My older son is a chocolate lover and this easy chocolate cake is his favorite cake, ever! It's fluffy, chocolatey, and perfectly moist. I've made it a little fancier by making it into a layer cake. The batter bakes beautifully as cupcakes and is perfect with cream cheese frosting. It's so versatile and is a great base recipe to use with your favorite frosting. I've topped my cake with chocolate ganache. What I love about this recipe is that it is a no-fuss-easy-pantry-ingredients type cake. Every ingredient is easy to find at your local grocer. There's also no creaming of butter and sugar, all you need is a whisk and spatula to bring it all together.
I've tried many chocolate cake recipes, many great tasting, but I keep coming back to the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe on the back of their cocoa powder container. That recipe is an American classic. It's a great go-to recipe when you just want a great chocolate cake. I've altered the recipe slightly by adding instant espresso powder. This small change brings out a sharp chocolate flavor without making the cake taste like coffee.
This is a perfect anytime celebration cake, but I usually make it when my son says he wants mom's chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream :).
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Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix with a whisk. Mix wet ingredients, then pour into dry. Batter will be thin, don't be alarmed, this is normal.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. My oven baked it perfectly at 35 minutes.
I'm using semi-sweet chocolate chips here. Use any brand you like. Heat heavy cream just until scalded then pour over chocolate chips. Let it stand 5 minutes then whisk to make a smooth topping.
This cake is very forgiving. You can easily swap out ingredients for a healthier option or even make it dairy-free to suit your diet.
- Use coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or applesauce (measure for measure) in place of vegetable oil
- Try almond milk, coconut milk, or lactose free milk in place of whole milk
- Use dairy-free chocolate morsels and coconut milk to make the ganache
- Egg substitute- I recommend either ¼ cup applesauce for each egg OR 1 teaspoon baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar. This recipe already calls for baking soda so use the one teaspoon already listed in the recipe and mix with vinegar then add to the wet mixture
- Taste is best after a few hours or the next day
- Use cocoa powder in place of flour to butter and "flour" your pan. You wont get those white streaks on the outside of the cake after baking 🙂
- Batter will also fit in two 9-inch pans to make a layer cake
- If baking in a glass 9x13 dish, reduce baking time to 325 degrees F
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup canola oil, vegetable oil, or melted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 12oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 8oz heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x13 metal pan. Set aside.
- Place dry ingredients in a large bowl. Use a whisk to combine and mix.
- In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Beat egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Reserve boiling water.
- Add wet ingredients to dry mix. Mix thoroughly, then pour in the boiling water. Batter will be thin, this is normal. Use a fork to gently stir batter to remove any air bubbles.
- Pour batter into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes. Insert toothpick after 35 minutes to ensure cake is cooked through.
- Let cake cool 20 minute before frosting.
- While cake is baking, prepare ganache.
- Place chocolate morsels in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Pour heavy cream into a saucepan. Heat on med-low. Allow milk to heat until scalding. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Immediately pour milk over chocolate morsels. Let it stand for 5 minutes to melt chocolate.
- Use a whisk to mix milk and chocolate until smooth and shiny. Allow to cool and thicken for about 10 minutes before frosting the cake.
- Pour ganache over cake. Use a spatula to smooth over cake. Leave cake uncovered to allow ganache to dry slightly.