Easy, Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe (video)

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

I love me some chocolate cake and I’ve been on the task to come up with the best chocolate cake recipe. And this one is it! This basic recipe for chocolate cake layers is perfect for any cake or cupcakes! The cake batter is made with butter, eggs and milk, yielding a soft, delicate and ultra chocolate-y cake, just bursting with richness and flavor! Just add your favorite frosting and filling and you’re all set!

This recipe is part of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series, where I share simple cake, frosting and filling recipes. Make sure to check out the entire collection!

My Chocolate Cake Video Tutorial 

Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions for making this delicious chocolate cake! Want to receive new recipe notifications? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for making this easy cake recipe:

  • Butter: use only unsalted butter for this cake recipe for best results. Soften the butter for 30 to 45 minutes prior to using in the recipe.
  • Sugar & Eggs
  • Whole Milk: use whole milk for the richest tasting cake. It will also help make the cake more moist. Try adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the milk to create a buttermilk.
  • Instant Coffee: adding a little bit of coffee to a chocolate cake helps intensify the chocolate flavor. You won’t taste the coffee!
  • All-Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, Salt
  • Cocoa Powder: try using a dark chocolate cocoa powder for extra dark and rich chocolate layers.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: melted chocolate makes this cake extra moist and super chocolate-y!
chocolate cake with coconut pecan filling and toasted coconut
German Chocolate Cake

How To Make Chocolate Cake

Here’s how to make the perfect chocolate cake recipe every time!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare your baking pans by lining them with parchment paper and spraying them with a non-stick baking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Make sure to soften the butter before using in the recipe. This will help make a smooth batter.
  3. Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix again until creamy. Prepare the coffee: dissolve the 2 tablespoons of granules in 1/4 cup water, then add to the batter along with the milk. Stirring the milk into the batter may cause it to look separated but that is okay. The recipe is not ruined!
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Mix together, then sift into the cake batter to get rid of any clumps. Using a hand whisk, mix the flour into the batter just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter! Gently fold in melted chocolate at the very end.
  5. Divide the cake batter between your prepared baking pans. Bake the layers in the preheated oven for about 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely. They will be extra fragile when they just come out of the oven!
12 layer chocolate cake slice
12 Layer White & Dark Chocolate Cake

Recipes to For Easy Chocolate Cake

I use this recipe for cake layers for many of my other recipes, like my ‘Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake’ or this incredible ‘Triple Checkered Cake’.

Pan Sizing Guide

Here’s a quick pan sizing guide for you! This cake recipe can be used with many different pan sizes:

  • 2 or 3, 8-inch rounds; 2, 10-inch rounds
  • 13×17-inch jelly roll pan for a sheet cake; 10×10-inch square pan
  • 24 count cupcake pan
  • 10-inch bundt cake pan

Share it on Pinterest!

The Best Chocolate Cake video recipe

More Recipes!

This cake recipe is part of my ‘Back To Cake Basics’ series! In this series, I’m sharing basic cake, frosting and filling recipes that you can use for all your baking needs.

Supplies/Tools

Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):

How to Make a Chocolate Cake (video)

15 mins prep + 30 mins cook
16 servings
Learn how to make a rich and decadent chocolate cake with cocoa powder and chocolate chips!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. This recipe is great for 3, 8-inch cake rounds; 2, 10-inch rounds; 13×17 jelly roll pan; and makes 24 cupcakes. Line baking pans with parchment paper and spray sides with baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix again until creamy. Prepare the coffee: dissolve the 2 tablespoons of granules in 1/4 cup water, then add to the batter along with the milk.
  • NOTE: the cake batter can look as if it's separated after you add the milk. It is not! The milk can cause the butter particles to clump together. Just proceed with the recipe.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Mix together, then sift into the cake batter to get rid of any clumps. Using a hand whisk, mix the flour into the batter just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter! Gently fold in melted chocolate at the very end.
  • Divide the cake batter between the prepared baking pans. Bake the layers in preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 433IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 1mg