The Perfect Chocolate Cake

filed under: Chocolate Cakes on November 10, 2013

The Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe paired with a Perfect Chocolate Buttercream then decorated with simple rosettes. This is the perfect cake!


5 from 35 votes
Mini Rosettes on a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Coffee Buttercream!
The Perfect Chocolate Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins

The Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe paired with a Perfect Chocolate Buttercream then decorated with simple rosettes. This is the perfect cake!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: The Perfect Chocolate Cake
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 3/4 cup (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. McCormick pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (112g) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (90g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (237g) freshly brewed hot coffee (I use decaf)
  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and mix until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the
  4. coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into
  5. two 8-inch round prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350°F, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean (not wet).

  6. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely

Chocolate Cake Recipe

No matter how you decorate this chocolate cake recipe with chocolate buttercream it will taste delicious! This recipe (and the many variations) has been around for many years. This is my version and one that we have been making for many years with great success!

Grandma's Classic Recipe!

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

What makes this recipe the best? First off, it is inspired by Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe which is the same recipe my grandma used. They added coffee to their cake which does magical things to chocolate. Second, this is truly a MOIST and flavorful chocolate cake. Is there anything worse than dry cake? Nope. You will never have that problem with this recipe!

The Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe and Perfect Chocolate Buttercream

I used two 8-inch pans for my cake, but you can also use 9-inch pans. If using 9-inch, you will want to decrease the bake time by up to five minutes. And don’t forget to use GOOP to prepare your pans… it is the BEST!

Do you have to have coffee in this perfect chocolate cake recipe?

1. No, you cannot leave it out.

2. I mean it.

Ok, ok, so you can if you want. But here is what the coffee does… it enhances the flavor of the chocolate. The cake does not taste like coffee at all… it simply tastes more rich.

If you simply must not use coffee, you can substitute hot water.

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake and Best Ever Chocolate Buttercream

How to Make a Chocolate Cake

First, I recommend reading through the ingredients and making sure everything is out and ready. The eggs and buttermilk should be room temperature so getting them out of the fridge ahead of time will solve that for you. (Same with the butter in the chocolate buttercream recipe.)

Make sure dry ingredients are sifted and measured properly. When measuring flour, get out your container or bag. Open it and use a fork to stir it, or sift it, loosening it up. Spoon the flour into a dry measure cup then use the back of a knife to level the cup off. (Or you can measure your ingredients on a scale.)

Use the proper tools. For instance, this recipe used a stand mixer. You can use a hand-held mixer (or even stir by hand) but make sure the ingredients are fully mixed and incorporated before moving on to the next step in the recipe.

Use the best quality ingredients if you are able! Dark cocoa’s or high-quality cocoa, fresh eggs, and good quality vanilla make a difference! Feel free to upgrade to all organic ingredients. When it comes to substitutions though, I do recommend making the recipe as-is first, then altering it to make it yours.


Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe


This is one of the best chocolate cake recipes I have ever had the pleasure of eating.  Its moist and fudgy but still has a light cake crumb.  It’s got a depth of flavor (which I would attribute to the coffee) and a distinct rich deep chocolate essence.

NO FAIL Chocolate Cake! This is the recipe people will ask for again and again!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

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

Double Chocolate Cake Recipe

One of my favorite ways to jazz up this cake is to add chocolate chips to it. My favorite option? Mini chocolate chips! They add the perfect texture and bursts of chocolate. One fun trick when doing this is to add a semi-sweet or dark chocolate chip. For instance, if you are using standard cocoa powder (as the recipe is written) then add semi-sweet chips. If you are using dark cocoa powder or dutch process, try adding milk chocolate chips.

Chocolate Wedding Cake

Folks often ask if this is like bakery chocolate cake, or if it can be used in wedding cakes. Yes and no. The flavor and consistency are very similar to a bakery chocolate cake except that it is MORE moist in my experience. Can you make a wedding cake with this recipe? Well, that really depends on the type of wedding cake you are making. The highest I have ever stacked this cake is 4 layers, so I cannot speak its’s durability beyond that. If you are covering this chocolate cake recipe with fondant it may not stand up because of the moisture level.

I made my cake in two 8-inch round cake pans and then divided each layer in two. This made for a 4-layer chocolate cake.

5 from 35 votes
Grandma's Classic Recipe!
The Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 2 c unsalted butter 4 sticks at room temp.
  • 7 1/2 c powdered sugar or one 2lb bag
  • 1 c good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c whole milk or heavy cream
  1. ***THIS RECIPE IS FOR A CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM ROSE CAKE. You may need to halve this recipe if you are not making buttercream roses!***

  2. Place room temperature butter and vanilla into a stand mixer and beat at medium-high for about three minutes. You want it to appear lighter and fluffier.

  3. While butter is in mixer add powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt to a bowl and mix with a whisk. (sift)
  4. With mixer off, add in one cup of the powdered sugar and cocoa mixture. Turn mixer on to low and then slowly add in remaining powdered sugar mixture, one cup at a time.

  5. With mixer still on low, add in milk. Turn mixer to medium high and blend for at least two minutes.
  6. Frosting will appear very light, but it will darken as it sets.

I always forget #2!


