Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

filed under: Cakes on August 6, 2018

When I came across this recipe I knew I had to make it, and I was not disappointed! This Chocolate Cake Recipe is seriously rich and amazingly decadent. It’s my new go-to recipe! (But I still love the classics… my Perfect Chocolate Cake is my favorite for layer cakes!)


The BEST Chocolate Cake

When my friend Autumn showed me this recipe of her Grandma Evie’s I was totally intrigued. The method is completely different than anything I had ever seen! She actually calls it No-Fail Chocolate Cake. So I made it that day, thinking to myself, “How different can it really be?” Well, I was pleasantly surprised at just how AMAZING this chocolate cake is.

Imagine my shock when I tried a piece the next day and it was EVEN BETTER. If at all possible, I recommend saving yourself a slice so that you can see just what a few hours will do to this crazy good recipe!

This recipe uses coffee (one of my favorite additions to a chocolate cake), but you can certainly use hot (and cold, see recipe) water if you prefer to leave the coffee out. And, be sure to check out my High Altitude Baking Tips if you are baking at a higher altitude.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Overhead Image

Chocolate Frosting

But first, let’s talk frosting. This is a basic Chocolate Frosting done right. I used dutch process cocoa so that my frosting would be a bit darker, but you can certainly use regular unsweetened cocoa powder. (it will be lighter in color) I also added 1 tablespoon of corn syrup to my frosting in hopes that it would achieve a nice glossy sheen. I thought it worked beautifully, but then I made the frosting again the next day, did not add corn syrup, and found the frosting to still be shiny. I still can’t get over how luxurious this frosting looks and tastes!

Smoothing Frosting on Chocolate Cake

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe with Coffee

I have many recipes on my site for chocolate cake and most of them use coffee. Coffee will enhance the flavor of the chocolate, not overpower it. If your recipe is good (and this one is) you will not taste the coffee at all, you will only taste the richest chocolate cake you have ever had.

This recipe utilizes brewed hot coffee in the first steps and then cooled coffee in the second part. Some recipes will call for instant coffee crystals or espresso coffee.

You may substitute WATER for the coffee if you prefer, but the chocolate flavor will not be as intense.

Cutting Pieces of Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Sheet Cake

While I love the perfect height and frosting:cake ratio of this sheet cake, I also like this cake as a layer cake. It will make a 2-layer cake (using 8-inch rounds) and the chocolate frosting recipe below will cover that if you do not use too much between the layers.

I have not made this recipe as cupcakes ( I love my Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe) but if you do you will want to fill each liner 2/3 full with batter and bake for 16-22 minutes at 350°F. Start checking at 16 minutes as you do not want to overbake the cupcakes. Cool and frost with chocolate frosting recipe. If you want to pipe pretty designs on the cupcakes you can add a bit more confectioners sugar for a thicker consistency.

One piece of Chocolate Cake

4.89 from 51 votes
Chocolate Cake Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins

Grandma approves... and the kids beg for the last piece!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate cake recipe, chocolate frosting
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 450 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
Chocolate Cake
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup strong coffee
  • ½ cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cups (192g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113g) salted butter, warm but not melted
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup cold coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Frosting
  • 3 cups (384g) confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) Dutch Process cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
  • 3-5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Cake

  2. Place all ingredients in the first part into a saucepan over low heat. Stir until they are fully incorporated, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. It should be a little thick and similar to custard.

  4. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.

  5. Add 1/2 cup warm butter, sugars, eggs, cooled coffee, and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix with a hand-held mixer until fully combined. (or stir by hand) 

  6. Add the chocolate mixture from the FIRST PART to the ingredients from the SECOND PART. Stir by hand until all ingredients are well combined.
  7. Pour onto a prepared (sprayed or lined with parchment) baking sheet (I used a 10x15in baking sheet). Smooth out the batter and gently tap on the counter. 
  8. Bake in a 350°F oven for 16-22 minutes, or until the center no longer appears wet and an inserted toothpick is removed with a few crumbs.
  9. Allow to cool before frosting.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with heavy whipping cream. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more whipping cream or sugar.

Recipe Video

Love All Things Chocolate? Try These Fantastic Recipes:

Piggy Pie Dessert

Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

French Silk Brownies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Karlene says:

    I never use Salted Butter. I prefer to use Sea Salt.

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve been looking for the perfect chocolate sheet cake and I think this is it. Not too complicated but it was moist, rich and delicious.

  • Nancy A Kotar says:

    In the frosting, is the whipping cream whipped, or is liquid?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Nancy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Use liquid heavy cream in the frosting. Have a great day!

  • Laura says:

    I will try it in the next weeks, it looks delicious!! Thanks

  • Carol Jean Painter says:

    What is warm butter?

  • Kim says:

    I’d like to try this, but we’re not coffee drinkers. What could I use for a sub?

  • doris stuart says:

    i would leave out the coffee cuz i dont have it in my home. dont drink the stuff

  • doris stuart says:

    if you not a coffee drinker you can tell theres something different cuz i dont like it and i can tell theres a different taste

  • Kathy Hough says:

    I do not tolerate gluten, so how do you think this would do with gluten free flour? And is it possible to bake in 9X13 pan? I do not have the 10×15 baking sheet. Thanks

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Kathy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness. If you try it, let us know how the cake turned out. And yes, you can use a 9×13-inch baking dish, but it may affect baking time. Have a great day!

  • Hannatjie says:

    Is the baking time correct?

  • Deryn Q says:

    I made this for father’s day and it was so good! I subbed cherry dr pepper zero for coffee and made cherry frosting. The recipe was easy to follow too!

  • Peggy LaRue says:

    I just made this and it reminds me of the Texas Sheet cake, I like the fact you frost after cooling, the sheet cake you pour the frosting on while the cake is hot.

  • Toby says:

    I have a 9×13, a deeper one. How do you suggest changing anything. Cooking times? Thank you!

  • Rebecca Wilson says:

    Do you make the cake to sell?
    Im disabled and don’t bake much, but I need the calories. Chocolate is my favorite.

  • Cyndi Williamson says:

    Would this work using cake flour? I used all my all purpose making tortillas this morning.

  • Betty says:

    Do I need to use Dutch Process cocoa powder? I have Hersheys cocoa powder.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You can use Hershey’s if it is what you have. 🙂

  • Olga Quilon says:

    Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes? How many minutes is the baking time?

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.