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 652 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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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Jahana
    March 9, 2020

    Hi,
    Why do we use vinegar? Any substitute for it?

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 9, 2020

      Hi Jahana. The vinegar is necessary as it activates the baking soda and helps with rising. I haven’t tried any other substitute for it to advise.

      Reply

  • gel
    March 7, 2020

    Hi natasha! will instant baking powder espresso work for the cake batter? how much should i use? thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 7, 2020

      Hi Gel, I haven’t tested this with instant coffee but here is what one of our readers wrote “Update for my cake. I made it again last Saturday for my son’s birthday and it turned out great! It was rich chocolate flavor (nobody noticed coffee). I used corn oil and for 2 cups coffee I used 3 teaspoons decaf instant coffee (light/medium roast).” I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Spencer B
    March 5, 2020

    This is super yummy! I don’t drink coffee so I didn’t have any on hand. I used water instead. I doubled the recipe because we have a 5 year old birthday party. I was able to make the main cake and 24 cupcakes. There was some batter left so a made a super small round cake so I could just eat it. The flavor didn’t disappoint! It was moist and delicious! I need to try it again with the coffee to see how much better it can be. By far the baes cake I have made from scratch!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 5, 2020

      Thank you for that wonderful feedback Spencer! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Our readers will find the water option helpful I’m sure.

      Reply

  • Dorothy
    March 5, 2020

    I made this cake yesturday and it came out wonderful. I’m wondering if different types of coffee make a difference in taste …. I used maxwell house! Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 5, 2020

      I Dorothy, you should not taste the coffee in this recipe as its use is to enhance the chocolate flavor. I believe a stronger coffee may alter the flavor. If you happen to experiment with different kinds of coffee I would love to know your findings and how you like that.

      Reply

  • Rebecca
    March 4, 2020

    Hi Natasha! I love your recipes! I want to make this for a friend’s birthday. I am curious – what coffee did you use?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 4, 2020

      Hi Rebecca, we used our coffee machine to make our coffee. Several of our readers have brewed coffee or used instant coffee. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Lily
    March 4, 2020

    Your recipe look delicious. I have two 6 inches pan. How do I convert the ingredients to 6 inches pan? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 4, 2020

      Hi Lily, I have not tested this in a 6-inch pan but it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

    • Michaela West
      March 4, 2020

      Lily, make the original recipe. Use approx 3/4 of the batter, divided into you 6 in pans. I have a large measuring cup that holds 10 cups. If you have one, pour batter into it and measure the total amount. Subtract 1/4 of the batter. Divide the remaining batter into your pans.

      Reply

    • Kasthuri
      March 29, 2020

      I Natasha,
      For the frosting i dont have cream cheese. Which ingrédient van replace it plz?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        March 29, 2020

        Hi Ksthuri, you might try a chocolate buttercream frosting instead. You would have to make other modifications here if you remove the cream cheese.

        Reply

        • Brittany
          April 3, 2020

          The cake itself was great! The icing however, is good but it’s very very sweet (I love rich sweet things but this was much sweeter then I’d prefer). If I was making the icing again I would cut down on the icing sugar. Excited to try more of Natashas recipes I’ve made many and liked them all!

          Reply

          • Natasha's Kitchen
            April 3, 2020

            Hello Brittany, it’s so nice to know that you loved it! That would be a good idea to lessen the sugar if you think it’s too sweet for you. Thanks for your review!

  • Sapna Singh
    March 4, 2020

    I’m planning to make this cake for my daughter birthday … The only oil i can use is olive oil , no other kind from Guyana

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 4, 2020

      That should work. Please share with us how it goes.

      Reply

  • Jocelyn
    March 4, 2020

    Can I bake this cake in a bundt pan?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 4, 2020

      Hi Jocelyn, I have not tested this in a bundt cake to advise. If you experiment with that, please let me know how you like it.

      Reply

  • Ashlyn
    March 2, 2020

    Can this frosting be stored outside of the fridge? Or does it need to be refrigerated?

    Amazing cake and amazing icing!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 3, 2020

      Hi Ashlyn, yes we recommend keeping it refrigerated. Be sure to cover when refrigerating. I would suggest letting it come to room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving for it to soften up again.

      Reply

  • Michaela West
    March 2, 2020

    Hello Natasha! I love your recipe’s! I made this cake yesterday for a family gathering. I altered it by using vegetable oil instead of the light olive oil. Additionally, I used dark cocoa powder, since it was what I had. My family was blown away, it was spectacular!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 2, 2020

      Thanks for sharing that with us and I’m glad to know that your modifications worked well! This would really help others who want to try those substitutes too.

