the best homemade chocolate cake recipe from scratch | best chocolate frosting ever (video)

The best homemade chocolate cake! An easy, basic chocolate cake recipe from scratch!

My husband’s (Nate to those who know him. or you.) favorite, favorite, favorite cake is my homemade 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 from scratch recipe. In the history of best. And chocolate. And cake. This is an easy chocolate 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 cake plate 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 homemade 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. This is the best chocolate cake recipe from scratch! You'll pick this one again and again from all the chocolate cake recipes! This homemade chocolate cake recipe 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. Easy chocolate cake recipe. This from scratch recipe is one of the best chocolate cake recipes.









Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe
4252 calories
650 g
953 g
171 g
71 g
102 g
1421 g
2868 g
421 g
6 g
56 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 4252
Calories from Fat 1502
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 171g
Saturated Fat 102g
Trans Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 46g
Cholesterol 953mg
Sodium 2868mg
Total Carbohydrates 650g
Dietary Fiber 28g
Sugars 421g
Protein 71g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3/4 cup soft butter
  2. 3 eggs at room temperature
  3. 2 c. all-purpose 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.
  1. One of our readers has let us know that, when making cupcakes with this recipe, 375 degrees for 17 minutes is perfect. (Thanks, Dina!)


  • 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 homemade 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 (Naturally-sweetened)
Better-than-sex cake
Angel food Cake
Butter Cake
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cake (Gluten-Free)

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

Have you made our homemade chocolate cake recipe yet?  What did you think?

  1. beth says:

    My cakes didn’t rise in the center:(…. Should I still frost it anyway???

    1. Nellie says:

      Heck yes! It’s still tasty. It probably needed a bit more time in the oven, that’s all.

  2. Lynn says:

    In the ingredient list it calls for 1 1/2 c milk.
    But in the instruction list it calls for 1/2 c and then another 1/2 c when do you add the other 1/2 c milk?????

    1. Nellie says:

      I see how that would be confusing :). The instructions say 1/2 of the milk which would be 3/4 cup. I’ll have to add that bit in to make it more clear. Thanks for helping!

  3. Amanda says:

    this may be a dumb question but, I forgot to add the vanilla after adding the eggs. Will it still be okay if I added it with the milk?

    1. Nellie says:

      I don’t think I made this return comment fast enough but… yes! I surely hope it came out okay anyways!

  4. I want to make this tonight for dinner. Would that be bad? In all seriousness, this sounds DEEElicious!

    1. Nellie says:

      Yes, it would be bad. But I won’t tell. It is utterly amazing!

  5. Chantal says:

    I made this in cupcakes yesterday. Absolutely delicious after it came out of the oven…but even more delicious today…all fudgy n chocolaty! My go-to chocolate cake recipe from now on! Thank you!

    1. the Bellie says:

      So glad this worked well for you!!!!

  6. Elizabeth E says:

    In the oven now. Been doing my workouts for two weeks now and have lost 8 lbs. A slice of this is my victory cake. A little something sweet after two weeks of hard work. I’m sure my family will polish off the rest.

    1. the Bellie says:

      Congrats!!! It sounds like you’ve been busting butt and working hard. Yes, this is the perfect victory cake.

  7. Lau says:

    I followed all recipe and the cake was not so fluffy. A bit hard, not rock hard either? What can I add for next time?

    1. the Bellie says:

      I wish I could tell you what went wrong! I would say you might want to sift the flour next time, just to make sure you aren’t adding too much. But otherwise, I just don’t know what else to say. It always turns out perfectly fluffy for us…so hopefully your next attempt will be better! Let us know how it turns out!

  8. Pam says:

    My Mother has been making this frosting/icing since I was a little girl. I am now 50 years old. It’s the only recipe I use. Leave out cocoa & add vanilla for a white buttercream frosting.

    1. the Bellie says:

      Your mother is genius! :) This is THE BEST!

  9. Laurel says:

    Hey girls!
    I was just wondering if you’ve ever made this cake with cake flour? I’m MORE than happy to use all-purpose, ‘cuz this cake looks amazing–just curious if cake flour would be worth a try. I’ve got some I have no other use for. :D
    My husband is over the moon for chocolate cake, and the only frosting he loves it with more than my pb frosting is my chocolate cream cheese frosting!

    1. Nellie says:

      Try it! I haven’t but I’m betting it would be fantastic. And this is one of those recipes that can be tweaked multiple ways and work each way. A great basic recipe to make your own. PB frosting is the bomb! Just saying :) ~Janel

  10. Dada says:

    It’s still baking, but by tasting the batter next time I would use only one cup of sugar.

    1. the Bellie says:

      Yes, this is a rich cake! We make it so everyone in the family loves it, including the kids, but you could definitely get away with less sugar and still have a delicious cake. It’s all about preference!

