Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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This Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe is such a moist fudge-like dessert. As easy to make as a box cake, but this homemade treat tastes much better!

Slice of Chocolate Cake on a spatula over the cake pan.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Easy Chocolate Cake
  2. Steps to Succulent Cake
  3. Icing on the Cake
  4. Variations and Decorations
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. More Favorite Chocolate Cakes
  7. How to Make this Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe
  8. Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

This simple and easy chocolate cake recipe is the perfect one to have at the ready for any occasion. It’s perfect for birthdays, celebrations, potlucks, or just sweet tooth Sunday nights. The basic cake batter pairs beautifully with our chocolate buttercream frosting, and you can decorate it all sorts of ways. With a moist yet light texture, rich yet mild chocolate flavor, it’s truly the best chocolate cake and SO easy to make!

Ingredients in Easy Chocolate Cake

The best part of this chocolate cake recipe is how easy it is to keep the ingredients on hand. I always have the makings for this homemade chocolate cake recipe in my kitchen just in case I need to whip up a dessert for a friend, neighbor or my family. Here’s all you need:

  • Flour – two cups all purpose flour, sifted to make the cake layer even and light
  • Sugar – two cups white granulated sugar
  • Cocoa powder – three quarter cup of your favorite cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder works great.
  • Salt – one teaspoon kosher or table salt
  • Baking powder – one teaspoon
  • Baking soda – two teaspoons
  • Vegetable oil – half a cup, regular vegetable or canola oil
  • Buttermilk – one cup. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, simply add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of regular milk, and bam! Buttermilk.
  • Eggs – two whole, large eggs
  • Vanilla – one teaspoon of your favorite vanilla extract
  • Hot water – one cup hot to boiling water.
Ingredients to make Chocolate Cake including flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk, water, cocoa powder, oil, eggs and vanilla.


Steps to Succulent Cake

  1. First, select the type of pan you like to use. I baked this cake in a 9×13 inch pan, but you can use cupcake pans, 9-inch cake pans, square or round cake pans for a layered chocolate cake. Spray your pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Next, in a large bowl or a standing mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Then in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Using an electric mixer and paddle attachment, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient mixing bowl on high speed until just combined.
  5. Now comes the secret ingredient: hot water! Slowly add the hot water while whisking on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. The batter will be thin, and that’s okay! Trust the process.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool to room temperature before frosting.
Spreading chocolate buttercream frosting on top of a chocolate cake.

Icing on the Cake

To frost this cake, I use our fabulous chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. But you can use your favorite chocolate frosting, a chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream frosting, cream cheese frosting or our yummy peanut butter frosting. If you’re using a white frosting, consider using a crumb coat (a thinner layer of frosting) before adding the top coat of frosting so the chocolate doesn’t show through.


Variations and Decorations

This moist chocolate cake recipe is truly a blank canvas where you can take flavors to all kinds of different levels.

  • Make this a Black Forest cake with a can of cherry pie filling on top with whipped cream.
  • Top with a dusting of powdered sugar or espresso powder.
  • Decorate with sprinkles, nuts, fresh fruit (raspberries are a favorite!) or toasted coconut.
  • Serve with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between chocolate cake and chocolate fudge cake?

Fudge cake is thicker, more dense and more of a brownie-like texture. Regular chocolate is a more delicate, fluffy, and lighter texture.

What makes a cake not to be fluffy?

If your cake isn’t fluffy, you could be over mixing your batter, or using old leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda.

What makes a cake more moist?

To keep cake extra moist, avoid overbaking, maintain the right baking temperature, and frost the cake right away. Store frosted cake in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap.

Can you freeze chocolate cake?

Store leftover cake in the freezer covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Thaw on the counter until room temperature, then serve.

READ MORE:33+ Easy Dessert Ideas

More Favorite Chocolate Cakes

Death by chocolate? We have you covered with some of our most favorite chocolate dessert recipes:

How to Make this Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

Slice of Chocolate Cake on a spatula over the cake pan.

Easy Chocolate Cake

5 from 1 vote
This Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe is such a moist fudge-like dessert. As easy to make as a box cake, but this homemade treat tastes even better!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
Course cake
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Electric Mixer

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×13" pan with non-stick cooking spray.
    Cake pan sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
    Bowl whisking dry ingredients.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.
    Mixing bowl with wet ingredients combined. Whisk attachment on the side.
  • Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredient mixing bowl and combine using electric mixer.
    Mixing bowl with chocolate cake batter base. Whisk attachment on the side.
  • Slowly add the hot water while whisking on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. The batter will be thin.
    Mixing bowl of Chocolate Cake Batter. Whisk attachment on the side.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
    Cake pan with unbaked chocolate cake batter.
  • Bake for 28-32 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
    Cake pan with baked chocolate cake cooling on a wire rack.
  • Let it cool completely in pan before frosting. *
    Speaking chocolate frosting on a chocolate cake.
  • Frost with our Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
    Close up of frosted Chocolate cake.

Notes

*Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan with the sides coming out so you can lift the cake out of the pan to cool. Use this method if you plan to  frost the whole cake and not just the top. 
 
Baking options:
9×13 pan: 32-35 minutes
24 cupcakes: Fill 2/3 full and bake 22-25 minutes
2 x 9″ rounds for 28-32 minutes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 5gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 500mgPotassium: 180mgFiber: 3gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 411IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg

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Heidi Rasmussen

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