I want to share with you 3 AMAZING TIPS for making the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

  1. Room Temperature Ingredients. I say this all the time, but it really is important in baking. To quickly warm up eggs, place them in hot water for a minute or so. To heat up milk or buttermilk, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds.
  2. Sift together all dry ingredients. Cocoa is notoriously lumpy and you do not want lumps in your cake. Make sure you sift all dry ingredients at least twice.
  3. Do not open the oven door until cake is almost done. The cake needs to be mostly set before opening the door or the cold air could make it collapse.

Once you get your chocolate fix be sure to try the Perfect White Cake!

If you are planning on making a chocolate rose cake as well, here are some posts to help you along.

Original Rose Cake – Photograph Tutorial

Rose Cake Tutorial on Youtube

The Perfect Birthday Rose Cake

Royal Wedding Rose Cake

Gender Reveal Rose Cake

Neapolitan Rose Cake (one of my favorite cakes of all time!)

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  • Trish Brown says:

    I have made this cake twice now. The first time it did not spill over my 8 inch cake pans but the second time it did. I think I followed the directions correctly. In any event, it was so moist I wasn’t sure when to frost it. I am trying this second go around to put it into the refrigerator after 30 minutes of cooling even before a crum coating to see if that helps.

  • Ragima says:

    Do you beat eggs separately ??Bcos after baking I can’t tolerate that egg smell in cake.

  • Madiha says:

    Made it. Turned out so pefect.

  • Allison Theo says:

    The flavor in the cake and frosting is incredible. The frosting is a bit stiff and I had to add more than the called for heavy cream to make it smooth enough to spread or it will rip your cake. I did put my cakes in the freezer for 30 minutes to seal in crumbs before frosting, which helped. I can’t say enough about the flavor and moistness of the cake!

  • Alicia M Luther says:

    how many 6 inch pans would you use for this recipe? Im making a small wedding cake with 6 inch pans. Thanks.

  • Amela Dzakmic says:

    Hi Amanda 🙂 I would love to make this cake so I was wondering is it possible to bake the cake a day earlier and then assemble the next day ? Will iz be dry ? I would keep them im the fridge .. and can you pls convert measurments for the buttercream ( for the roses ) into grams ? Tnx

  • Azza says:

    You are the best

  • Azza says:

    Please I wante all cake by gram not cup. I am sorry

  • Maureen Callanan says:

    Love your video’s! You make the cakes and frosting seem so easy. The recipes are delicious. I would make some, but have no one whi would eat them.

  • Shyann Lara says:

    Excellent recipe…by far the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve tried. The cake is light, moist…it’s everything you want in a chocolate cake.

  • Joy says:

    This is now my go to cake! Ive made this so many times, along with your birthday cake and white cake recipe. I make them all the time! I havent tried your chocolate frosting recipe but am going to tonight. I normally use ganache. Can this chocolate frosting be refrigerated…like can i decorate my cake with it and put it in fridge after or will it get hard?

  • Ankuri says:

    Cake receipe without eggs

  • Diana says:

    How high are the 8 and 9 inch pans ?

  • Cynthia Blackmon says:

    Do you let the coffee cool before putting it in the cake?

  • Ellen Gary says:

    I am asking a question and this is the only way to commicate. I want to make your cho cake and icing. I am confused you say to use coco powder for the icing and unsweetened cocoa powder for the cake. Are they different or the same if is different please let me know what I should use for both
    Thank you so much looking so forward to make your chocolate cake

  • Miri says:

    This cake really is the most AH-MAZING chocolate cake ever! It is moist and absolutely delish! Buttercream is awesome too. I made this for my sons birthday tomorrow and I cant wait to eat his cake. I put kit kats and mnm’s around/on top of the cake for a excavater paw patrol cake. Thank you SO Mauacah for sharing. Will be my go to cake forever.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      So glad Miri! Happy birthday to your son!

  • Maddie says:

    How to make a cup of hot coffee? Do you add milk or just wanted to it?

  • Cindy says:

    Hello Amanda, I absolutely LOVE this recipe. it is my go to. (Then again all of yours are!) Can I make this in a 10×15? I’m making cake for 100 at a charity event tomorrow. Your help is greatly appreciated!!!

  • Diane says:

    Which cocoa powder do you like the best? I use Hershey’s since it is readily available.

    Thank you.

  • Lauren Himes Reagan says:

    I absolutely adore this chocolate cake recipe! I’m wanting to make this chocolate cake in a 2 layer 6 inch round with some cupcakes made of the same batter what would you recommend for bake time?

  • Cindy says:

    Made this today. It is the BEST chocolate cake I have ever eaten in my life. I won’t need another recipe. I put a vanilla buttercream on it and they went well together too. So happy to fins this recipe!!

  • Sarah says:

    In your perfect chocolate cake recipe,you have used unit “c” for measuring frosting ingredients …like “2 c unsalted butter”
    Just wanted to confirm , Is “c” stands for cup?

  • Debora Spengler says:

    Hi, I am making a half sheet cake for my fathers 85th birthday and would this cake work for it… The Perfect Chocolate Cake. and how many batches would it take. Not wanting to use box mix for this one. what do you think. BTW.. I have learned a lot from you and use many of your recepies

  • Gay Peleholani says:

    I have made this cake at least 6 times and twice with cupcakes. This cake is the best chocolate cake ever.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  • Dyan says:

    Absolutely the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. Perfect in every respect. I had to leave it iced in the fridge for three day’s unexpectedly and thought it might have dried out but no…moose and brilliant.

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