Moist Chocolate Cake

Moist Chocolate Cake

There’s something to be said for a cake that you can whip up at 9 o’clock on a Friday night, after a serious doozy of a week, when you need some baking therapy that requires little to no brain power. By the time this past weekend hit, I think anything requiring technique or poise in the kitchen would have had induced some kind of cerebral short circuiting – I imagine there would have been sparks, probably some twitching and likely even drool.

Okay fine, so there might have been drool anyway.

Actually, when the cake emerged, there was probably drooling and clapping. I tell you that because I trust you won’t judge me.

This cocoa-based cake is deeply chocolaty and incredibly moist. It surprises me every single time with how good it is for something so easy. It is a great emergency cake to have in your repertoire for forgotten birthdays, last-minute visitors, or urgent Friday night chocolate cravings. I love to smother it in gooey marshmallow frosting (the seven-minute kind made with just whipped egg whites, sugar, and vanilla). Mmm… Drooling again. Note to self: try to control that. This time I smothered it instead with a super easy cocoa buttercream frosting. Not the fancypants Italian buttercream, the shortcut American-style buttercream that is basically just butter, icing sugar, and cocoa powder. Again, brain short-out aversion strategy.  UPDATE: Fluffy Chocolate Frosting recipe here!

Moist Chocolate Cake

I have used this recipe to make sheet cakes, layer cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes… really, you can’t go wrong. Everything gets tossed in the standing mixer (no creaming of butter and sugar, or alternating between dry and liquid as in typical cake recipes), poured into cake pans, and popped in the oven, easy as 1-2-3.

***Note: I have been asked dozens of times if you can taste the coffee, and the answer is no; it does not taste at all like coffee. You won’t know it’s there, it just deepens the flavour of the chocolate and the heat helps smooth out the batter and get rid of lumps. But feel free to use just plain boiling water in its place.

P.S. If you like this, you’ll love my super moist banana bread recipe…

Moist Chocolate Cake


4.3 from 8 reviews
Moist Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
UPDATE: Fluffy Chocolate Frosting recipe HERE. To use this recipe for cupcakes, preheat oven to 375 instead, and line two 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Divide batter evenly among cups and bake 20-25 minutes, until tops spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Makes 24 cupcakes.
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans (or line with parchment paper circles) and set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). Remove bowl from mixer and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula. Batter will be very runny.
  3. Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on middle rack of oven for about 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached.
  4. Allow to cool 15 minutes in pans, then run a butter knife around the edges of each cake. Place a wire cooling rack over top of each pan. Wearing oven mitts, use both hands to hold the racks in place while flipping the cakes over onto the racks. Set the racks down and gently thump on the bottom of the pans until the cakes release. Cool completely before handling or frosting.


  • Caroline

    I have tried this cake a few times now and my o my!!!!! yumm yumm yumm!!! it is now my go to moist chocolate cake recipe. My family loved it. my colleagues loved it! its just to die for!! :)

  • Angie Hopp

    I have made this cake 3 times. It is the best chocolate cake I have ever had. I used a 9×13 pan because it’s easier and I don’t have any baking skills. I used the chocolate buttercream recipe from rhe Ghirardelli cocoa powder bag and it was wonderful.

  • domesticgodess

    Oh. My. Gosh. Thank you SO SO much for sharing this!! The most amazing cake I’ve ever had in my life, no joke! I rarely ate chocolate cake, or any cake for that matter, because I always thought cakes were too dry and crumby and had a funny texture and you have just converted me lol this is super moist and fudgy! Amazing! :D

  • Laleh

    Thanks for sharing of this perfect recipe. I baked it for my daughter’s birthday and everybody loved it.

  • Briana

    Do you cut the cake layers in half before frosting? Or just put 2 layers of cake And 2 of frosting? I can`t tell from the pictures..:(

  • Sue

    Just to check, how do u melt the butter? Tks!

  • Jasmine

    My goodness these comments are building up vibe. Going to try this recipe now. I’m 100% sure it’s going to be AMAAAZING!!!!

  • Jasmine

    I tried this recipe and everyone went mad over this cake saying by far the best homemade chocolate cake they’ve ever tasted. Thanx!!

  • Rachel t

    This recipe is so good. Love it.

  • Patricia

    Haven’t tried the cake yet but so far, it looks moist. The only thing is, if you want to do a two layer cake, don’t split the batter but make two complete batter. I thought one mix would be overflow in one 9×13 pan but it wasn’t. Just the right thickness for one layer

  • Annie Z J

    It was my first ever baking attenpt and i love chocolate cakes. I found this recipe and thought of trying this one first. And hell yea!!! IT IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER. am a beginner in baking and th cake turned out to be super perfect… Thank u so much for the recipe..

