This Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe is moist, flavorful, and inspired by Hershey’s famous chocolate cake, made with a touch of coffee for a unique twist. No more dry cakes! Passed down by my grandma, this recipe is a true classic. The addition of Homemade Chocolate Buttercream takes this cake to the next level and sets it apart from the rest.

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Chocolate Cake on Cake Stand

Ingredients & Substitutions

Buttermilk: I prefer to use store-bought buttermilk for this cake, but you can absolutely use homemade. I have a post on How to Make Buttermilk should you want to make your own! I like the sour cream method for this cake.

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

Chocolate Buttercream: The recipe for the whipped chocolate buttercream is a large amount. If you don’t plan on piping on embellishment, you can cut the recipe in half. Or, use your favorite kind of frosting.

The Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe and Perfect Chocolate Buttercream on White Cake Stand

Can I Make This Chocolate Cake Into Cupcakes?

This recipe has not been tested as cupcakes, but if you decide to make it into cupcakes, here are some guidelines. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter and bake at 350°F for 16-22 minutes. Check on the cupcakes starting at 16 minutes to avoid overbaking. For a tried and true cupcake recipe, try my Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe.

Overhead of Chocolate Cake with Rosette Frosting

Can I Use a 9×13-inch Baking Dish?

Yes, you absolutely can. Bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick is removed with crumbs, but no wet batter.

Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe with Pieces Missing on Cake Stand

Can This Cake be Gluten-Free?

I am often asked how to make this recipe gluten-free. I recommend good quality gluten-free flour that can be used interchangeably with all-purpose flour. (A 1:1 blend) This recipe is best when gluten is used, but will still taste delicious with gluten-free flour.

Piece of Chocolate Cake on Plate with Raspberries

How to Freeze Chocolate Cake

I don’t recommend freezing with frosting on. To freeze the cake, follow these instructions.

  • Allow the cake to completely cool in the pan.
  • Place a layer of plastic on top of the cake and then place a cutting board or cooling rack on top.
  • Flip the cake over, removing the pan.
  • Wrap the plastic up over the edges of the cake and then add another large piece and wrap it again as tightly as possible without crushing the cake. Make sure that none of the cake is exposed in the freezer as this can cause a freezer burn.
  • Finally, wrap it in a layer of foil. Label and date the cake. The cake will freeze well for 1 month and should be fine for up to 3 months.
Chocolate Cake on a Plate.

More Chocolate Cakes

The best recipe you will ever try!
4.98 from 109 votes

The Perfect Chocolate Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
This rich and decadent chocolate cake has been around for decades and is always a crowd-pleaser! Perfectly moist, rich, and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups (219 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (90 g) good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (112 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (237 g) freshly brewed hot coffee, regular or decaf, or hot water
  • chocolate buttercream frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 2, 8-inch x 3-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. (8-inch cake pans with shorter sides may cause an overflow in your oven.) Set aside.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean with no wet batter.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes. Then, turn them out onto a cooling rack to let them cool completely.
  • Frost the cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Hahahahah this comment section is the best ever. Megan is obviously a nut. Please do get help of this is what you waste your time doing.

    I’ve used this recipe for years and get nothing but compliments. AMAZING!!

    Ps. I sometimes use half coffee and half burbon to get through dealing with people like Megan 🙃

  2. I am English and made this cake last week for a birthday cake and it came out incredibly well – the only issue is that in my oven it needed to be baked at 160°C for 45 minutes rather than 180°C for 25 like in the original recipe, but I chalk that up to having a fan oven and as someone who has actually made cake before and not just basing my expertise on how many of them I’ve eaten, I was able to adjust and get a perfect bake!

    Not sure what on god’s green earth Megan did to her cake but I think maybe she needs some more practice before kicking off that it’s your fault…

  3. If you were using this recipe to bake in a 13x18in sheet pan, how long would you bake it? This is my go to recipe and I’ll be using it for a retirement party.

  4. I made this cake a few weeks ago. Sooooo good. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am going to take this cake to my families Christmas Eve get together.

  5. Hi,
    I LOVE this recipe and it sure is my go to.
    Quick question
    both cakes sunk in the middle a bit.
    Could this be because my 8 inch pans are not 3″ high.
    Not deep enough perhaps.
    Thanks so much!!

  6. I always get requests for “MY”chocolate cake!😂 I always share the link from Amanda. Love this recipe it’s fabulous! ❤️ Oh and I was trying to find the comments from”Megan” 😂😂😂 wanted to see what happened. Yeah I know I’m nosy , but if you read all of her recipes you should not have a problem with making the cake. Keep on baking Iambaker! ❤️

  7. Best go to decadent chocolate cake recipe. Never fails is a crowd pleaser. My husband’s all-time favorite chocolate cake. Chocolate buttercream frosting smooth and creamy every time. Thank you for sharing your baking expertise.

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