This dark, moist homemade chocolate cake recipe is made from scratch and the BEST chocolate cake recipe you will ever taste! Super easy to make and served up with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting, this Best Homemade Chocolate Cake is the best chocolate cake you will ever eat.. and you won’t believe the secret ingredient that makes all the difference!
Let’s talk about guilt… and how to overcome it!! Chocolate cake is a serious downfall of mine and even the best of diets can’t hold up to a moist, delicious piece of chocolate cake. Slather it with chocolate buttercream frosting and we just have a hot mess waiting to happen. The ooey .. the gooey … the dark, rich chocolate cake paired up with the sweetness of the chocolate frosting… pffft!! Weight Watchers … we have a situation over here!!!
All joking aside, finding the best chocolate cake is not easy and there is certainly nothing more disappointing than to have your heart set on that first bite only to find that the chocolate cake currently residing on your fork is not up to par .. nope.. dry, flavorless, plastic tasting chocolate cake is enough to break a fluffy girls heart. So what is a chocolate cake lover to do? Easy!! You find that perfect homemade chocolate cake recipe and you make it so many times you know it by heart and no other homemade chocolate cake recipe will do!
THIS Best Homemade Chocolate Cake is THAT recipe. This ultimate chocolate cake recipe is the chocolate cake recipe you have been searching for your whole life.. I promise you! Inspired by Hershey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake, my Best Homemade Chocolate Cake is a dark, moist, light chocolate cake topped off with the perfect chocolate buttercream frosting.. CHECK PLEASE! Forget about store bought cakes and forget about those pre-fab cakes you find in the freezer department of your local grocery store. Making your own homemade chocolate cake from scratch is so easy and takes no more time than grabbing a boxed one from your pantry.. except it’s 1000 times better and you get the very best bragging rights.
Not that bragging rights are important …. (right!) …..
COCOA POWDER OR CHOCOLATE CHIPS?
For this Best Homemade Chocolate Cake recipe, I use cocoa powder .. dark cocoa powder to be exact. If you are not a fan of the dark chocolate, feel free to use regular unsweetened cocoa powder instead. You could certainly stir in a cup of chocolate chips, if you like, but you really don’t need them in this cake.
SECRET INGREDIENT IN HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE
There is one little thing that makes all the difference when making the Best Homemade Chocolate Cake.. espresso powder. Whaaaaat? Yes, adding espresso powder to your homemade chocolate cake will add such a richnessness to your cake that it really takes it to the next level. It does not taste like coffee but does enhance the dark flavors of the cocoa powder. Most grocery stores carry espresso powder in their coffee aisle so be sure to pick some up next time you are there.
UT OH!! ROUNDED CAKE TOP!
I know there are secret tricks out there on how to have your cakes bake perfectly flat but an easy way to fix the problem is to simply take a sharp knife and gently slice off the top of your rounded cake. Easy, peasy.. flat cake squeezy 🙂
HOW TO REMOVE CAKE FROM THE CAKE PAN
In a perfect world, you cake will gently and perfectly slip right out of your cake pan and softly glide right side up onto your waiting cooling rack. In reality, cake needs help. Run a butter knife around the outside edge between your cake and cake pan and then place an upside down dinner plate onto the top of your cake pan.
Have a hand on both and gently flip the plate/pan combination over so that your pan is upside down on the plate.
Jiggle and your cake will slide out of the pan. Then place a hand on the bottom (now top) of that cake and still holding the bottom of the place, flip your cake right side up again. Move it gently to the cooling rack to finish cooling.
MODIFICATIONS, IF YOU PLEASE …
This Best Homemade Chocolate Cake can be modified in so many different ways, depending on your tastes. See below for some tried and true modifications below:
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:
To make this chocolate cake a dairy-free chocolate cake recipe, try using almond milk or coconut milk in place of the buttermilk.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:
To make the chocolate cake a gluten-free recipe, substitute in equal amounts the all purpose flour with gluten free flour as listed in the recipe.
Butter vs. Oil:
I am a die hard butter fan but I have to say that for chocolate cake, in my opinion, vegetable oil wins but you can certainly replace the oil with butter if you like. You can also substitute the vegetable oil with coconut oil but it does have a bit of a residual coconut taste. I don’t know that is a bad thing 🙂
No Espresso Please:
If you don’t care to add the espresso powder into the recipe, feel free to leave it out. This is a mighty tasty cake without the added ingredient.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE BEST HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE?
Easy! To make Best Homemade Chocolate Cake, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9 inch cake pans with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla and mix together until incorporated. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder and slowly mix into your wet ingredients. Pour in the boiling water and mix until combined. Your batter will be thin and that is what you want. Pour your batter evenly into your two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pans and moving to a cooling rack. When you cake is complete cool, make your chocolate buttercream frosting by adding butter, milk, vanilla, sifted powdered sugar and sifted cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl and mix until combined. Frost your cake and enjoy!
PRO TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE
- Bring your eggs and buttermilk to room temperature before using them. Room temp eggs emulsify better and are fluffier than eggs right out of the refrigerator. A trick for bringing refrigerated eggs to room temperature quicker is to let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
- I can’t stress this one enough … kids, sift those dry ingredients when it comes to making the buttercream frosting. I can tell you I have skipped this step before and regret it every time. Every. Time. No one wants to serve up the perfect chocolate cake slathered in a chocolate buttercream frosting with lumps of white powdered sugar speckled through out. Sift!!
- Buy milk while you are at the store. Chocolate cake needs to be eaten with a big glass of milk. Buy milk.
BEST HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Best Homemade Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk .. room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs .. room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce packed of espresso powder
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups softened butter ... 3 sticks
- 5 cups powdered sugar .. sifted
- 1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder .. sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 tablespoons milk
- To make Best Homemade Chocolate Cake, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9 inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla and mix together until incorporated. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder and slowly mix into your wet ingredients. Pour in the boiling water and mix until combined. Your batter will be thin and that is what you want. Pour your batter evenly into your two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pans and moving to a cooling rack.
- When you cake is complete cool, make your chocolate buttercream frosting by adding butter, milk, vanilla, sifted powdered sugar and sifted cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl and mix until combined. Frost your cake and enjoy!