My Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipe

This chocolate cake is dense, fudgy and full of rich chocolate flavor

My favorite chocolate cake recipe! This cake is super moist and full of a RICH chocolate flavor. The secret? dutched cocoa powder, lots of butter and mayonnaise!

chocolate cake recipe made with dutched cocoa powder, lots of butter and mayonnaise! This cake is so moist and delicious, everyone will be asking for seconds

I know mayonnaise might sound a bit odd but if you think about it, mayo is just eggs and oil in fluffy form. Who doesn’t wan’t more fluff in their cake amirite?

One of the reasons this chocolate cake is so popular with cake decorators and clients alike is that it’s got an amazing texture just like my super popular vanilla cake recipe.

chocolate cake recipe with chocolate buttercream

This cake also uses the reverse mixing method resulting in a nice tight crumb that is soft and moist. This cake also has a powerful chocolate flavor thanks to our friend dutched cocoa powder.

What is Dutched Cocoa? Dutched cocoa doesn’t mean it’s from Holland, it just means it’s been through a process that reduces the acidity of the chocolate. Dutch processed cocoa powder has a smoother, more mellow flavor that’s often associated with earthy, woodsy notes and is pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself!

chocolate cake recipe

Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe

This chocolate cake recipe is my go-to when I want a great cake for family or friends. Way better than a box mix (in my opinion) and easy to make.

People are always impressed with the flavor of this cake because it is so rich. I like to pair this cake with my chocolate buttercream but if you want to really please the chocolate-lover in your life then go with the luxurious dark chocolate ganache.

chocolate cake recipe

When I was growing up, we always made chocolate cake for special occasions. My Dad’s favorite cake was german chocolate cake with that coconut pecan filling. We would bake up a box cake and before it was barely cooled we would slather on a can of that frosting.

This cake has officially taken the place of family favorite.

Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

One of the coolest things about this particular chocolate cake recipe (in my opinion) is the color of the cake. It’s soooo dark and almost reddish colored. That’s from the cocoa powder.

I never really put much thought into cocoa powders and the different types until I started experimenting with a chocolate cake recipe for my wedding cake clients. I always say other bakers raving about the Hershey’s recipe but when I tried it, I found it to be quite bitter tasting and not at all what I was looking for in a chocolate cake recipe.

chocolate cake recipe

I really like Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa powder because it’s pretty inexpensive, has a fantastic flavor and is pretty easy to find. I buy mine on Amazon but did you know there are black cocoa powders? Like SUPER black.

I have tried a few and some of them are better than others but the one I really like I could only find in Canada and the shipping was crazy expensive. Nowadays you can find black cocoa powder pretty much anywhere online, even Valrhona makes one!

chocolate cake recipe

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

What’s the secret to a moist chocolate cake recipe? Probably something that you would never think of putting in a cake.

mayonnaise chocolate cake

One word. Mayonnaise.

I know what you’re thinking. WHAT? This isn’t a chicken salad sandwich here. Mayonnaise is going to make my chocolate cake taste weird!

chocolate cake recipe

Fret not. Mayonnaise cake is a real thing. And if you think about what mayonnaise really is, it’s made of whipped eggs and oil. Two things that go great in cake and add some nice moisture and flavor.

Go with a nice neutral mayonnaise for the best flavor.

Easy Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

If you’re just not into putting the effort into baking your cake from scratch, have no fear. You can go with the ever delicious doctored box mix. This is the chocolate version of WASC recipe.

chocolate cake recipe

Chocolate WASC cake is easy to make and tastes delicious. I tweaked my recipe a bit to include a bit of butter to make the cake more stable for stacking and filling or for using in sculpted cakes.

Chocolate Cake Recipe with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate cake goes with a lot of different flavors but to me nothing beats chocolate buttercream. I use the same dutched cocoa powder that I use for the cake in the easy buttercream frosting. The frosting tastes just like melted chocolate ice cream to me and is my absolute favorite.

chocolate buttercream

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

There are lots of pretty tasty gluten free chocolate cake box mixes out there as more and more people are needing gluten free options (my dad included). I have made this cake gluten free successfully using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Flour .

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

To make this chocolate cake dairy free you can replace the milk with almond milk and the butter with earth balance butter although I would leave out the salt in the recipe otherwise it can taste really salty.

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

This chocolate cake can be made into cupcakes with no issue and bake up beautifully. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.