    2. Nellie says:

      Did it end up sweeter than you would like? If you do try it again with less sugar…let us know how it goes!

  11. Alana says:

    My niece wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday, so I bought a chocolate cake mix. I was very disappointed when it didn’t rise higher than an inch, so I tried your recipe. I have to say, this was the easiest and tastiest chocolate cake….everyone at the party loved it! Your frosting recipe was super easy to make, and I had guests at the party asking for the recipe on how to make it. Overall, the cake was a huge success! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    1. the Bellie says:

      So glad to hear this cake worked for you, Alana! And glad the birthday girl got a delicious cake for her big day :)

  12. Aly says:

    This is delicious! I used just one cup of sugar but it is still amazing!! :D

  13. Bella says:

    This cake is delicious!

  14. Aneta says:

    Cake was eaten in seconds after it landed in the office kitchen. I also had to link your recipe because everyone loved it so much. Thank you!

    1. the Bellie says:

      Glad to hear it! You are most welcome!

  15. Natalie says:

    U should update it to say all purpose flour For those of us that disn’t know the difference.

    1. the Bellie says:

      Thanks, Natalie! We’ve done that, and we’ll try to remember to be more specific about some of those ingredients in the future.

  16. Carrie says:

    This is my go to chocolate cake recipe. I have made it many times over and it is always a hit. I have also tried it with Spelt flour and with almond milk and it always turns out perfect. And every time I have made it I have added a shredded zucchini (about 1 to 1.5 C). Thanks for the great staple recipe for my family recipe book!!

    1. the Bellie says:

      That’s so great to hear, Carrie! And we love that you’ve experimented with it and found ways to make it better for you and more fitting for your family. That’s exactly the reason we love to create recipes and put them online!

  17. Tanya says:

    The recipe says 1 1/2 c milk but directions say a total of 1 c. Which is it?

    1. the Bellie says:

      You want to use 1 1/2 cups…but you want to put only half the TOTAL amount into your batter at a time. I’ll work on a better way to phrase that, because it is kind of confusing.

  18. Dina says:

    375 for 17 minutes thanks yummy!

    1. the Bellie says:

      Thanks for letting us know, Dina! We’ll add that to the recipe so others don’t have to figure it out, too!

  19. Dina says:

    Just wondering how long and what temp if using for cupcakes? Thanks

    1. the Bellie says:

      We haven’t actually used this recipe for cupcakes before, so we don’t have exact numbers for you. The same temp should be fine…and the cupcakes will probably need about 18 minutes to cook, but check them after 15 and see. Let us know how it works!

  20. stephanie says:

    A cake should never be mixed over two minutes when the flour is added because the gluten will begin to develop and you will get a chewy cake. Also a cake last two days in the fridge three at the most. cakes can be frozen and thawed.

  21. Tracey B says:

    Cake is wonderful. Frosting not good. Tastes like I frosted it with butter.

    1. the Bellie says:

      So sorry you didn’t like the frosting, Tracey! But we’re glad you found the cake good. Maybe you would prefer a whipped frosting of some kind? That might be great!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Love the recipes however, there are so many ads on the site that the pages are hard to load and I’m constantly having to close something out or be careful as to what I touch so that I don’t click on an ad! Frustrating.

        1. Nellie says:

          We’ve been hearing that problem and trying to figure it out. Are you using a tablet or phone by chance?

  22. Rachel says:

    I am wondering how long this will keep? i have a party on Sunday and it’s Friday. should i wait til tomorrow to make it??

    1. the Bellie says:

      It’ll taste best if you wait…because the cake won’t have the time to start drying out. But it will still be fantastic if you make it tonight!

  23. Carrie says:

    Mine is taking way longer to bake. I am past 45 minutes and it is still runny in the middle? I am using a glass pan….

    1. Nellie says:

      Oh no! Did it come out okay in the end? Not sure what would have been the cause. Perhaps the pan size and kind contributed?

  24. Jess says:

    Silly question, but….the butter in the frosting/cake recipe….is it salted or unsalted?


    1. the Bellie 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.

      1. 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!

        1. the Bellie 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!

  25. Priscilla says:

    Could this be made into cupcakes?

    1. Nellie says:

      Absolutely!! It’s delicious as cupcakes!

      1. Phoebe says:

        How long should it be baked for if we’re doing cupcakes? :)

        1. the Bellie says:

          We recommend going for 17 minutes and then checking them periodically after that.

  26. 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!!

    1. Nellie says:

      I’m so glad you asked! It gives me an excuse to tell you about the BEST white cake :) (see what I did there)… This is the recipe I use. I really am not sure what the steps would be to turn the chocolate into white properly. I’m so glad you liked the chocolate cake…I agree that is perfect!

  27. andrea remke 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.

    1. the Bellie says:

      We’ve never had the problem of it sinking in the middle…either it hasn’t cooked long enough, or you opened the door while it was baking? Those are the 2 reasons we can think of for it doing that.

