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Rich and Moist Chocolate Cake (from scratch recipe)

This moist chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting is a decadent dessert with a soft, rich crumb complemented by a creamy, luscious topping. It’s a favorite choice for celebrations and indulgent moments!

a slice of moist chocolate cake on a plate.

If you’ve been on the hunt for the moist chocolate cake recipe of your dreams, then you’ve come to the right place! Imagine biting into layers of velvety, rich chocolate flavor complemented with a silky fudge frosting. This recipe is the best of both worlds: simple ingredients and a fancy outcome that’s sure to impress. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • Rich Chocolate Flavor: Every bite is full of chocolatey goodness. This is truly a rich chocolate cake, layered with an irresistibly fudgy frosting.
  • Perfectly Moist: This isn’t your average homemade chocolate cake. This recipe ensures a moist cake with a texture that’s soft and moist; not dry, ever!
  • Easy to Make: With simple ingredients, this easy chocolate cake recipe is straightforward. No fancy ingredients required!
  • Versatile: Suitable for any occasion, from birthdays to satisfying a late-night craving.
  • Stunning: Despite its simplicity, the end result looks like it’s straight out of a gourmet bakery.

Ingredient Notes

moist chocolate cake ingredients.
  • All-purpose flour: Make sure to accurately measure your flour to avoid dry, dense cake layers.
  • Granulated & Brown Sugar: This combination adds sweetness and moistness. The brown sugar contributes to producing a fudgy cake.
  • Cocoa Powder: Use dutch-processed cocoa powder. For a darker color, you could use dark (sometimes labeled as “black”) cocoa powder.
  • Buttermilk: Gives the cake a tender crumb. If you don’t have buttermilk, a good buttermilk substitute is whole milk mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Coffee: Amplifies the chocolate flavor. Feel free to use instant coffee or even espresso powder mixed with water.
  • Vegetable Oil: Keeps the cake moist. Olive oil or canola oil are good alternatives, but I prefer vegetable oil for a neutral taste.
  • Eggs: Always ensure they’re at room temperature for best results.
  • Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda & Baking Powder: Our leavening agents and flavor enhancers.
  • Chocolate Fudge Frosting: This glossy and rich frosting is made with butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. The addition of honey and heavy cream gives it a velvety and luxurious texture.

Make sure to check out the recipe card below for complete ingredient measurements. 

Step by Step Instructions

chocolate cake dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

wet ingredients and dry ingredients.

In another bowl whisk together your wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

chocolate cake batter in pans.

Evenly distribute the cake batter among your prepared round cake pans. Give them a gentle tap to release air bubbles.

chocolate cake on a wire rack.

Place them in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Once done, cool the baked cakes in their pans for around 10 minutes. Then, transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

melted chocolate chips and honey in a bowl.

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl or using a double boiler, melt chocolate chips, honey, and heavy cream. Allow it to cool slightly.

creamed butter in a mixing bowl.

In a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream your room temperature butter until smooth.

fudge frosting in a bowl.

Gradually add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat this mixture on low speed initially, then increase to medium speed, ensuring a uniform texture.

fudge frosting in a bowl.

Incorporate the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Mix until you achieve a creamy chocolate frosting.

assembling chocolate cake.

Lay one cake layer on your serving platter. Apply a generous amount of chocolate frosting on top.

frosting chocolate cake.

Continue stacking cake layers, adding frosting between each layer. Finish by frosting the entire cake, ensuring the sides are covered. Optional: Decorate with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or any decoration of your choice.

Tip: Ensure all your ingredients, especially eggs and buttermilk, are at room temperature for best results.

Substitutions

  • Buttermilk: If unavailable, mix whole milk with a splash of lemon juice as a buttermilk substitute.
  • Vegetable Oil: Canola oil or olive oil can be used in its place.
  • Gluten-free: For a gluten-free option, use all-purpose gluten free baking flour. 

Variations

Equipment

The type of cake pans you use matters. For instance, darker cake pans heat quicker than light colored pans. I personally recommend these 8-inch round cake pans for even baking and heat distribution. If you need to upgrade your kitchen tools, check out these essential items.

a slice of moist chocolate cake on a plate.

How to Store

Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How to Freeze

Place cake uncovered in the freezer for 1 hour. After 1 hour, wrap the cake with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature.

