Easy Chocolate Cake

An easy chocolate cake recipe that requires no special mixing method or ingredients. This chocolate cake is super moist, decadent and delicious! Makes two 8"x2" round cakes with fudge frosting and a chocolate drip. 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Print Recipe
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 6 cups
close up of chocolate cake slice

This easy chocolate cake recipe is not only easy to make but makes an incredibly moist, fudgy, and decadent chocolate cake that is sure to please even the pickiest of chocolate lovers! Best part? You only need one bowl and 10 minutes to mix! If you love my death by chocolate cake but want less fuss, this is the cake for you!

close up of chocolate cake slice

Easy Chocolate Cake Ingredients

No fancy ingredients here but some people ask me about substitutions.

This recipe calls for hot coffee which intensifies the flavor of the chocolate. It doesn’t make the cake taste like coffee at all. If you don’t want to use coffee, you can substitute a dark beer like Guinness (heated) or just hot water.

I’m using Hershey’s cocoa powder for this recipe because it’s a natural cocoa powder that is a little acidic. That acid reacts with the baking soda and actually tenderizes the gluten and makes the cake extra moist.

natural cocoa powder

If you don’t have Hershey’s cocoa powder or want to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder like Cocoa Barry extra brut (which is not acidic), then replace the baking soda with baking powder.

The oil in this recipe all makes the cake extra moist, if you want your cake to be even more moist, you can add an extra ounce of oil. Oil-based cakes always stay softer than butter-based cakes but they are a bit more delicate.

How To Measure Ingredients

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I like to measure my ingredients using a scale. It’s faster, cleaner, and more accurate than using measuring cups BUT for some of my easier and beginner cakes like this one, I also include the measurements in cups because honestly, the cake is so forgiving you don’t need to be super accurate.

bowls of ingredients surrounding a digital kitchen scale shot from above

When measuring flour with cups, it’s important to spoon the flour into the cup then level it off with a knife. Do not pack your measuring cup or you could end up with too much flour which will make your cake dry and hard.

How To Make Easy Chocolate Cake Step-By-Step

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and prepare two 8″x2″ cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release. I love cake goop because you can make it yourself, it lasts forever and is much cheaper than buying a commercial pan release.
  2. Place your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of your stand mixer and stir for a few seconds to combine. chocolate cake ingredients
  3. Now we’re going to add in our eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix our batter on medium speed for 2 minutes. This mixing is not only combining our ingredients together but it’s also developing the cake’s structure. mixing the chocolate cake
  4. Once you’re done mixing, add in your hot coffee. Mix that up until it’s just combined.
  5. You can see the batter is very liquid and that is normal. Divide the batter evenly between two 8″ cake pans. pouring chocolate batter into cake pans
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanly. chocolate cake in a cake pan on a cooling rack
  7. Let your cakes cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes then flip them out onto a cooling rack to fully cool down before frosting. I like to put mine in the freezer for 30 minutes to flash cool them so I can frost them right away. chocolate cake wrapped in plastic wrap

Easy Chocolate Frosting

easy chocolate buttercream frosting
  1. First, we need to make our ganache. Go ahead and measure out your semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and heat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. The reason I’m using mini chocolate chips is that they are easier to melt. If you can’t find mini chocolate chips, you can chop up regular chocolate.
  2. Then heat up your heavy cream. I microwaved mine for about 1 minute but you can also heat on the stovetop as well.
  3. Pour your hot cream over the chocolate and let sit a minute or two then whisk until smooth. Let this cool before adding it to your buttercream.
  4. Sift your powdered sugar and cocoa powder together to remove any lumps
  5. Cream your softened butter until smooth, then start adding in your powdered sugar mixture. Then add in your salt and vanilla. Whip until light and fluffy
  6. Fold in your cooled ganache until everything is combined. Frosting will be soft. 

