Moist Chocolate Cake

DSC 0177 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!

DSC 0197 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…

DSC 0215 Moist Chocolate Cake


Moist Chocolate Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
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.
Serves: 12
  • 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.



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    November 3, 2013 11:10 am - Reply

    This looks fabulous!

  2. chelicera

    November 3, 2013 6:32 pm - Reply

    This cake is SO GOOD! Making this cake was the first time I made a layer cake and the frosting from scratch. (I found a frosting recipe that sounded like what she said she did.) I made it for my mom’s birthday and everybody loved it. It was moist and flavorful. Thank you!

  3. shibani

    November 3, 2013 11:10 pm - Reply

    i am a teen and i loove chocolate and baking i am surely gonna make this thanks for the recipie

  4. Jelly

    November 11, 2013 10:07 pm - Reply

    When I started searching for chocolate cake recipes, this picture kept popping up but all I did was admire. Recently, I had been seeing it a lot and decided to give it a go. I certainly don’t regret it. Tastes different from other chocolate cakes I have made or bought. It’s so moist it almost unreal and the melted butter gave it a much richer flavor than oil would. I generally don’t eat much chocolate cakes (either there is too much cocoa or they are not moist enough or they are just bland) but coming from an EXTREMELY picky baker, this is the absolute best chocolate cake recipe.

  5. Nancy

    November 17, 2013 12:31 pm - Reply

    Is there baking powder in this recipe? I’m making this tomorrow :)

  6. Vibeesh Bose

    November 17, 2013 7:32 pm - Reply

    Off the charts good! I’ve tried my share of chocolate cakes, this one is a keeper.

  7. Erin

    November 18, 2013 5:58 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I had a friend use the recipe as the base for my wedding cake.

  8. Debbie brindley

    November 19, 2013 4:38 am - Reply

    just whipped this up today and abig thumbs up from all. Just crumbs left.

  9. Yazan

    November 27, 2013 1:44 pm - Reply

    How does it taste without coffee?
    Curious.. But I love it :D

  10. Bakerella 45

    December 4, 2013 5:13 pm - Reply

    FINALLY!!! A real chocolate cake!!!!!! I had people BEG for a second serving…Thank you so much…is now my new choc cake recipe!

  11. Bakerella 45

    December 4, 2013 5:16 pm - Reply

    Yes Danny, you certainly can! But y still need to add 1C of boiling water.

  12. Bakerella 45

    December 4, 2013 5:18 pm - Reply  
    It tastes amazing…trust me, I must have baked 200 choc cakes in my life, this one takes the cake!!! – excuse the pun! :)

  13. Ken

    December 5, 2013 5:10 am - Reply

    just want to make sure, is this cake texture kinda heavy? I just finished frosting it but its still uneaten. Waiting my hubby back  home so I can surprise him with this cake (today our wedding anniv). My cake surely not light, dense and kinda heavy. Did I do something wrong??

  14. Rose

    December 18, 2013 6:34 am - Reply

    Thanks for this nice recipe. But if the photo is concerned, how do you make the top layer which seems that much creamy and irresistible? :p

  15. Encar Reyes

    December 19, 2013 10:54 pm - Reply

    The best I’ve had!!!!! And I keep making both the cupcakes and moist chocolate fail!!!!! I so love it..

  16. Encar Reyes

    December 19, 2013 10:55 pm - Reply

    I would definitely try your moist banana bread soon!!!

  17. SummerShore

    December 23, 2013 3:50 am - Reply

    @Rose Same question here. It’s my second time to do this recipe and yes it’s moist but how do you make it look like that…in the picture?

  18. Bakerella 45

    December 23, 2013 6:19 am - Reply

    Use chocolate chips instead of cocoa – you’ll get more of a fudgey more dark chocolate buttercream feel !
    Good luck.

  19. lizzy309

    December 30, 2013 9:36 pm - Reply

    Just took this out of the oven and it has a crack all the way through it :( my guess is the heat. Changed to celsius it was 176℃ but my oven is fan forced so maybe I was meant to reduce another 20℃? Will try again next time that way.. Also only used 1 cup of sugar & that was sweet enough for me :)

  20. ChristinaTibando

    January 3, 2014 12:09 pm - Reply

    can anyone share the amounts they used for the frosting?? making this tonight!