Can You Use Cups Instead Of A Scale

This recipe (and all my recipes) are made using weight measurements instead of cups because I truly want you to succeed! So many things can go wrong in the science that is baking and measuring in cups is not exact. Weighing your ingredients greatly reduces your chances of the recipe failing and who wants to waste precious butter and vanilla at todays crazy prices?

Not familiar with the reverse mixing method? Watch how I make my best chocolate cake recipe step by step in this video.


Chocolate Cake Recipe

triple chocolate cake
My favorite chocolate cake recipe with a moist and delicate crumb with a big chocolate flavor thanks to dutched cocoa powder and my secret ingredient, mayonnaise! 
7 cups of batter makes about two 8" round cakes.
Servings: 7 cups


Cake Ingredients

  • 2.25 oz Dutch cocoa powder
  • 8 oz water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz Mayonaise
  • 14 oz Unbleached cake flour
  • 15 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter at room temperature

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 8 oz pasteurized egg whites room temperature
  • 32 oz powdered sugar
  • 36 oz unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz cocoa powder


Cake Instructions

  • Bring the water to a boil. Add in cocoa powder.
    Whisk until smooth then add in cold mayonnaise, vanilla and eggs. Whisk to break up the eggs. 
  • Weigh out all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and place into a stand mixer bowl and attach the paddle attachment.
  • Turn mixer on low (setting 1 on Kitchen Aid mixers). Add in your room temperature butter in small chunks. Combine on low until you achieve a sandy mixture.
  • Add 1/2 of your liquid ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix on medium for 2 minutes. If you do not do this step, your cake could collapse.
  • Turn your mixer back down to low and add in the rest of your liquids slowly. Stop once or twice to scrape the bowl as needed.
    Once they are all combined, turn back up to medium for another 30 seconds.
  • Lightly grease two 8" round cake pans prepared with your choice of pan release. I prefer cake goop. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF depending on how big your pans are. The bigger the pan, the longer it will take for them to bake. 
    When a toothpick comes out of the center with a few sticky crumbs on it, the cake is done.
  • After the cakes have cooled for about 10 minutes, or the pans have cooled to the point they can be touched, flip the cakes over and remove from the pans onto a cooling rack to cool completely. I cover mine in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out why they cool.
  • Once the cakes are completely cool you can trim them and frost them.  

Chocolate Buttercream Instructions

  • Place egg whites, powdered sugar in a stand mixer bowl.
    Attach the whisk and combine ingredients on low and then whip on high for 5 minutes.
    Reserve 8 oz of your butter and melt in microwave until JUST melted, don't over heat.
    Combine melted butter with cocoa powder and mix until smooth
    Add in butter in small chunks and continue whipping until the mixture is light and white and creamy. Give it a taste, if it still tastes buttery then keep whipping.
    Add in chocolate mixture, vanilla and salt and continue whipping until mixture is combined. Scrape bowl if needed. 
    Remove the whisk and place the paddle attachment onto the mixer. Let your buttercream mix on low until the mixture is smooth and creamy and there are no bubbles left. This can take up to 20 minutes


This recipe works great for carving sculpted cakes! I use the same recipe for wedding and sculpted. I always bake them, de-pan them, wrap them in plastic wrap and then chill in the fridge or freezer (depending on how much of a rush I’m in) and then carve. Chilled cakes make carving or stacking SO much easier!


Calories: 2269kcal | Carbohydrates: 247g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 143g | Saturated Fat: 83g | Cholesterol: 407mg | Sodium: 886mg | Potassium: 649mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 188g | Vitamin A: 4240IU | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 5.1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate cake
Calories: 2269kcal

This chocolate cake has REAL chocolate flavor! The trick is using dutched cocoa powder, lots of butter and a little bit of mayonnaise! Crazy I know but it works! Everyone raves about this moist chocolate cake recipe

92 comments on “My Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipe

  1. Hi Liz, Thank you for recipe. I can hardly wait to bake this beauty. My question, actually confusion, same cake on both your sites, same amount for granulated sugar, but different for flour. All else appears to be the same for both recipes. Which is the flour amount recommended? Anxious for your reply. Lisa G.

    Artisan Cake Co.
    10 oz cake flour
    10.5 oz granulated sugar

    Sugar Geek Show
    12 oz King Arthur unbleached cake flour
    10.5 oz granulated sugar

      1. Is this still the most updated? Recipe above says 14oz cake flour and 15oz sugar.

  2. 5 stars
    My go-to chocolate cake recipe! Yummy and moist, but sturdy enough for stacking or carving!!

