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Easy Chocolate Cake

What could be better than chocolate cake? Not much! Especially when it’s a deliciously Easy Chocolate Cake recipe – moist, rich, and made from scratch in your own kitchen.

a whole frosted cake

Easy Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

I’m such a softie when it comes to cake! My family knows this, so when they want to give me a special treat, it’s often one of my favorite bakery cakes. So indulgent! I love when they do that. ❤️

And, maybe a bit ironically, I also turn to cake when I want to do something special for my family! Making a cake from scratch is one of my favorite ways to show them that I care. Plus, it’s delicious. For everyone. Including me.

This particular cake is… how can I say this? Perfect. Yep, perfect is the word! It’s thick, fudgy, and moist while still being light. It goes beautifully with a whipped chocolate buttercream or any other type of frosting that you enjoy. This is the kind of cake that my kids beg for on their birthdays, because it’s just that special!

A Slice of Chocolate Cake on a White Plate with a Fork Sticking Into it

What You’ll Need

Even though this cake is uber-festive, it’s made from very simple ingredients that you probably already have! So it’s also a great recipe to pull out when you don’t have time to run to the store, but you still want to make something fancy!

  • Sugar: You’ll need two cups of plain ol’ granulated sugar. You can substitute raw sugar here if you’d like.
  • Flour: No need for cake flour; just use 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour. 
  • Cocoa Powder: To make this cake perfectly chocolatey, we’ll be using ¾ cup of cocoa powder in the batter.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Using both together gives this cake its light quality, making each bite both delicate and rich.
  • Salt: I typically use sea salt.
  • Eggs: You’ll need two whole eggs.
  • Milk: Creamy and dreamy! I use one cup of whole milk in this recipe. 
  • Oil: You can substitute butter if you want a richer cake, but I find that oil gives a great texture and moistness.
  • Vanilla: Go for pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Boiling Water: This old-fashioned technique of adding boiling water will make the batter seem very liquid, but don’t be alarmed! The results will be amazing!
Cocoa Powder, Eggs, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and the Rest of the Cake Ingredients Arranged on a Gray Countertop

How to Make Chocolate Cake

One of the nicest things about this chocolate cake recipe is how easy it is. Unlike traditional sponge cakes, which rely on whipped egg whites for a light and fluffy texture, this easy recipe uses baking powder and baking soda to raise the batter. 

  • Prep Oven & Cake Pans: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, and dust them with flour. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper for easy removal.
  • Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.
A Mixture of the Dry Ingredients for Homemade Chocolate Cake
  • Add Wet Ingredients: Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Pour in the boiling water and mix until smooth. The batter will seem a little runny. 
  • Bake: Pour the chocolate cake batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the center of each cake round is set.
  • Allow to cool before frosting.
A Frosted Chocolate Cake on a White Stand with a Dessert Spatula in the Foreground

Tips for Success

What else should you know about baking a chocolate layer cake? Here are a few tips you might find helpful!

  • Trace the Parchment: To get an even circle for the bottom of your pans, just place a pan on the parchment and trace a circle around the base. Cut the circle slightly smaller than your tracing and it should pop right in.
  • Toothpick Test: You can use a fork or toothpick to test the cake for doneness – just insert the fork or toothpick into the center of the cake and remove it. It should come out clean (one or two crumbs is fine, but no moist, battery clumps).
  • Cool Thoroughly: When you cool the cake, really let it get to room temperature all the way through. If the cake is still warm, even just a little bit, then the frosting is likely to melt off of the cake completely, and not in a glaze-y way, but in a disappointing puddles of gunk way. (Ask me how I know!)
A Bird's-Eye View of Three Slices of Homemade Chocolate Layer Cake

Decorating Ideas

I love to frost this cake with a homemade chocolate buttercream, but you could also use your favorite vanilla frosting, or make a marshmallow fluff frosting. To decorate, try any of the following:

  • Chocolate Curls: Drag a sharp knife across a bar of chocolate to make shavings or curls. Scatter over the frosted cake.
  • Pearls: Shimmery candy pearls (find them on the baking aisle, near the frosting) look beautiful on a dark, chocolatey cake.
  • Ganache: Equal parts of cream and high-quality chocolate make a lovely ganache. Cool it well, then drizzle over the cake for a fancy effect.
  • Crushed Candies or Cookies: Crush up your favorite candy or cookies and sprinkle over your cake! Heath bars, Oreos, or even peppermints!
  • Chopped Nuts: Go for easy chopped walnuts or pecans here. Sprinkle them over the top and press them gently into the sides of the cake.
A Sideways-Lying Slice of Chocolate Cake on a Countertop with a Fork

How to Store a Frosted Cake

  • You can store this cake, covered, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
  • If you refrigerate the cake, cover it and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Can I Freeze This?

  • Yes, you can! Freeze this cake, well-covered, for up to two months.
  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
A Piece of Frosted Chocolate Cake on a Plate with the Rest of the Cake Behind it
Print Recipe
4.20 from 35 votes

Easy Chocolate Cake

What could be better than chocolate cake? Not much! Especially when it’s a deliciously Easy Chocolate Cake recipe – moist, rich, and made from scratch in your own kitchen.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Cooling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best ever chocolate cake, how to make chocolate cake from scratch, plain chocolate cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 644kcal

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 12 ounces chocolate chips, finely chopped
  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • 8 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    Lightly spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and dust with flour.
    Line the bottom of the cake pans with a cutout of parchment paper for easy removal.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.
  • Add two eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until just combined.
    Pour in boiling water and mix until smooth. (The batter will seem a little runny).
    Pour batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans.
  • Place filled pans in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the center is set.
    Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

  • Place chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl; set aside.
  • Place whipping cream and butter in saucepan and cook over medium heat to just a boil.
  • Pour cream mixture over the chopped chocolate; whisk vigorously until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
    Remove from fridge and stir; refrigerate about 1 more hour, or until it reaches a spreading consistency.
  • Spread about 1/3 of frosting on one cake layer; top with the other cake layer and spread frosting on top and sides of cake.
  • Cut and Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 644kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 435mg | Potassium: 325mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 757IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 4mg

More Easy Dessert Ideas

A homemade dessert makes any meal extra special. You’ll love the recipes below!

70 Comments

  • Erik
    Jun 29, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    5 stars
    I’m always in the mood for chocolate cake, especially when it’s easy. Yum!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jun 30, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Claire
    Jun 29, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    5 stars
    Always up for a chocolate cake! Excited to try this!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jun 30, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Catalina
    Jun 30, 2021 at 8:28 am

    5 stars
    Yes, please! I need one of these big chocolate cake slices! It looks amazing!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jun 30, 2021 at 1:59 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Toni
    Jun 30, 2021 at 10:09 am

    5 stars
    Such a perfect chocolate cake!! Everyone at my house was impressed!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jun 30, 2021 at 1:59 pm

      That’s great! I’m very glad everyone enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Sandra
    Jun 30, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    5 stars
    This is one of the best chocolate cake recipes I’ve tried! So easy and so good!

    Reply
  • Beth
    Jun 30, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    5 stars
    This chocolate cake looks so amazing and so yummy! My two chocolate lovers are going to absolutely love this recipe! I’m so excited to make this for the weekend and for my son’s birthday!

    Reply
  • Cathy
    Jul 9, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    This is the perfect chocolate cake recipe!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Jul 15, 2021 at 3:21 pm

      Thank YOU! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Manal
    Jul 20, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    2 stars
    Hellooo, i made this cake today it was too soft it broke i had to crumble the cake completely and cut out because of how soft it was I couldn’t handle it, this happened the first time and i was so upset because I followed each and every instruction clearly. But it tasted so good:(

    Reply
  • Millie Roux
    Dec 27, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    1 star
    I’m sure this could be a great recipe, that is if the instructions included adding the flour.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      May 1, 2023 at 10:50 am

      It’s there, in the recipe card. You need 1.75 cups of flour.

