The Most Delicious, Life-Changing Chocolate Cake

The Most Delicious Life-Changing Chocolate Cake – rich, moist, and decadent chocolate cake layers with a silky smooth chocolate buttercream.

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The Most Delicious, Life-Changing Chocolate Cake

I don’t know how on earth I’ve gone six years without putting a basic chocolate cake recipe on my blog. I mean, I have these layers and this buttercream paired with SO many different cakes, but not the two of them together by themselves. Preposterous, I know! Well, the wait is finally over! I’m so excited to share with you The Most Delicious Chocolate Cake you’ll ever eat. Seriously! It’s that good that I’m making such a bold claim.

Plus, it’s an easy chocolate cake recipe. You can whip this up in no time!

Check out how moist these layers are! We have a combination of buttermilk, hot water (or you can use coffee), oil, and eggs to thank for that.

NOTE: The cake batter in this cake recipe is thinner than many of my other cake batters. Don’t let that scare you. It’s going to rise beautifully and taste incredible. Truly the best chocolate cake ever!

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Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate

It’s important to note that this recipe uses dark chocolate for a reason. Because we’re adding cream, butter, and powdered sugar to the chocolate, the flavor gets diluted just a bit. If you use milk chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chips, you’re going to lose a lot of the chocolate flavor. Additionally, the buttercream will simply taste overly sweet. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love all things sweet, but it’s important to have balance. The dark chocolate in the layers and the buttercream help provide a balance to the sweetness because dark cocoa is bittersweet. However, the cake and buttercream frosting don’t taste bittersweet because we’ve added other ingredients to them (i.e. sugar!).

So trust me on this one. Use dark chocolate!

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What Dark Chocolate Should I Buy?

It’s important to use a good quality dark chocolate for the best tasting results. I use and recommend either Callebaut Chocolate or Guittard Chocolate. You can find both at Orson Gygi or Guittard can be found at most grocery stores.

How to Make Cake

When making the cake layers, don’t forget to follow my go-to tips for getting your cakes to rise and bake well:

  • Preheat your oven for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Use good quality pans like Fat Daddio.
  • Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. 
  • Don’t overmix your cake batter once you add the dry ingredients.
  • Use room temperature wet ingredients.
  • Use fresh baking powder.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it

I also shared the baking process on my Instagram the other day. Click the icon below to check it out.

Take a look at how moist these chocolate cake layers are. www.cakebycourtney.com

Best Chocolate Buttercream

I’m making a lot of big claims today, I know. But friends, I stand by them! This is the most delicious chocolate cake and this is THE BEST chocolate buttercream. You’ll be using 10 ounces of dark chocolate, some heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar (sifted, of course), vanilla and salt. I have some tips below for making the best buttercream frosting, plus, you’ll want to click the Instagram icon below to see how I make it.

How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting

To get this silky smooth buttercream, make sure you follow my tips: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM

  • Sift your powdered sugar
  • Use slightly cold butter
  • Use heavy whipping cream
  • Beat for 5 minutes
  • Stir by hand

You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step to make sure you get the best buttercream frosting. And remember, these steps can be used for any buttercream recipe on my blog.

IMPORTANT For chocolate buttercream specifically, remember to heat the cream and chocolate together first. You’ll then stir the mixture until it becomes a smooth ganache. Once the ganache has cooled slightly, you’ll add the mixture to the butter and continue making the buttercream according to instructions.

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Other Cake Recipes You’ll Love

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The Most Delicious Chocolate Cake

4.99 from 106 votes
Tender and moist chocolate cake layers with silky, smooth chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g)  baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 g)  buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water 
  • 1/2 cup (109 g)  vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1/3 cup ( 77 g) heavy whipping cream 
  • 10 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar measured then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.

Instructions
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumsb on it.
  • Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use. 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and the cream for about one minute. Stir until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the ganache. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then mix on medium-high speed for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the vanilla and salt.
  • Buttercream can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.
  • When you’re ready to frost the cake, bring the frosting back to room temperature and mix by hand with a wooden spoon to push out all of the air pockets. 

ASSEMBLY

  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, in the center of a cake board or cake stand.
  • Evenly spread 1 cup of buttercream over the cake layer.
  • Place second cake layer, top side down, on top of the buttercream.
  • Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Beginner, chocolate buttercream, Chocolate Cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

Get my free cake decorating guide
Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Compared to your Ultimate chocolate cake, the measurements in grams for the flour and the sugar differ, but the measurements in cups are the same. 2 cups of flower equals 240 grams in the recipie for The ultimate cake, but here it says 220 grams. What is correct? The rest of the recipies are exactly the same. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this! So easy. Didn’t even use the mixer, just mixed it by hand and it came out beautiful. And delicious.

