The Best Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

This post may contain Affiliate Links. Please read our privacy policy here.

This is the best homemade chocolate cake recipe! Super easy to make and incredibly moist! This chocolate cake has a fluffy texture and a perfect chocolate flavor. We’ve been making this recipe for years and it always turns out incredibly moist and delicious.

Serve it with our creamy chocolate buttercream or without frosting as a simple snacking chocolate cake. You’ll love how easy it is to make! 

homemade chocolate cake

I’m excited to share this homemade chocolate cake with you because it’s truly one of my favorite chocolate cakes. There are a lot of claims for the best chocolate cake, but this recipe was passed down to me years ago from my mother-in-law and I’ve been making it ever since.

She original got this recipe from the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder box and it’s a classic we make all of the time!

It’s a super moist chocolate cake with a fluffy texture. The best part is, that it can be made as a chocolate sheet cake or a layered round cake. It always turns out SO good!

It’s quick to make too. All of the dry ingredients are measured together in a mixing bowl and the wet ingredients are measured in a liquid measuring cup and then simply combined using a mixer. 

This recipe also uses boiling water which helps create a tender, moist texture. This recipe also uses boiling water which helps create a tender, moist texture.

The cake is topped with a creamy homemade chocolate frosting and every bite is perfection!

We love this moist chocolate cake paired with our perfect, creamy chocolate buttercream frosting. However, you can also switch it up and make any frosting you want. This cake is for chocolate lovers and

moist chocolate cake

Why This is The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is my favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe for many reasons:

  • Super moist 
  • Fluffy texture
  • Versatile – Can be made into a sheet cake, layered cake, bundt cake, or cupcakes
  • Rich chocolate flavor, but not overwhelmingly sweet
  • Easy chocolate cake recipe to make
  • It tastes good even without frosting as a chocolate snack cake
  • Tried and tested over and over and always works
oil, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, milk, vanilla extract and baking soda and baking powder in small bowls

How To Make Chocolate Cake

Here is everything you need to know for making the best homemade chocolate cake recipe.

Ingredients 

Here are all of the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this cake. You can find everything at your local grocery store to make this delicious recipe.

Granulated Sugar – Use white sugar to sweeten the cake. 

All-Purpose Flour – We use King Arthur flour for this recipe. Also, see how to properly measure flour.

Unsweetened Cocoa – Gives the cake a rich chocolate flavor. Try Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa or Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa.

Baking Soda + Baking Powder – Helps the cake rise and create an extra fluffy texture. 

Milk – Added for texture and moisture. Whole milk or 2% will both work. 

Eggs – Create structure and stability in the cake. Use organic eggs when possible.

Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil – This chocolate cake recipe is made with oil to give the cake extra moistness and a very fluffy texture. 

Vanilla Extract – Adds depths of flavor and enhances the flavors in the cake.

Boiling Water – Helps bloom the cocoa powder and create a super moist cake. 

liquid ingredients in a measuring cup and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Directions

Step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card below.

Preheat the Oven – The oven temperature should be 350 degrees.

Measure Dry Ingredients – Simply measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the fitted bowl for the dry ingredients. 

Measure Wet Ingredients – In another bowl or liquid measuring cup add all of the wet ingredients, except the boiling water which gets added at the end. 

Mix – With the paddle attachment and mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixing. Turn the mixer to medium speed for about 30 seconds, then back to low. 

Add Boiling Water – With the mixer on low, slowly add the boiling water. The batter will have a liquid consistency to it and that’s how you want it to be.

Prepare Baking Pan – 9×13 baking pan is perfect for this cake. Oil it well and use some parchment paper on the bottom so the cake will be easy to remove. 

Bake – Bake for 30 minutes until the cake has risen in the center. 

This recipe pairs really well with our chocolate buttercream recipe. It’s a creamy, whipped frosting made with semisweet chocolate chips and butter. 

9x13 baking sheet and cake batter in a mixing bowl

This recipe pairs really well with our chocolate buttercream recipe. It’s a creamy, whipped frosting made with semisweet chocolate chips and butter. 

