posted in Cake and Cupcakes

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

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

Classic 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!

Chocolate Cake Prep

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??  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 Recipe -
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?

Yield: One two-layer 9-inch cake

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe


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 (from the tap is fine)


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Frost when cool, or wrap in plastic wrap until ready to frost (cake layers can be made one day ahead).


*For high altitude (above 5,000 feet- I'm at 5850), I reduced sugar by 1/4 cup, reduced baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon, and added 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 Frosting, Wedding Cupcake Buttercream, or Chocolate Buttercream.


More chocolate cake recipes you may enjoy:
Chocolate- Sour Cream Bundt Cake by Two Peas and Their Pod
Chocolate Cheesecake Cake by RecipeGirl
German Chocolate Cake by Brown Eyed Baker
Chocolate Sheet Cake by RecipeGirl
Karina’s Chocolate Truffle Cake (gluten-free) by Gluten-Free Goddess


  1. postedSep 25, 2014 4:08 AM

    This cake looks absolutely perfect, Lori! Love the crumb! It looks like it would melt in your mouth! Pinned!

  2. postedSep 25, 2014 4:18 AM

    Nailing a chocolate cake recipe feels so good. Yours certainly looks perfect!

  3. postedSep 25, 2014 4:56 AM

    Looks delicious! I appreciate your husband’s and son’s taste!

  4. postedSep 25, 2014 6:42 AM

    I’m not sure how you can’t be a chocolate fan! Your cake looks delish, that cut slice is striking! No crumbs!

  5. postedSep 25, 2014 7:05 AM

    Oh my that looks and sounds heavenly!!! I can’t wait to try it this weekend!!! Any suggestions on what to substitute the buttermilk with for someone that is allergic to milk? I want the cake to maintain moisture, flavor… Thank you!

    • postedSep 26, 2014 10:14 PM

      You can sub any non-dairy milk soured with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.

  6. postedSep 25, 2014 10:00 AM

    Looks so tasty! I love a good chocolate cake!

  7. postedSep 25, 2014 10:38 AM

    I am always on the hunt for a new chocolate cake recipe! This looks perfect, Lori!!!

  8. postedSep 25, 2014 12:15 PM

    I’m definitely a chocolate girl but I do like vanilla too. This cake looks great and so moist.

  9. postedSep 25, 2014 12:52 PM

    Beautiful cake Lori! I am a vanilla girl too but my husband is a total chocoholic so I am always on the hunt for new chocolate cake recipes 🙂 That is the most perfect looking slice I have ever seen – just gorgeous! Pinned!

  10. postedSep 25, 2014 1:05 PM

    I love everything about this! I need to make this now!

  11. postedSep 25, 2014 2:49 PM

    I’m always looking for a better recipe than the last, so I’m up for trying this chocolate cake recipe, Lori! It looks scrumptious!

  12. postedSep 25, 2014 3:39 PM
    Bonnie N

    I’ve got boucoup chocolate cake recipes. About 70% of them claim to be the best. So I keep baking and baking chocolate cakes and so far, every one of them is the best (for that day!!!)

    I’ll try this one now and see how it comes out. I’m practically certain that it will be the very best of the day. (insert Muttley snigger here)

  13. postedSep 25, 2014 3:57 PM
    Karen Wood

    Thank you!

  14. postedSep 26, 2014 9:42 AM

    Thank you for all your trials – I can’t wait to attempt to make this one day!

  15. postedSep 27, 2014 7:05 AM
    Kristi A.

    This looks yummy. Did you use natural or Dutch-processed cocoa?

  16. postedSep 28, 2014 9:48 PM

    The texture of this cake looks perfect! If only I could sink my teeth into it now! Chocolate cake is like the best thing ever.

  17. postedOct 10, 2014 6:42 AM

    How hot is the hot water?

    • postedOct 11, 2014 7:04 AM

      Just regular hot tap water is fine. As hot as you can get it!

  18. postedOct 29, 2014 9:17 AM

    I would like to try this recipe with a sugar sub. I was wondering what ingredient ratios would be needed for a larger quantity too.

    • postedOct 29, 2014 9:21 AM

      I’m not familiar w/ using sugar substitutes, so I’m afraid I can’t be of help here. You might try googling and see what advice you find

  19. postedOct 29, 2014 1:27 PM
    Brittney Mcmorris

    Hi could you put a cheesecake layer in the middle of this type of cake

    • postedOct 30, 2014 7:40 PM

      sounds like a good plan to me!

  20. postedJun 13, 2015 6:31 PM
    lisa escobar

    love the sound of this receipe but can I use margarine instead of butter?

    • postedJun 16, 2015 9:59 AM

      I can’t recommend it because I don’t use margarine… so I’m not sure!

  21. postedJul 4, 2016 10:50 AM
    Erica Reed

    I loved this recipe everyone really loved the cake.

  22. postedJan 23, 2017 4:35 PM

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

    • postedJan 26, 2017 6:50 AM

      Yes, I’m sure that will be fine.

  23. postedAug 23, 2017 5:46 PM

    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! 

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