      1. andrea remke says:

        ok. about to make it again and will watch for the sink hole.
        thank you…………..sure is yummy

        1. Nellie says:

          I hope it turns out perfectly this time! We’ll be waiting to hear!

    2. Kay says:

      maybe if you placed a flower nail into the center of the pan it might stop the sinking. I know this works with my sheet cake pans.

      1. Nellie says:

        Thanks! I need to pick up one of those and give it a try. Although, the cake never lasts long enough to worry about too m uch :)

  28. Amber says:

    I loved this recipe. Super easy, super basic ingredients, just super! Thanks for sharing!

    1. the Bellie says:

      Thanks, Amber. It really has been so great to have this to whip out.

  29. Brandie says:

    Making it for my grandpas 72nd birthday today and it’s In the over as we speak. My house smells so amazing can’t wait to eat it

    1. Nellie says:

      I’m so glad!! I hope it is super successful and your Grandpa has a lovely birthday!

  30. Gina G says:

    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!

    1. Nellie says:

      So glad to hear it! We love homemade cakes, as well!

  31. Trisha says:

    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!

    1. the Bellie says:

      Haha; I’m the same way! I don’t usually like cake…it’s too dry! But I love this one. Glad your family liked it!

  32. Doña says:

    I just made this cake and frosting for my husband. It’s his birthday today and smells wonderful baking. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks amazing! Thanks!!

    1. the Bellie says:

      You’re Welcome! We know you’re both going to love it. Happy Birthday to the hubby from Nellie and I!

  33. Debbie Cook says:

    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!!

    1. Nellie says:

      You are so welcome! We love this one too and use it time and again. Initially it’s scary making a homemade cake but once you make this…its hard to have another, isn’t it! Happy birthday to your son!

  34. Marlaine says:

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

  35. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to bother you because a similar question was already asked, but how much is a stick of butter in cups?

    1. the Bellie says:

      Not a problem! A stick of butter is a 1/2 cup.

  36. A says:

    Omg thank you for this yummy recipe! Also thanks for not understanding this insane trend of cake “pops” just like me. I think it’s gross to eat a bunch of cake crumbs people roll and smoosh into a ball with their hands…..wth…I just don’t get it.

    1. the Bellie says:

      So glad there are others like us out there!!!

  37. Kim says:

    I made this last week for a birthday party – tried it in a bundt pan and it turned out really well! Delicious, thanks!! Will definitely use this recipe again!

  38. Deb says:

    The cake looks amazing and I would really want to try it. My father in law has birthday on Monday so I want to make it for him but I am really confused by the amounts of the products. Is it possible to give me the exact grams/ounces because honestly I have no idea how much a stick of butter weighs or how much 3/4 cup cocoa is. It is just easier for me to work with grams/ounces. Thanks in advance!

    1. Liz says:

      Liquid measurements:
      1 cup = 8 ounces
      1 tsp = 5 ml

      Dry ingredients
      1 cup = @ 250 grams (according to my kitchen scale)

      2 sticks of butter is 1/2 a pound or 226 grams

  39. Charlotte says:

    Just made this. My first ever made from scratch cake! Made it in a bundt pan and it came out beautifully! Made the frosting too, but haven’t yet put it on. I may have put too much butter cause it seems a bit watery, but I think it will pour nicely over the cake. Both taste great! Just haven’t had them together yet.

  40. fina says:

    Tried it and I love it! Big hit with my family! I was worried that the frosting wouldn’t be enough, but it was the perfect amount! Perfectly delicious! Thanks!

  41. I’m making this cake today for my boyfriend’s birthday! I’m super excited! My kitchen smells like a chocolate factory!! :) Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

    1. the Bellie says:

      You’re so welcome! We hope it turns out perfectly and is a hit!!!

  42. Mary Ann says:

    This was delicious. Thank you.

  43. Kayli says:

    Do you know how long it will take for cupcakes using this batter? Thanks!

    1. the Bellie says:

      Sorry Kayli, we’ve never tried cupcakes with this batter before! Please try it, though, and let us know what you find out!

  44. Mary Ann says:

    Hi, what size round pans? Thanks.

    1. the Bellie says:

      We used 9 inch rounds, but you could use 8″ and just have slightly thicker cake.

  45. Vyan says:

    Hello Nate and Janel
    Good to SEE you guys! Enjoy the 4th weekend.
    Lots of love from the Easom clan in Simons Town SA

  46. Mr. Nate can take his cake to the desert island but not you — we NEED you around — just in case. Does that sound selfish?? Yep it is :-) The cake looks delicious!! More like a no flour cake. Like the ones that weigh a ton and go right to the hips and thighs but it was worth it because of the taste — that kind of cake. Happy Birthday Mr. Nate and hope all of you have a great Fourth!!

  47. Danielle L says:

    Great recipe!

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