  • Joyce Siemens

    How do you make that very dark, very rich looking icing that is on the cake in the picture?

  • Jlt888

    Best chocolate cake ever

  • Siobhan in Santa Monica

    Sorry to double ask, but the frosting in the picture is not like the frosting in the links…is it called something else you’ve already posted somewhere? I apologize for double asking again! :)

  • yashwant singh negi

    i like it

  • fadiah

    How do make the frosting please???

  • nihaad

    It was amazing, tasted really delicious and was super moist.:-D It is by far the best chocolate cake recipe.♥

  • manwella

    This is so delicious !

  • Jessica

    I have made this recipe several times, and it is always a winner. Make sure you use plain flour. I mistakenly made it with self raising and it was a volcanic eruption over the sides of my cake tin. Seriously.Best.Chocolate.Cake.Ever

  • Sweta

    Dear Jennifer
    Thank for for this recipe. I was wondering if you could help me with something. My over does not have space for 2 cake tins. Any advice on how best to deal with it?

    • Jennifer Pallian

      You could bake it in a 9×13″ pan, or else bake one pan at a time… :)

  • Corrina

    Amazing cake. Rich and moist. I swapped half the white sugar for soft brown sugar and also added 1tsp of baking powder to the flour. I iced it with chocolate ganache and served it with whipped cream for extra decidance (not that it was needed).
    This cake has now become my ‘go to’ chocolate cake.

  • Tamryn

    I have made this recipe 3 times and it has amazed everyone in my family! the people who don’t eat sweet stuff went back for seconds and requested the cake be made again haha. I’ve done both a cake and cupcakes and its just the most awesome moist scrumptious cake!!!! THANK YOU for this fantastic recipe!!

  • Olga

    This is the best chocolate cake recipe ever. It deceives people into thinking I can actually bake :D Seriously, it always turns out great. 10/10 <3

  • lucy

    What iceing do you recomend

  • tui

    Yup..nice moist choc cake…tasty and light!

  • Mark

    This is the nicest chocolate cake I have ever tasted… perfection

  • Rohanah D

    Since I lost my recipes in hurricane Katrina, I have tried several other recipes but nothing comes close. This recipe is even better than the one I lost. Made this for a friend’s birthday. AWESOME. Best chocolate cake ever. Thank you.

  • Faviola

    The cake was a huge hit!! Thanks!! I made my own butter icing and added some shaved chocolate for decoration. Definitely making this recipe a staple!!

  • Lauren

    I have been searching and searching for a moist chocolate cake recipe to use for cupcakes that actually have domes! This recipe is beyond fantastic – I used it for a going away party for a friend at work that loves cappuccino. I used the powdered espresso for the coffee in the recipe and made a chocolate-espresso butter cream frosting then added a chocolate covered espresso bean on top everyone thought they were wonderful. Can’t wait to make it in cake form! Thank you so much for this outstanding recipe!

  • Carolynn

    Best and easiest chocolate cake I’ve ever had….super dense and moist
    holds up great for fondant and once cooled of completely cuts in half great for middle layer of icing :) Thank you for this fantastic recipe

  • Helen

    This cake is brilliant, but i’m dying to know the recipe for the icing in picture?! Not the butter cream frosting ‘update’ one… the super thick fudgey one in the picture of the cake..can anyone help?
    Thanks :)

  • She

    *Drooling*…hahah! how did you make that icing/frosting?coz this icing is darker than the one on the link….. so glad I’ve found your blog can’t wait to try this…:)

  • umme

    After reading so many good reviews about this receipt. I tried it, and it did not turn the way it says moist n fluffy. My cake was dense.
    Place advice what could have gone wrong

  • Johanna

    Hi, is the “icing” in the chocolate cake here is the same one on your Fluffy Chocolate Frosting? If not, do you have another recipe for the frosting/icing? Also, I’m not quite sure but did you layer the cake? Like batter-frosting-batter? Sorry, I’m new to this and I want my cake to look exactly like yours. HAHA.

  • Drew

    Mrs Pallian in your opinion would Nutella work as a filling between layers ?

  • Curious

    Will it still work if don’t use coffee? And use Hot chocolate instead?

  • Gabby Thompson

    In my cake, I was able to taste the coffee which is unfortunate because I really don’t like coffee. So for those who don’t like coffee, I would advise using really weak coffee or not using it at all.

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  • emy718

    OMG loved this cake!! Moist and rich in flavor! Everyone loved it and I bake often but this one is a keeper! I
    I added a few semi sweet morsels to the batter and topped with a ganache!
    Also added 1 1/2 tsp baking powder in addition to baking soda. Alternated dark and milk chocolate Kit Kats around the cake..a la pinterest. yummy!
    Thank you for the recipe !!!!