easy, homemade chocolate cake recipe and the best chocolate frosting ever!

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The best homemade chocolate cake! And easy, basic recipe!

My husband’s (Nate to those who know him. or you.) favorite, favorite, favorite cake is my chocolate cake. And being that it’s his birthday today it seems only right to make him my chocolate cake. This is the best chocolate cake recipe. In the history of best. And chocolate. And cake. This is a simple cake to make and the homemade frosting and cake combo is the best it gets. Really, truly, pinky swear!

(We get a lot of questions about the cake stand.  Unfortunately, we can’t point you to where to buy this exact one.  If the color is what you like, though, you might like this square distressed one on Amazon.)

I’m not a pro-baker by any means. I am a believer in good, fast, and consistent. Make it, eat it, enjoy it…move on. This chocolate cake recipe may not make it in the world of cake gurus. But, it WILL make it in the world of those you love. They will adore you. Bow at your feet adore! And, that’s what it’s really about, anyway.


Why is this cake called Desert Island Chocolate Cake? Well, because if you could only have 1 thing to bring with you to a Desert Island…this would be it.

Nope, I would bring my phone to call for help from the desert island. But, Nate would bring this cake to the desert island, not me-his wife? The cake rates higher (although, if he brought me I think I would kill him for taking me with him to his death) . Golly, I sound jealous of a cake.

Desert Island Chocolate Cake: a NellieBellie recipe. a chocolate cake recipe from scratch

This cake is not sweet. It is a perfect match for the sweet, smooth frosting. This specific cake and frosting combo is what works. Maybe it’s the “from scratch” part that makes it? Cake and frosting. Chocolate and smooth. They just go together. the end.

chocolate cake

Desert Island Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate Cake Recipe
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  1. 3/4 cup soft butter
  2. 3 eggs at room temperature
  3. 2 c. flour
  4. 3/4 cup cocoa
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 3/4 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 cup sugar
  9. 2 tsp vanilla
  10. 1 1/2 cup milk
  1. grease bottom of pan (I use 2 round pans or 1 9 by 13). preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter for 30 seconds or so. slowly add sugar.
  3. Add eggs 1 at a time beating after each one. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients beating after each addition.
  5. Add 1/2 of the milk, beat. Then add the other 1/2. Beat just until everything is combined nicely.
  6. Spread batter evenly into pans.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes for round pans, 5 min longer or so for the 9 by 13 pan. Watch it though! a knife coming out clean from the center means it is done.
NellieBellie http://www.nelliebellie.com/
THE FROSTING: Click here for the video tutorial.



  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. beat ingredients until smooth.


NOTE: this frosting is my go-to all the time frosting recipe.

If you like this chocolate cake recipe, but want something simpler, you might like our chocolate cupcakes with mallow filling.  Super easy and super delicious.  Katie’s chocolate chip cookies are also super good.  Oohh.. hot chocolate, too.  Okay, done now.  No more chocolatey goodness.

Made this cake today for my boyfriend and my son. No special occasion, just wanted to make it! It is wonderful, and that is coming from a girl who isn’t really a cake eater! I make it, but don’t really like eating it. But this cake is delicious!

 This cake is incredible. I made it this weekend for my sons birthday and everyone agreed this was the best cake chocolate cake they had tasted. I did use buttermilk in place of the milk but that was my only change. I will make this cake again and again and again!! Thank you!!

Excellent delish made this for my husband thank you so much for the recipe

Made this cake for my 12 year anniversary. Turned out delicious. I prefer homemade cakes to box mixes ever since I tried them 2 years ago and this one is a definite keeper. It is my new go-to for a chocolate cake. I used a different frosting, thought it would be chocolate overload, but was very happy with the richness and density of the cake. Thanks for a great recipe!

More great cake recipes:

Best white cake
Best carrot cake
Butternut Cake
Better-than-sex cake
Angel food Cake

Other chocolate recipes to try:

chocolate chip cookies
microwave fudge
Peppermint chocolate covered pretzels
hot chocolate

Other oldies that are goodies:

butternut cake
molasses cookies


  1. says

    Ok. I am a chocolate cake snob/connoisseur and this is hands down………………UNBELIEVABLE
    BUT, why does it sink in the middle in a 9×13 pan? Any way to combat that? It didn’t detour my family one eyeota but wanted to make it for a church bake sale without the pitiful sink hole.

  2. says

    This is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe!!! It is just so perfect, tight crumb, stays moist and is so delicious and easy. I do have a question though, if I want to turn this into a white/vanilla cake… could I just substitute 3/4 cup flour for the 3/4 cup cocoa? Thanks so much!!

    • says

      Not a dumb question! We aren’t sure it matters too much, but we tend to use unsalted for the cake and salted for the frosting. But really, use whatever you have. It doesn’t affect the taste that much.

      • Jess says

        ooohhhh! Thank you!

        another one, I was wondering….the chocolate shavings on top….What sorta chocolate did you use and how did you get it to look that way? Its pretty! :) thanks again!

        • says

          You’re welcome! The chocolate shavings on top are just from a candy bar…I think we used something with 60 or 70% cocoa, so the chocolate wasn’t soft, but that’s it. We used a potato peeler to just shave off chocolate and dumped it on top. That’s it!

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