• 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!

    Grandma's Classic Recipe!

    No matter how you decorate this chocolate cake recipe with chocolate buttercream it will taste delicious!

    The Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe and Perfect Chocolate Buttercream


    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 Best Ever Chocolate Cake and Best Ever 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.

    Chocolate Rosette Cake with the BEST chocolate cake recipe!


    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 a 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 a 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.

    The Perfect Chocolate Cake

    The best recipe you will ever try!

    • Prep Time:15m
    • Cook Time:40m
    • Total Time:55m
    • Yield: 12 slices


    • 1 3/4 c (210g) all-purpose flour
    • 2 c (400g) granulated sugar
    • 3/4 c (90g) good unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 c (240g) buttermilk (room temperature)
    • 1/2 c (112g) vegetable oil
    • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsp. McCormick pure vanilla extract
    • 1 c (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 coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into 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).
    4. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

    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.

    The Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


        • 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
        • 2 c unsalted butter (4 sticks) at room temp.


        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.

        This best ever chocolate cake recipe was originally published on my blog in 2010 and is from The Barefoot Contessa who adapted it from Hershey’s.

        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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        I used the chocolate buttercream recipe with yellow cake. The frosting was delicious and paired nicely with the cake, but the consistency was a little hard to work with. I’m sure this frosting tastes just as good with the chocolate cake, but I would recommend adding a little extra cream to the recipe.

        Hi! Will this recipe work in a 9×13 cake pan instead of round pans?

        Can I substitute the coffee for anything? Or do you have a recipe without the coffee?

        Hi.. Is the flour quantity 1 and quarter cup or is it 1 and 3 quarters??

        This cake is so good and moist, my family loved it making the Perfect White Cake next for my grand daughters birthday. I’m sure they will love it also. Thank you for all the great tips and I love coffee in chocolate cakes it sure does bring out the chocolate.

        Do you have a good recipe for a caramel frosting like the one from the Sanders Caramel Cake ?

        Do you ever recommend using a simple syrup with this recipe?

        When I tried this recipe, the batter came out very thin (so thin that, when I tried to use a springform pan, it leaked right through). I know the recipe does not specify to use a springform so that can be a mistake on my part, but is the batter meant to be that thin?

          Yes. It is a very runny batter.

        Oh mai God. You’re so talented and your recipe is so finger licking. I mean even by reading it. I feel like eating it already.

        Did you use the unsweetened cocoa powder for the buttercream recipe as well?

        I absolutely admit I was a coffee in my cake skeptic but anything I’ve tried from your blog has been accurately described as, “oohhh nummmmy,” by my 3 yr old nephew. But I don’t believe in deviating from a recipe on the first try. The first run goes as is. With all that I must say, OMG I’ve been avoiding recipes with coffee in chocolate cakes for years and I’m totally kicking myself for it. It provides a really nice accent to the chocolate that just puts a little bump in its step. Love this. I need to search your site for an chocolate Italian butter cream. My nephew and I are making cupcakes this week and I love yellow cake but I want an amazing chocolate frosting is what I need. This was good but I’m wanting that frosting that melts in your mouth AND melts away the world simultaneously. You rock. I absolutely appreciate all you put into your blog.

        Can’t wait to try..

        Hi I just made this cake. It turned out beautiful…However I made it in a 35cm x23cm, it was perfect.”Thanks for sharing.

        This cake is absolutely wonderful. It is so moist. I will definitely bake this again. Do you have a vanilla/White cake that is as moist as this one?

        I would like to make this cake in an angel food cake pan, how long would I bake it and do you think it would work in that type pan? Thanks

        You have a video on Facebook that uses a chocolate cake mix, a chocolate brownie mix, 4 eggs plus how much oil and how much water. Put into bundt pan. Bam how long? Frost with heated heavy cream melting chocolate chips in it. How much oil, water, cream please and thank you???

        would like your chocolate brownie cake recipe

        I love this cake. It’s so delicious and moist. I reduce the powdered sugar in the buttercream frosting from 71/2 C to 2 C. It’s taste just perfect! Everyone in the family could not stop talking about how tasty the cake is and I got so many compliments.
        Thank you sooooo much.

        I can’t count how many times I’ve made this recipe. Birthday cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes, just because cakes, etc. It’ my go to for chocolate cake and icing. In fact, I’ve had requests for just the icing. I highly recommend this recipe!

        love to read your recipes, but when i print one i don’t get a picture of item. why?

        How does this recipe do for cupcakes?

        Please send recipe for mississippi mudslide cake

        I LIKE YOUR RECIPE.IT IS VERY EASY TO LEARN TO COOK CHOCOLATE cake. I tried to coke yesterday my children and my friend. They told us that my cake was very delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

        What would you recommend if I can’t get extra-large eggs? I live overseas, and the eggs available tend to be just one size. Should I use 3? Or two and a half? Thanks!

        Don't Pass on Dessert!