the BEST EVER Classic Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is the best homemade chocolate cake recipe. In the history of best. And chocolate. And cake. This is an easy cake recipe from scratch to make and the homemade frosting and cake combo can't be beat! This classic chocolate cake doesn't need fancy stuff or difficult steps because it is soooo good just like your Grandma made it.

The best part is that this simple cake recipe doesn't require boiling water, doesn't use sour cream (although you could add it if you wanted to)...just simple ingredients like vanilla extract, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, and butter. You know, the ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now.

The best homemade chocolate cake recipe you'll ever find!

The baked cake is a fantastic texture and not overly sweet like cake sometimes is. And that frosting? You'll be eating it with a spoon. Creamy, chocolatey, and smooth and perfect for creating a delicious and beautiful flavor cake. That frosting spreads beautifully! This is a favorite in our FREE Reader's Favorites Cake Cookbook by a landslide!

This recipe makes a fantastic birthday cake. It is easy to make, loved by everyone, stores well, and looks festive and fun!

Chocolate Cake in a Jar Gift

This recipe makes a great gift idea! Put the dry ingredients into a mason jar and add a cute tag. Include the recipe and gift...a great, easy, and delicious gift idea!

A great gift idea...chocolate cake in a jar

Key Ingredients:

  • Butter. You can certainly substitute applesauce or oil for the butter, in this recipe. In fact, here are some ideas for butter substitutes. However, softened butter creates the perfect texture and richness for this recipe. And be sure to use softened butter (don't soften it in the microwave, remember!)
  • Eggs. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. You can achieve that, if you forget to set them out in advance, by placing them into a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.
  • Flour. I HAVE made this cake with Gluten-Free 1 for 1 Baking Flour from Bob's Red Mill and it is quite good. But, it will change the texture of the cake, a bit.
  • Cocoa. Use a good quality cocoa, if you can. Because this cake uses such simple ingredients and cocoa is quite literally the star of the show, use a good quality cocoa for the best results. Dutch processed is always a preferred cocoa for great quality. But friends, quite literally use what you have!
  • Milk. I make this cake with almond milk or cashew milk on a regular basis with success. For more flavor, try using buttermilk!
  • Coffee. Although totally optional and not essential to a delicious recipe, try using a bit of coffee in place of the milk. Coffee does wonders for enhancing the chocolate flavor!

Method:

  • Combine dry ingredients together and set aside.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together.
  • Add each egg in and beat well after each addition.
  • Add the dry ingredients a little at a time.
  • Add half of the milk, beat, and add the other half.
  • Spread the batter into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for about 25 -35 minutes (depending on the size of your pans).
  • Frost with my chocolate frosting.
A slice of homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on a plate

Why is my chocolate cake dry?

There could be a couple of reasons. 1. You've added too much flour. Although I rarely sift my flour I DO spoon my flour into my measuring cup to help it be extra fluffy and make sure I don't overfill. 2. You over-baked your cake. Bake your cake until it is JUST done in the oven. In fact, under done a bit is best. Then, as it sits on the counter and cools the last little bit of cooking will happen.

How do I make a cake more moist?

Add a couple of extra egg yolks (yep, just the yolks!. Those egg yolks pack the cake with extra moisture. Go ahead and try it on this recipe, if you like!

What does adding coffee to chocolate cake do?

Coffee LOVES helping chocolate taste more...chocolate-y. Mixing a bit of coffee into your chocolate cake batter ramps up the chocolate flavor.

Homemade Cake Tips:

  1. Make sure your eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla are at room temp. This really does give the best results. IF you don't have the time...you can totally stick the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for a while. It will help.
  2. Spend extra time whipping your butter and sugar together. Makes for a light and fluffy cake!
  3. Instead of using flour for your cake pans...use cocoa. I KNOW, totally cool.
  4. Try to be precise with your measurements. Too much sugar gets cracky edges (is that a thing ) and too much flour will get a cracked top.
  5. When you pour your batter in the pan, give the pan a couple drops on the counter to spread it out and help remove air pockets.

This homemade chocolate cake recipe may not make it in the world of professional cake guru's (Although, if you read the comments, there is totally a girl selling cupcakes using this recipe!). But, it WILL make you a super-hero in the world of those you love. They will adore you. Bow at your feet adore! And, making cake for our families is what it is really about anyways, isn't it!

This chocolate cake isn't overly sweet, at all. It is a perfect match for the sweet, smooth chocolate frosting. This specific cake and frosting combo is what works. Maybe it's the "from scratch" part that makes it? Moist chocolate cake and sweet frosting layers. Chocolate and smooth. They just go together. the end.

homemade chocolate cake with frosting on a cake platter

We have another name for this chocolate frosting (yes, we totally name our fave recipes!)... cracker dip.
Because we make up a batch and serve it with graham crackers for dipping ;). <--- totally true!

