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Two layers of rich homemade chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream frosting are the perfect way to impress. My kids ask for this for birthdays and on the holidays too. And even though my husband says he isn’t into sweets, you can catch him sneaking slices of this classic chocolate cake recipe.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

What makes a homemade chocolate cake the best of all? It’s the moist texture of the cake layers itself. This cake turns out perfectly every time. And that chocolate cake frosting? Oh man! You will be licking the spatula before the kids can come in and ask for it!

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour – the base of your cake foundation (can be gluten-free!)
  • Baking powder – gives your cake a leavening boost
  • Buttermilk – for a nice tang
  • Baking soda – this is going to react with the buttermilk to make it rise
  • Cocoa powder – um, hello chocolate cake and frosting!
  • Vanilla extract – balances the sweetness
  • Sugar – well, it IS a cake!
  • Vegetable oil – makes the cake moist
  • Eggs – binds it all together
  • Butter – can’t have buttercream without it
  • Confectioner’s sugar – for the buttercream frosting

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • Cocoa powder – necessary to keep authentic chocolate flavor.
  • Vanilla extract – balances the sweetness.
  • Heavy whipping cream – adding in that thick creamy texture goodness.
  • Butter – can’t have buttercream without it.
  • Confectioner’s sugar – powdered sugar keeps the frosting sweet and light. A must for any chocolate cake frosting recipe.

Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

I once used boxed mixes to make my cakes. That all changed when I saw what kind of junk was in it. Sure, cake isn’t healthy, but when you make a homemade chocolate cake recipe from wholesome ingredients, it is a much better way to celebrate a special occasion. And guess what? It only takes 20 minutes to prep it. That’s nothing!

Happiness is eating chocolate cake together.

How do you Make Super Moist Chocolate Cake from Scratch

Making a moist chocolate cake recipe from scratch involves greasing 2 cake pans. Then you’ll make the cake batter and pour it evenly into both cake pans. Let it bake and cool, then make the frosting and frost it up. And now you can celebrate with a slice of perfection!

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Chocolate Cake Every Time

When learning how to make chocolate cake step by step these tips will help you out:

  • Use quality cocoa – Seriously, it makes all the difference in the world. All cocoa is not created equal!
  • Don’t open the oven until it’s finished – I know, tempting, but leave the cake layers alone until your oven timer dings.
  • Use vegetable oil in the cake – Trust! It leaves it super-moist inside, just like you want it to be! My husband jokes even the crumbs are moist!

How do you Make Chocolate Cake Super Moist

And yes, as I just mentioned, if you want your cake super-moist, you need to use vegetable oil in the batter. The butter in this recipe is for making the buttercream. I promise making a moist chocolate cake recipe with oil will give you the right texture that won’t be dry and crumbly!

What is the secret to super moist cake?

In this chocolate cake recipe, the secret to getting it so moist inside is using oil. Oil always makes for a moist cake that doesn’t get dry and crumbly.

What kind of chocolate is used for cake?

This simple chocolate cake recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder. It helps make the perfect cake in taste and texture. Choose unsweetened as there will be plenty of sugar added in to sweeten it to perfection!

What ingredients make a cake moist?

Some people use sour cream, but this recipe gets plenty of tang from the buttermilk. Instead, for a super moist chocolate cake recipe I recommend using vegetable oil to help your cake maintain that moist and heavenly texture.

Why do you add boiling water to chocolate cake?

Adding hot or boiling water to your batter helps dissolve the cocoa powder. This gives it more flavor with fewer lumps for a wonderful taste and texture.

What’s different between chocolate cake and chocolate fudge cake?

With chocolate cake, you get a lighter texture. Meanwhile, chocolate fudge cake is much more dense.

What is the difference between German chocolate cake and regular chocolate cake?

Let’s forget the topping of the German chocolate cake which is a coconut-pecan frosting and just focus on the actual cake. The biggest difference is that in German chocolate cake, it uses a sweetened cocoa that is more subtle in flavor. Regular chocolate cake tends to taste more sugary off the bat.

Can you make gluten-free chocolate cake?

You bet you can! All you need to do is sub the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version. Check your labels because some having binding agents in them, which is what you want for this. If it doesn’t have a binding agent, you’ll also need xanthan gum to help hold your cake together.

How Long to Bake Chocolate Cake

At 350F, you’re going to bake your chocolate cake layers for 30 to 35 minutes. Again, refrain from opening the oven door to take a peek. When done, you can use a toothpick to pierce the middle and make sure there is no wet cake batter stuck to the toothpick.

Why is my chocolate cake not dark enough?

Your measurements might be off. Make sure you’re measuring everything precisely in baking as it’s a science. For example, if you don’t measure out enough sugar, you will not get a dark enough color.

What is the best frosting for chocolate cake?

Chocolate buttercream frosting is the best match for chocolate cake. This recipe shows you how to make it yourself which tastes so much better than that store-bought stuff.

However, for birthdays, it’s sometimes decorative roses or sprinkles. Other times, the kids want Oreos on top. You honestly can’t go wrong with classic chocolate cake icing, sprinkles, or piping on pretty designs.

How to Store Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake has a buttercream frosting which means it needs to be refrigerated. Cover it well with plastic wrap and you can enjoy it for up to a week.

Can you Freeze Chocolate Cake?

Yes, you can freeze chocolate cake. Wrap it well with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap and it will keep for between 4 to 6 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Chocolate Cake?

It can take several hours to thaw out a frozen cake. You can put it in the fridge overnight and it should be ready for you the next day. Or you can leave it out and wait for it to come up to room temperature.

Watch How To Make Chocolate Cake (Video)

Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 14 servings
Calories 541
This family favorite chocolate cake recipe makes the best chocolate cake I've EVER had! It has a silky soft textured chocolate frosting with super moist light cake that comes out perfect every time! The chocolate combination is incredible and always has people asking me for the recipe. Here you go!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/8 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups butter (softened)
  • 5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Grease two 9-inch cake pans and preheat oven to 350F.
  • Then, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and teaspoon of salt to a large bowl and stir thoroughly. Next, add the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to your dry ingredient mixture. Combine together with a whisk or hand mixer on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, slowly pour in your hot water until the batter is combined.
  • Pour even amounts of cake batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • In a large bowl, cream together the cocoa powder and butter until thoroughly combined.
  • Then, in small batches of 1 cup, add in the confectioner’s sugar with about 1-2 tablespoons of cream and mix on high speed with a hand mixer. Repeat this until you have added all of your cream and confectioner’s sugar, then add the vanilla extract and combined thoroughly.
Calories: 541kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 407mg | Potassium: 181mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 4mg

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Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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