We come back to this classic Chocolate Cake recipe again and again, as our favorite EASY, moist, and delicious chocolate cake. Paired with the decadent 5 ingredient chocolate frosting and you’ve got our favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe!

A great chocolate cake recipe is something everyone needs in their recipe collection (along with a Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting of course!). We use this one as the base for fancy variations, like our our popular German Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.

A slice of a two layer chocolate cake on a white plate, dusted with cocoa powder.

This moist chocolate cake recipe has become my all-time favorite over the years, and it’s also one of the very first recipes I ever shared here on TBFS, way back in 2010! I think I’ve made hundreds of cakes since then, and this is still my favorite recipe. Thank you Hershey’s!

It’s everything you’d hope for from a homemade chocolate cake; incredibly moist and tender, with a fantastic homemade chocolate frosting. And, did I mention how easy it is to make? Let’s me show you:

How to Make Chocolate Cake:

Mix Dry Ingredients: Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 

A glass mixing bowl with sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt for a homemade chocolate cake.

Add Wet Ingredients: Eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix until well combined.

A two image collage showing eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla being mixed into dry ingredients, then a picture of thick chocolate cake batter.

Add Boiling Water: Stir to combine (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

A two image collage showing thin chocolate cake batter in a mixing bowl, and then after it's poured into a cake pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

A baked chocolate cake round cooled and removed from the pan, ready to frost.

Make Frosting: Combine butter and cocoa powder. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix for several minutes until smooth and fluffy.

Assemble and Frost: Place one cake layer on serving tray. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Add second cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Enjoy the best chocolate cake for birthdays, parties, or anytime!

Four images showing how to frost, assemble, and serve the best chocolate cake recipe.

Pro Tips:

  • Use room temperature ingredients, particularly eggs. Eggs at room temperature will emulsify in the batter better, which will also help the cake rise properly. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place them in a cup of hot water for a few minutes.
  • Use buttermilk (or easily make your own): The original Hershey’s recipe does not use buttermilk, but the buttermilk makes the cake extra moist. Make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into 1 scant cup of milk.
  • Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper, then spray lightly with cooking spray. You’ll never have to worry about the cake sticking to the pan!

Recipe Variations:

  • One Layer Cake: Grease 9×13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
  • Cupcakes: Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely completely before frosting. Makes 24-30 cupcakes
  • Bundt Cake: Properly grease and flour the pan and cook the chocolate cake in a 12-cup bundt pan for about 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire cooling rack.
  • Gluten-Free: substitute Bob’s Redmill Gluten-Free flour at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Dairy-Free: substitute Almond milk in both the cake and frosting recipes at a 1:1 ratio.
A slice of a two layer cake sitting upright on a white plate.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The chocolate cake and chocolate frosting can be made ahead of time. Store the homemade chocolate frosting in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to three months. Remove the frosting from the fridge about an hour before frosting the cake to allow it to come to room temperature.

To Freeze: Allow the cakes to cool completely then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months. I like to frost the cake while it’s still frozen, and let it come to room temperature before serving.

Follow me for more great recipes

Recipe

A slice of homemade Chocolate Cake laying on it's side on a white plate dusted with cocoa powder.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 40 minutes
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

Chocolate Cake:

Chocolate Frosting:

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 8 inch round baking pans with parchment paper and then spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • Stir in boiling water (or hot coffee). Batter will be thin. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • Combine butter and cocoa powder. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix for several minutes until smooth and fluffy.

Assemble:

  • Place one cake layer on serving tray. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Add second cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cut and serve.

Notes

    • One Layer Cake: Grease 9×13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
    • Cupcakes: Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely completely before frosting. Makes 24-30 cupcakes
    • Bundt Cake: Properly grease and flour the pan and cook the chocolate cake in a 12-cup bundt pan for about 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire cooling rack.
Make Ahead Instructions: The cakes and the chocolate frosting can both be made ahead of time. The homemade chocolate frosting will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to three months. Remove the frosting from the fridge about an hour before you frost your cake to allow it to come to room temperature.
Freezing Instructions: Allow the cakes to cool completely then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months. Cakes can be frosted while frozen.
Recipe adapted from Hershey’s

Nutrition

Calories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 6gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 364mgPotassium: 186mgFiber: 4gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 245IUCalcium: 66mgIron: 3mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

Follow Me

Get recipe ideas weekly!

*I originally shared this recipe June 2010. Updated June 2019, April 2021 and April 2023.

The material in this blog post references the trademarked brand “Hershey’s.” The use of this trademark is for informational and editorial purposes only and does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Hershey Company.

Related Posts

Share Recipe

Categories

About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We loved the cake but the icing was pretty sweet. Is there anything I can do to tone it down?

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing!! I made this to bring to a friend’s birthday party and it was a hit! Everyone enjoyed it. The cake was moist and flavorful yet not overly sweet at the same which was perfect. For the ingredients, I used coffee instead of boiling water. Also, I did have to bake mine for more than 30-35 minutes. It actually took closer to an hour. Otherwise, this cake was delicious and I will definitely be making it again!

  3. I’ve made the cake! If. I want to assemble it in a couple days. Should I wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator?

  4. Awesome recipe! I used the exact measurements on the frosting and it came out perfect! I got a little scared when I dumped all the powdered sugar into the butter and coco mix.. when I used my mixer it all came together beautifully!

  5. It really is that good!! I used Hersheys dark cocoa powder for both cake and frosting-divine!!!!

See More Comments