  3. Hi!
    I love your chocolate cake! It’s my go to.
    If I double this, is it the same as your pb oreo chocolate cake? The measurements seem a little different.
    Which do you suggest for a large group? This one doubled, or the oreo pb as is?
    Thanks so much!
    I cant wait for your book❤

  4. Hi mam… The cake looks so moist and beautiful… May I know if this frosting is stable in hot weather?.. Please reply

  5. 5 stars
    This buttercream is amazing! (I haven’t made the cake yet, just needed some frosting for a leftover cake). Delicious!

  6. I would love to make this recipe into cupcakes for a birthday party. Can you tell me if the oven temp and time would be different? Thanks!

  7. I made this cake gluten free today for my daughter’s birthday using the Bob’s 1 to 1 flour in place of the regular flour as you recommended and it was AMAZING!!!! I was so fun to actually bake something GF that looked and tasted so good. I can’t wait to try some more of your recipes. Thank you Courtney 🎂

  8. 5 stars
    Hi,

    I haven’t made this yet, I’d like to know if it’s sturdy enough for a tiered cake? 3 layers x 8inch on the bottom and 3 layer x 6inch on the top?

    thanks!

          1. 5 stars
            Made this for my birthday! Delicious! Any conversions that need to be made for a 9X13 pan? Do you think it would make one or two? Thanks!

  9. Hi! Will this recipe work in a 9×13 pan? Also do you think we could do a vanilla frosting and it would pair ok? Looking for a white cake to decorate for bday. Thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    So, I love all the recipes I’ve tried from Courtney. All wonderful! My sister decided to make this for a party and I helped her with the finishing touches and couldn’t get over how moist it looked and how good it smelled and how creamy the buttercream was for chocolate. When I finally got to eat a piece I was literally amazed by the balance of chocolate, bitter, and sweet. It was PERFECT for me!!! It was not overly sweet and not overly bitter; literally perfection. I ate more than one piece and have been dreaming about it ever since. About to make it for ourselves, no special occasion- just Saturday in need of this cake. THANK YOU COURTNEY!

  11. If you were going to make a smaller smash cake out of this, what would you recommend? Or just stick to this size? Thank you!!

  12. I’m making this for my father’s birthday. My oven has the option to put a try in that adds steam when baking. This usually makes cake layers more flat and less domed. Could I use this when making this cake or just bake it as instructed?

    Thanks for your reply.

    Helen

  13. 5 stars
    This is by far the best Chocolate cake I have ever made. Made it with the chocolate buttercream in the recipe as well. I’m not really a huge fan of American buttercream so it’s the only thing I would change in the future. I also made it with the hot coffee and I did not taste the coffee at all! Can’t wait to try more cake recipes!

  14. By dark cocoa powder, do you mean black cocoa powder? I only have Hershey’s 100% cacao natural unsweetened and The Saco Pantry natural and dutched blend cocoa powder. Will either of those work? Thanks so much!

  15. The amount of heavy whipping cream in this buttercream recipe is 1/3 cup but it is 1/4 cup when you have the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe by itself. Which is better or can it go either way?
    Thanks

  16. I’m planning to make this in two weeks for my daughter’s birthday but have a couple questions, please. 1) Do you use Dutch processed cocoa powder? 2) For the dark chocolate chips, if I’m using a dark chocolate bar what percentage would you recommend? Or, is there a difference between chips and bars so that they’re not interchangeable? Thank you!

  17. 5 stars
    This cake recipe was super quick and easy to make! Resulted in a beautiful, extremely moist, and DELICIOUS cake. I did opt for a Swiss meringue buttercream instead of the American buttercream, so I can’t comment on that. But I still could not be more satisfied! 10/10 for this cake recipe. I’ll never use another!

  18. Can this be used in 9-inch pans? I wonder if I would have to add another half of the recipe ingredients, to get the right consistency?

  19. I hope my question makes sense: If I halve this recipe for two 6 inch cakes, will the layers still be a decent height? I only ask because most if your other recipes for cakes are four 6 in or three 8 in. I was so impressed by the height on the Classic White Cake as two 6 in cakes, I was wondering if this would be similar!

  20. 4 stars
    The chocolate cake recipe is divine. However the buttercream recipe reminds me a lot of the one use in Joann Chang’s Birthday Cake. That one uses much less sugar, and which I highly recommend if you’re trying to cut down on sugar. She makes a ganache with 12 ounces of chocolate and 1 cup of cream, then adds that to 1 cup of butter which has been whipped with one cup of powdered sugar, vanilla & a pinch of salt added, too.

