Easy Chocolate Cake

Easy Chocolate Cake is indulgent and moist, made from scratch with hot coffee and cocoa powder added to the batter, ready in under 45 minutes!

This cake is the PERFECT recipe to have on hand for any celebrations, and you can top it with our homemade Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Ganache, or Whipped Cream!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Easy Chocolate Cake is one of my all-time favorite desserts to make anytime a birthday comes around in this house. It’s incredible moist, with hints of coffee flavor which really brings out the best of the chocolate. I like to double this chocolate cake recipe and use several cake pans to make a layer cake.

I’m also making homemade frosting, which is perfect if you’re making a layer cake because you can make as much as you need. This is my go-to cake recipe because it only takes a total time of 45 minutes to make. Your friends and family will think you picked it up from a bakery!


Chocolate cake should be kept at room temperature, wrapped tightly, for 3-4 days to keep the texture quality. Use plastic wrap to help keep the slices from drying out.


Chocolate cake will last in the refrigerator for about a week. Cakes are usually fine sitting on the counter, but have to be refrigerated when you have a high moisture or dairy part, like whipped cream.

If you use my homemade frosting, this cake can be stored on the counter. If you use buttercream, it will need to be refrigerated if the buttercream recipe used egg whites.

Chocolate Cake


  • Bake your desserts at the right temperature. A common issue with dry cakes is that the oven is not cooking at the right temperature. Try an oven safe thermometer to make sure your temp is where it’s supposed to be.
  • Don’t substitute high fat ingredients in this chocolate cake recipe. The fats in butter, milk, cream, or oil play a big part in adding moisture to a cake.
  • Add 1/2 cup sour cream to this cake recipe for extra moisture.
  • If your recipe is turning out dry, try substituting some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar. Brown sugar naturally has a higher moisture content, and can help add moisture to the cake.
  • Use a knife to level your measuring cup when measuring things like all purpose flour. Too much flour will dry out the cake.


Chocolate cake should be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before being frozen. It will keep its best for about 6-8 months, but will be food-safe for up to a year. Many couples freeze the top of their wedding cakes for the one year anniversary.

You can make this cake ahead and freeze it for later. You can fully decorate it before freezing, too. The frosting will actually help keep moisture from getting to the cake when frozen.

Freeze the cake for an hour to let the frosting get hard, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Make sure to wrap it tightly to make sure it doesn’t get freezer burn.

Slice of Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting


There are a lot of different ways to substitute eggs in a chocolate cake recipe. Two of my favorites are applesauce, and bananas. Use 1/2 of a mashed banana, or 1/4 of a cup of applesauce per egg in this chocolate cake recipe.



  • After frosting the chocolate cake, top with fresh raspberries or strawberries, sprinkles, candies, or chocolate shavings for a decorative dessert.
  • Use white chocolate frosting (or any color frosting) in a piping bag to decorate.
  • Top with crushed peppermint candies or sliced almonds for decoration. If you’re making the frosting, you can use the same (or a complimenting) flavor in the frosting, too.


  • Add a handful of semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or nuts to the batter if desired.
  • If you don’t want to add frosting or fondant, add a layer of strawberry topping between the cake layers, then dust with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder and top with fresh fruit.
  • Make sure your leavening agents and your vanilla extract are fresh and not expired, for the best flavor and texture.
  • Replace the vanilla extract in this chocolate cake recipe with almond or peppermint for different flavor variations.
  • The baking time may very depending on the size of your cake pans. If you put the whole bowl of batter in one pan, it may take longer to bake the thicker cake. If you make cupcakes, then this will be more like 20-25 minutes baking time.
  • Use a good quality cake pan. The metal in the pan can be the difference of a perfect cake recipe, and a cake that’s burned on the bottom because the heat didn’t distribute well.
  • You can use regular cocoa powder, or for a richer chocolate cake use dark chocolate cocoa powder.
  • Poke a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done baking.
  • Be careful not to over-mix your cake batter.
  • You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes, or crumble the cake into a large bowl and mix it with frosting to make cake pops.
  • Lighten up this classic chocolate cake by substituting the oil with the same amount of applesauce, and whole milk with 2% milk.

Frosted Chocolate Cake

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Chocolate Cake
5 from 8 votes

Easy Chocolate Cake

Easy Chocolate Cake is indulgent and moist, made from scratch and ready in under 45 minutes! 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy chocolate cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 316 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee you can substitute boiling water
  • Chocolate Frosting Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and dust with cocoa powder two 9" cake pans.
  2. In a stand mixer on low speed mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla then add it to the stand mixer on low then medium speed until just combined and finally add in the hot coffee carefully and stir it in by hand until just combined (do not turn on the mixer, it may splash on you).

  4. Pour half of the batter into each of the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes then remove, let cool completely and frost with the chocolate frosting.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 316 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 352mg15%
Potassium 225mg6%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 75IU2%
Calcium 61mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Rich Chocolate Cake

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I’ve tried many chocolate cake recipes since March (the beginning of our stay-at-home order). None of them are ever chocolatey enough for me, but this one is. It was also light and (sorry if you hate this word) moist. It’s similar to the Hershey’s “perfectly chocolate cake” recipe but with some important improvements. This recipe works nicely in my rice cooker with one cup of batter, and if I mix in a handful of chocolate chips it’s delicious without any icing.

  2. Hi, I’m reading this recipe in search for usable batter for layer cake with chocolate – mint flavor. I like this suggestion for batter but have some questions about the preparation.
    1-when you mix eggs do you simple combine them with other wet ingredients or do you mix first the egg whites than add the yolks and other wet stuff.
    2-I’m using the metric system so for me the 350 degrees oven is to high. Can you please tell me at what temperature should I bake this batter in Celsius scale for electric oven.
    Thank you…

    1. Just combine the eggs with the milk, oil and vanilla and whisk. No need to separate them. If you’re using celsius, you’ll want the oven preheated to 180 degrees. Hope this helps!

  3. What’s the height for the cake pans? And if I only had 8” layer pans would that be ok or would I have to make it three layers? They may not be tall enough and I don’t want them to overflow!

    1. This recipe used 2 9 inch round cake pans. If you only have 8 inch round pans, you’ll need to make 3 layers. Hopefully this is helpful.

  4. I made this cake for my son Daniels birthday. It was so moist and chocolatey. Everyone loved it and I would definitely make this my go-to chocolate cake. All the ingredients are what most have already. Thank you so much!

  5. I made this, followed directions exactly and it was a disaster, so crumbly when I took it out of the pans. So it will become cake pops instead! I live at 5300 elevation, so I’m thinking that was the problem. What would you recommend? More flour? Less liquid? I would like to make this again. Help!! and Thanks!

    1. Oh no! I’m so glad you were able to save them. I am no expert on altitude adjustments when it comes to baking. From what I can find through my research online, you may need to reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon, reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons, increase the liquids (for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons). Also increase the oven temperature to 375. I hope this helps and good luck!

  6. Could you substitute some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar and still add sour cream for moisture? Would that make it too moist? Thanks!

      1. Yes though you might want to check it a few minutes early when baking. Almond milk may affect the baking time. Enjoy!