Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

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I’ve been trying and testing for a long time… and I’m pretty darn sure this one is the best… a classic. It’s the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe.

slice of the Best Chocolate Cake

I don’t like chocolate.  And I’m not super hip on chocolate cake either (remember… I’m a Vanilla Girl through and through, blah blah blah).  But I know a good cake when I try it, and this one turns out to be a good cake!  I’ve got a good thing going at my house because both my son and my husband are CRAZY about chocolate, so they are the perfect taste testers for me.  And they totally tell me the truth if they don’t like something either, lol!  Turns out, they thought this cake was the best chocolate cake ever!

How to make the Best Chocolate Cake

I ended up using the White Frosting Recipe that I shared with you yesterday for this cake.  A good amount is spread onto the first layer, then the other layer is laid on top.  At this point, it looks like a Suzy Q– do you remember those that were made by Hostess back in the day??  

slice of the Best Chocolate Cake

I opted to do a crumb coat on this cake since the cake is tender and moist.  Crumb coats are easy to do, and you do them so you don’t have little bits of chocolate crumb floating around on your frosted cake.  All you do is spread a light layer of frosting all over the cake (as shown) and then refrigerate it until it’s kind of firm.  Then you can take it out and use the rest of your frosting to cover the entire cake.  And it will look totally perfect and white… with no floating chocolate crumbs – yay!

Classic Chocolate Cake
And there is my beautiful, perfect, best, classic chocolate cake recipe.  I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out- and my boys were just over the moon that I had chocolate cake in our kitchen!  Sprinkles are, of course, optional.  But it would make a pretty cute birthday cake, wouldn’t it?

Here are a few more cake recipes you might like to try:

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Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

A big time favorite!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 424kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword best chocolate cake, chocolate cake


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water (hot tap water is fine)


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. I like to use the Pam Baking Spray and line them each with a round of parchment paper too.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugar. Mix until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the buttermilk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Then mix in the dry ingredients a little at a time until all is mixed well. Add the vanilla and the hot water, and continue to mix until the batter is well-incorporated and smooth. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake about 25 minutes, or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean. Set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes, then gently turn over onto racks to cool the cake layers completely before frosting.
  • Frost when cool, or wrap in plastic wrap until ready to frost (cake layers can be made one day ahead).


  • Nutritional information does not include frosting.
  • *For high altitude (above 5,000 feet), reduce sugar by 1/4 cup, reduced baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon, and add an additional tablespoon of hot water.
  • *I like to use bake even Cake Strips to ensure that I get nice flat cake layers. They work great.
  • *Here are a few frosting recipes on that you might want to use for this cake: White Frosting, Chocolate FrostingWedding Cupcake Buttercream, or Chocolate Buttercream.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 557IU | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg
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  • Ella wrote:

    what kind of frosting did you use?

  • Gina bridges wrote:

    After making the wedding cake with fabulous results I figured this would turn out just as well. I was disappointed. The cake was not moist but crumbly and actually not very tasty. I expected much more. Not sure what I could have done differently. Did not have buttermilk but made mine with milk and vinegar..maybe that was the
    problem?? Will probably try it again hoping for better results.

  • Julia wrote:

    I am trying to make several layers in advance. Do you think this will freeze well? I frequently freeze your wedding cake recipe- it works great!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Probably! I’d wrap each layer with plastic wrap before freezing.

  • Lori wrote:

    This chocolate cake is……the best chocolate layer cake recipe I’ve ever found. Delicious, bakes nice and level on top which saves me much of the leveling process afterwards, consistently bakes perfectly. I just adore it! Thank you for sharing it! I’ve baked it in so many different sizes. One full recipe fits nicely into my 12 inch pans as well! 

  • Kim wrote:

    Can I use regular salted sweet cream butter instead of unsalted? I’m excited to make this cake! ?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Yes, I’m sure that will be fine.

  • Erica Reed wrote:

    I loved this recipe everyone really loved the cake.