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+ servings
Slice of chocolate cake on white plate with bronze fork

BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is the only chocolate cake recipe you need! Skip the box and make my Best Chocolate Cake recipe. This cake recipe makes a layer cake, a sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12 servings
Calories 664kcal
Author Dorothy Kern
Cost $8


For the Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar  (347g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (63g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (310g)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (119 ml)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup hot water (237ml)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (237ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5ml)

For the Fudgy Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (85g)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (565g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted (227g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons milk (75ml), use regular milk for best results


Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pans with liners or grease and flour cake pan(s).
  • Whisk together sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Whisk oil, eggs, water, buttermilk, and vanilla in a large measuring cup or bowl.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Batter will be thin.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake as directed, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting right before using:

  • Add powdered sugar and cocoa to a very large bowl. Whisk to combine and get out any lumps.
  • Pour in unsalted butter and mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer until crumbly, then add vanilla and salt.
  • Add milk and mix until frosting is smooth and the desired consistency. Use immediately.
  • Bake Time:
    24 cupcakes: 13-16 minutes
    Two 9-inch rounds: 28-35 minutes
    9x13-inch pan: 35-40 minutes



  • Use Unsweetened Cocoa or Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa but NOT Dutch Process
  • Substitute 1:1 gluten free AP flour to make these gluten-free
  • For the buttermilk, you can substitute milk or non-dairy milk by adding 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice to the wet ingredients.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 664kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 566mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 73g