This chocolate cake recipe checks every box- moist and fluffy (check), fudgy and rich chocolate flavor (check), AND you probably have all the ingredients already (No special trips to the store? Sign me up!). Keep reading to find out how I made this into the best chocolate cake recipe, and you just may be making a chocolate cake this weekend!
What makes this the best chocolate cake recipe?
Before I make a recipe, I always research how I can make it as delicious as possible (and sometimes even the science behind it…because baking really is science!) Here are some things I found out about what makes a good chocolate cake:
- This one is pretty obvious, but NEVER overbake. When pulling out a toothpick, I like to remove it when there are a little bit of crumbly pieces on the toothpick (not wet, but not completely clean).
- Oil! If a cake recipe has oil in it, you can get a good idea already that it will be a moist cake. Most recipes call for vegetable or canola oil, but I actually prefer extra virgin olive oil. The reason is because it creates a more delicate/fluffy crumb than vegetable/canola oil. Not to mention, olive oil has a ton of health benefits. Yeah, I know, cake isn’t exactly healthy, but doesn’t it make you feel good to at least add something thats high in antioxidants?!
- Boiling water. Why boiling? This is because the hot water reacts with both the cocoa powder and baking powder (see? science!). It reacts with the cocoa powder creating a rich, exploding chocolate flavor. The water reacts with the baking powder by helping it rise and creating a soft, fluffy texture.
- Here’s where you’ll see differences in recipes…milk. I’m a huge buttermilk fan, but this recipe was created with the intention of using ingredients you most likely have already. Buttermilk helps make baked goods fluffy, but this recipe contains so many other factors for that, it honestly makes the buttermilk unnecessary (unless you want to use it, then go for it!).
What kind of pan should I use (and their bake times)?
I had to go into this next because there are so many ways you can make a cake. For this recipe, I used three 6 inch cake pans (because I like to make my life harder and decorate them) and will list the bake time for that in the recipe card. Here’s a list of commonly used cake pans and how long you should bake for each one. (Note- these are all baked at 350 F)
- Three 6 inch cake pans: 27-30 min
- Two 9 inch cake pans: 30-35 min
- 9×13 pan: 35-40 min
- Cupcakes: 22-25 min
- 9×13 pan: 35-40 min
- Two 9 inch cake pans: 30-35 min
Making sure your cake doesn’t stick to the pan
With the addition of non-stick cooking spray, parchment paper rounds do a fabulous job of making sure your cake plops right out of the pan without a flaw. You could buy parchment rounds to fit your cake pans, but I actually just trace the bottom of the cake pan I’m using and cut the appropriate sized circle for it. You will want to spray the whole pan with non-stick spray first, then add the parchment round to the bottom, then spray again lightly. Works like a charm every time!
How to make the best chocolate cake recipe
Ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (227 g)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (75 g)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar (410 g)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used 2% for this recipe)
- 1/2 cup oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil for fluffier cake, but vegetable/canola is okay)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Line your cake pans with parchment paper (see above note on this) and spray with nonstick spray. Remember to spray the pan first, then line with the fitted parchment paper, then lightly spray pan again.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift your flour and cocoa powder (removes clumps and ensures the ingredients are incorporated evenly).
- Add the other dry ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar- yes the sugar too!) and mix until well combined.
- Whisk in the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth and clump-free, about 2 minutes. You can also use a hand mixer at low speed, but be careful not to over mix the batter.
- Then add the boiling water a little at a time. I added a little, then mixed together, added a little, mixed, etc etc.
- Pour the batter into your cake pans and bang them lightly on a table or counter a couple times to get the air bubbles out.
- Place in the oven and bake for 27-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean with a crumb or two (see notes above for cook times on other pans).
- After baking, place on cooling rack and let cool completely before adding frosting.
The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 3/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 Tsp baking soda
- 1 Tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 Cup milk
- 1/2 Cup oil extra virgin olive oil preferred
- 2 Tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 Cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- With a pencil, trace the bottom of your pans on parchment paper and cut into circles (you can also buy the appropriate sized parchment rounds if you'd like)
- Spray the bottom and sides of baking pans with non-stick spray, place the parchment rounds on the bottom, then lightly spray over it.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift flour and cocoa powder
- Add in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar and mix until well combined
- Whisk in the eggs, milk, vanilla and oil and mix until smooth and clump-free (you can also use a hand mixer on low speed, but be careful not to over-mix the batter).
- Mix in the boiling water a little at a time (add in some, mix, add, mix, etc…). After mixing everything together, the batter will be thin (I've included a photo of cake batter in post).
- Pour into baking pans and lightly bang on counter/table top to get rid of air bubbles.
- Bake in center of oven for 27-30 min or until toothpick is clean with a couple of crumbs (or if you press on the top of cake, it should spring back).
- Let the cake completely cool before you add frosting.
- In this recipe, I am using three 6 inch pans. Here are baking times if you are using other pans- two 9 inch pans: 30-35 min, 9×13: 35-40 min, cupcakes: 22-25 min.
- Sifting is annoying, I know, but it really does help to make sure you don’t have clumps in your batter and evenly incorporates all the ingredients to ensure a fluffy, well-baked cake!
- If you are using the store-bought frosting, you can get away with one can for a 9×13 or cupcakes, but you will need at least two (3 if you’re doing piping designs on top) cans for a layered cake.
- Storing- the cake will be okay for 3 days at room temperature, and up to 5 days in the refrigerator. If you’re going to freeze leftovers, cut into slices and double wrap with cling wrap and then put them into a freezer ziploc bag. They will be okay in the freezer that way for about 3 months.
Recipe adapted from HersheyJump to Recipe