  21. PhilipIronMadnessDunbar

    January 20, 2014 11:59 pm - Reply

    hi how do i make the chocolate icing

  22. Guest foodess fan

    February 16, 2014 2:32 am - Reply

    Has anyone tried to bake it in one pan without halving the recipe?? Or will  the mixture be too much? If yes, how long did you bake it for? My oven isn’t big enough to hold both tins at the same time ;(

  23. foodess

    February 16, 2014 11:40 am - Reply

    @Guest foodess fan  You can bake it in a single 9×13″ pan, or else bake in smaller pans one at a time – overfill them and they’ll make a giant mess in your oven!

  24. Nikki

    February 17, 2014 10:06 pm - Reply

    Have you ever tried it with Whole Wheat flour? My daughter cannot have white flour and I would love to make this for her!

  25. kopa shamsu

    February 25, 2014 10:45 am - Reply

    i m making it… the raw taste so yummy waiting … Oh yes i added extra pudding  to make it super moist lets see.. :)

  26. Jels

    March 7, 2014 1:19 am - Reply

    This recipe is utterly delicious but there is an issue: it always always falls slightly during and after baking. I have seen the pictures from “moist chocolate cupcakes with oreo cream cheese frosting” which rises beautifully. Initially, I thought it was the butter I use but I don’t have this problem with other recipes. Then I experimented 3 different recipes (this chocolate cake recipe included) with a different butter brand and all 3 cupcakes shrank and looked unbelievably sad. Lol…..

    I never open my oven until after 20 minutes and my oven temperature is always on point so these cannot be the problem.

    Can you shed some light on this for me? Thanks

  27. foodess

    March 7, 2014 6:18 pm - Reply

    Jels  Hmm… I’d be inclined to think they haven’t been baked long enough, or you’re overfilling your cupcake liners… the center of the top of the cupcake should feel springy when it’s done, not leave an indent.

  28. Jels

    March 12, 2014 4:34 pm - Reply

    foodess I baked them again and they came out perfectly. I let them bake a little longer and ensured the oven was superrrrrrrr hot. Thank you. I was never really keen on chocolate cake but this recipe has converted me. I can eat them none stop….heheheh

  29. superjohn12

    March 15, 2014 3:40 am - Reply

    great man

  30. taylormark256

    March 19, 2014 4:03 am - Reply

    This looks amazing and also attractive one. It would be a great choice for chocolate cake lovers. I also love chocolate cake specially those who are icing with pineapple cream or strawberry flavor.I have not tried your recipe yet but after viewing this fantastic cake. It would be sure that I will once try it out. Some of the chocolate cakes which I have eaten so far are

  31. Jayne Jones

    March 19, 2014 12:46 pm - Reply

    Best Chocolate Cake in a very long time!!! Will now do this in the Tea Rooms I run!! Moisty, fluffy, chocolate heaven, last a good few days too, longer than that and I dont know, I had to make another 2 very soon afterwards!!

  32. Joann

    March 22, 2014 5:49 am - Reply

    My guests said it was wonderful and very moist, but it *does* taste like coffee, which I despise. (You have to have someone who hates coffee try it to see if it tastes like coffee!) I’ll leave the coffee out next time.

  33. Jaya

    March 24, 2014 6:46 am - Reply

    Made it today..but it took a little more than 40 min for the toothpick to come out with only moist crumbs.. And the result was a yummy chocolate cake.. :)

  34. Grace

    March 31, 2014 1:04 am - Reply

    Can I whisk this by hand? I do have a stand mixer, but my only time to bake is when the little one sleeps. ;)

  35. Amor

    April 3, 2014 12:46 pm - Reply

    I just tried to bake this & it is very delicious moist chocolate cake…awesome!

  36. Torsha Chaudhury

    April 16, 2014 2:56 am - Reply

    Please tell me why did my cake taste a bit bitter?? My cake looked perfect and is moist and soft but it tasted a bit bitter. I made the following changes in the recipe:
    I used 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder instead of baking soda
    I used 1 cup milk instead of buttermilk, &
    I used 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla essence instead of vanilla extract.
    Did these changes made my cake bitter? please reply asap since I plan to bake this again for another occasion this week.

  37. Nope.

    April 17, 2014 4:02 pm - Reply

    How long would it take to bake if you were to use one pan?