Easy Chocolate Cake

12 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

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


  • 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

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!
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 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


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and dust with cocoa powder two 9 inch cake pans.
  • In a stand mixer on low speed mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • 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).
  • 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.



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


Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 352mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

Chocolate Cake collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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      1. I did and the bake time was similar. Just watch it and use a toothpick to test when close. It seems a pretty forgiving recipe.

  1. Hi Sabrina,
    I haven’t made these yet but know they’ll be delicious. My question is how many cupcakes will this make and how much batter should I put in each cupcake holder? Love your recipes. Thanks.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    2. I have made this recipe (and shared it) a dozen times. This weekend I turned it into a mint chocolate cake but substituting 1/2 teaspoon of mint (not peppermint) extract for part of the vanilla. I mixed crushed mint flavored Oreos with a basic buttercream. It turned out well but next time I will sub some of the powdered sugar with cornstarch.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!