A decadent and moist Chocolate Cake recipe with the easiest whipped chocolate frosting. This always gets rave reviews and makes for a stunning chocolate birthday cake.

Piece of homemade chocolate cake on a plate with fork

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Did you know cocoa helps your brain release endorphins or your body’s natural “feel good” chemical? This explains why our moods improve when we are eating chocolate cake.

Chocolate makes everything better, from Chocolate Chip Cookies to Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, and let’s not forget Chocolate Mousse! If you are a chocolate lover, this recipe is for you.

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Cake Recipe

My son’s first words when he saw the cake were “Wow that look’s just like the cake from Matilda!” We watched the Matilda movie recently, but I’m betting this one’s even better because it’s intensely chocolatey and satisfies the fiercest craving for chocolate without being cloyingly sweet.

We combined our most popular Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting with these tried and true Moist Chocolate Cupcakes to create the best chocolate cake. You might be surprised to see coffee in the cake batter, and don’t worry, you can’t taste the coffee in the final product, but it amplifies the flavor of chocolate. Feel free to substitute with decaf coffee if you prefer.

This recipe also happens to be an eggless chocolate cake (bonus if you are egg-free).

Watch the Chocolate Cake Video Tutorial

I hope this Moist Chocolate Cake recipe becomes a new favorite for you. Homemade chocolate cake is way better than Costco’s (there, I said it).

If you enjoy our videos, please subscribe to our Youtube Channel and click the bell icon so you’ll be the first to know when we post a new video. THANK YOU for subscribing! We love hanging out with you on our Youtube Channel.

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with slice being removed

The Best Cocoa for Chocolate Cake

We used natural unsweetened 100% cocoa or “cacao”. You can use a variety of brands such as Hershey’s, Nestle, or Ghirardelli, but be sure to use “unsweetened” cocoa.

Can I substitute with Dutch Process Cocoa?

When a recipe calls for baking soda, it is best to stick with Natural cocoa powder because it has a higher acidity level than dutch process. You should use the cocoa called for in a recipe for the right chemical reaction to happen. You can read more about that in our Red Velvet Cake post.

Cocoa for chocolate cake with remaining chocolate cake ingredients

How to Make Chocolate Cake

This cake doesn’t get any easier. It’s no more complex than a boxed cake so long as you know how to measure ingredients correctly.

  • Whisk together the wet ingredients
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients
  • Combine wet with dry ingredients
  • Divide into prepared 9-inch cake pans and bake

How to Get Even Cake Layers

When making a layered chocolate cake, here are our best tips for even cake layers:

  • Divide the batter equally – Even heights will make for a prettier cake and even bake times. I always double-check for accuracy with a digital kitchen scale. Zero out the cake pan and weigh how much cake batter is in each pan. Your cake layers will be flawless every time.
  • Test your leavening – make sure your leavening is not expired so it has enough rising power for the cake layers to rise evenly.
  • Preheat the oven – ensure your oven is fully preheated before baking the cake layers.
  • Bake Immediately – as soon as you add baking soda to a recipe, it starts reacting immediately so bake right away.

Tips for Smooth Chocolate Frosting

The whipped chocolate cream cheese buttercream frosting is indulgent, chocolatey, silky smooth, and one of the easiest frostings you will make. To get the smoothest chocolate frosting, be sure to:

  • Cream together the butter and cream cheese first to prevent lumps
  • Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa since cocoa tends to clump.

If you prefer a frosting that doesn’t have cream cheese in it, another favorite is our Chocolate Buttercream Frosting or even Vanilla Buttercream for a delicious contrast. Both are terrific on Chocolate Cake.

Pro Tip:

It is critical to fully cool the cake layers to room temperature before applying frosting. If the cake layers are still warm, it will cause the frosting to melt and slide off the cake.

Swirled frosting on chocolate cake

How to Store Chocolate Cake

  • Short-Term Storage – if you are going to eat the chocolate cake within 24 hours, its ok to keep it at room temperature. Store it in a cook dry place away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • Cover Properly – If you don’t have a cake carrier, use an overturned bowl or large pot to cover the cake and keep it from drying out or absorbing food odors. If the cake is sliced, press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the cut portions to prevent drying out.
  • Refrigerating – after 24 hours, you will want to refrigerate the cake. Place plastic wrap directly over cut portions, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to a week.
  • Freezing – to freeze unfrosted cake layers, wrap individual layers in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw wrapped at room temperature. To freeze a frosted cake, freeze for 1 hour to harden the frosting then wrap with plastic wrap and foil.
  • To Serve – Thaw a frozen frosted cake overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. You may need to use a spatula on the frosting again to make it visually appealing.
Chocolate Cake slice on plate with forkful

I can’t help but smile when I have a generous slice of frosted Chocolate Cake on my plate. I hope this recipe brings joy and food memories wherever this recipe travels. Let me know if you’ve served it in any creative ways? We’ve done everything from sprinkles to princess themes on top which my daughter has loved.

More Chocolate Desserts (for Chocolate Lovers!)

