This Chocolate Cake is the BEST Ever.
Hip2Save may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you via trusted partners and affiliate links in this post. Prices and availability are accurate as of time posted. Read our full disclosure policy here.
Chocolate (& espresso) fans, listen up!
The combination of these two rich flavors makes for the absolute best chocolate cake ever! To be honest, this incredible homemade chocolate cake takes a little more effort and ingredients than I normally spend baking, but let me assure you it’s 100% worth it!
If you have a special occasion or birthday coming up and love chocolate, this is THE cake I suggest making.
Looking for a keto chocolate cake? Head over HERE to Hip2Keto.com for a delicious low-carb chocolate cake!
The inspiration for my cake comes from this popular chocolate cake from Ina Garten. I changed a few ingredients like using melted butter in the cake instead of oil, an extra egg, extra vanilla, instant espresso in the cake, and I went with a more simplified buttercream chocolate frosting.
The result is a perfectly fluffy yet dense and spongy, incredibly moist, chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting you will be so proud of! In fact, this may be the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted and my family agrees!
Tips for making this best ever chocolate cake recipe:
- Line the round cake pans with parchment paper to make it easier to remove them after baking. To get a perfect size every time, set your pan on the parchment paper, trace, and then cut around the bottom.
- Do I have to use brewed coffee and instant espresso powder? In short, no. You can use hot water and leave out the espresso powder. However, coffee pairs so well with chocolate and actually intensifies the chocolate flavor so much! If you like coffee, I say try it. Keep in mind, you could use decaf coffee and decaf instant espresso powder instead if added caffeine is a concern.
- I used my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, but you can use a mixing bowl and hand mixer if that’s what you have on hand.
- I made a double batch of this chocolate buttercream frosting because I wanted extra to decorate with it. I had so much leftover frosting, however. So I would start by making one batch as written.
Best Ever Chocolate Cake
yield: 8 SERVINGS
prep time: 30 MINUTES
cook time: 30 MINUTES
total time: 60 MINUTES
This dense and moist cake is perfect for chocolate lovers. The cocoa flavors are intensified by the espresso! The rich chocolate buttercream frosting makes it even more delicious.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
- 1 cup strong black coffee (or hot water if not wanting to use coffee)
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your 8″ or 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper and non-stick spray.
Add sugar, flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of your standing mixer, and whisk until fully incorporated.
If using, stir your espresso powder into your strong black coffee until fully dissolved.
Add that to your flour mixture along with the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides, and then continue mixing for 90 seconds. The batter will be thin, but will turn out so great!
Pour batter evenly into prepared baking pans.
Bake 8″ pans for 35-40 minutes, 9″ pans for 30-35 minutes, or bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from pans.
To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, beat the butter alone for 15 seconds. Add salt and vanilla, and continue mixing for another 30 seconds until smooth.
Mix together the cocoa and powdered sugar in a large separate bowl. Slowly add it to the butter mixture alternately with the cream, scraping down the sides of your bowl frequently. Continue mixing until fully incorporated and fluffy, for a minute or two.
After cakes have fully cooled to room temperature, spread or pipe frosting onto cake, as desired. Enjoy!
Adapted from Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake via FoodNetwork.com
Curious about how I decorated this cake?
I recently picked up an awesome cake decorating set from Amazon and had so much fun using it for this espresso chocolate cake. Keep in mind, I am not experienced AT ALL in decorating cakes, but this design was easy to create using the tools from this kit.
The set has a nice turntable, high-quality spatulas to use with frosting, and of course tons of options for frosting tips with a guide in photos that visually tell you what each tip looks like.
Specifically, I used the T07 tip to make the star border on the top, and the K34 tip for swirl border around the bottom of the cake, from this Kootek brand cake decorating kit.
I’ve gotta admit that my cake was a little lopsided and I had no idea really what I was doing, but I’m pretty proud of my efforts! 😂
Here’s what my teammate Jenna had to say after baking this chocolate cake:
“This is such an awesome recipe because the chocolate flavor really stands out with the addition of coffee! Oh my goodness it’s so good with that yummy, buttery frosting. The frosting amount worked out beautifully to frost generously, and decorate a little bit. It was soft and easy to work with and held it’s shaped well. Best cake ever!”
