Easy Chocolate Cake

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Easy Chocolate Cake is indulgent and moist, made from scratch with hot coffee and cocoa powder added to the batter, ready in under 45 minutes!

This cake is the PERFECT Cake Recipe to have on hand for any celebration, and you can top it with our homemade Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Ganache, or Whipped Cream!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting


Easy Chocolate Cake is an all-time favorite dessert to make anytime a birthday comes around for a lot of families. It’s incredibly moist, with hints of coffee flavor which really brings out the best of the chocolate. You could even double this chocolate cake recipe and use several cake pans to make a layer cake.

This Easy Chocolate Cake recipe also uses homemade Chocolate Frosting, which is perfect if you’re making a layer cake because you can make as much as you need. This is a go-to cake recipe because it only takes a total time of 45 minutes to make. Your friends and family will think you picked it up from a bakery!

How to Make Chocolate Cake:

First you have to make the Cake Batter, starting with the chocolate sauce with melted butter and unsweetened cocoa powder:

Easy Chocolate Cake frosting collage

Make sure you’re sifting the ingredients well when adding the wet and dry ingredients together:

Baking and Frosting Chocolate Cake


  • Bake your desserts at the right temperature. A common issue with dry cakes is that the oven is not cooking at the right temperature. Try an oven safe thermometer to make sure your temp is where it’s supposed to be.
  • Don’t substitute high fat ingredients in this chocolate cake recipe. The fats in butter, milk, cream, or oil play a big part in adding moisture to a cake.
  • Add ½ cup sour cream to this cake recipe for extra moisture.
  • If your recipe is turning out dry, try substituting some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar. Brown sugar naturally has a higher moisture content, and can help add moisture to the cake.
  • Use a knife to level your measuring cup when measuring things like all purpose flour. Too much flour will dry out the cake.

Chocolate Cake




  • Make sure your leavening agents and your vanilla extract are fresh and not expired, for the best flavor and texture.
  • The baking time may very depending on the size of your cake pans. If you put the whole bowl of batter in one pan, it may take longer to bake the thicker cake. If you make cupcakes, then this will be more like 20-25 minutes baking time.
  • Use a good quality cake pan. The metal in the pan can be the difference of a perfect cake recipe, and a cake that’s burned on the bottom because the heat didn’t distribute well.
  • Be careful not to over-mix your cake batter.
  • Poke a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done baking.
  • You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes, or crumble the cake into a large bowl and mix it with frosting to make cake pops.

Slice of Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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  • Decorations: After frosting the chocolate cake, top with fresh raspberries or strawberries, sprinkles, candies, or chocolate shavings for a decorative dessert. Use white chocolate frosting (or any color frosting) in a piping bag to decorate. Top with crushed peppermint candies or sliced almonds for decoration. If you’re making the frosting, you can use the same (or a complimenting) flavor in the frosting, too.
  • Chocolate: Add a handful of semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or nuts to the batter if desired.
  • Fruit: If you don’t want to add frosting or fondant, add a layer of Strawberry Topping between the cake layers, then dust with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder and top with fresh fruit.
  • Egg substitute: There are a lot of different ways to substitute eggs in a chocolate cake recipe. Two of my favorites are applesauce, and bananas. Use ½ of a mashed banana, or ¼ of a cup of applesauce per egg in this chocolate cake recipe.
  • Extracts: Replace the vanilla extract in this chocolate cake recipe with almond or peppermint for different flavor variations.
  • Dark chocolate cake: You can use regular cocoa powder, or for a richer chocolate cake use dark chocolate cocoa powder.
  • Lightened up chocolate cake: Lighten up this classic chocolate cake by substituting the oil with the same amount of applesauce, and whole milk with 2% milk.

Easy Chocolate Cake frosted slice



  • Serve: Chocolate cake should be kept at room temperature, wrapped tightly, for 3-4 days to keep the texture quality. Use plastic wrap to help keep the slices from drying out.
  • Store:Chocolate cake will last in the refrigerator for about a week. Cakes are usually fine sitting on the counter, but have to be refrigerated when you have a high moisture or dairy part, like whipped cream.
  • Freeze: Chocolate cake should be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before being frozen. It will keep best for about 6 months.

Easy Chocolate Cake frosted with slice

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Easy Chocolate Cake

5 from 8 votes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Easy Chocolate Cake is indulgent and moist, made from scratch with hot coffee and cocoa powder added to the batter, ready in under 45 minutes!


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee you can substitute boiling water
  • Chocolate Frosting Recipe


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and dust with cocoa powder two 9 inch cake pans.

  2. In a stand mixer on low speed mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla then add it to the stand mixer on low then medium speed until just combined and finally add in the hot coffee carefully and stir it in by hand until just combined (do not turn on the mixer, it may splash on you).

  4. Pour half of the batter into each of the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes then remove, let cool completely and frost with the chocolate frosting.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: 316 calories, Calories: 316g, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 352mg, Potassium: 225mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 75g, Calcium: 61g, Iron: 2g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: chocolate cake, easy chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake collage

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  1. I’ve tried many chocolate cake recipes since March (the beginning of our stay-at-home order). None of them are ever chocolatey enough for me, but this one is. It was also light and (sorry if you hate this word) moist. It’s similar to the Hershey’s “perfectly chocolate cake” recipe but with some important improvements. This recipe works nicely in my rice cooker with one cup of batter, and if I mix in a handful of chocolate chips it’s delicious without any icing.

  2. Hi, I’m reading this recipe in search for usable batter for layer cake with chocolate – mint flavor. I like this suggestion for batter but have some questions about the preparation.
    1-when you mix eggs do you simple combine them with other wet ingredients or do you mix first the egg whites than add the yolks and other wet stuff.
    2-I’m using the metric system so for me the 350 degrees oven is to high. Can you please tell me at what temperature should I bake this batter in Celsius scale for electric oven.
    Thank you…

    1. Just combine the eggs with the milk, oil and vanilla and whisk. No need to separate them. If you’re using celsius, you’ll want the oven preheated to 180 degrees. Hope this helps!

  3. What’s the height for the cake pans? And if I only had 8” layer pans would that be ok or would I have to make it three layers? They may not be tall enough and I don’t want them to overflow!

    1. This recipe used 2 9 inch round cake pans. If you only have 8 inch round pans, you’ll need to make 3 layers. Hopefully this is helpful.

  4. I made this cake for my son Daniels birthday. It was so moist and chocolatey. Everyone loved it and I would definitely make this my go-to chocolate cake. All the ingredients are what most have already. Thank you so much!

  5. I made this, followed directions exactly and it was a disaster, so crumbly when I took it out of the pans. So it will become cake pops instead! I live at 5300 elevation, so I’m thinking that was the problem. What would you recommend? More flour? Less liquid? I would like to make this again. Help!! and Thanks!

    1. Oh no! I’m so glad you were able to save them. I am no expert on altitude adjustments when it comes to baking. From what I can find through my research online, you may need to reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon, reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons, increase the liquids (for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons). Also increase the oven temperature to 375. I hope this helps and good luck!

  6. Could you substitute some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar and still add sour cream for moisture? Would that make it too moist? Thanks!

      1. Yes though you might want to check it a few minutes early when baking. Almond milk may affect the baking time. Enjoy!