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Chocolate Cake Recipe

4.96 from 678 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Chocolate cake frosted with a slice cut out
A decadent and moist Chocolate Cake recipe with the easiest whipped Chocolate Frosting. Homemade chocolate cake makes for a stunning birthday cake.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cake Cooling: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients 

Servings: 14 slices

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting:

Instructions

How to Make Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter two 9" cake pans and line the bottoms with a ring of parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl whisk together your dry ingredients: 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt until there are no more cocoa lumps (a few tiny lumps are ok; it also helps to sift the cocoa before using it).
  • In a separate bowl, mix together your wet ingredients: 2 cups warm coffee, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 2/3 cup olive oil.
  • Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until they come together. Your batter will still be slightly lumpy. Divide equally between prepared cake pans, and bake in a preheated oven at 350˚F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

How to Make the Chocolate Frosting:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer using paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer with a large bowl), beat together 12 oz cream cheese with 1 cup butter on medium/high speed until creamy (3 min), scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Sift in 5 cups powdered sugar with 1 cup cocoa powder, sifting in batches as needed to ensure there are no lumps. Then add 1/2 tsp salt. Mix on low speed until well combined. Thoroughly scrape down the bowl, then increase to medium/high speed and beat until smooth and whipped (1 min).
  • Add 2 tsp vanilla and beat on medium/high until smooth (1 min). Now it's ready to be spread or piped onto the cooled cake layers.

How to Frost a Cake

  • Set a cake layer onto a serving platter. Apply 1/3 of the frosting over the first layer then cover with the second layer, placing it top-side-down for an even top. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Enjoy or store it for later*

Notes

*How to Store Chocolate Cake:
  • Short-Term Storage – store covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
  • Cover Properly – Use an overturned bowl or pot to cover the cake and keep it from drying out. If the cake is sliced, press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the cut portions to prevent drying out.
  • Refrigerating -Cover as directed above and refrigerate for up to a week.
  • Freezing – to freeze unfrosted cake layers, wrap individual layers in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze up to 3 months then taw wrapped at room temperature. To freeze a frosted cake, freeze for 1 hour to harden the frosting then wrap with plastic wrap and foil and freeze up to 3 months.
  • To Serve – Thaw a covered frozen frosted cake overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. You may need to fix up the frosting with a spatula. 

Nutrition Per Serving

691kcal Calories98g Carbs6g Protein33g Fat15g Saturated Fat61mg Cholesterol513mg Sodium223mg Potassium3g Fiber71g Sugar730IU Vitamin A44mg Calcium2.7mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Cake Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
691
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
33
g
51
%
Saturated Fat
 
15
g
94
%
Cholesterol
 
61
mg
20
%
Sodium
 
513
mg
22
%
Potassium
 
223
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
98
g
33
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
71
g
79
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
730
IU
15
%
Calcium
 
44
mg
4
%
Iron
 
2.7
mg
15
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate cake
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 691

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Comments

  • Millie
    April 19, 2024

    This frosting recipe makes waaaaay too much and I halved it. Tastes good but really tough to make and broke my beater

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 19, 2024

      Hi Millie! I’m glad you enjoyed the taste. I recommend using a stand mixer or a good quality hand mixer that doesn’t burn out fast. Be sure to use room temperature butter and cream cheese. If they are too cold, it will cause your mixer work harder than it needs to.

      Reply

  • Donna
    April 17, 2024

    Hi Natasha, I would like to make the cake with 7″ pan. 1) Do I need to reduce the ingredients? 2) What can be substituted to do frosting because we don’t eat cheese nor butter? 3) Also how to write on a swivel & wave surface of the cake? Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 17, 2024

      Hi Donna, I haven’t tried this recipe in that size pan, but I recommend using THIS Adapt Baking Recipes to Fit Different Pan Sizes Guide. I haven’t tried this with a substitute for cream cheese, but I imagine it may be possible to use an alternative ingredient. Writing on a swivel surface may be tricky, but with steady hands and piping tools/ technique its possible. I hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Fatima
    April 15, 2024

    Hello,

    I baked my chocolate cake and every time it turns out a bit dry ? Please advise. Thank you.

    Simply love ur recipes. I’ve made so many. Love it 💕

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 15, 2024

      Hi Fatima! A dry cake is often due to over baking or not measuring your ingredients correctly (using too much flour or even cocoa powder). Watch my tutorial on How to measure ingredients to help.
      Also- this recipe was tested in a conventional oven, on regular bake mode. If you’re using a convection oven, it would bake faster and require adjusting time/temperature. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • susan
    April 11, 2024

    Checking. Shouldn’t there be eggs in the recipe? There are in the cupcake version. Great recipe for the cupcakes so hoping the cake is the same.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 11, 2024

      Hi Susan, this recipe does not have eggs, but the Chocolate Cake in our new Natasha’s Kitchen Cookbook does have eggs. It’s just a different recipe. The one we make most often now is the one in our cookbook because our daughter requests it.

      Reply

  • Patti Young
    April 8, 2024

    Can I use any type of oil? Not sure I’ve ever seen light olive oil. Just extra virgin. Love your recipes! I can’t wait to make this cake.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 8, 2024

      Hi Patti. Light olive oil is neutral tasting (unlike extra virgin olive oil). You can use vegetable, canola, etc.

      Reply

  • Caitlyn
    April 5, 2024

    What kind of coffee do you recommend? I don’t drink it, so I wouldn’t have a clue on “what’s good”

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 5, 2024

      Hi Caitlyn. I just used home brewed coffee made with ground coffee beans. Any type will work, or you can purchase a cup of black coffee from a local coffee shop too.

      Reply

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