  21. I am baking this for my dad’s birthday. Question is…if I am baking the day before and frosting the next day what’s the best way to store the cake overnight? Thanks!

  22. 5 stars
    I love to bake, but I’ve always been cursed by sunken cakes. Not anymore, this recipe was a game-changer! I followed it to a T: made sure everything specified was at room temp and I went by weights instead of measurements. The results was a beautifully-risen, chocolate, two layer cake, and it was delicious! So moist and full of flavor, and I’m not even a big chocolate fan. My 7 year-old (it was his birthday cake) loved it, and so did my picky husband. Thank you so much, I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  23. 4 stars
    I think the frosting portions are off. Frosting is much lighter than shown and I had enough for two more 9 inch cakes. I think the butter should be halfed and just v1 top. vanilla. That would make it more chocolate. Haven’t tasted it yet. Will do so after dinner tonight.

  24. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what temperature i would use if i decided to make chocolate cake cupcakes instead of chocolate cake and how long to bake the cupcakes.
    Thank you

  25. Does this recipe come out with cake stable enough to cut/shape or do you have any suggestions on how to alter it so that pieces will cut cleaning off instead of crumble? Thank you

  26. Hi Courtney! Want to try this recipe but curious about adapting the buttercream to use black cocoa- want to use it to make my son a Mickey Mouse cake. Should I substitute the chocolate chips for black cocoa powder, adjust amounts for each, or use it in addition to the chips? Would love your input. Can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  27. I’m not going to rate this yet as it is still in the oven. But it’s not looking the best and I think I was so worried about overmixing, that I undermixed 🙁 I hope not because I was supposed to bring it to a meeting tonight!

  28. Hi, what is the recipe for 6 inch 4 layer cake? Or as you mentioned 8inch 2 tins can I just use 6 inch cake tins and divide batter into 4 tins

  29. 5 stars
    I love this cake it was so moist and beautiful it was fabulous the best chocolate cake I ever had thank you so much

  30. Hello! I love your blog !
    Can we use cream cheese frosting on this cake ? I wanted to use this recipe for a baby shower cake but wasn’t sure if cream cheese frosting would go well (I wanted a white frosting base for decorations) . Thanks for your input!

    1. You totally can if you want. I wouldn’t suggest piping with cream cheese frosting though. It’s too soft.

  31. 5 stars
    An absolute love for this recipe! Followed this recipe and managed to do 4 6-inch pans!! I did 2 cakes!!! One for my family, and one for my husband to bring over to his man-gathering! EVERYONE LOVES IT! Moist, decadent, and ONE SLICE IS NOT ENOUGH, i tell you that!

  32. I’m new to cake making. I tried your yellow cake recipe and loved it. I tried this chocolate cake recipe twice and they sank both times. The first time they had a nice dome until I opened the oven to check at 30 min. The second time they never achieved a dome shape. I live in Utah and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I tried really hard to follow all the tips listed above the recipe.

    1. Try not opening the oven until you’re fairly sure its done. But my chocolate cake doesn’t really have a dome.

  33. Is this your most versatile chocolate cake? Like if I could only choose to master one chocolate cake recipe, would this be it?

    1. 5 stars
      This is a delicious cake. Well worth mastering.

      If you want a moist delicate deeply chocolate cake with excellent structure.

      It is very like Hershey’s or Ina Garden recipe.

      If you need something that will hold heavier fillings, or that you want to build with you will need a heavier cake, more like a Bundt cake batter.

      My option. 😊

  34. 5 stars
    I love the chocolate cake. Your recipe seems very good. I always have no creams myself. When I was making different chocolate cakes, I came to the conclusion that it was good to combine two recipes for different cakes. Here I described it (it is in Polish) https://totemat.pl/jak-zrobic-ciasto-czekoladowe-murzynek- Szybki-i-smaczny-przepis/ that is combining zebra recipe and chocolate cake into one. Your cake looks so much nicer.

  35. 5 stars
    This chocolate cake is incredible, my family are strong cake Critics and it was unanimous that this was the best cake that I ever Made. Can’t wait to try more of you recipes. Wish I could given it more than 5 stars

  36. I love watching your videos and everything you do! I have a question for this chocolate cake recipe. I have someone that has me to make a chocolate sheet cake for their son’s graduation party because she know I love baking! Would this recipe be good for that? I know it says 2 8inch round pans is what the recipe calls for….Would I just need to double it? I’m not good at figuring that out! I look forward to baking it!