More of a strawberry fan? Try this award-winning strawberry cake!
If I did a regular cake pan instead of rounds any clue what the baking time would be? I don’t have round cake pans and would rather use what I have. Thank you!
I looked at a Wilton cake chart and it estimates 40-45 minutes for a 9×13 pan – hope that helps!
may you use instant coffee granules in lieu of espresso powder?
Ya I think that could be good too!
So glad to see “made from scratch” recipes on Hip2Save. I almost always bake from scratch and then I know exactly what is in it. I will definitely have to save this recipe for the next time I need to make a chocolate cake:)
Thanks Susan! I think you’ll love this.
Agree! I hate it when recipes use box mix, canned crescent rolls, etc. Excited to try this!
I baked this cake today using an 9×13 pan. It was perfect after 37 minutes @350. I know everyone’s ovens are different but I was hoping this would help
Thanks so much!
I just pinned Ina Garten’s version of this yesterday but I am going to try your version instead!
This is the only cake my husband ever wants me to bake for his birthday! It’s the BOMB!
We have used Ina’s “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” recipe for years and it’s always been amazing! I will sometimes add toasted pecans that are crushed all over the top and it’s delish! So happy to see “whole” recipes! Not a fan of store “hacks” that use crescent rolls and box mixes
Great! Thanks so much for sharing your experience 👏
Do u have any option .. if we don’t want u use eggs Aai
I made this chocolate cake today and it is really delicious. I used water instead of coffee ( also no instant coffee too) and no vanilla. My mistake was I should have sifted my powder sugar because the frosting was lumpy so I had to keep stirring it to break the lumps but other then that Really great recipe. Thank you!
I’m so glad Sue! Thanks for sharing 👏💕
Can u make this in a 9×13 pan?
Someone else commented that they made it in a 9×13 pan and baked for 37minutes at 350 degrees and it came out perfect. I’m going to try it today!
I love the containers your sugar and flour in. Are they cereal containers?
Lina, I made this cake on Saturday and it’s already gone. It was amazing. My son wants to know if you have a vanilla cake recipe too. I’d love to make him a layer cake using this frosting. Thanks.
Here’s a vanilla crazy cake that’s yummy and easy. I’m so glad you guys enjoyed that chocolate one! Yum! https://hip2save.com/recipes/easy-vanilla-crazy-cake/
Awesome, thanks. Going to bake that Friday 🙂
The frosting is amazing.
Lina i really want to try this.. iam not a coffee drinker so how do i make a strong cup of coffee? I do have instant coffee at home…how much should i use to make it strong ? Thanks.
I’d simply increase the amount of grounds without increasing the water. Try doubling the amount it states on packaging.
Hope that helps! Enjoy 😊 this is a great cake! ❤️❤️
Should I use salted on unsalted butter for this?
I used salted.
This was way too much batter for my cake pans. Huge mess in the oven 😳
This is my “go to” chocolate cake recipe.
I love it! How well will the frosting keep if I make it 1-2 days before baking the cake? Have you ever tried that?
Oh ya frosting would so well ahead of time, maybe let come to room temp to spread easier. thanks Pam!
I live at 7000 ft and every time I try the recipe my cakes sink in the middle. Any suggestions?
Yes! I used to live in a high-altitude climate. We always added 2 extra Tablespoons of flour to fix this! Good luck!
Does leftover cake need to be refrigerated?
I just made this cake and it is fabulous. The cake is a marvelous texture that tastes wonderful. The frosting is melt in your mouth delicious and the perfect frosting for this cake. I will never use a different recipe. The only change I made was to use instant coffee in place of the espresso powder, because that’s what I had. I used ghiradelli cocoa power because I had gotten it on sale. I was very happy with the finished product. This isn’t a difficult cake to make and well worth any effort.
Oh what an awesome review! Thanks Kaye!