Tips For Decorating A Cake

You don’t need a lot of fancy tools to decorate a cake but it helps to at least have an offset spatula, bench scraper, and turntable. You can find inexpensive cake decorating sets online or at cake decorating stores. cake decorating tools

If you need more information on how to decorate a cake for the first time, you can follow my easy tutorial on how to make your first cake.

Click on this image to go to the how to decorate your first cake tutorial

How To Decorate A Chocolate Cake Step-By-Step

  1. Trim the domes off the tops of your cakes with a serrated knife so they are flat. leveling a chocolate cake
  2. Put some frosting between the layers and smooth it out with an offset spatula so the frosting is flat. You can even add in some nuts or candy like I did or just leave it plain.
  3. Place your second layer of cake on top. Frosting between two layers of chocolate cake
  4. Then cover the whole cake in a thin layer of frosting. This is called the crumb coat and it seals in the crumbs of the cake so they don’t get into the final layer of frosting. Chill your cake in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding the final layer of frosting. chocolate cake on turntable with thin layer of chocolate buttercream
  5. Frost the cake in your final layer of buttercream and smooth out the sides and the top. I use a bench scraper to smooth the sides and clean up the top edges with the offset spatula. Put the cake back in the fridge to chill while you make the ganache drip. bench scraper smoothing the side of the chocolate cake chocolate cake with offset spatula
  6. Heat the chocolate for 1 minute in the microwave. Add the cream and heat for one more minute. Let everything sit for about 5 minutes then stir until smooth. close up of ganache in a bowl
  7. Make sure your cake is cold and your ganache drip has cooled to 90ºF (barely warm to the touch) before dripping or it will run down the side of the cake. closeup of chocolate drip on chocolate cake
  8. Start by adding the drips to the outside edge then fill in the top with the rest of the ganache and smooth it out with your offset spatula.
  9. Next, I add a swirl of buttercream around the top border using a 1M piping tip. easy chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream rope border on top
  10. All that left to do is add our candy and cookies on top and we’re done! easy chocolate cake with chocolate drip

FAQ

Can this recipe be used for cupcakes

Yes! I did a little test batch with some leftover cake batter and they rose up beautifully. I only filled the cups about halfway. Some overflowed because I filled them too much. Did not stop me from eating them though!  chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Can you freeze this cake?

Absolutely! You can wrap your cakes in plastic wrap and freeze your cake layers right after you bake them and lock in the moisture so the layers stay super moist. Just defrost and stack like your normally would.

You can also freeze fully decorated cakes. Wrap them in plastic wrap before freezing and then when you’re ready you can defrost the cake in the fridge for 24 hours before serving.

Can you make this chocolate cake gluten-free?

Yes you can! You can substitute a nice gluten free flour mix like Cup4Cup or Bobs Red Mill gluten free baking mix.

Can you make this chocolate cake dairy free?

The great thing about this cake is that you can easily switch out the milk for almond milk, soy milk, or even coconut milk! You can even make the chocolate drip dairy-free by using a bar of dairy-free chocolate and water instead of cream. Check out my water ganache recipe for more information.

Can you make this chocolate cake egg-free?

There are a lot of commercial egg replacers out there but so far I like the King Arthur egg replacer the best. If you don’t have that, you can use 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce or one mashed banana in place of the eggs.

Can you replace the oil?

Yes! If you want to use melted butter instead of oil you definitely can and sometimes I do

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
close up of chocolate cake slice

Easy Chocolate Cake

An easy chocolate cake recipe that requires no special mixing method or ingredients. This chocolate cake is super moist, decadent and delicious! Makes two 8″x2″ round cakes with fudge frosting and a chocolate drip. 
5 from 61 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 6 cups
Calories: 416kcal

Ingredients

Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 10 oz AP flour 2 cups
  • 14 oz granulated sugar 2 cups
  • 4 oz natural cocoa powder like HERSHEYS 1 cup
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 8 oz buttermilk room temperature – 1 cup
  • 8 oz hot coffee or hot water – 1 cup
  • 4 oz vegetable oil 1/2 cup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 6 oz unsalted butter softened
  • 10 oz powdered sugar
  • 1.5 oz cocoa powder
  • 1 oz milk
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 oz heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt

Chocolate Drip

  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz heavy whipping cream

Equipment

  • Kitchen Scale

Instructions

Easy chocolate cake instructions

  • Heat oven to 350ºF and prepare two 8” cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release 
  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low 5 seconds just until combined. 
  • Add in the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl.
  • Turn the mixer down to low and add in the hot coffee and mix until just its just combined. 
  • Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans.
  • Bake the cakes for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan for about 15 minutes (or until the pan is barely warm to the touch) then invert onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting. 

Fudge Buttercream Instructions

  • Heat the cream until just steaming and pour over chocolate (or microwave your milk and chocolate together for 1-2 minutes until steaming) Let it sit for 5 minutes and whisk until smooth.
  • Place the softened butter in the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk until smooth
  • Sift the cocoa powder and sugar into the butter and continue whisking. It will by dry and crumbly at first, keep going until smooth
  • Add in the milk 1 Tbsp at a time. Then vanilla and salt. Whisk on high until fluffy. 
  • whisk in the cooled ganache. Frosting is swill be softt. Chill for 20 minutes if you want it firmer. 

Chocolate drip recipe

  • Heat the cream until just steaming and pour over the chocolate (or microwave your milk and chocolate together for 1-2 minutes until steaming) Let it sit for 5 minutes and whisk until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and let cool to 90ºF before piping onto the cold cake. 

Notes

You can freeze your layers by wrapping them in plastic wrap and then freezing them until you need them. Freezing your layers locks in moisture so they don’t go stale. 
If you want your cakes to be super moist, you can add an extra ounce of oil
To make your easy chocolate cake recipe egg-free, use a commercial egg replacer like King Arthur egg replacer or sugar free applesauce instead of the eggs. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 416kcal (21%) | Carbohydrates: 50g (17%) | Protein: 4g (8%) | Fat: 23g (35%) | Saturated Fat: 15g (75%) | Cholesterol: 51mg (17%) | Sodium: 272mg (11%) | Potassium: 253mg (7%) | Fiber: 3g (12%) | Sugar: 35g (39%) | Vitamin A: 400IU (8%) | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 57mg (6%) | Iron: 2.5mg (14%)

86 comments on “Easy Chocolate Cake

  1. Well this seems too easy! Since there is no butter, would it hold up to stacking and fondant?

      1. I used this recipe to make a four-layer fault line cake, it’s definitely very moist so it’s a bit fragile but I was able to trim both 8″ layers and cut each in half and stack those. Not sure if that suits your stacking needs but it definitely held up for that! Got so many compliments on the flavor & texture of the cake too. Great and simple recipe.

  2. Hi . I have a 2 tier cake to make and the customer has requested chocolate fudge cake. Will this cake hold up well with dowels And cake card under top tier??

    1. I was wondering if this cake mix would taste good with your ermine frosting in the middle? I’m looking for a frosting that’s not as sweet. Thank you! Thank

  3. Hi, thanks for this yummy recipe. Are the liquids measured in fl oz?
    I’m really confused

  4. This looks perfect! How did you modify oven temperature and baking time for cupcakes?

    1. Just bake for longer, start with 18 minutes and see if they are done. I usually remove from the oven right when the tops are set to avoid over-baking

      1. Looking forward to making this decadent chocolate cake.
        The ingredients list has 4 oz natural cocoa powder like HERSHEYS 1 cup. Is that correct, or is it supposed to be 1/2 cup?

