This tender and moist chocolate cake is surprisingly easy to make, and such a joy to eat! This recipe features layers of outrageously soft chocolate cake made from scratch and a rich and fudgy chocolate frosting. It's a dream dessert for chocolate lovers! The best part? It's a one bowl chocolate cake! This recipe is a revamp of my one-bowl chocolate cake - this post features all new photos, more detailed instructions, and a modified recipe.
Moist and tender do not even BEGIN to describe this chocolate cake!! It's seriously the best chocolate cake recipe I've ever made, and hands down one of my all time favorite cakes.
The icing on the cake (pun intended) is the fact that it's so, so easy to make!
OH, annnnd I can't forget to mention what takes this cake over the top: a fudgy chocolate frosting.
It's very similar to chocolate buttercream frosting in terms of ingredients - but the method is what sets it apart.
The method used to make it is specifically crafted to yield a denser frosting (when compared to traditional chocolate buttercream), and it goes SO PERFECTLY with the light and tender cake!
Chocolate cake ingredients:
• sugar: granulated for the cupcakes and powdered sugar for the frosting. The frosting uses SIX. WHOOPING. CUPS. of powdered sugar. And while that may seem like a crazzzzy amount, it's pretty on par with basically any other buttercream frosting. The frosting is NOT sickeningly sweet though thanks to the cocoa powder (which adds a perfect bitterness) and the salt (which dials down the sweetness). That doesn't mean it going to be kind on diets.... but I'd say it's worth the extra pounds!
• cocoa powder
• baking powder & baking soda: the combination yields an ultra soft, moist, and airy cake!
• salt: to balance the sweetness in both the cake and the frosting
• milk: for the cupcakes and the fudge frosting. While most of my frosting recipes give you the option of using milk or heavy cream, this frosting is best made with milk! We're going for dense, rich, and fudgy here, and heavy cream can fluff the frosting
• vegetable oil: you can also use any other neutral flavored oil like canola, mazola, peanut, etc.
• black coffee: what I'd argue is the key to a seriously. good. chocolate cake. The coffee itself won't flavor the cake, but it'll bring out the chocolaty flavor of it! Using boiling hot coffee is important because the heat will also yield a richer chocolate taste (when it melds with cocoa powder), but it also helps make the cake more moist, smooth, velvety, and airy
How to make chocolate cake with chocolate frosting:
Make the chocolate cake:
1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add most of the wet ingredients. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, and pour in your milk, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. (Basically everything besides the coffee.)
3. Whisk together. Start whisking from the center to break up the eggs slightly and gradually work your way to the edges. You'll have a thick batter at this stage.
4. Add hot coffee. Whisk together until combined. The batter will be super loose - that's what you want!
5. Portion and bake. Pour into your cake pans and bake until cooked through. If you only have one cake pan, you can bake the cake in batches. Let the cake pan cool completely to room temperature before baking your second layer. The batter can be left out at room temperature for about 1 hour.
6. Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes in the pans, then turn onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely to room temperature before frosting.
Make the chocolate fudge frosting:
1. Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
2. Cut in butter. This is where this frosting differs from regular buttercream - instead of creaming butter to make it fluffy, we're cutting the butter into the dry ingredients. You'll have a crumbly mixture, which is exactly what we're looking for!
3. Add milk. Gradually mix in your milk until you have a creamy and spreadable frosting.
4. Frost + layer + decorate cake! Stack one of your cakes onto your serving platter and spread about ⅓ of the frosting overtop. Top with the second cake layer and frost the top and outside of the cake with the remaining frosting.
5. Slice & serve!
Chocolate cake storage:
Keep your cake stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Cover the cake with a cake dome or plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, a nice trick for keeping your design intact is to chill the cake (uncovered) for about 1 hour to allow the frosting to set. Then, cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve!
This cake will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Because the cake stiffens when cold, before serving, let the cake sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow it to soften. It just makes for a better texture.
You can also freeze the unfrosted cake layers if you'd like! To freeze, wrap each individual layer in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil (to prevent freezer burn). Freeze for up to 3 months.
You can frost and assemble the cake while it's still frozen (which I like to do either way because it makes it so much easier to work with!) Ooooor let your cakes defrost at room temperature before frosting and layering.
Check out these other chocolate recipes!
Chocolate Cake Recipe
For the chocolate cake:
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- 1 & ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (120g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240mL) milk
- ½ cup (120mL) vegetable oil, or any neutral flavored oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 cup (240mL) hot black coffee * see notes
For the chocolate fudge frosting:
- 1 & ½ cups (180g) cocoa powder
- 6 cups (800g) powdered sugar
- 1 & ½ cups (3 sticks / 340g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 10 to 12 tablespoons milk
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9 inch) round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Lightly dust the sides of the pans with cocoa powder, and tap out any excess. Set aside.
- Make the chocolate cakes: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla into the well. Whisk the wet ingredients in the center to break up the eggs roughly, then gradually work your way out the the edges to mix in the dry ingredients. Whisk until it just combines into a thick batter. Take care not to over mix.
- Pour your hot coffee into the thick batter, and whisk right away to combine. The batter should be very thin at this point - that's what you're looking for!
- Pour the chocolate cake batter into your prepared cake pans. Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes in the pans, then turn onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment paper, and set aside to finish cooling completely to room temperature.
- Make the chocolate fudge frosting: Sift your cocoa powder and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add your butter in, and cut the butter into the cocoa powder and sugar until the pieces are about the size of a pea. You can do this with a fork, pastry cutter, or electric mixer set to low speed. The mixture will be crumbly.
- Add your salt, vanilla extract, and 5 tablespoons of milk, and mix to combine. Gradually beat in more milk until you have a smooth and spreadable frosting (it should take about 10 to 12 tablespoons of milk in total).
- Layer the cake: Place one of your cooled chocolate cakes onto your serving platter, and spread about ⅓ of the frosting over the top. Layer your second cake on top, and use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
- Slice and serve!