How to Prepare Ahead of Time

You can prepare the cake layers a day ahead. Once cooled, wrap the unfrosted layers in plastic wrap to maintain their moisture. Store the cake layers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Prepare the frosting on the day of assembly.


expert Tips

  • To achieve the perfect cake texture, do not over-mix the batter.
  • Always whisk your dry ingredients, especially cocoa powder, to avoid lumps in the cake batter.
  • Use a scale to weigh out all of the ingredients for the most accurate measurements. 
  • Always preheat your oven for best results.
  • For the best outcome, make sure ingredients like eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature.
  • Use a scale to ensure even distribution of the cake batter between pans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should ingredients be at room temperature?

Bringing certain ingredients, such as eggs and butter, to room temperature ensures a smoother batter. Cold ingredients can cause the mixture to seize or become uneven, affecting the end result of your moist chocolate cake.

What’s the purpose of coffee in a chocolate cake recipe?

Coffee is used to intensify the chocolate flavor. While the cake won’t taste like coffee, it helps in deepening the rich chocolate notes, making it taste even more chocolatey.

Can I substitute the buttermilk in the recipe?

Yes! If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a quick substitute by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of whole milk. Let it sit for a few minutes until it curdles, and it’s ready to use.

How do I know if my cake is done without a cake tester?

A toothpick or thin skewer can serve the same purpose. Insert it into the center of the cake. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs, your cake is perfectly baked. If it’s wet with cake batter, continue baking.

Can I use olive oil or canola oil instead of vegetable oil?

Absolutely. Both olive oil and canola oil are suitable substitutes for vegetable oil. However, do note that olive oil might add a slight fruity undertone to your cake, which can alter its classic flavor.

a slice of moist chocolate cake on a plate.

More Chocolate Recipes

If you loved the best chocolate cake recipe, check out these other great recipes.

Cadbury Mini Egg chocolate chip cookies on a wire rack.

Cadbury Mini Egg Cookies

red wine chocolate cake on a cake stand.

Super Moist and Rich Red Wine Chocolate Cake Recipe

If you make this recipe, take a photo and tag #bakedambrosia on Instagram and Facebook so that I can see your creations and feature them on Instagram! To stay up to date with the latest recipes, follow Baked Ambrosia on PinterestFacebookInstagram, and Youtube. ♡

a slice of moist chocolate cake on a plate.

Moist Chocolate Cake

Angelina Papanikolaou
This moist chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting is a decadent dessert with a soft, rich crumb complemented by a creamy, luscious topping.
5 from 70 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12 servings
Calories 944 kcal

Equipment

  • 3 8-inch round cake pans
  • parchment paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Stand mixer or hand held mixer

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk room temperature
  • 3/4 cup coffee room temperature
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Make sure there are no pockets of flour but avoid overmixing.
  • Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. Tap the pans on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing from pans and transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Fudge Frosting

  • In a microwave-safe bowl or using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, honey, and heavy cream. Cool slightly.
  • In a large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat to combine.
  • Add the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla to the frosting mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.

Assemble Cake

  • Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting and spread a layer of frosting. Add the final cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining chocolate frosting.
  • Optional, you can decorate with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or anything else you like.

Notes

How to Store:Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Freeze: Place cake uncovered in the freezer for 1 hour. After 1 hour, wrap the cake with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature.
How to Prepare Ahead of Time:You can prepare the cake layers a day ahead. Once cooled, wrap the unfrosted layers in plastic wrap to maintain their moisture. Store the cake layers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Prepare the frosting on the day of assembly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 944kcalCarbohydrates: 111gProtein: 8gFat: 57gSaturated Fat: 30gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 646mgPotassium: 420mgFiber: 6gSugar: 84gVitamin A: 1119IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 146mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was and tag @bakedambrosia on Instagram

Photos by Ashleigh Scott

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153 Comments

  1. I really want to make this cake but I don’t have round cake pans. Can I just put it in a single rectangular pan? How would I adjust the measurements?

    1. You can use a 9×13 inch rectangular cake pan. You don’t need to adjust the cake measurements, but you may have to increase the bake time by 25% to 30%. You will also need half the amount of frosting since it will only be one layer.

  2. I cannot wait to try this recipe!!! Do you have any suggestions on how much to scale the recipe up or down for 2–9″ round or 2–10″ round layers?

    1. Hi Ana! I’m so excited for you to try out this recipe! For 2 9-inch cake layers (or 2 10-inch cake layers), keep all of the measurements the same. You may have to increase the baking time a little bit.

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