  3. I don’t have cake flour could I use plain flour thank you

    1. 5 stars
      cake flour substitute. For each cup of plain flour remove 1tbl of the flour and replace with cornflour. Mix well to combine before use.

      1. No that does not work the same. AP flour and cake flour are completely different. Using AP flour will result in a very dense, cornbread texture. If you want the cake to turn out like the recipe you must use the ingredients that are called for.

        1. I cannot access cake flour in Kenya(Africa) and i would like to try out your recipes. What do i do considering most of your recipes call for cake flour

          1. I’m sorry you cannot access cake flour, I understand that must be frustrating. Unfortunately, I don’t have an alternative for you for recipes using cake flour because there is not a substitute. If you use all purpose flour the texture of the cake becomes more like cornbread because of the higher gluten content.

            My only suggestion is to try the traditional mixing method instead of the reverse creaming if you are going to use AP flour but I haven’t tested it so I can’t say for sure if that would work.

    2. Hi,can I use the square pan instead of round pan?

      Thank you!

  4. Hello, when you say mayonaise.. Does it mean Oil? On the picture it seems to be eggs with milk and oil

  5. 5 stars
    Liz in my family a chocolate mayonnaise cake was our very favorite and always a go to cake, its rich and moist and has tons of flavor. When my mom died I was 10 and I never got to have that cake again, thank you so much for the recipe my friend as well as bringing back the most amazing memories. I can now make this and smile. She use to make a mint icing to go with it and omg it was divine. My favorite flavors are chocolate and orange together so I will be doing that. Lol. Thanks again liz, as always you rock!!

    1. Oh my gosh that brings a tear to my eye!! The mint icing sounds AMAZING!! Will definitely give that a try <3 Big hugs to you my friend

      1. Awww thank you so much dear friend, you are such a sweetheart. Huge hugs right back at you.

  6. Hi Liz, thank you for the recipe, what is cake flour? Could it be Self Raising flour?

  7. You are so generous to share, thank you! I also bought your incredible book! Do you think I could use this recipe for cupcakes?

  8. Do you have a favorite icing recipe for this cake?

  9. Hi Liz, I just made this cake and the center sunk. Any advice? TY!

    1. It’s hard to say. Did you substitute any of the ingredients? did you use dutched cocoa powder? Did you make sure all the ingredients where room temperature. Did you make sure to follow the mixing directions 🙂

      1. Hello Liz,
        I had the same problem. (I always read the comments before starting a new recipe.) I have made this recipe four different times and each time the problem seems to get worse. I didn’t substitute ingredients, they were all room temp, I followed the instructions exactly as written. The cake bakes wonderfully, nice slight dome and all. I open the oven after 35 minutes to test. After I have stuck the center with a fresh toothpick, the center collapses. I have also checked the ingredients to make sure they are fresh. I have also tried to using the moistened cake pan wraps, so the center bakes more evenly. My oven bakes perfectly and I have checked for accuracy. When a recipe says 35-45 minutes, my oven will have the item baked in exactly 35 minutes. Any suggestions???? Please and Thank you!

        1. I’m not sure why this happens for some, the only thing I can think is that it’s just not baked all the way. Try leaving your cake alone until you reach 40 minutes

  10. Hi Liz, I made this cake the other day and I decided it into 3 8” pan and cooked it for 30 min. The cake came out too dry. I also cooked all 3 cakes at one time. Do you think I baked it too long? Could it be that I cook them too close together in the oven? Please help. I need your expert advice.

    1. Yea 30 minutes sounds like a lot for three thin layers, try a little less time next time. I think baking all at once is ok though

  11. Hey, I wanted to halve your chocolate and vanilla cake recipes but I wasn’t sure about how to halve the amount of eggs, because your recipe calls for 3, should I add one and beat the second egg separately and only add half of it to be like 1 1/2 eggs?

  12. Looks good! Would it be possible to substitute the mayonaise with sour cream/yoghurt/buttermilk?

  13. Hi Liz, thank you so much for teaching us how to bake cakes. Why do you prefer to use dutch cocoa powder? if i use regular cocoa powder should i change the amounts of baking soda?baking powder?

  14. do you use two 8×2 pans or two 8×3 pans?
    in the pic it looks like a 8×3?

    thank you.

