Easy Chocolate Cake

4.25 from 37 votes
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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.

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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.
4.25 from 37 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 Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

FOR THE CAKE

FOR THE FROSTING

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

Equipment

  • Oven

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

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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76 Comments

  1. Wanda says:

    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.

  2. Karen says:

    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!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

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

    2. Alexie says:

      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!

  3. Andrea says:

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

    1. Katerina says:

      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.

      1. Andrea says:

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

        1. Katerina says:

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

          1. Lilah says:

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

  4. Kay says:

    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!!!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

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

  5. Abigail says:

    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?

    1. Katerina says:

      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.

  6. Liliana says:

    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.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I hope everyone enjoys it! 🙂

  7. Christopher says:

    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.

    1. Katerina says:

      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.

  8. Carol Warren says:

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

  9. Jennifer says:

    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???

  10. Terrassenüberdachung mit Montage says:

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