      Reply

  • Belle
    February 29, 2020

    Hi Natasha
    There is no egg in this chocolate cake why is that…

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 29, 2020

      That’s right Belle! No eggs! Isn’t that amazing! We used other ingredients that help with the cakes volume.

      Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 29, 2020

      That’s right Belle. No eggs! Isn’t that amazing! We used other ingredients that help with the cakes volume.

      Reply

      • Emilia
        April 29, 2020

        Will it work if I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. I only have an apple cider one at home

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          April 29, 2020

          Hi Emilia, I honestly haven’t tested that so I’m not sure how it would affect the flavor, plus apple cider vinegar isn’t as acidic as white vinegar.

          Reply

  • Hadicha
    February 29, 2020

    Hello! I was going to give this cake a try. But I am wondering if it’s OK to use extra virgin olive oil instead of just olive oil. Then I’m going to use heavy whipping cream instead of cream cheese and buttercream and am wondering if it’ll be OK too?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 29, 2020

      Hi Hadicha, extra virgin olive oil imparts a different flavor which is why I don’t typically use it for baking.

      Reply

    • George Skene
      February 29, 2020

      Hadicha,
      I’ve made this recipe three times with extra virgin olive oil. I know the flavor is different, but not sure how much and we loved the results. FYI.
      George

      Reply

  • Sylvia
    February 24, 2020

    I never seem to have LIGHT olive oil but always have vegetable oil. Can that be used instead? I’ll certainly put the light OO on my next grocery list though.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 24, 2020

      Hi Sylvia, a vegetable or canola oil would work. If you experiment with any of those options, let me know how it goes.

      Reply

  • Michael
    February 24, 2020

    Love love love your videos and bubbly personality. I have a question. Light olive oil instead of like a vegetable or blended oil? Is there any strong olive oil taste afterwards? Thanks
    Michael

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 24, 2020

      Hi Michael, Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me. The olive oil can be replaced with canola oil. The one I use is a LIGHT olive oil so it doesn’t have any flavor. The one you would want to avoid for desserts is extra virgin olive oil since that does have a strong flavor.

      Reply

  • Sophie
    February 22, 2020

    Amazing, simple, easy and delicious.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 22, 2020

      I’m so glad you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

      Reply

    • Reina
      March 28, 2020

      Hi Natasha,
      I really love your recipes.
      Can I divide this recipe into half only? Also can i use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar?

      Thank you.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        March 29, 2020

        Hello Reina, yes you may divide the recipe in half, I haven’t tried brown sugar yet to advise but if you do an experiment, please share with us how that goes.

        Reply

  • Anubha Knapen
    February 21, 2020

    Hallo Natasha,
    I have a qustions. I have tried to make this cake for the second time but both time my cake breaks in peaces when I remove them from the cake pans. What could be the reason for that and what can I do te prevent them from breaking?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 21, 2020

      Hi Anubhha, For the cake to not stick, it is important to line the bottoms with a ring of parchment paper. It is very difficult to transfer and will break apart otherwise. If you think the issue was in the actual texture or consistency of the cake layers, it could be due to varying proportions of wet to dry ingredients. I highly recommend this article on how to measure ingredients for baking since a change in the method can result in up to 2% too much flour which would cause a dryer cake. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Nancy Sapir
    February 21, 2020

    Outstanding cake. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 21, 2020

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Darlene M Douglas
    February 18, 2020

    Very moist and delicious! The coffee really adds a depth and I was surprised how easy of a recipe it was. Thanks for providing it!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 18, 2020

      Thanks for sharing that with me, Darlene. I appreciate your great feedback!

      Reply

  • Johanne
    February 16, 2020

    I was wondering why your recipe for your chocolate cake does have eggs in it. Can I add eggs , and if I do how many and what to I substituted for it or put less of in this recipe

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 16, 2020

      Hi Johanne, that’s right, no eggs in this recipe it relies on other ingredients for volume. This recipe doesn’t require eggs and I haven’t tested it with eggs either but let me know how you like it if you give it a try.

      Reply

  • Monica
    February 15, 2020

    I made this cake a month ago it was delicious while I was checking the recipe one of the comments said that he/she used less sugar on the frosting, I followed this advice but the frosting was too soft. Next time I’ll use the five cups of powdered sugar.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 15, 2020

      Thank you for sharing that feedback with us!

      Reply

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