Tips For Making a Homemade Chocolate Cake 

  • Use whole, organic ingredients when possible. It really does make a difference in the flavor and outcome of the cake.
  • Oil and grease your pans well and use parchment paper for easy removal. 
  • Mix well, but do not over mix. Keep the mixer on low most of the time, and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. 
  • If you want to make a dark chocolate cake, use Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder. 
  • Pair this cake with our creamy chocolate buttercream frosting. 
  • Use room temperature ingredients.

How to Make Ahead Homemade Chocolate Cake

The best part about making a classic homemade cake is that you can make it ahead of time. Bake the cake and let them cool completely. Then Allow the wrap in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container or in a gallon zip-top freezer bag. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to serve the cake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator. Once it’s completely thawed you can frost the cake.

simple chocolate cake recipe

How to Tell When the Cake is Done

How do you know when it’s done? Look for these signs:

  • The cake pulls away at the sides of the pan.
  • It smells fragrant (yum!)
  • The top turns golden brown.
  • The toothpick or knife test (stick a toothpick or knife in the cake and if there are still crumbs, it needs to bake for longer)
  • Press on the cake and see if it springs back.

How to Store Chocolate Cake

Storing chocolate cake is pretty simple. You can store it in the fridge or freeze it.

To Store Leftovers

To store your sweet treat in the fridge, make sure you wrap it up tightly. This will preserve moisture and ensure a tender cake.

Freezing

Wrap the cake in plastic as soon as it cools. Storing the cake in the freezer will help keep the moisture content in, and it’s how professional bakers store their goods as well.

The cake will thaw pretty quickly, so that’s good news for anyone that wants to consume it out of the freezer. The frozen cake also makes a great base for icing.

Chocolate Cake Variations

Make this into a layered cake by baking it in two 8″ round cake pans.

Serve this cake with a swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

Drizzle homemade caramel over the top of this cake instead of frosting.

Make chocolate cupcakes instead of a sheet cake.

Top it with homemade chocolate ganache for a super chocolatey treat.

moist chocolate cake

How to Make a Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

You can make this a gluten-free chocolate cake recipe! Simply swap out the all-purpose flour for a Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. The texture will vary a little but it will still be amazing.

Cake Pans

Chocolate cake is very versatile and can be made in different pans. Here are some suggestions on what pans you can use to make this cake:

Sheet Cake Pan – Sheet cakes are cakes baked in a rectangular cake pan that ranges in size from 9x13x2 to 10×7. Any of these sizes will work.

Bundt Pans – Also known as tube pans. This is a round pan with a hole in the middle. Some of them have designs and others are smooth. If you use this pan, make sure to butter and flour it as you can’t use parchment paper to help release the cake.

Loaf Pan – A loaf pan is a small rectangular pan, we use it to make our coconut cake and our pumpkin bread. If you use a loaf pan for this recipe you will most likely need to make two cakes. When you bake a cake in a loaf pan it’s often called pound cake. So this would be a buttermilk pound cake recipe.

Round Cake Pans – If you make to make a layer cake, then use 2 8×2 round cake pans.

Cocoa Powder vs Extra Dark Cocoa Powder

There are a few types of unsweetened cocoa powder that you can use for this recipe. We recommend the classic Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Hershey also makes a Special Dark Cocoa Powder. This will make a very dark, rich chocolate cake. The color will come out almost black! If you want that look and flavor, then use the special dark.

Chocolate Cake Toppings

Frosting – Top this cake with any frosting you desire. We prefer a chocolate buttercream, but you can also add cream cheese frosting, vanilla frosting, or a whipped Swiss buttercream or gingerbread frosting.

Sprinkles and Edible Flowers – We love using sprinkles for a birthday cake and edible flowers for a simple gathering. Dried edible flowers work just as well as fresh.

Whipped Cream and Fresh Fruit – If you prefer a light cake, top it with whipped cream and fresh fruit and berries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best chocolate cake recipe?

After trying several chocolate cake recipes, this recipe is by far our favorite. It’s easy to make and yields a tender, moist chocolate cake every time.

What ingredient makes a cake moist?

When baking a cake ingredients like eggs, oil, milk and hot water are what give a cake a moist texture.

How do I make my cake light and fluffy?

To give a cake light and fluffy texture, use oil, baking soda, and baking powder. These ingredients work together to create a fluffy cake that’s irresistibly moist.

