The BEST Homemade Chocolate Cake! Moist, rich, and super chocolatey! You won’t want anything else!
Homemade Chocolate Cake
Most days when I make a cake, I will go the easy and fast route and doctor a box cake mix. They always turn out delicious and let’s be real they are pretty tasty.
Sometimes though I want the real deal. Homemade, from scratch chocolate cake. Yes, it takes longer, yes, there are more ingredients and a few more dishes, but oh man is it worth it!
For more tasty cake recipes check out:
- Easy Chocolate Cake Pops
- Pink and Gold Cake
- Easy White Cake (Doctored Cake Mix)
- Easy Chocolate Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix)
- Portal Chocolate Cake
So, let’s make a cake!
How to make homemade chocolate cake from scratch?
- Combine boiling water and instant espresso. Then mix in the cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl sift together the cake flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a standup mixer beat your butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Then add in your eggs and yolks one at a time- mixing in between each egg.
- Mix in your oil then beat on high until batter is light and airy.
- Fold in half the flour mixture, the fold in half the buttermilk mixture. Then repeat until everything is incorporated.
- Pour into three 9-inch greased baking pans then bake until done!
How to fold in flour and buttermilk mixture?
Folding in ingredients allow the batter to retain the air you whipped into it- resulting in a lighter cake.
To fold in an ingredient, use a rubber spatula and gently scrape from the inside bottom of the bowl towards the center of the bowl. You want to bring the spatula around the bowl while lifting and folding the mixture in on itself.
You don’t want to just stir the mixture because that will remove all the air from the batter.
Do I have to use espresso powder?
No, but I like how it adds richness and brings out the chocolate flavor more.
Can I use regular cocoa powder instead of dark cocoa powder?
Sure! It will still be delicious, just not quite as dark and rich.
What if I want to make a smaller cake? How do I adjust this recipe?
To make a 2-layer 9-inch cake or a 3-layer 6-inch cake just divide the recipe in half. That’s what did for my German Chocolate Cake and it turned out amazing!
Other frosting recommendations?
Do I need to add a crumb coat to the cake?
It depends. If you are just wanting to frost it with wavy/ kind of messy designs (like the majority of the pictures)- then no.
If you want a very smooth finish to your frosting and want to add a drip/ piping to the cake (like the picture below) then I would recommend crumb coating the cake, refrigerate for 10 minutes, then add your final coat and smooth it out.
I used this recipe in my German Chocolate Cake Recipe and it is perfect!
Have another question? Ask me in the comments below.
Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!
Homemade Chocolate Cake from Scratch
- 1 tsp instant espresso
- ⅔ cup boiling water
- ⅔ cup special dark cocoa powder*
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ⅔ cup cake flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 2 extra-large yolk at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Best Chocolate Frosting- make 2 batches of this!
To make the best chocolate cake:
- Preheat oven to Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9 inch round cake pans, bottoms and sides, then sprinkle the pans with flour, then cut out parchment in circles to fit the bottom of the cake pans and place those in the pan.
- Boil water and add espresso to it, stirring until dissolved.
- Whisk cocoa powder, then buttermilk and vanilla into water/espresso mixture.
- Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl.
- Using a stand mixer, whisk sugar and butter until fluffy. About 10 minutes.
- Add each egg and the yolk, one at a time, into the butter mixture, letting each one fully mix into the batter before adding the next. Add in oil and mix until fully combined. The beat mixture on medium high speed for a minute- the mixture will be light and fluffy.
- Fold in ½ of the flour and then fold in ½ of the buttermilk mixture to the batter. Then fold in remaining flour and then remaining buttermilk mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Try baking the cakes on the same rack, or baking them one at a time. This will ensure even baking.
- Once the cakes are done let them cool completely before decorating. While cakes are cooling make a double batch of my easy chocolate buttercream. Then frost and enjoy!
Lisa's Tips:*I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder for the cake to make it a dark chocolate cake, but you can use any cocoa powder you have. *A double batch of frosting is perfect if you are not doing a crumb coat. If you are doing a crumb coat and a final coat, plus piping on decorations you will need at least a 3rd batch of frosting. *If you want to make a smaller cake see notes in post above.