Tips:

  1. Should I use sifted flour and then measure or measure and then sift?
    It depends on how the recipe reads. If it reads 1 cup SIFTED flour than you sift and measure. If sifted isn't even mentioned then you measure and sift. This recipe...skip the sifting if you want. We won't tell.
  2. Can I convert a vanilla cake into chocolate?
    Now that is just plain rude to ask that question on a chocolate cake recipe! It makes us think that you aren't going to use this recipe. Which, you should. But the answer is... yes. But it isn't terribly simple. We have instructions and info HERE.
  3. Do you have a slow cooker chocolate cake you would recommend?
    Well sure. Our favorite is our Chocolate Stout Cake. Yum!!
    Or a very simple and wildly successful one to try is: 1 box of chocolate cake mix prepared (not baked) and poured into a sprayed slow-cooker. Whip up a small box of no-cook chocolate pudding and pour it into the center of the chocolate cake mix before it sets. Top the whole thing with 4 oz of chocolate chips. Cook for 3-4 hours or until the edges are bubbly. Seriously guys...easy peasy and sooooo delicious!
  4. How many cupcakes does this make?
    Our reader Molly says she has made this several times and gets 24 cupcakes.

Classic Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

a delicious homemade chocolate cake recipe just like Grandma made. Pair it with our delicious butter frosting!
4.65 from 146 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 17 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 423 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour We love Bob’s Red Mill for great quality!
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup milk optional: try subbing ¼ cup of milk with coffee to enhance the flavor.

Instructions
 

  • grease bottom and sides of pan (I use 2 round 10inch pans or 1 9 by 13). preheat oven to 350 degrees. I would even suggest lining the bottom with parchment paper and then spraying.
  • Combine flour,  cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
  • In a separate bowl beat butter for 30 seconds or so. slowly add sugar.
  • Add eggs 1 at a time beating after each one. Beat in vanilla.
  • Add dry ingredients beating after each addition.
  • Add ½ of the milk, beat. Then add the other ½. Beat just until everything is combined nicely.
  • Spread batter about into pans making them about ⅔ full. You may have remaining batter (I sometimes make a few cupcakes.)
  • 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. NOTE: Many readers are finding they need to increase the baking time. This is probably due to the difference in ovens, pans, and elevation. Always go by the way the cake looks and if the cake is done in the center.

Video

Notes

Another method of mixing this cake that works better for some is simply mixing the dry ingredients and the wet in separate bowls and stirring them gently together.
One of our readers has let us know that, when making cupcakes with this recipe, 375 degrees for 17 minutes is perfect. (Thanks, Dina!)
There has been a common problem with the cake falling in the center and being undercooked. This is because it is removed too soon. Be sure that the cake is dry on the edges, and that that a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center. If you remove it too soon, even if it looks done, it will fall (all cakes will!).
If using 9 inch pans, increase the baking time by at least 5-10 minutes to guarantee the center is cooked.

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 7gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 334mgPotassium: 214mgFiber: 2gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 465IUCalcium: 70mgIron: 2.8mg
Keyword chocolate cake
Made this recipe?Mention miznelliebellie or tag #NBRecipes!

THE Chocolate FROSTING RECIPE

AN easy, deliciously creamy chocolate frosting that you will make again and again!
4.78 from 44 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Servings 1 cup (about)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar
  • bit of milk if you find this stiff.

Instructions
 

  • beat ingredients until smooth.

Video

Keyword chocolate frosting
Made this recipe?Mention miznelliebellie or tag #NBRecipes!

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


More homemade Chocolate Cake Recipes to try:


 

284 thoughts on “the BEST EVER Classic Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. 4 stars
    Hi Janel. I made this cake and although it was delicious, I'm wondering if you have an idea/recipe for a devil's food cake. This one is a little dark for my taste.
    Thank you for any help!

  2. Hi there,

    I am going to give this amazing recipe a try...could I make it into a one layer square cake though do you think? If so how would that effect the cooking time do you think? Thank you :-)

    1. You can try it. I think it would be quite thick and dense. It would need a lower heat for a longer cooking time, I think. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Can the layers be made and frozen the day before decorating? Or should I just put in the fridge? I don’t think I’ll have time to make this all in one go before the event I need it for.

    1. If it is only one day before then I would simply chill the cakes in the fridge (which actually is easier to decorate). If you do need to freeze the cake then you want to give them a couple days to thaw in the fridge before you decorate. I hope that helps!

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