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The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

Updated: Apr 19

Here is the best chocolate cake recipe you'll ever make! I know that is a strong statement, but I promise you this rich and decadent chocolate cake will have you coming back for more -and you won’t need to search for another recipe again!

If you need a chocolate cake that stays moist even after freezing or chilling, this is the one for you! I use a combination of hot coffee, buttermilk, egg yolk, and sour cream to give this cake it’s decadent, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Using Dutch process gives a richer cocoa flavor, however, you may use regular cocoa powder if that is all you have, I like to enjoy the deep chocolate flavor. Here is the kicker, hot coffee. You may be asking why, but I promise it is a game-changer in the chocolate-baking world. Adding hot water with instant coffee or espresso enhances the chocolate flavor even more and gives it an additional boost of moisture.

This recipe I decided to add an extra egg yolk to not only enhance the richness and flavor of the cake, but to also add that additional boost of moisture. Egg yolks in desserts and baking is a lot more common than you may think, and due to a yolk’s capabilities of adding both richness and moisture, it is the perfect addition to a chocolate cake.

Tools You'll Need

Here are some kitchen tools I like to suggest for making my cupcakes. These are the exact products I use every time:

  • Electric Mixer or a Bowl and Silicone Spatula

  • Cake Tins

  • Parchment paper cut to cake tin size or cake goop

Recipe Questions

Can I freeze this cake?

Yes, you may! Wrap them in plastic wrap once they are still warm but touchable from the oven and place in the freezer or refrigerator.

Can I use regular cocoa powder instead?

Absolutely! The chocolate flavor just won't be as intense or rich, but these are still delicious with average cocoa powder. You may also use dark cocoa powder or black cocoa powder.

What can I use to substitute sour cream?

You may use equal amounts of plain greek yogurt or mayonnaise with a squeeze of some lemon juice in replacement of the sour cream.

Can I use regular milk?

Absolutely! You may use regular milk or a milk substitute if you do not have buttermilk nor want to make a buttermilk substitute at home.

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to check your baking powder and baking soda expiration dates. If you end up having dense layers that did not seem to fluff up at all, expired or over-mixed batter is usually the culprit.

  • Use parchment paper for easy cake removal. By cutting a circle to fit the bottom of your cake pan and then a strip around the inner side, before pouring in your batter, you can always ensure a super clean and easy removal with zero sticking.

  • Scrape the sides! During the batter mixing process, be sure to do these steps slowly and scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl 1-2 times to ensure there are no ingredients that do not get mixed in properly. Skipping this can result in chunks of butter, flour, etc ending up in the middle of your cake.

The Best Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

Servings: 2 - 8” cakes


  • 2 cups (398g) granulated sugar

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)

  • 1 egg yolk (room temperature)

  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk (room temperature)

  • 1/2 cup (99g) vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream

  • 1 cup (227g) hot or boiling water

  • 3/4 cup (62g) dutch cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons (4g) instant coffee or expresso

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F line your cake tin with parchment paper, nonstick spray or cake goop.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. In a small bowl, whisk your buttermilk and sour cream until it is fully combined and should resemble a custard-like consistency. Then add your eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Set aside.

4. In another small bowl, mix your hot water and expresso powder, stir, and let it sit. You are pretty much making a bowl of hot coffee at this point. Measure out your cocoa powder and slowly mix the hot coffee into the cocoa and then set aside.

5. Turn your mixer on low (setting 2 on a KitchenAid) and slowly add your buttermilk mixture. Once just barely combined, scrape the sides and add in your hot chocolate coffee mix and mix on medium until the batter has fluffed up or about 2 minutes.

6. Fill your tins half way and bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from the center with some crumbs and there is no jiggle.

7. Remove the cakes onto a cooling rack as soon as possible and once cooled some, about 5-10 minutes, remove them from their tins to finish cooling or wrap them in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

Recipe Notes

Freezing Your Cakes

Once your cakes are out of the oven, try to wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer until frozen and/or you are ready to decorate them. This little hack helps trap the moisture in and does not let the cakes to continue to bake in the tins.

Once you are ready to use your cakes, you may trim them while chilled (which makes it easier) and then stack or frost as you normally would once they have thawed out just slightly but not at room temperature. This makes it easier to crumb-coat, decorate, etc.

Buttermilk vs. Milk

Buttermilk is not needed, but it adds just that right amount of extra moisture and flavor that my customers enjoy! Buttermilk has a bit of a higher fat content than regular milk. You may use regular milk any % will work or try making your own buttermilk substitute from the options in my Buttermilk Substitutes blog!

Egg Yolk

I call for 1 egg yolk to add more richness to this cake, which in turn helps enhance the full chocolate flavor. This extra egg also adds additional moisture.

Have you tried this recipe? Tag me on Social Media!

Use #sweeteatsbyrachel and mention @sweeteatsbyrachel on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

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4 commentaires

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21 mai
Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

Rachel, I love the recipes you share along with the helpful tips to bake the very best I can!!!

Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
24 mai
En réponse à

Thank you! It’s a pleasure


17 mai

Can I bake this is in a 9x13 pan? Or 3 8 inch?

Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
17 mai
En réponse à

You should be able to do an 9x13, however you would not have enough to fill 3 8” tins halfway with this recipe, you would need to double it, unless you don’t mind thinner layers then you can definitely do 3 8” tins!

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