  15. 5 stars
    Hi Liz

    Loving the recipes. I’m here in Ireland and I can’t seem to get my hands on cake flour. Could you recommend a recipe for chocolate cake using AP flour please?


  16. Hi Liz, love all your cake recipes and loved your sheet cake video on how to frost it. Can you tell me how much batter for the sheet cake in that video and what size pan was it? Thank you in advance. Love your sculpted cakes so artistic.

  17. Hi Liz! Does this cake work well with Fondant? I am attempting a Pokemon cake for my son on Friday and I tried the death by chocolate cake and wasn’t a fan. I don’t know what happened but it was really bitter. I read the recipe several times, but somehow it didn’t come out as expected. I made your funfetti cake and easy buttercream for my nieces birthday and it was a huge hit! I’m still really sad about the death by chocolate cake. The only thing I can think of is it was the chocolate. I couldn’t find the Dutch chocolate so had to use Toll House cocoa 🙁 I’m going to try again and hope for a better outcome. Thanks so much for your awesome recipes and tips. I am a beginner baker and your site has been an amazing help!

    1. Yea you really have to use a dutched cocoa. Hersheys makes a dutched version if you ever need to try it again in the future. Amazon is a great resource as well. Yes you can cover this cake in fondant, it is very soft though just like the funfetti so it needs to be chilled well before you handle it

  18. Can any of your cake recipes be used in a 13 X 9″ pan?

  19. How does this cake and your triple chocolate cake hold up as the bottom tier on a three tier cake? Is the crumb dense enough to hold the weight? I was hoping to make a three tiered cake with the bottom (10”) and top (6”) being made with the triple chocolate cake.

  20. 5 stars
    Liz, my wife says that since tasting this cake I can stop looking for any other recipe. its the best. I only used 1/2 tsp baking soda not 1 tsp. Great recipe and I like the reverse creaming method – it only requires two bowls – one of them being the mixer bowl!

  21. If I wanted to make a green tea cake, could I sub the chocolate with matcha?

  22. 5 stars
    Hi Liz,
    Can I sub 4oz Baileys Irish cream and 4oz water instead of 8oz water? Thanks

  23. Hi Liz,

    can you use regular hi-ratio cake flour instead of bleached cake flour

  24. Thank you for sharing this recipe I did tried and flavor was heavenly!!!!!, it was a bit dry but i think I messed up the baking time.
    I’m very
    Can I use this recipe for a 3 tiers wedding cake with chocolate buttercream?
    Planing on ganache it then use fondant.
    Thank you so much.

  25. Thank you for sharing this recipe I did tried and flavor was heavenly!!!!!, it was a bit dry but i think I messed up the baking time
    Can I use this recipe for a 3 tiers wedding cake with chocolate buttercream?
    Planing on ganache it then use fondant.
    Thank you so much.

  26. Hi! I am really excited to try this recipe!! You are so mazingly talented! I was hoping to make a marble cake and I tried to look all over the site and through MANY comments /questions for a recipe but did not see one….do you have a marble cake recipe with this method? Or do you just make the two batters. I don’t want to wing it because I don’t know enough to be confident it would turn out. ☺️Thanks in advance!

  27. No dutched process cocoa here….can’t this be made with regular cocoa and the leavening agents adjusted accordingly?

  28. Hi
    Do you have a gluten free sugar free high altitude cake recipe? Do you preference monk fruit, Swerve or another sweetener for cakes?
    Thank you!

    1. Sorry I don’t. I use bobs red mill 1:1 baking mix to make any cake gluten free and I prefer monkfruit or swerve baking mix for sweetner

  29. Hi, if you make a marble cake do you use the vanilla with this, or the yellow cake recipe? Thanks

  30. Hi Liz, in South Africa we dont get Dutch processed, only natural cocao powder. Amazon does not deliver the cocoa powder either. Can the dutch processed be replaced with natural, and if so does the levening increase?

  31. Hi there,
    I just tried this recipe and got a sunken middle the same as one of the other comments, I think you may be right with it needs longer before the oven door is opened…. But the real issue I have is taste. I wonder if UK mayonnaise is different to US? I checked ingredients and found it hard to find one here without mustard in it but I did get an organic jar – ingredients oil, egg, spirit vinegar and salt. There is a distinct tanginess to my cake, but a lovely texture. Can I use egg and oil instead of mayo? I’ve made the best vanilla recipe and that comes out great.

