How to Make Chocolate Cake
Learn how to make chocolate cake with this easy recipe that can be used for chocolate cupcakes, chocolate sheet cake, or a chocolate layer cake! This recipe results in a moist, fluffy, and intensely chocolate cake.
Classic Chocolate Cake Overview
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: Blending Method for Cakes
I love having classic recipes in my back pocket that can be used for all kinds of occasions. This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It results in a cake that is moist, fluffy, and intensely chocolate in flavor.
What I also love about this cake is that it is so incredibly easy to make. You can mix the cake and have it in the oven in less than 15 minutes! I use this basic chocolate cake for sheet cakes, layer cakes, and cupcakes!
How do I make a Moist Chocolate Cake?
This chocolate cake is incredibly moist and that is due to the oil in the batter. Oil does not solidify at room temperature the way butter does, which results in a very moist chocolate cake.
The other important thing to keep in mind to ensure you do not end up with dry cake, is to not over-mix your batter. You want to mix just until the batter comes together and there are no lumps of dry ingredients. If you mix for a long period of time the gluten will overdevelop, resulting in a tough and dry cake.
Why do you Add Coffee to Your Chocolate Cake?
I like to add hot coffee to my chocolate cake for two reasons. The first reason is that hot liquid blooms the cocoa powder, which gives it more depth of flavor.
The second reason I add coffee to my chocolate cake is that it intensifies the chocolate flavor. Your cake will not taste like coffee, rather it will have more richly chocolate. However, you can substitute the hot coffee with very hot water if you prefer.
How to Make Chocolate Cake
To make this basic chocolate cake we will be using the blending method. This is the easiest mixing method for cakes and only requires a few steps.
Step 1: Prep
Always measure out all of your ingredients before you start baking and preheat your oven. You can also prep your pans. This cake can be made into a sheet cake, a 2-layer cake, or cupcakes.
Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients until well combined.
Step 3: Mix Together Wet Ingredients
In a separate mixing bowl mix together all of the wet ingredients except for the hot coffee or hot water. Mix together until well combined.
Step 4: Mix the Cake Batter
Mix together the wet ingredients (minus the coffee) with the dry ingredients. As soon as the two are starting to come together, slowly pour in the hot liquid while continuing the mix.
Mix just until the ingredients are completely incorporated. You don’t want to over-mix the batter or your cake will be dry.
Step 5: Bake the Cake
The batter will be very liquidy, but don’t worry it will bake into a beautiful chocolate cake! Pour the batter into your prepared pans and bake.
To check if the cake is done, gently press in on the center. It should feel firm but bounce back when pressed in on.
Step 6: Cool and Frost
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. I love to use my classic chocolate buttercream frosting to frost this cake.
Classic Chocolate Cake
This classic chocolate cake recipe is incredibly easy to make and is moist, fluffy, and intensely chocolate. This recipe can be baked as a sheet cake, a layer cake, or into cupcakes.
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (105 grams) natural cocoa powder (*see note for using dutch processed)
- 2 1/4 cup (445 gr) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 TBSP (15 ml) vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (158 ml) milk, room temperature (preferable whole milk but any milk will work)
- 3/4 cup (178 ml) vegetable oil (or another neutral flavored oil like canola or avocado oil)
- 1 1/2 cup (355 ml) very hot coffee (or very hot water)
- PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Prepare your baking pan. This recipe will make 1- 9x13" (22 x 33 cm) sheet cake, 2- 9" or 8" (22 or 20 cm) round layer cakes, or about 24 cupcakes. If making a sheet cake or layer cakes, butter the tin well and then line with parchment paper if desired. Parchment is optional but will help the cake release more easily. If making cupcakes, line the tin with cupcake liners.
- MIX DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
- MIX WET INGREDIENTS: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, milk, and vegetable oil. Do not mix in the hot coffee or water at this point, leave it on the side.
- FINISH MIXING BATTER: Pour the wet ingredients (minus the coffee or hot water) into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a hand mixer or the paddle attachment on the stand mixer to start mixing the ingredients on medium/low speed. Gradually pour in the hot coffee or hot water while the mixer is running. The heat from the liquid will bloom the cocoa powder and make it taste more chocolatey. The cake will not taste like coffee.
- BAKE: Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake at 350 F (177 C). A sheet cake will take about 35-45 minutes. Layer cakes will take 25-30 minutes, and cupcakes will take 18-25 minutes. Pull the cake out of the oven when it is firm but springs back when gently pressed in on the center.
- COOL: Cool the cakes completely on a cooling rack before frosting. I love pairing this cake with my simple chocolate buttercream frosting or my whipped chocolate ganache.
- STORE: Store the cake covered in foil or plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you do not have natural cocoa powder, you can use dutch processed cocoa powder but omit the baking soda and increase the baking powder to 1 TBSP.
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29 Comments on “How to Make Chocolate Cake”
Hi Bettie: The link for your favourite chocolate cake is not working.
The cake looks perfect and fabulous to bake for a special day. Yes, it’s definitely the best chocolate cake. Lovely!!
I’ve gotten in the habit of just making chocolate cake from a box mix, but this recipe looks so easy and delicious, especially with the hot coffee addition, so I think I’ll give it a try!
This came out absolutely divine! My stepsons birthday party is this Saturday so I made half recipe tonight to try it out and I honestly think I’ve eaten 1/4 of it already. (Maybe I’ll tell my husband it was the dog )
I was low on cocoa powder so I ground cacao nibs and the chocolate flavour is out of this world. I’m sure the coffee helps with that too. I’m beyond excited to double this recipe for the family on Saturday and I feel truly blessed to have found your website.
You’re very welcome! I haven’t tried using cacao nibs so I’m so happy it worked out for you! Good to know!
If I have someone who doesn’t like chocolate, do you think I could halve the batter and only put the cocoa powder in half that way part of the cake is vanilla, or will that vanilla half not test right?
hello, I love your recipes. Note that this recipe has the same ingredients and amounts as the Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake with Fudge Glaze except for the amount of milk. In this cake you use 2/3 cup of milk while in the Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake with Fudge Glaze you use 1/2 cup. what is the correct measurement?
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and recipes! I have made your yeast rolls, chocolate chip cookies and now your chocolate cake, all of which have been out of this world! I look forward to your emails and get excited when they arrive!
Loving all the tips so far! Thank you.
Sounds delicious & easy!
When making a sheet cake, what size? 1/4 sheet or 1/2 sheet pan?
This will make a 9×13″ sheet cake.
Hi, can I add plant milk instead of cows milk?
Love your recipies…
Thank you, Jackie
Yes, you can!
Can the chocolate cake be refrigerated for a longer time?
It can! The uncut cake can sit in the fridge for about a week. However as soon as you cut it, it will start to dry out in the fridge in a couple days.
What can be substituted instead of eggs in the recipe for a vegetarian version?
OMG my house smells glorious this went together so easily it will be my go to chocolate cake recipe. ThNks!
This cake was the best chocolate cake I have ever made and I have made a lot through the years. Thank you very much for the videos and the well explained instructions, you have out done yourself, keep up the good work.
You’re so welcome! So glad you like it!
Can you use a glass baking pan?
I don’t recommend it. Glass isn’t ideal for baking cakes because the sides and bottom will brown at a much faster rate than the middle.
Hei, can it make like cup cake?
You can! There are instructions within the recipe showing you how to turn this into cupcakes.
Homework #6: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
(everything from scratch)
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to learn more techniques. This homework boost my confidence. I was able to think more ways to make better and beautiful cake. I’m very grateful. The cake taste amazing!
Great job! I saw your photo on Facebook and it looked gorgeous!
Can I use buttermilk?