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 Sheet Cake Overhead Image

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.

Smoothing Frosting on Chocolate Cake

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!

Cutting Pieces of 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.

One piece 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.

4.89 from 42 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

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  • chefibpa says:


  • Lisa says:

    Credit to Autumn and her Grandma Evie for an amazing cake recipe!!

  • Nancy Harper says:

    OMG!!! What a delight! I just made this and it was wonderful! I plan on making it for the holidays too!!
    Thank you!!!!

    • Amanda says:

      So glad Nancy!!

  • Iana says:

    Can this be made into a layer cake, or is it too crumbly to cut in half?

  • Alma Mannetti says:

    The best chocolate cake recipe ever thanks for sharing

  • Lin says:

    Hi! I’m definitely going to make this! Question…how do you get the frosting to look like the photos? At the end of the video the frosting is much darker, almost the same color as the cake. I really like the contrast in color in the photos. Thanks!

    • Amanda says:

      The frosting naturally darkens as it sets. 🙂

  • Orin Dutta says:

    R we supposed to use milk coffee or black coffee??

  • Nicole says:

    How can I adjust this for 2 12 inch round cake pans???

  • Marian J Kusmierski says:

    I made this cake today to take to a friends dinner. I did it as a layer cake and had to make additional frosting but that’s no problem. Everyone LOVED the cake. Nothing but rave reviews!

  • Jessica says:

    Will this come out great to use fondant on, and strong enough to stack on a vanilla layer?

  • Matthieu says:

    I followed the instructions step by step and it turned out as a real success!!! I only cut down a bit on the sugar. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe. Much love from France

  • FARIDA says:

    Awesome and best chocolate cake.

  • Jacklyn says:

    This is wonderful! You have done an excellent job explaining the reasons to do the little things I’ve always wondered why. Thank you!

  • Carol says:

    I tried this recipe without the frosting but the cake came out bland and kind of lacking sweetness too! I used strong dark coffee could it be because of that?

    • Amanda says:

      The chocolate cake was bland? Have not ever heard that with this recipe. Maybe you forgot to add the sugar?

  • Holly says:

    I just made this on a whim and it is absolutely delicious. I didn’t have enough whipping cream for the icing, so I used the two-ish tablespoons I had on hand and added about 1/2 a cup of sour cream. It was perfect. I am going to print this and put it in my favorite recipes binder in my kitchen. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Valerie says:

    Can you use regular cocoa instead of dutch process cocoa in the chocolate sheet cake recipe?

    • Amanda says:

      You can.

  • Stefania Spagnuolo says:

    I should like to make your recipe for xstmas can i have in grams the first part? Thank you

  • Gloria A Jeter says:

    You are the greatest !!!! Thanks for sharing I go to your site almost daily ,so much to learn too.

  • Preeti says:

    Hi in your chocolate cake recipie
    What did you mean by cold coffee.
    Also in the first part do put coffee as a powder of mix in water and heat?????

  • Cris says:

    Wow!!! Thanks for this recipe! I bought a bag of Dutch processed cocoa at Costco and was looking for a chocolate cake recipe and now i don’t have to look for another one ever again! I’ve not used Dutch processed cocoa before so I was a bit skeptical when I read the recipe but it was so moist and tender, I’m now a believer and might never go back to regular cocoa. I made this as 2-8” rounds and used the frosting recipe provided. The frosting is also spectacular and the perfect amount for naked sides and some rosettes on the top. Thanks again for these stellar recipes!!!

  • Sofie says:

    Really great and easy cake to do and is loved by everyone who took a bite!! Thank you so much, I can not for my life do a spongecake, but this one turned out super delicious and great!
    I cant eat or drink lactose products so instead I of the whipped cream and butter. I Used just coffe, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract till it got rich, thick and creamy. And to spice it up more, you can add some spirits, just a few drops.

  • Susana says:

    Really the best chocolate cake I have ever tried. Just one question, since there is quite much of the coffee in the recipe, is it ok for childrens?? Or rather only for adults??

  • Colm says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. Can I just ask about the amount of flour. Your recipe states 1 1/2 cups (192g).
    I thought 1 cup was 250g?
    Sorry if this is a silly question (I’m a novice baker lol)
    Thank you!!!

    • Amanda says:

      I cup flour is about 250ml, not grams. 🙂

  • Gabbie says:

    Recipe was amazing but I hate coffee and can taste it in anything. I was wondering if you can use something else instead of coffee?

    • Amanda says:

      You could use hot water, but it might affect the flavor of the chocolate. (be less flavorful)

  • dianne mcneely says:

    When a recipe calls for strong coffee, what is considered strong? How much coffee do you use?

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