      Reply
  • Britt
    Feb 2, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    What can I substitute for the whole milk?? Can I use 2% milk?? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Jen
    Apr 1, 2022 at 4:25 am

    5 stars
    Hi! I’ve made this cake three times now and it’s been amazing every time! So moist and I love how easy it is. The only thing I add is about a tablespoon of instant coffee. I want to use the recipe to make into cupcakes for my sons preschool party. How long do you think I should bake them for?

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Apr 2, 2022 at 11:51 am

      Hi!
      I suggest to start checking for doneness around the 20 to 22-minute mark.

      Reply
  • Doris
    Apr 1, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    This cake looks so good and will have to try it but will put peanut butter frosting on it and make it into a 9 by 13 pan

    Reply
  • saragrimes
    May 3, 2022 at 5:59 am

    5 stars
    I like to make chocolate cake because it is one pf my favorite dessert

    Reply
  • Teresa
    Jul 24, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    My sister’s cake came out watery. She used melted chocolate chips since she had no cocoa. Could that be the reason

    Reply
  • Teresa
    Jul 24, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    PS she baked it fit almost an hr, never turned into a cake. She is a beginner and a so sad

    Reply
  • Shane Touchet
    Aug 17, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    5 stars
    All the instructions are there step by step and so very easy to follow and use. All you have to do is tap the jump to recipe at the very top of the page and everything is there in a step by step very easy to understand format. I’ve been baking pies, cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins.. you get the picture. Lol. Quite a few years now and this is by far one of the easiest and best tasting recipes I have yet had the pleasure of coming across. I baked one cake for my son and his family and they absolutely destroyed it. I baked another for my neighbor and her family and they devoured that one as well. Thank you so very much for this outstanding 10 star Michelin quality recipe.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Aug 18, 2022 at 1:13 pm

      That is so great to hear! I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂

      Reply
  • Marissa
    Aug 20, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    5 stars
    This was the best texture cake I’ve ever had. Better than any bakery. Better than Costco. Haha. Do you have a vanilla or funfetti version too?

    Reply
  • Disappointed in Denver
    Sep 21, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    1 star
    My 13-year-old loves baking. She came across your recipe and decided to try it while I was out running a quick errand (we were gone 30 min at best). We came home, and she was so excited to show us the cake she had made. She pulled it out, and the whole thing was a disgusting, oily mess.
    My husband and I read through the recipe and ingredients and realized that your recipe calls for a HALF CUP of OIL. Seriously? Most recipes call for half a tablespoon / whole tablespoon. You actually put a half a CUP in your instructions. My oven is a mess, my daughter feels terrible especially since she followed your directions explicitly, and the “cake” is just a goopy mess. You might want to try following the recipe before you post it. I would give zero stars if I could.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Sep 22, 2022 at 8:36 am

      I’m sorry this happened. I have made this cake numerous times, so I know it works, but since I wasn’t there, I can’t see what went wrong, obviously. I think maybe the problem is that she didn’t add enough flour, or maybe she didn’t scroll down to the recipe card – everything is there, listed in a step by step format. For the amount of dry ingredients, you do need all that liquid, even 1/2-cup vegetable oil.

      Reply
    • hannah
      Jan 3, 2023 at 4:23 pm

      1 star
      When I made it the cake crumbled when I frosted it, and the batter was runny and soupy.

      Reply
      • Katerina
        Katerina
        Jan 5, 2023 at 8:34 am

        To avoid crumbly cake, the cake should be completely cooled before frosting it.