  32. Hi Liz, I just noticed on your video it says Add 1/3 of your liquid ingredients and mix on 1 minute whereas in the written recipe it says Add 1/2 of your liquid ingredients and mix for 2 minutes. Which would be more accurate?

    Thanks x

    P.s. I actually tried this recipe for cupcakes yesterday and everyone in my family Loved it! But as I’m from the UK, I always have to substitute the Cake Flour for McDougall’s “00” grade extra fine premium plain flour and it works like magic.

  33. Hi Liz!

    I was wondering if it matters what kind of mayo I use? I have a jar of Hellmann’s but I’m worried becuase it has salt in it… would I need to adjust for salt?


  34. 5 stars
    Wow!!!!!!!! I have never been a chocolate cake person, but I married into a chocolate loving family. I found that I don’t mind the chocolate pudding cake, but I was asked to make a chocolate cake for this weekend and knew I had to make something GOOD!! I can’t eat boxed cake anymore because I am allergic to some of the ingredients, so I searched for a moist cake. I compared your recipe to some of the others I found and the logic/science behind your ingredients and process made the most sense for the desired result. I followed the recipe, weighed the ingredients, did not make any substitutions. This cake came out perfectly!!! My husband and I were both nibbling all the crumbs after leveling the top of the cake.
    I am going to be making a mint chocolate pudding (more of a mousse) for the filling and decorating it with whipped cream frosting. I am actually excited for this chocolate cake!

    1. Yay that makes me so so happy!! I’m so glad that you liked the recipe! It’s one of my favorites too and the first chocolate cake I ever developed <3

      1. 5 stars
        Just letting you know the chocolate mint pudding with the whipped cream frosting was delicious!!!!! It was gone in no time, luckily I had some of the trimmings with the filling and cream before the party because the cake was gone by the time I made it to the table. Everyone was asking for the recipe so I will send them here. I will definitely be making this again!

  35. Liz, this cake looks yummy. The frosting looks light and creamy. Can’t wait to bake one got my family. My mother used to bake a German chocolate cake from scratch for holidays. It was delicious.

  36. I have two questions. 1) Can I use this recipe to make a 1/2 sheet cake and would I need to double or triple the recipe? and 2) My oven has a regular bake setting and a convection oven setting, which would be better for baking this cake?

  37. Hi! I was hoping you could tell me what the difference between bleached and unbleached cake flour is? Also, is it possible to use the bleached in this recipe if it is all that I have available? Thank you in advance for your help!

  38. Hi Liz, this cake tastes great! I have baked this twice. The first time as cupcakes and they were rather crumbly. As I tend to under-mix, I decided to beat longer on my second try – I made 3 cake layers as well as cupcakes. The cakes and cupcakes were a little less crumbly but still tender. Both times they are a bit gummy in the mouth even though I think I’ve baked them well. How can I make them (1) less crumbly and (2) less gummy?
    Maybe I should add that I’m not in the US; I’m from tropical Singapore 🙂

      1. I’m using the ingredients as listed but am wondering if there were differences anyway – like, maybe my cake flour just isn’t the same…
        Do you think I can be more aggressive with the beating? Or maybe tweak an ingredient – if so, where should I start?
        PS: my family likes this cake so much that they’ve requested that I bake it again in a few days!

  39. 5 stars
    hello i need to make a cake for a family party , i only have square 9 x 13 pan , how much cups of batter would you recommend for a nice cake , around 30 people thank you

  40. Hi Liz
    I am interested in making this cake and frosting. It sounds and looks so delicious. I have read the instructions several times and unless I mised something, I am a bit confused with the frosting recipe. Your recipe indicates to reserve and microwave 8 oz of butter, but I don’t see where you add it to the frosting? The recipe also says to add the chocolate mixture and I do not see where you make a chocolate mixture. Does the cocoa powder get mixed into the melted butter? Can you clear up the confusion for me?

  41. Never made one with mayo lol but I am loving your recipes. Question may I sub buttermilk for water? Just curious. Many thanks in advance.

  42. 5 stars
    Hey Liz! I love your recipes! Can I double and half this chocolate cake recipe or even triple? Also, can I double and half your most popular vanilla cake recipe or even triple? Thank you!

    1. You can adjust recipes up or down any way you need to. Just adjust the servings in the recipe card and it automatically adjusts the amounts

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