Easy Chocolate Cake

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No one can resist this rich, chocolatey, decadent homemade chocolate cake!

With its moist texture and rich chocolatey flavor there is so much to love about this homemade chocolate cake. Adding a touch of coffee to the batter is the secret to a deep and rich chocolate flavor.

To make it even better, top it with a delicious chocolate buttercream frosting.

slice of Black Magic Chocolate Cake

Homemade Chocolate Cake Made Easy 

  • This chocolate cake recipe, inspired by Hershey’s, is a must-try.
  • A splash of espresso or coffee is the secret to a rich chocolate flavor, but don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like coffee.
  • You can make it in a different cake pans such as a 9-inch round layered cake or a 9×13 pan.
  • Prepare it ahead of time, and bake and freeze for up to 3 months. Simply thaw, frost, and serve.
ingredients to make Chocolate Cake with labels

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

Batter – The base of this chocolate cake batter is made with sugar, all-purpose flour, eggs, and oil. A neutral flavored oil, such as vegetable oil, is recommended. Baking soda and baking powder are also added to the batter to give the cake a nice rise without affecting the flavor.

Chocolate – Cocoa powder is added to the batter to give the cake a rich chocolate flavor. Adding coffee or espresso to the batter enhances the chocolate flavor without adding a coffee taste to the cake.

Buttermilk – Buttermilk is acidic and it is added to the batter for flavor and to give the cake a tender crumb and a better rise. If buttermilk is not available, a buttermilk substitute can be used instead.

process of adding ingredients to pan to make Chocolate Cake

How to Make Chocolate Cake

  1. Whisk dry ingredients together per the recipe below. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.
  2. Pour the batter into prepared baking pans. Bake until a toothpick comes clean from the center
  3. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
frosted chocolate cake on a plate

How to Frost a Layer Cake

  1. To frost this chocolate cake, pipe frosting onto the top of one layer of cake, then top it with the second layer of cake.
  2. Give the cake a ‘crumb coat’ by lightly frosting the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Once the crumb coat is complete, chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the fridge and add the rest of the frosting.
cut chocolate cake on a plate

Tips for the Best Chocolate Cake

  • For the best results, measure flour by spooning it into the measuring cup instead of scooping it.
  • Let eggs come to room temperature before using so they whip up faster and fluffier. Avoid over-mixing and over-baking. This cake should have little pockets of air and a moist texture.
  • For an extra chocolatey filling between the cakes, use homemade chocolate ganache.

Frosting Tip

A crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting that is spread over the cake and chilled. This layer keeps the cake moist and sticks all of the crumbs to the cake giving a nice smooth crumb-free frosting.

Storing Chocolate Cake

A fully frosted chocolate cake can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 1 day uncut, however, keep it out of direct sunlight and heat sources.

The sliced cake will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Fave Frosting Options

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a frosted layer chocolate cake

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Chocolate Cake

This easy chocolate cake recipe is moist with a decadent fudgy texture and a rich chocolate flavor.

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes

Cooling & Chill Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 cup hot espresso or brewed black coffee, or water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and flour or cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  • Beat in eggs, buttermilk, espresso, oil, and vanilla on medium speed for two minutes. The batter will be thin.

  • Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared 9-inch pans.

  • Bake the cakes for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean from the center.

  • Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 mins, then loosen sides with a knife. Remove from pans and cool on a rack for 1 hour.

  • Place the cooled cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread or pipe a thick layer of frosting over top for the filling layer.

  • Top with the other cake layer and spread a thin coating of frosting over the cake (this is the crumb coating). Chill for 30 minutes, and then add the final coating of frosting.

  • The batter will seem very thin, this is expected.
  • Swap for a 9×13 pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Feel free to replace the frosting with your favorite chocolate frosting recipe. 
  • Cake can be made in advance, stored in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for 1 day
  • Frosting may thicken when chilled but can be softened by leaving the cake at room temperature for a few hours
  • Sliced cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months
  • 6-inch cake pans can be used to make a 4-layer cake

Adapted from Hershey’s.

Calories: 240 | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert

Cuisine American

© SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.

plated Chocolate Cake with a title
slice of Chocolate Cake on a plate with a title
fork with Chocolate Cake piece on it with a title
plated Chocolate Cake and a piece on a fork with writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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