You can freeze chocolate frosted cake for up to three months. When you get another hankering for some chocolate cake, thaw it at room temperature and enjoy!

How do I get a moist and fluffy chocolate cake?

Cream butter and sugar together to trap the air, which expands during baking creating a fluffy cake!

Why is it called devil’s food cake?

The term devil’s food cake apparently gets it’s term from the reddish color that occurs when combining the baking soda with baking powder with the unsweetened cocoa powder!

Why did my cake sink in the middle?

Assuming your cake was checked for doneness, it’s normal for chocolate cake to sink slightly in the middle. Cocoa powder is not structurally strong enough to hold up the amount of moisture in this cake. Adding more flour would create a dense cake. It’s okay for some sinkage while it cools!

More Cake recipes

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

4.72 from 53 votes
By: Aimee
If you're looking for the most amazing Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, look no further. This from scratch recipe is perfect.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 

For the Cake:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup brewed hot coffee
  • ½ cup whole milk

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions 

  • In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a measuring cup, mix together hot coffee and milk. Set aside.
  • In mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Slowly add in dry ingredients alternating with the coffee/milk mixture (about 3 additions of each).
  • Pour cake batter into two prepared pans (2-9inch round cake pans, lined with parchment paper and greased and floured). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool about 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on parchment paper lined wire racks before frosting.
  • For the Frosting: In mixing bowl, beat butter for 3-5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Add in powdered sugar, cocoa, extract and heavy cream and beat for 3-5 more minutes until desired consistency.
  • Frost cake and enjoy!

Notes

  • Chocolate- you’ll notice today’s recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder. Do not use a dutch processed cocoa.
  • Brewed coffee- the hot coffee enances the chocolate flavor while adding moisture to the cake, without giving it a coffee flavor. Use hot water if you need to substitute.
  • Milk- using whole milk or buttermilk gives this cake a rich flavor and soft crumb.
  • Butter- I always use unsalted butter in my baking, because brands vary with the amount of salt in their sticks of butter. If you must use salted butter, omit the extra kosher salt from the cake batter.
  • Why did my cake sink in the middle? Assuming your cake was checked for doneness, it’s normal for chocolate cake to sink slightly in the middle. Cocoa powder is not structurally strong enough to hold up the amount of moisture in this cake. Adding more flour would create a dense cake. It’s okay for some sinkage while it cools!
  • STORAGE: Store Chocolate Cake in a covered container (or cake plate with dome) at room temperature for up to 5 days. Or freeze the rest of the cake by wrapping each slice in parchment paper and sliding into a freezer bag. You can freeze chocolate frosted cake for up to three months. When you get another hankering for some chocolate cake, thaw it at room temperature and enjoy!
  • Use Wilton Bake Even Strips for even baking. These strips help your cake bake evenly with no crowns or cracked tops. They’re great to use for layer cake recipes.
  • Need cupcakes? Try our delicious Chocolate Cupcakes recipe! Or make this in a 13×9 using our easy chocolate cake recipe.
  • Try our Chocolate Bundt Cake if you’re craving a sweet bundt recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 319mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 43g
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Perfect Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe. You’ll love this decadent, from scratch cake.



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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on February 11, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. I don’t have any round pans. Can this be made in a 9×13” pan? Does anything need to be adjusted, if do?
    Sounds good, thank you for the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great cake! I was a bit of a ditz…you said to grease and flour pans then you said line with parchment paper. So as I am tit for tat exact literal this is what I did. First I tried to fit parchment without cutting then I thought surely just the bottom. So after the dusting I cut circles for the bottom of my pan. When pouring batter the parchments shift an it made me think I was supposed to grease an flour parchment not pan! Anywho, it turned out fine with exception to center not rising. Once cooled oi made the frosting and had to double to put between layers as well. It still was delicious and no one noticed the slight concave. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  3. Def something wrong with the frosting – it ended up ripping the cake to shreds when applied… that, and the parchment paper instructions are way off too. That ended up making the edges of the cake super brittle and jagged (it’s paper stuffed into a round pan – it won’t be flat). You need flat edges to the cake rounds so you have a solid, flat surface to apply the frosting. The jagged edges ended up enhancing the brittleness of the cake itself so the frosting could tear it apart completely. The whole thing fell apart and turned into a complete mess… basically had to throw it away.

    1/5 stars, won’t try again.

    If you already started this recipe, add more heavy cream or, better yet, use whole milk at the same amount to make the frosting more spreadable.

    1. Hmm, I guess I should have clarified when you line your round pans with parchment paper, to cut the paper to fit. The recipe is 100% perfect as written, adding more liquid will just make the frosting runny. I suggest beating the frosting longer to get desired texture.

  4. This cake is (was 🥴) awesome! Your tips are always so helpful, they answer questions without having to ask.

  5. Could I lessen the amount of cocoa in this cake and make it a milk chocolate cake? We have chocolate allergies but can tolerate milk chocolate. I understand I’d have to put more flour in. If you do think we could do this, what would be the new measurements??

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