      2. 1 cup of cocoa powder is not 8oz. Remember that different ingredients take up different amounts in a space like a measuring cup depending on density. Water (liquid) is denser than fluffy cocoa powder. 1 cup of cocoa powder weighs 4 oz

  5. Thanks Liz for this fabulous recipe! I made cupcakes using this recipe and it was delicious???

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this cake today for my dad’s birthday. It came out so tasty! The recipe was very easy to follow (especially when paired with the video). I made two 6×3″ cakes, so I added too much chocolate drip to the top. Oops! I ended up with a ‘double drip’ because the extra I added on top oozed over the sides after I put all the toppings on. But it was still very delicious! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes and cake decorating techniques! Thanks!

  7. I made this cake it was super tasty and yummy I want to show you where can I upload it ? So I can reach you

  8. 5 stars
    If I wanted to make this for a 2-tier 10 inch cake, how would I adjust the recipe according? I’m not used to the “servings” option instead of cups of batter. Thank you!!!

  9. 5 stars
    Can cake flour be used in lieu of AP flour? And what baking time do you recommend for three 6”x2” round pans? Thanks!!!

    1. You can give it a try but the cake might not rise the same since cake flour is much softer. My 6″ cake pans take about 30 minutes to bake but your oven might need more or less time. bake until a toothpick comes out with only a few sticky crumbs

  10. It looks so delicious and this is the easiest and the best chocolate cake that everyone enjoys.

  11. In your video you added buttermilk first to the dry ingredients and added milk when adding the wet ingredients. How much regular milk did you add. Can you explain please. Thank you

    1. I think the way the video is edited it just makes it look like I’m adding milk twice but it’s just the buttermilk. You add it in with the eggs, oil and vanilla then mix for 2 minutes before adding in the coffee

  12. Hey just come across this video and your channel and I LOVE IT!!! If am using 9 inch pans does the quantity of the ingredients remain the same?

      1. 5 stars
        It worked GREAT under fondant!! Thank you so much!!

  13. hello, thank you for sharing this recipe I just want to ask if I could use this cake for tiering. thank you ?

  14. I have a question! When I make chocolate cupcakes I usually make a doctored cake mix but just before going in the oven I add a tsp sized ball of chilled ganache and bake. Is this possible with scratch cake recipes or will it mess up the baking process? I’m trying to reworks my favorite combinations into scratch recipes. Thank you!

    1. I don’t think that will work for scratch recipes but you should give it a try! I’ve never heard of that 🙂 Might be a new technique that’s all you 😀

  15. Hi, if I want to add melted chocolate to the recipe, how much quantity would be suitable?

  16. Hi liz if I do not have natural cocoa powder only deutch processed ones do I need to make any alterations to the recipe.? . I live in tbe uk and most powders are alkaline…
    Really want to make this asap x

  17. How can I adjust the cake recipe for two 6×2 round cake pans? I’d like to make it for Valentine’s Day. When I make regular-sized cakes, I always give away a huge hunk and I’d like to avoid that.

  18. What can I use instead of buttermilk?

    1. You can replace 8 ounces of buttermilk with 8 ounces of regular milk plus 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir to combine and wait until it thickens then add it in. Adjust the amount of milk and vinegar according to the recipe

  19. I just made this recipe yesterday and turned it into cupcakes. I loved how it was all in one bowl and there was no reverse creaming method. Also I love how you included the measurements in cups because I was making so many cakes that day that I was way to lazy to weigh my ingredients. I baked my cupcakes for exactly 16 minutes and then removed them and just left them in the baking tray so that I wouldn’t overbake them. They turned out perfect. They sunk a little bit in the middle but not much and they were going to get covered in icing anyways so it didn’t matter to me. This batch made a lot of cupcakes. 24 regular sized and I think I also got about 22 mini sized as well. I paired this along with your easy chocolate butter cream and it was delicious.

  20. 5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe! My cakes baked up nice and high, and were flat on top which is perfect. I actually forgot to grease the pans (!) but had luckily put parchment in the bottom. After cooling in the pans for 15 minutes, I just gave the pan a shake and they came right out. Whew! Used your Ermine Frosting and have a delicious dessert! Beautifully, moist chocolate cake with a perfect frosting.

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