        Reply
    • Earl floyd
      Apr 30, 2023 at 7:35 pm

      1 star
      Literally just happened to me lol. Oh well I needed to clean the stove anyway

      Reply
      • Katerina
        Katerina
        May 1, 2023 at 10:47 am

        How much flour and cocoa powder did you use? I make this cake all the time and I can’t see why this happened to several readers. If you can, please let me know if there’s something in the instructions that may not make sense to one reader, but total sense to another. Thanks!

        Reply
    • Helpful tip
      Jun 19, 2023 at 10:14 am

      Hi – Denver is high altitude so recipes would naturally need to be adjusted for that. Also, 1/2 a cup of oil is standard for cakes, including boxed cakes from the grocery store (again, altitude adjustments might change this). Hope your daughter is still baking! We all have our catastrophes.

      Reply
    • Kathy
      Jun 25, 2023 at 1:25 pm

      5 stars
      One half cup of oil is not excessive in a cake or brownie recipe. My guess is your 13 year old made an error. You stated you were gone “30 minutes At best) The recipe provides a 10 minute prep time and an additional 35 minutes for baking. How would a 13 year old expert baker finish this cake in the time you referenced? Maybe she didn’t bake long enough? Rude to rate “0 stars” to someone kind enough to share their recipes

      Reply
  • Janelle
    Oct 11, 2022 at 7:34 am

    5 stars
    Easy, quick and delicious recipe. All the ingredients are available and easily accessible. Love it! We made this cake for a quick dessert when we had some company over. Topped it with ice cream.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Oct 12, 2022 at 12:44 pm

      That’s great! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • 11 Year Old Baker
    Nov 13, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    5 stars
    No bad comments, I have made this cake many times and it is always a crowd pleaser. I like to add powered sugar and raspberries on top.
    Great recipe!

    Reply
  • Wanda
    Nov 22, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    2 stars
    Hi
    Tried the recipe and followed the instructions as written; however my cake was moist but wouldn’t rise in the center. So I tried it again and decided to use my bundt pan and the same thing happened. You have some advice for me.

    Reply
  • Karen
    Jan 15, 2023 at 6:59 am

    5 stars
    My 11 year old made this (with some guidance from me but I forgot to adjust to high altitude and the center felll. However, we turned the cake upside down. I didn’t get a chance to try it before she had to leave and take it with her and she texted me “The cake we made was the most delicious and most moist and most rich amazing cake! We have to use that recipe more often” (I found instructions for high altitude adjustment for next time) I found it to be such an easy recipe. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jan 18, 2023 at 1:27 pm

      That’s great! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
    • Alexie
      Jun 28, 2023 at 10:44 am

      5 stars
      Made this cake 3x and it’s sooo good! Super easy and the kids love to help with the instructions being so easy. No issues at all and stays consistent every time I make it! I topped it with a Salted Carmel whip cream frosting and it’s delicious chilled!

      Reply
  • Andrea
    Jan 22, 2023 at 10:19 am

    Could I try this with coconut oil and/or buttermilk instead of vegetable oil and regular milk?

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Jan 22, 2023 at 12:44 pm

      I have not tested this cake with coconut oil and milk, so I don’t know if it will work or how it will turn out. If you try it and have a minute, I’d love to know if it worked.

      Reply
      • Andrea
        Jan 27, 2023 at 7:14 am

        5 stars
        It came out great! I would definitely say it’s safe to use those ingredients if you prefer

        Reply
        • Katerina
          Katerina
          Jan 28, 2023 at 8:53 am

          Oh that’s awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! ♥️

          Reply
          • Lilah
            May 14, 2023 at 11:42 am

            I was wondering how much baking soda and powder to use in it?

  • Kay
    Jan 23, 2023 at 11:26 am

    5 stars
    I followed your recipe and instructions 🤗 however, instead of boiling water I used freshly brewed espresso. Such a delicious, moist, rich cake. So yummy! I couldn’t stop eating it.
    Thank you!!!!

