A slice of chocolate cake with fresh strawberries on the plate.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

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Let me introduce the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe I know! It bakes into a moist cocoa-infused body with a rich buttery chocolate frosting. The inspiration for this cake comes from a classic recipe on the back of Hershey’s cocoa can. I think you’ll be happy from the first bite to the last, and I dare you to eat just one slice!

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Best Chocolate Cake Recipe From Scratch

The list of ingredients for this chocolate dream may seem long, but it’s only because we’re making it from scratch. And scratch means homemade like Grandma used to make.

My Mawmaw Trahan often baked a Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate Cake” into yummy frosted layers for our family gatherings. I remember her making them on my birthday, and, as a cholate lover, I’ll always have a fond remembrance of that gift.

A mixing bowl of batter with a spatula resting on a baking pan near a can of cocoa powder.

Note: Dust the pan with cocoa powder instead of flour to keep that cocoa color throughout the cake.

More Recipes From My Mawmaw Trahan At Louisiana Woman!

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe In One Bowl

Since I started making my own Hershey’s cocoa cake-love, I’ve learned how effortless it is. The instructions call for the dry and wet ingredients to be dumped into one bowl, mixed, and stirred with 1 cup of boiling water. It’s unusual, I know, but this thin batter bakes into a luscious springy cake.

I like using a single-layered 9″x13″ pan to simplify things. This way, the cake is cooled, frosted, and ready to serve from the pan.

It takes a little more time and effort to make a layered cake. When going this route, I use 2-9″ or 3-8″ cake pans. The results are a beautiful cake to garnish or decorate.

A chocolate cake on a wooden cake stand decorated with fresh strawberries,

Note: To save time, bake ahead and wrap the freshly baked cake tightly in cellophane and freeze for up to 2 weeks then defrost, frost, and serve.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Adjustments

There are a few alterations I’ve made to the original Hershey’s recipe. Just a few!

I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in the batter. Not much! If you want more sweetness, you can add up to a 1/2 cup more sugar.

The other change is adding instant espresso powder to the cake and frosting. I’m telling ya, you won’t want to be without coffee flavor in your chocolate ever again! It really makes a difference in enhancing that chocolate taste.

Another conversion I have tried is replacing vegetable oil with mayonnaise like I did in this recipe for Banana Pudding Cake-Mix Cake. The results were a fluffier cake. I used 1 cup mayonnaise instead of 1/2 cup oil. If you find yourself out of oil when baking a cake, you can substitute it with mayo to get delicious results.

The Frosting

To frost this lovely chocolate cake, I’ve increased the amounts in the original ingredients to generously cover the cake. If you haven’t noticed by now, this cake is an indulgence. It’s perfect for celebratory occasions, so why hold back?

Of course, I’ve added more instant coffee flavor to this buttery icing. This completes the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe and frosting masterpiece!

A tall cake with a slice beside it.
More Chocolate Recipes You Might Like
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A slice of chocolate cake with fresh strawberries on the plate.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

A decadent but simple-to-make chocolate cake recipe with a buttery chocolate frosting infused with espresso powder to enrich the chocolaty flavor. 

  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x




11/2 cups white sugar

13/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups cocoa powder

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

11/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water


3/4 cup salted butter

1 cup cocoa powder

41/2 cups powdered sugar

11/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1/2 cup milk

11/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Prepare a baking pan or pans with spray oil and flour with cocoa powder; see notes.
  3. Combine dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix in eggs, milk, mayo/oil, and vanilla into the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Add boiling water and stir to mix well; the outcome will be a thin batter.
  6. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake to a cooling rack.
  8. Frost with Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Mix the butter, cocoa, and espresso together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add powdered sugar and milk alternately into the cocoa and butter mixture while mixing.
  4. Beat frosting until it is a consistency that is easy to spread.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Add a small amount of milk if frosting needs thinning.


  • This cake can be baked into 3-8″ pans, 2-9″ pans, 1-9″x13″ pan or a bundt pan.
  • Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra sugar to the cake batter for more sweetness.
  • Cake can be baked before it’s needed; wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, place it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, defrost, ice with frosting, and serve.
  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: sweets
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: best chocolate cake recipe, chocolate cake and frosting, chocolate cake recipe, Hershey’s chocolate cake

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Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.

Jim Elliot

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