Can I make this a gluten-free chocolate cake recipe?

Yes, you can! Using a gluten-free, cup for cup flour will work well in this recipe.

When to Serve a Homemade Chocolate Cake

This cake is perfect for so many occasions, or even just an afternoon snacking cake! Here are a few occasions when you can serve this cake:

Birthday Parties

Garden Party

When Dining Alfresco

Graduation Party

After Dinner Dessert

Potluck Dessert

Summer BBQ

What to Serve with Chocolate Cake

Wondering what else you can serve with this delicious chocolate cake? Here are some great suggestions:

Vanilla Ice Cream – Cake and ice cream go perfectly together.

Fruit Platter – I love serving fresh fruit with my cakes. It provides a nice balance.

Creme Fraiche – A soured cream with a creamy texture. Goes great with berries and chocolate.

Fresh Cucumber Water – This cake is rich and chocolaty, so having fruit-infused water is perfect.

Iced Matcha Tea – This drink is creamy but also hydrating and good for you! Matcha and chocolate go together really well.

fluffy chocolate cake

More Sheet Cake Recipes

Sheet cakes are easy to make and require zero fussing with stacking and frosting sides! If you like easy cake recipes, try more of our sheet cake recipes.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Looking for even more incredible desserts to make? Here are a few of our favorites:

If you have tried this moist chocolate cake recipe, then please rate it and let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

You can also FOLLOW US on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious recipes, cocktails, desserts, and parties!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure and privacy policy.

homemade chocolate cake

The Best Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is the best chocolate cake recipe. It’s incredibly moist, chocolatey, and fluffy! It’s a chocolate lover’s dream cake and easy to make!
4.77 from 17 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 250kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk, whole or 2%
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the fitted bowl for the dry ingredients.
  • In another bowl or liquid measuring cup add all of the wet ingredients, except the boiling water which gets added at the end. 
    liquid ingredients in a measuring cup and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixing. Turn the mixer to medium for about 30 seconds, then back to low.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add 1 cup of boiling water. The batter will have a liquid texture to it and that’s how you want it to be.
  • 9×13 baking pan is perfect for this cake. Oil it well and use some parchment paper on the bottom so the cake will be easy to remove.
    9x13 baking sheet and chocolate cake
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the cake has risen in the center.
    chocolate cake

Notes

  • Use whole, organic ingredients when possible. It really does make a difference in the flavor and outcome of the cake.
  • Oil and grease your pans well and use parchment paper for easy removal.
  • Mix well, but do not over mix. Keep the mixer on low most of the time, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  • If you want to make a dark chocolate cake, use Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder.
  • Pair this cake with our creamy chocolate buttercream frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 284mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @sugarandcharm or tag us #sugarandcharm!

This recipe is from Hershey’s Cocoa Powder.

the best chocolate cake recipe graphic

Related Posts

Stay up to Date

Join our Newsletter to Keep up on Latest

17 thoughts on “The Best Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. This is the best chocolate cake recipe-it’s the original Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe that’s always been on the back of the cocoa container!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Topped it with peanut butter frosting and chopped peanut butter cups. We were in heaven, it is so moist and delicious!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    There is seriously nothing better than homemade chocolate cake! This is so light & fluffy & the frosting is creamy & delicious!

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the recipe.

    I made this last night and am really happy with the result. I hesitated on making this cake due to the lack of specificity of 3 ingredients. The amount of cocoa powder intrigued me and it did produce a more pronounced flavor. The cake was very good and I will make it again.

    However, the aforementioned issue should be addressed:

    2 cups flour: What kind of flour? All-purpose, cake flour?

    2 cups sugar? What kind of sugar? Granulated, caster, dark brown, light brown?

    1 3/4 cups cocoa powder? What kind? This makes a huge difference. Dutch processed cocoa versus natural cocoa.

    I used dutch process and the texture and flavor were good.

    Reply
  5. A cup of boiling water in the batter self? That seems interesting…I should try it at the end of this month. Hope it comes out nice.

    Reply
  6. The reason that I love this cake so much, is that it is really moist and dense – the recipe does not include any baking powder, but rather buttermilk and a small amount of baking soda. It delivers big time on the wow factor as well.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




AS SEEN ON: