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 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 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 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.

Desert Island Homemade 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

THE FROSTING VIDEO: Click here for the video tutorial.



  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    • 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    • 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

    • 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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!

  8. 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.

    • 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!

      • 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.

  9. 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??

  10. 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….

    • 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!

  11. 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!!

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!!

  17. 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!!

    • 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!

  18. Anonymous says

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

    • 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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

  25. says

    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!!

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