This is the best, easiest, chocolate cake ever! Hundreds of people have made it and declared it the best-ever for a reason…because it is!

Smothered Pork Chops.
Yellow Cake.
Spare Ribs.
Chocolate Cake.
Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

Any idea what all of the above items have in common?

A big slice of two-tiered chocolate cake with white frosting on a white plate, with the rest of the cake behind it.

Well, just between you and me, they are currently on my list (among several others) of recipes I’m searching to find the PERFECT version of. The Best Of, if you will.

(Update: I’ve actually found best-ever versions of some of those! Smothered Pork Chops and Yellow Cake are off the list!)

There are many things (like Indian food and pasta dishes to name a few) that I’ll probably always try different versions of just for the fun of it, but my “search” list includes recipes I want to know are the best so I can turn to them when the time arises and know they will not fail me.

And wouldn’t you know that this week, I’m able to cross off TWO of them! The magical frosting that still visits my dreams was detailed yesterday and now today I’m letting you in on the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made.

I first made this cake nearly eight months ago for my son’s birthday but wanted to make it several more times to ensure it really is the best. And it is!

Hands down, it beats any other homemade chocolate cake I have ever made. Moist (unbelievably so!), dense with chocolate flavor but with a perfectly light and tender cake crumb, and with the perfect balance of sweet and rich chocolate, this cake was taken to new heights slathered in my new favorite frosting.

So perfect and so decadent and delicious, this is the only chocolate cake I need to worry about from here on out.

Actually, I probably should be worrying more about the effect of this chocolate cake on my thighs. Ignorance is bliss, I say.

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Pancake Mix
Two Years Ago: Chicken Tikka Masala


Unbelievable Chocolate Cake

4.64 stars (360 ratings)


  • 1 ¼ cups (106 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups (355 g) all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups (530 g) sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Prepare two round 9-inch cake pans by cutting out a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of the pan. Grease the pans, place the parchment or wax paper in the bottom of the pan and lightly grease again. Dust the pans with flour (or cocoa powder if you don’t want the white dusting on the finished cakes). Set the pans aside.
  • Using a fine mesh strainer, sift together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on low speed (with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer) until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Remove the pans from the oven and set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and unmold the cakes, removing the parchment paper liners from the bottom of the cakes. Let them cool completely, top sides ups, on a wire rack.
  • Trim the tops of the cake layers with a long serrated knife to make them level. Frost as desired (I highly recommend this life-changing frosting).


Update (10/6/10): several of you have mentioned that you had issues with this cake spilling over the edges of the cake pan while baking. Ugh! That’s annoying. While I haven’t had the same issues, enough of you mentioned it that I want to put a note here to watch your cakes closely.
Batter: you may want to judge the batter in the cake pan by only pouring it 2/3 full and using the rest of the batter for cupcakes, just to make sure you don’t have a mess in your oven.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 388kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 557mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 43g

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Living The New Classics