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.

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 45 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

Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

French Silk Brownies

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  • Fatima says:

    Hi Amanda,I’m sure it will be a very delicious cake but can I replace brown sugar by granulated sugar? Thanks.

  • Sarah says:

    The best chocolate cake. Ever!!! Made it for my husband’s birthday and he loved it.

    • Amanda says:

      So glad you both enjoyed it! <3

  • Emily says:

    I, too, made this for my husband’s birthday along with the whipped vanilla buttercream frosting. OH MY GOSH!! So delicious!!

  • Rocio says:

    Deeeeeeelicious!!!! Was what everyone said, even my 86 year old grandma😋

  • Julia says:

    May I use the same chocolate cake recipe for cupcakes?
    Thank you 😊

  • Tarisai says:

    The best chocolate cake i have ever made! It will certainly go in the keepers book. Very simple

  • Barb says:

    It was a very chocolate cake. I used the Hersey cocoa. I made two 9″ rounds for a layered cake and had just the right amount of frosting. I will make it again!

  • Edith Foret says:

    If I want to make this a bundt cake, at what temperature and for how long should I cook it?

  • Esther says:

    Wow it was wonderful, thanks

  • Dana says:

    I don’t see eggs on the ingredients list but they are in the instructions and on the video… is it just 2?

    • Amanda says:

      Eggs are in the “SECOND PART” of the ingredients

  • Sade says:

    Your are the best ma

  • Susan King says:

    Your recipes are the best of all! Thanks

  • Lenor says:

    Can you use a 9×13′ pan?

  • Kelly Linton says:

    I made cupcakes…delicious but batter everywhere. I filled 2/3 full like recommended and they overflowed. I know you say you never made cupcakes with this recipe, but I am sad that I may not be able to salvage these. They pretty much morphed into one. I got 28 cupcakes. I may have to do a trifle or something. It’s a nice, light cake with really good flavor, but I was hoping for a denser cake. Not mad just not what I was expecting

  • a says:

    Hi…I am really excited about making this as have been trying cakes with a few variations of ingredients….question is can i make one large round cake using this batter or does it have to be two layers? i always make sheet cakes and wanted to do a round one but have only one round pan! Thanks in advance

  • Irma Arosemena Diaz says:

    Excelentes recetas! #amo #delicios #prettyeasy

  • Manmeet says:

    So i have a question.. i hope this is answered..
    how do u prepare this cold coffee used un second step.. wht is the measurements of it and how is it made ..??
    Plz answer in detail as most of ur recipes include coffee would be easy for further recipes..
    Thank you

  • Mish says:

    THANK YOU Amanda!!!! Made this cake for lunch with friends and it was a major HIT!!! Beautiful crumb, intense chocolate taste enhanced by the coffee and not too sweet. This will be made again and again and again…😋

  • Julie Retter says:

    Could you freeze this?

  • Ninnia Perreras says:

    Hi how many cups of butter in 6tbsp? Thanks

  • Jenn says:

    I just made two batches of this tonight, one regular and one gluten free. Both turned out amazing! I also made cupcakes and they were perfect! I got 16 cupcakes out of each batch and I did them on 350F for 16 minutes. Also for the gluten free version I just substituted Robin Hood Gluten Free Flour Blend. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!

  • Marisabel says:

    Can I make this as a bundt cake?!

  • Dionne Lynch says:

    I’m not certain, so I am going to give it 3 stars. I expected a moister cake. The flavor is tasty. Call me weird, but the batter was great! Packed with flavor, as this is my first time baking with Dutch Cocoa. Which I might add is pricey! The combination of the coffee( which as per the narrative) and cocoa did intensify the cake flavor. I may put a spin on this latter on. The real critics ( my kids)will be tasting this after dinner tomorrow

    Thank you for the recipe.😊

  • Alisha Ross says:

    wow these cupcakes look amazing. I want one 🙂 Great list of music. I love your blog. I have almost all her CD’s

  • Lisa says:

    I have yet to make it, so the 5 stars is only from reading the recipe. Because I’m salivating, it must be FAB! Thanks for sharing.

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