Looking for an intense chocolate cake recipe? This tried and true Dark Chocolate Cake is full of rich cocoa flavor. Topped with smooth vanilla frosting, the moist and sweet cake is perfect for any occasion!
You can never have too many chocolate cakes! This German Chocolate Cake Recipe is a favorite of our readers. Or give our easy chocolate cake a try, we’ve made it in a 13×9 for parties and potlucks.
Why this Recipe is Best
When it comes to chocolate, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate–I love it all.
Today’s cake recipe is all about the elegant decadence of dark chocolate!
- This cake recipe uses dark chocolate cocoa powder for a bittersweet chocolate flavor.
- The dark chocolate taste is balanced with a sweet, creamy vanilla frosting that’s so delicious you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.
- It makes a beautiful and tasty birthday cake for all the dark chocolate lovers in your life!
You’ll love indulging in a slice of this rich and decadent dark chocolate cake. You can also pair this with our favorite chocolate cream cheese frosting instead!
My traditional chocolate cake recipe is quite similar to today’s recipe. Here’s a few of the ingredient highlights!
- Dark cocoa powder. Familiar brands like Hershey’s Special Dark work perfectly. For an even deeper color, try it with black cocoa powder!
- Brewed coffee. This does not (I repeat, does NOT) give the cake a coffee flavor. We use coffee in many of our chocolate recipes because it brings out a deeper dimension of flavor in the chocolate. It allows the cocoa powder to bloom, dissolve, and taste amazing.
- Vanilla extract. Using a pure good quality vanilla makes all the difference. Learn How to Make Vanilla Extract for the best vanilla flavor every time.
Make the chocolate cake batter.
First, you’ll combine your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine cooled brewed coffee and milk.
Beat together sugar and butter. Add in the eggs, then the dry ingredients and coffee mixture in batches.
Bake the cake layers.
Divide the batter between two round cake pans. Bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool before adding the frosting.
Add vanilla frosting.
Start the frosting by beating butter for several minutes until pale and fluffy. Next, beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Place one dark chocolate cake layer on a cake plate. Spread vanilla frosting on top. Sprinkle with mini chocolate morsels.
Add the remaining cake layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Let set for about 15 minutes.
Finally, add another layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake. Use your hand to press mini morsels into the sides of the cake.
Slice and serve!
Tips and Tricks
- Use a straight edge spatula to smooth the final layer of vanilla frosting.
- Make sure to grease and flour your cake pans before baking this cake. For even easier removal, add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom or the cake pans too. You can even use our homemade cake release for best results.
- For best presentation, place strips of parchment paper on the cake plate under the first layer of cake. After frosting, remove the strips to reveal a perfectly clean edge and cake plate!
- Frosting. Pair this dark chocolate cake with a tangy chocolate sour cream frosting for a delicious duo. Or use our vanilla sour cream frosting to keep that black and white contrast!
If you don’t have any coffee or prefer not to use it, replace it with hot water in this recipe.
Yes, but then it won’t be a dark chocolate cake!
You can use full sized morsels if you prefer. They tend not to stick to the frosting as well–and, of course, the larger size creates a difference in consistency.
This cake would also be delicious topped with Chocolate Buttercream for the ultimate chocolate lover’s dessert! This Peanut Butter Frosting or this Chocolate Ganache Frosting are other tasty ideas.
More Cake Recipes
- Vanilla Cake Rolls are easy and light, a perfect summer birthday treat! Add sprinkles for more fun!
- This Lemon Cake has a homemade Lemon Curd filling and Whipped Cream Cheese frosting too! Perfect for that citrus lover!
- Looking for something a little richer? A little bit more chocolate? This Chocolate Cake with Mint Chip Frosting is your answer (don’t mind the old photos!!) The frosting truly tastes like mint chip icecream!
- Carrot Cake
- Hummingbird Cake
- Jello Poke Cake
Just try to resist a second (or third) piece of this easy Dark Chocolate Cake!
Thank you so much for sharing!! This was the best cake ever!! Your instructions were explained wonderfully . My daughter loved it!
This chocolate cake recipe, what if we don’t want to add eggs? Replacement of eggs would be what?
It was so good and delicious! It is totally irresistible!
This is one of our favorite chocolate cake recipes! Always a hit for a birthday party or any celebration. We love how easy and rich this cake is. Such an addicting and very yummy cake!
this looks good and the only thing i would change omit the coffee and replace it with water. i am not a coffee drinker and can tell the difference
Could you please tell me what brand cocoa powder you would use? Is it dutched or natural? Thank you.
Thanks great recipe.
mgojnvijfdnogroi just kidding these cakes look good
Any suggestions for making this gluten free? We’re doing a group Thanksgiving with a gluten intolerant friend and I’d love for her to be able to have some but I’m nervous about the greater density of gluten free flour mucking things up!
WOW! This cake looks so good, I can’t wait to make up a special occasion so I can try it!
This cake looks delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
What would be the cook time and temp for the dark chocolate cake if I wanted to make a single layer, rectangular shaped cake?.
As the Mad Hatter would sing, “A very merry un-birthday to you!”
I made the chocolate cake with vanilla frosting for Christmas and it sure was good. Thanks for the recipe! It will be a keeper!
Thanks Susan, so glad to hear you loved the cake! Thanks for stopping back over and letting me know! Happy New Year!
Cakes are beautiful in image, I think these will be delicious too when I taste it. Thanks to author.
i just made this as a end of summer celebration cake, its ready to come out of the oven and smells fantastic! thank you!
This cake looks amazing Aimee!
I MISSED IT?! Happy day!!!!
Lucky you making yourself a cake this fabulous 🙂 happy birthday! I hope you enjoy
Thanks for the birthday wishes girl. It was a delicious cake 🙂
Happy Birthday girl! 40 (and all the 40 somethings to come) are fabulous! Welcome to the club! Oh and I love “cupcake handles”, I’ll wear mine with a little more pride now that I know what they really are 😉