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina Petrovska
      Jan 23, 2023 at 11:33 am

      That’s great! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Abigail
    Jan 28, 2023 at 7:41 am

    3 stars
    It was a very yummy recipe!! Everything tasted so good! The cake came out perfect and moist but the frosting remained too runny even after about 4 hours in the fridge. Any tips?

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Jan 28, 2023 at 8:59 am

      Hi!
      I’m not sure why the frosting is runny. If you want, add powdered sugar to it, about two tablespoons at a time, and mix with an electric mixer until you reach the desired consistency.

      Reply
  • Liliana
    Feb 24, 2023 at 10:38 am

    5 stars
    WOW! DELICIOUS! I am a mom of two small children and I have a feeling this will become our tradition from now on. it will be my new staple and go to for chocolate cake.

    Reply
  • Christopher
    Feb 27, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    1 star
    I made this recipe twice in two different style cake pans and both times the center of the cake sunk in. Very disappointed.

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Feb 27, 2023 at 4:09 pm

      Was the center of the cake set when you removed it from the oven? The most common reason cakes sink in the middle is that the cake isn’t fully baked.

      Reply
  • Carol Warren
    Feb 28, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    5 stars
    Winner winner recipe! I changed the cup of boiling water for a cup of hot coffee! This recipe is a keeper.

    Reply
  • Jennifer
    Mar 15, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    5 stars
    Made this cake to recipe and it was AMAZING! Would love to St. patty’s version with either Guiness or Bailey’s…not sure what to sub it for….thoughts???

    Reply
  • Terrassenüberdachung mit Montage
    Mar 21, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    5 stars
    Great website, thanks for the great recipes… I’ll use them again in the future 😉 THANK YOU !!! Greetings

    Reply
  • Klebefolien
    Apr 8, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    5 stars
    Very yummy

    Reply
  • Mary Ann
    May 1, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    I made this cake over the weekend and everyone was raving over it – Best Chocolate Cake ever! I did change it just a bit and put vanilla frosting in between layers and for a little decoration on top of cake. Everyone couldn’t get over how moist the cake was.

    Reply
  • Grace
    May 28, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    5 stars
    Oops. It was recipe USER error. We made it today and it was PERFECT. I bet she didn’t scroll down to the actual recipe with exact measurements. Try it yourself. You’ll see it was your kid that screwed it up. 🙂

    Reply
    • Katerina
      Katerina
      Jun 2, 2023 at 9:06 am

      LOL 😆 I am so glad you tried it again, and liked it! ❤️

      Reply
  • Mariah
    Aug 14, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    5 stars
    I feel like this very simple recipe has no business tasting as good as it does. 😆 I did have to bake it about 8 extra minutes, but it didn’t dry it out, the cake didn’t collapse, and it didn’t fall apart on me. I made it for my son’s second birthday and put peanut butter frosting on it. It was well-received! Thanks for the easy chocolate cake recipe!! ❤️

    Reply
  • Nachhilfe
    Sep 2, 2023 at 11:32 am

    5 stars
    I tried your receipe but with stevia instead of sugar. It is the same taste but with less sugar.

    Reply
  • Shalise
    Nov 7, 2023 at 1:59 am

    5 stars
    So quick, easy, moist and delicious! My new favorite chocolate cake recipe.

    Reply
  • MARINA
    Nov 22, 2023 at 9:54 am

    Chocolate frosting in this recipe is awful. I followed every detail of the recipe and am an experienced baker but there is no way frosting made with a cup and a half of heavy cream and a stick of butter with chocolate chips will have the consistency to be spread easily on the cake. It was running all over the plate as if it was a drink. I did mix it again after an hour in the fridge, then left it covered in the fridge overnight but as I spread it on the cake it just melted and ran down the cake into a messy chocolate pool at the bottom of the plate. A total disaster!! I’ll stick to what I know and not experiment with “easy” recipes.

    Reply

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