The best chocolate cake is also super easy to toss together, making is possibly the best cake ever!Jump to Recipe
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Every year, I share a cake recipe around my birthday! Any excuse for cake, right?
That being said, this recipe isn’t actually a new one. It’s the basis of my mandrake cakes I made for a Harry Potter halloween party years ago! It continues to be one of my most popular recipes, so it was time to give it a dedicated page.
This is no kidding, the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. It’s rich without being too dense, and has that perfect balance of sweet and deep chocolate flavor!
The thing I love about this cake is that it is MOIST. I know, not a great word, but it’s what you want in a cake. The last time I made this, a single slice got left on its own for four days (unheard of in my house for cake to sit uneaten that long typically), and it was still delicious when I finally ate it.
The secret is using oil. It’s the reason Italians use olive oil instead of butter in all their cakes – they stay lovely and fresh way longer!
Here I use vegetable oil because I don’t want to add any flavor: the focus is chocolate!
I love this one with chocolate frosting: if we’re doing decadence, let’s commit and do it, right? But if you’re wanting alternate frosting ideas, try mocha, prosecco, or even peppermint!
If you’re feeling super lazy, you can also do this one sheet cake style: just pour all the batter into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Tools you’ll need: mixer, two 8″ cake rounds or muffin tins, Pyrex measuring cup.
Classic Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cups cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk whole
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tin with liners.
- In a large bowl, sift together cocoa powder and flour. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
- Add milk, vanilla, eggs, and oil. Mix until just combined.
- Add boiling water slowly, mixing on low as you add.
- Ladle the batter into the tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes sit in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
8-inch cake variation (makes two)
- Grease and flour two 8-inch cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before removing from the tins.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 5 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Cream the butter for 3 minutes, then add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until mixed.
- Add half the milk and beat again.
- Repeat with 2 more cups powdered sugar, rest of the milk, and then 1 more cup sugar. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
- Taste – if the frosting is too loose, add the remaining sugar.
- Only frost when things are completely cool.
What are your favorite birthday treats? Other favorite cakes have been strawberry, cream cheese pound cake, and cheesecake!
Follow me on Instagram to see what I get up to for my birthday in small town Italy!