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

4.88 from 49 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
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups (192g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113g) salted butter, warm but not melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 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

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Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

French Silk Brownies

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  • Lisa WIlson says:

    5 stars based on reading a recipe that made me salivate! Will offer more upon baking!

  • Brenda Dotson says:

    This cake looks and sounds so good I will surely have to try this yummy

  • RANDOM says:

    My aunty tried this cake and it was a hit so I really wanted to try..for the first part, do I use salted or unsalted butter? Can I use hand mixer to combine all the ingredients, in the 2nd part?

  • jessica beem says:

    How long if I cook
    It in a 9 x 13 baking pan??

  • Mary grace says:

    Thought I messed it up because the batter was runny…didn’t have the required size pan so I used a Pyrex round pan ( smaller) and baked it 350 for 40 minutes. Turned oven off and left it there ( used three pans) for another 10 minutes. Wow!! So moist and not too sweet. Just right! Leaving off frosting it. Tastes scrumptious as it is. Thanks!

  • Amy Garcia says:

    Love this, definitely sharing with friends

  • Cindy says:

    Can you taste the coffee in the cake. I dislike coffee and am cautious

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I do not, but if you are sensitive you may want to use hot water.

  • Andrea Brunetti says:

    Would this recipe work with almond flour, for people who have a gluten sensitivity?

  • Wanda Susanne says:

    I’m excited to bake your chocolate cake. I love coffee. This will be good!! Thank you

  • Anita Heiser says:

    Looks delicious! We definitely are going to try this recipe ❤️

  • Christa says:

    How does this recipe work for cupcakes?

  • Nancy Harper says:

    This is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever made! Now everyone in my family wants this cake for their birthday.

    Thank you!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Just wondering if there is a reason behind using salted butter in this v unsalted?
    Can’t wait to try it!!

  • Sheila Moore says:

    For those of you worried about the coffee, it brings out the flavor of the chocolate. I always use at least a tablespoon of instant coffee in my chocolate cake. Try it you won’t be disappointed.

  • Claire Kelly says:

    Can you use a sugar substitute and Almond flour in this recipe ?

  • Vonelle Vanzant says:

    Has anyone made this cake with coffee brewed I. A Keurig?

  • Arin Patterson says:

    How do you get butter warm for the “second Part” without melting it?

  • Betsy says:

    I do not have heavy whipping cream, can I use whole milk instead?

  • Salma says:

    Hi, my cousin shared this recipe with me earlier and while while i am reading my heart was melting because coffee and chocolate are made for each other but the white flour stopped me there,is there anyother substitute..oat is my savor.. Would it be the case for your recipe??
    Good luck and good #Confinement

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      I work with iambaker and am happy to help out with questions!
      Hi, Salma! Go ahead and try your oat flour, and let us know how it turns out!

  • Shammi begum says:

    I love your recipe specially chocolate whipped cream frosting.
    I always use your recipe for buttercream when I make cake and it turns out nice.

  • Yvonne baird says:

    I made this cake as the “sandwich” version and I can honestly say it is the most moist, velvety smooth chocolate cake EVER!
    We finished it 3 days later and it was if not as good than better…. how many chocolate cakes can boast that. Loved it and is now our favourite chocolate indulgent cake.
    Thank you, great recipe 👍👍

  • Grace Mazzocchi says:

    I am not a cake baker… biscotti, pies, bread; more of an Italian baker…I bought Saco Dutch Process Cocoa because it is nut free… have a grandson with many allergies. Other Brands say that they share facilities that process nuts. Looked for a cake recipe using Dutch Process Cocoa This cake was such a hit! Off the charts!

  • Linda iambaker says:

    I doubled the recipe and used 3 8″ round pans. I cooked it in a convection oven. The outside cooked way to fast and the inside domed. I think I should have cooked it at a lower temp. Does anyone have any advice?

  • Brenda kizza says:

    This is a great recipe. Thank you so much.